Peggy, my wife and I moved to the country in `05. We are both from small farming/ranching communities in Oklahoma and wanted to return to the peace and quiet we’d missed during our professional careers. We bought a home away from town surrounded by shallow canyons, pastures and creeks. Our four acres are replete with tall pine trees, Bradford pear, large Oak, Elm and Cedar, it is a beautiful spot.
We spread corn out for the deer and wild turkey, in the evenings we watch and listen to coyotes as they move around looking for food. Raccoon, opossum and armadillo are frequent visitors as are the bob-cat and an occasional porcupine. We have four dogs and two cats.
My wife and I have nothing against hunting or hunters, many of our friends are avid about the sport, but we don’t hunt and on many occasions we’ve gone out of our way to help abandoned animals. Needless to say it would be a rare situation where I would be willing to kill an animal, even a skunk.
Peggy was preparing for bed and I was watching the last fifteen minutes of Frazier when a ruckus broke out in our garage like I’d never heard before. From time to time opossum and raccoon have wandered into the garage lured; I’m sure, by the smell of pet food. They encounter our dogs somewhere along the way, an argument ensues and the unwelcome intruder goes on their way. But this animal argument was different, there was a real fight going on. Not knowing what to expect I didn’t want to open the door between the kitchen and garage, concerned the fight might end up in our house, so I went out the back door and around the side of the garage to see what was taking place. For those readers who don’t know me I should briefly explain my physical condition. I have a rare neurological disease similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease and to that end I get around in a sophisticated mechanical wheelchair. The only thing this chair won’t do is brew my morning coffee, well…there are a few other things it won’t do now that I think about it. Anyway, I’m in my chair, its dark (no moon) and cold as I approach the open two car garage door. By then my sixty pound boarder collie and one-hundred-twenty pound Pyrenees are in the driveway trying desperately to shake the odor off. The collie sees me and runs to greet with her usual in-your-lap licking and nosing my hand to scratch her ears, which, under the circumstances, I refused to do. About then the skunk comes out of the garage and spots me and charges, I repeat, charges, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’d never been charged by an animal before. The two dogs positioned themselves between me and the charging skunk. The skunk then chased the collie around to the east side of the house. I thought maybe the skunk would see he was out numbered and retreat into the canyon, but I was wrong! Within a few minutes the skunk was back and chased the Pyrenees into the pasture. Again, I thought the skunk would come to his senses and toddle on off, but, again I was wrong. A minute later the skunk comes out of the brush, by-passes me and goes into the garage. I said earlier that we have two cats—did I mention that they are both black and white? When the skunk enters the garage he goes straight for the dog bedding, takes it in his mouth and shakes it violently then starts dragging it out of the garage. The two cats think this new friend has come to play so they follow the skunk dragging the dogs bedding out of the garage believing this is some kind of new game. They calmly hang out with the skunk in an apparent bonding episode that was amazing to watch, although the skunk wasn’t at all interested in making friends, he never acted aggressive toward the cats.
Peggy, in search of her missing husband, sees what is going on and tries to shew the skunk from the garage with a broom. She had no idea the skunk had already chased our two dogs off the premises, so she wrongly assumed a broom would intimidate the unwelcome varmint. Luckily Peggy is quick on her feet and retreated back into the house before the skunk got to her. By now I’m thinking the worst, the skunk is rabid and although our dogs and cats had been inoculated, I had to take drastic measures. First I loaded my varmint rifle and went on the hunt and soon found the skunk and my two black and white cats prowling around the east side of the house where it is really dark.
I am a former Marine but trying to take aim, in a wheelchair, in the dark at an animal that looks so similar to your own pets is difficult. Finally I got a clear shot and fired, of course I missed him. The gun shot noise didn’t phase the skunk, fortunately it scared the cats and they high-tailed it to safety. I fired several more times, missing every time from thirty-feet away. Now the rifle is out of ammo and it’s the skunks turn. I’m not kidding he charges again, this time I’m on rougher terrain and can’t maneuver as easily or drive as fast as when I’m on a solid surface. Because of terrain and fencing I’m unable to get back to the house in a direct way, so I head for the shed on the west side of our property, the skunk is running along side my speeding chair not one foot away. I round the shed and Peggy is standing there holding the back door open for me, hoping for good news that was not to come. I thrust the joy stick forward and my chair scooted along at four miles per hour toward the back door, Peggy screaming, “Hurry, hurry!” As the back wheels crossed the threshold Peggy slammed the door with the skunk only inches from entering the house. Take a short pause here and picture this in your mind—a skunk, probably rabid, in your house, along with a man in a wheel chair carrying an empty weapon. Where are the people with video phones when you need `em?
The skunk has, knowingly or unknowingly, declared war on our peaceful existence, so, I trade the rifle for a nine millimeter pistol and embark on a mission to protect my wife, me and our domestic animals from the psycho-skunk. The search mission didn’t take long, as I wheeled quietly around the house to the front entrance I saw him trying to dig under or pull open the front storm door. I drove to within ten feet of him and uttered the appropriate expletives to get his attention, and get it I did, the chase was on. I had to entice him away from the house and into an area where a ricocheting bullet wouldn’t do damage to the house, cars, animals or worse my wife. I led him on a chase around the house and into our very large back yard, however, being the clever aggressionist he was the skunk positioned himself just to the rear of my mechanical chair making it impossible to turn swiftly enough to take aim and fire. I led him back to the circle concrete drive where I could get better traction. My strategy worked, at a full four miles per hour I was able to put some distance between the skunk and me. As soon as I had him at an angle where a ricochet wouldn’t damage anything I swirled around in my chair and fired three rounds, missed again. Now he’s inches from my foot, I performed an evasive turn and accelerated. I looked back and he was still in pursuit, so around the circle drive we go again and when I reached the point I thought would be safe to shoot I made a tight right turn, aimed and when he got to within about two feet I fired.
Now, I am not proud I killed an animal, but I thought it had to be done not only for our sakes but the skunks as well. He was truly a tormented beast.
Incident occurred the first of April 2008.