Skunk population in SE Wis. seems to be on rise
- Associated Press
- August 24, 2013 - 7:29 PM
KENOSHA, Wis. — Trappers in southeastern Wisconsin say they've been responding to more skunk complaints than usual this summer, perhaps because the potent critters are increasingly able to find food and shelter.
Area officials haven't reported an unusual degree of skunk activity, but trappers say they're especially busy this year, the Kenosha News reported (http://bit.ly/17TgvQy ). The Kenosha police department said 54 percent of the animal calls to which police community-service officers responded this year have been for skunks, compared to 45 percent last year.
Gerald Johnson, a Bristol trapper, said he's received 20 calls so far this season, about twice the typical workload. And Daniel Hansen, a Lake Geneva trapper, said he took so many skunk calls in this summer from Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties that, for the first time, he had to call in another wildlife company to help.
That's not welcome news to residents such as Cathy Capps of Kenosha. She said she and her friends have noticed a boom in the skunk population, and that residents see and smell them a lot more often.
"It's been pretty frustrating," Capps said. "Even with the house completely closed up, the smell still gets in. When I'm up at night, all of a sudden the whole lower half of the house will smell. One night, I felt really ill because the smell was so pervasive."
When an animal population explodes, it's probably because food and shelter have become easily available, said Marty Johnson, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources. Skunks might be stealing food left out for pets or scavenging scraps from loosely capped garbage cans, and foreclosed homes could be providing shelter, he said.
"If the homes aren't watched carefully, animals — if they try hard enough — can find a way inside," he said.
Wisconsin considers the skunk an unprotected species that can be hunted or trapped year-round by people with proper licenses. However, a trapped skunk can't be released on public or private lands without the owner's permission.
Landowners or residents don't need a license to hunt or trap a skunk if it's causing damage or is a nuisance on their property.
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