Milking a Skunk and Lessons Learned

God Dammit Stuart Get Up Here!!! I could hear my mom yelling from the upstairs as I sat in my room in the basement. The creeping feeling of dread came over me as I realized that I had no good rationale for my actions. To be honest I still have a hard time explaining why I milked a skunk.

When I was a freshman in highschool I developed an obsession with coyote hunting. I read everything I could find on the subject. One book I found was written by an old coyote hunter from the west. For the most part the book stayed consistent with other strategies I had heard: staying downwind, minimal calling etc, but his scent control chapter took a solid left turn. He explained you could use skunk scent to mask your own scent and the coyote would be more comfortable coming to the call. However plausible this idea seemed wasn’t important at the time. What was important was that I was committed to finding a way to shoot a coyote, and he had suggested a new tactic that could help me do so. After live trapping several possums and a cat, I finally caught my skunk. I shot the skunk and began following the steps the book described. Squeeze the skunks glands, roughly the size of two small marbles on its backside, the spray will release into your container. Be sure to wear plastic gloves. It turns out it was much more difficult. I couldn’t aim the spray and the scent was brutal. By the time I was done I had a couple teaspoons total, but I smelled as though I had bathed in it. I stored my container far away away from the house, but I brought my clothes into the house.

My mom’s reactions was justified. The entire back entry smelled like skunk. She screamed that we would never get the smell out and her house would smell like skunk for eternity, which didn’t happen but at the time I wasn’t completely sure that she was wrong.

I have tried many strategies for hunting, some that have worked and some that have not. Many times hunting requires guess and check strategies in order to improve. You can read every magazine in HyVee and still not understand the slight quirks that lead to tagging out. Many times I speak with beginner hunters that will suggest ideas that simply don’t make sense once you’re actually hunting. Essentially, the best way to learn is to use common sense  (use a little more sense than I did) and test what works in your area and become a hunter. Thanks, Stu.
Stuart Hoegh runs his own guide service, Three Brothers Outdoors, in Bend, Oregon. And has also guided for salmon, trout and pike in Alaska. He has hunted every game animal in Iowa. Feel free to contact him at


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