I have had two "near misses" with skunks in my lifetime. And I think about them every time that familiar pungent aroma fills the air.

First, my family was picnicking out at Ben Hawes State Park. My grandmother was with us. It was she who first noticed Pepe Le Pew and headed to the car after quietly warning us we had company descending from the park's walking trail. We hightailed it to that old Mercury and joined her.

Many years later, I was visiting friends in Cleveland. One night, when we all got home late, Jeff stopped dead in his tracks and told us all not to move and to be quiet. There, well within the corporate limits of an enormous American city, was a skunk coming out from underneath their porch. Our stealth saved the day and he wandered off.

It's the Most Malodorous Time of the Year -- Skunk Mating Season

Hopefully, you'll be able to avoid such encounters during this very busy time of the year for our acrid little friends.

Yes, here we are in the midst of skunk mating/breeding season. Have you caught wind of skunk spray more often than not lately? Well, that's why.


I've seen many dead ones on the side of the road over the last few weeks; long journeys to find mates that came to a disastrous end.

The Brutality of Skunk Spray

Have you ever run over a skunk? It's brutal. My sister had to burn her clothes many years ago after hitting one. But the stench doesn't just make your nose hairs curl up; that spray is actually flammable. And you certainly don't want it in your eyes.

Now, if you want a skunk as a pet--and that's perfectly legal--you can have them de-scented, like my uncle did with this three pet skunks back before I was born. (I miss all the fun.) But I'm gathering you should have that done early in the skunk's life.

De-Scenting a Skunk for Pet Ownership

But skunks are still exotic pets; I don't currently know anyone who has one or has EVER had one. I'm sure there's some kind of expense in removing a skunk's scent gland for ownership, so maybe that's why folks don't bother.

But domesticated skunks are not an issue. The wild ones that are looking for love in all kinds of places are the ones I'm concerned about. We live out in the county, and I dread the day I open the front door and see my cat in a stand-off with one.

What to Do If You're Sprayed by a Skunk

So, what should you do if you get sprayed by a skunk? The University of Kentucky's Cooperative Extension Office recommends products like Skunk OffNil' Odor, and Ecosorb. But the best defense is a good offense. Skunks tend to wander into yards with some clutter, looking for shelter or food. So if you get rid of anything where insects and small rodents (their favorites) can make a home, you're ahead of the game.

But until the romance comes to an end, be aware we could be in for some very "fragrant" evenings over the next few weeks.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

Kentucky's Nuisance Animals

A couple of these creatures would cross over into the "dangerous" category, but the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife says that these are ALL nuisances, and with good reason.

More From WBKR-FM