Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It’s a Skunk!

Photo: Baby striped skunks

OMG ~ It's a Skunk!

By: James B. Beard aka Noodin

A common resident of the New England woods is Skunk. Monadnock State Park is no exception to this fact and has a well rounded population. It is not uncommon to hear a noise rummaging through food supplies or sniffing around a campsite and realizing that your visitor is Skunk. The first time I encountered Skunk was while going up the mountain at night on a rescue several years back. I saw two eyes looking at me from up the trail as my headlight focused on Skunk. I stopped and waited for him to mosey off the trail before proceeding up the mountain.

One evening as I was walking around the campground area in the early evening to make sure everything was quiet. I looked over at a family enjoying their meal at the table in a site. They sat at one end of the table and were completely unaware that Skunk was at the other end of the table enjoying his meal as well. I went in to the campsite and pointed to the Skunk while telling the people to be very calm. The campers quietly got up and walked to the edge of their site. It was funny to watch seven adults and children standing there watching the Skunk consume everything he could find on the table.

While working at headquarters on a weekend Skunk came by again. This time six college girls were camping in the old campground near headquarters of the park. The campground was full of campers and it was in the fall time. I heard a scream in the campground and two of the girls came running out of the woods toward the toll booth where I was working. At that hour I was the only ranger on duty and had to stay at the booth until all campers were checked in for the night. The girls were out of breath and screeching as they tried to tell me that they needed me to come to their camp. I asked them to tell me what the problem was and one explained that a Skunk entered their camp and was in one of their tents. Did you have any food in your tent, I asked. Just some candy bars the girl replied. They explained that they tried to get him to leave but he would not leave the tent and was rummaging through all of their things. It’s not often that an old ranger can impress pretty young co-eds so I told them I would help them out. I closed up the toll booth and went with them to their camp. Sure enough, there was Skunk eating a candy bar in the door of the tent. I took my flashlight and shinned it in his eyes. The Skunk began to move out of the tent and walk away. Then he turned and walked toward one of the girls. He looked at her for a moment and walked into the forest. At that point he started going from campsite to campsite with me running around ahead of him to warn campers that he was coming. It was a site to see and everyone had a visit from Skunk. The park manager came up in the park truck. He asked me what was going on. I told him about the Skunk but he didn’t seem moved by the event. His only comment was; “You forgot to lock the wood shed!”.

Skunk regularly patrols the park and visits with campers here and there. He doesn’t seem to have any fear of folks and mostly minds his own business which is finding camper’s food.

Jim Beard aka Noodin

“To be centered is to stand alone together” Noodin

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