As I prepared my gear for tomorrow morning's pheasant opener, I added six items to the back of my truck that I'm betting most rooster chasers didn't think to add, but should.  Those three items were:
1. Quart of Hydrogen Peroxide
2. Box of Baking Soda
3. Bottle of Dove Dish Soap
4. Sponge
5. Pair of Rubber Gloves
6. Small Bucket

If you've listened to the Saturday morning edition of the FAN Outdoors radio program on KFAN (AM1130 in the Twin Cities or worldwide), then you probably know where this is heading.  If not, let me take a moment to explain why I have such disdain for skunks. 

I have a German shorthair pup, Trammell, that will enter her third season of pheasant hunting tomorrow morning.  During her young life, Trammell has shown great skill in pointing pheasants, sharpies, Huns, ruffed grouse, quail, and timberdoodle.  Unfortunately, she's also shown a very strong affinity for black mammals featuring a white stripe down their back. 

Yes, Trammell started her pheasant hunting career on the 2007 Minnesota opener by being sprayed at 9:25AM that morning.  That's right; 25 minutes into the opener I had a skunked dog.  Despite her stench, I hunted on and we filled our bag limit before lunch time, which left me all afternoon to deal with her scent.  It finally faded after a month, but I had to throw her $200 ecollar in the trash because I could never get the skunk out of it.

Last year, Trammell encountered another skunk in Michigan's grouse woods just before dusk.  She tangled with it and I was left to tangle with her.  I was hunting relatively close to Lake Michigan, so I threw her in the water.  Thanks to KFAN's "Captain" Billy Hildebrand, I knew what ingredients I needed to deskunk Trammell this time around.  Unfortunately, I didn't know how much of each item I should use.  I dumped it all in a bucket and poured it on my pup.  That day's spray stayed with her my entire 7 hour trip back to Minnesota the next morning.

Two weeks after the Michigan incident, I was in the middle of nowhere Montana for a pheasant and sharp-tail hunt with a group of journalists.  Can you guess where this is going?  That's right; after a fantastic performance on a covey of Huns, Trammel found a skunk hole and proceeded to pull it out of its home.  She got sprayed again, of course.  This time, I had none of the ingredients for deskunking her in my truck and was two hours from the nearest grocery story.  So, I ended up trying tomato juice from the local bar's bloody Mary stash.  That didn't work very well as my wife can attest.  She greeted us at my driver's truck door after an 18 hour drive home to Minnesota with "oh my god, I think I'm going to puke." 

So for this year's opener, I have all the ingredients with me and even have a laminated Dog De-Skunking Recipe in my wallet that "Captain" Billy gave to me last year.  So take it from a guy that's been sprayed in three states in the last two years; the next skunk is right around the corner!  Don't leave for the pheasant field without these ingredients:

"Captain" Billy Hildebrand's Dog De-Skunking Kit
o 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
o ¼ cup baking soda
o 1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap with grease cutter
o Sponge
o Rubber gloves
o Small bucket

1. Put on rubber gloves
2. Mix solution in proper measurements
3. Wet dog down
4. Work in the solution
5. Leave on the dog for 3 to 4 minutes
6. Rinse and repeat if necessary

I hope you all have a fun, safe, and successful start to the 2009 pheasant season.
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