436 N. Library, Waterloo, Illinois 62298
This was a stinking story about forty years ago, but the smell
has worn off pretty well by now. I was running a steam engine on a
threshing outfit in North Dakota. It was getting late in the Fall
and pretty cool. There was a tall cow puncher called Slim, who
worked on the thresher hauling bundles. He used to talk to me quite
a bit about hunting, and I was telling him how I used to hunt
skunks with a dog at night time back in Illinois, and he would
laugh at me and say, ‘I see you don’t know how to hunt
skunks. ‘You would never make any money hunting hem that
way.’ He said, ‘How many skunks would you get in a
night?’ ‘Oh’, I said, ‘two or three.’ He said,
‘If we ever get a day off, I will show you how to hunt skunks
in the daytime, and I mean get some skunks.’ Well, I just
thought he was giving me one of those snipe hunting stories.
Well, Saturday night came, and the old engine was acting up the
boiler was getting dirty, and the boss said, ‘I think we will
close down for tomorrow, and you can wash the boiler.’ So the
next morning I and the water hauler washed the boiler. We were done
at noon and here came Slim with his old Model T Ford.
He said, ‘Dugan, this afternoon I will show you how we hunt
skunks in North Dakota.’ I went over and looked in the back of
his Model T. He had two broken-off fork handles for clubs, a
’22 rifle, a shot gun, a spade, a roll of barb wire and a
gallon of white stuff.
I said, ‘What’s that?’
He said, ‘Don’t you know what white lightnin’
is?’ ‘Any way, he said, ‘Jump in’ and away we went
across the prairies.
Finally we got out where the skunk territory was. Old Slim
stopped the Ford. I jumped out and sniffed in a hole in the ground
and shouted, ‘There’s some in this hole.’
He said, ‘Bring me the barb wire, Dugan.’ He unrolled
the wire and pushed it back into the hole as far as he could. Then
he cut it off and started to wind it up and pull. He said, ‘I
got them.’ That’s when I ran. Believe it or not, when he
pulled that wire out of the hole, he had four skunks with their
tails all wrapped in this barb wire. He shouted, ‘Bring me one
of those clubs.’ Believe me, I didn’t bring him a club I
threw it at him. That’s when the air pollution started. Whee I
am sure everybody in the countryside knew old Slim opened the skunk
season. It seemed to me like we went to every den and culvert in
the country; and, believe it or not, we came home that evening with
some forty skunks of all stripes, two tomcats, a weasel, and the
white lightning jug was empty.
Well, old Slim skinned skunks all night; and it took me all
night to try to clean up. I burned all my old clothes and took a
good soapy bath. If only I would have had some Right-Guard or Dry
Ban those days, ha, ha! But they said old Slim would smell like a
skunk until the next spring. All that was worrying me was If I
could get rid of the odor before I got back to Illinois. Old Slim
said, ‘Now you see, Dugan, you can make money skunk hunting if
You go about it in the right way.
Well, that was the first and the last of such a skunk hunting
expedition for Dugan. Running a steam engine was a lot of hard work
and long hours, but we had a lot of fun and laughs along with it;
and, if you got a laugh or two out of this, I think it’s worth
it. Laughing keeps you healthy.