Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Magic Skunk Recipe!

skunk smell removal recipe stink hunting wash scent skunked
Odiferous Skunkus
If you've put any time at all hunting the plains, you've probably been skunked, or known of someone who has.  Personally, my dogs have been skunked several times, especially one boy, my Ace dog.  He was big running and seem curious about skunks. About the third time he got nailed, one Montana hunt, I washed him with whatever I could find in the store, and, of course, it had no effect.  I loaded him in the Jones trailer and headed out for the second destination- Wisconsin.  When I arrived, which was no secret since the smell arrived 10 minutes ahead of me, a friend of mine told me about a scientific approach to eliminating the skunk smell.  He mixed it up in a gallon jug, told me what to do, and,  voila!, skunk odor gone! In fact, I put him in the front seat after that. 
skunk smell removal recipe stink hunting wash scent skunked
Here's the recipe for skunk stink removal and why it works. There are others. Some commercial applications, as well. I thought it was interesting the science behind the recipe. I've personally verified this works:

Next go to a drug store and get the following, if needed: (Note: I carry this in my truck.)
• 1 quart (or liter) of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2.
Use fresh (unopened) hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Hydrogen pe
roxide eventually turns into water (H2O).
• 1/4 cup (50 ml.) of Baking Soda
• 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of Liquid Soap (I use at least a Tablespoon!)

• 1 pair of plastic or latex gloves
To Use
• Bathe the dog outside or, if it's too dark or cold, in the bathroom with the door closed and window opened.
• Combine the ingredients in an open container (do not store in a sealed bottle--it will explode).
• Using gloves, wash your dog with lukewarm water and the mixture while the mixture is bubbling. Work the mixture well into the fur.
• Be sure to concentrate on the area that was sprayed.
• Keep mixture away from your dog's face and eyes (it's a harsh solution). (If your dog has been sprayed in the face, try Tricotine Liquid Douche Concentrate or any over-the-counter douche.)
• Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes or so before rinsing off.
• Rinse the dog with lukewarm tap water. Don't wash the mixture into your dog's eyes (use a washcloth to cover the eyes if you're rinsing the head).
• After bathing, check your dog's eyes. If they are red and watering, your dog may have taken a direct hit in the face. Skunk spray won't blind the dog, but it's very painful. Contact a vet.

How it works- Skunk Stink Removal

First a quote from Dr. Caceci of Texas A&M University:
Forget what you have heard about tomato juice--it doesn't work. Skunk spray is mainly composed of low molecular weight thiol compounds. ("Thiols" are compounds with the "-SH radical" attached to a carbon atom.) In industrial applications, alkaline hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is used for scrubbing similar compounds from waste gas streams.
Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, when combined, become a "chemical engine" for churning out oxygen. That's why it has to be used immediately after mixing. The soap breaks up the oils in the skunk spray, allowing the other ingredients to do their work.
• Chemical and Engineering News, American Chemical Society, 18 October 1994. The formula is in a CNE report.
• "Chemist has the Power to Tame Skunk's Spray", Chicago Tribune, November 25, 1994. Article about Paul Krebaum, the inventor of the deodorizing formula mentioned above in CNE.
• Paul Krebaum sent me a link to his skunk page, which seems pretty thorough. It's at http://home.earthlink.net/~skunkremedy/home/

Skunk Stink Removal

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Sandhills! Nebraska Prairie Chickens

The Sandhills-
The Nebraska National Forest (Really!)

Get this map!  It has the navigation you need.
 What Are They?

The Sandhills are a feature that covers nearly a quarter of Nebraska.  Looked at from a satellite, by Google Earth, they look like waves on the ocean- a vast ocean of sand.  Grass covers the hills now, but not far underneath is a fine sand as nice as that on many beaches.  The road pictured above is from the Nebraska National Forest.....if you want shade out here, bring your own tree! The roads up in the McKelvie National Forest aren't nearly so nice.  They are just two tracks through the sand.  I didn't have any trouble navigating either area in 4 wheel drive and good tires, but it's not for the faint-hearted. 
Plenty of water in the Sandhills
Where Are They?
If you find Valentine, NE on the map and look to the south, you'll see the area of the Sandhills.  I'm sure the area is actually much larger, but the public land huntable area is between Valentine and Thedford, NE, about 80 miles to the south. Most is private land, but the two National Forests and The Valentine Game Refuge are located in that area.  In addition, there are several Wildlife Management Areas by the State of Nebraska scattered throughout. 
The Sandhills
Prairie Chickens and Sharptail Grouse thrive in these grass hills.  The Chicken was on my bucket list and I was eager to find an area that had a decent huntable population.  They are all throughout this area.  It didn't take long, on the first day on the ground, for my Pearl to lockup on a brace of Chickens.  I dropped one and pulled to the other just as it rolled right and dropped below the crest of the grass covered dune.  Pearl made a great retrieve and put my first Prairie Chicken in my hand!
Pearl and Cap and my first, ever Prairie Chicken
We found that the two species were interspersed throughout the areas.  As a result, our bag pretty much was split between the two.
Sharptail and Prairie Chicken (and Pearl)
Shack taking a breather in a small pond.
Now, I'm no expert on PC or Sharps, but I used a 20 ga. 2 3/4" #6's and did fine.
3 of the 4 are ready to go (Cap, Pearl, Shack).  Ruby was up front and afraid to leave her seat for the picture!

The areas are huge and laid out in pastures for grazing.  The bad news is there's grazing, the good news is there are windmills everywhere.  In fact, I rarely used the water bottles I carried in my WingWorks vest.  I would plan a hunt from the truck by looking for the next windmill and working my way around the area in that fashion.  The map of the National Forest has all the mills on it, the fences, roads, etc.  Each mill is numbered, on the north side, and that's a huge help for when you aren't where you think you are (It happened to a friend- just sayin'.).  One could read the number on the mill and correlate to the map and find themselves- what a delightful conclusion!  Also, the roads are somewhat fluid (it being a sea of sand, and all) and I ended up completely missing a turn, checking the mill number, and getting back on track (two-track) that way.  I still do not know where I missed that turn.  When I go back, I'll find out.
Cap had 7 Chickens pointed. Ruby backing. 
The result. 2 more in the bag.
Historical Marker in Thedford, NE
I stayed in a motel in Valentine, NE.  There are few motels, generally, in the area.  Some in Valentine, Thedford and maybe a few other places.  There is camper parking in the area, as well, and that may be a good way to stay close to the areas.  There are some National Forest Campgrounds, too. 
Another Sharp and Prairie Chicken on the same cast.
I had a great time hunting the Sandhills. I'm already planning to stop again on the way back from South Dakota, in November!   Plan on looking for good grass and walking a long ways.  One cast, I walked 4 miles (the dogs ran 20) and found 7 chickens within 100' of the truck when I got back!  They are where you find them, I guess.  But, don't be dismayed.  They are there!