The smell hit me as soon as I opened the truck door Saturday morning. Skunk. “Ew. Something happened. I hope it’s on the camera.” Occasionally a skunk, of which there are a lot, and a raccoon, of which there are too many, want to be in the bait barrel at the same time. Coons are vicious creatures. Skunks are calmer and far less likely to fight. Raccoons usually win, and the skunks wander away. That’s the story I expected to find on the camera, a story that didn’t end with death. It wasn’t a raccoon, it was the fisher.

This fisher is full grown and has the size to show for its age. It didn’t end well for the immature skunk. The last picture doesn’t show the kill. The camera stops for two minutes, and then the next pictures are too dark to see. I suspect the fisher is dining on the skunk a few feet beyond the flash’s reach.

About the skunks

It’s sad for the skunk, a babe born this year. It was a good night for the fisher who had a belly full of food from an animal who’s local population is too high. There are so many skunks I can’t track of most of them. One is mostly white and another mostly black with a horizontal white stripe. They’re easy. One afternoon Steve had to stand back and wait for a skunk to leave before he could tend the barrel.

Mother Nature does in deed deal with balance off kilter. One fisher will pare down the abundance of skunks and bring their population down to a healthier number. We’re all part of the food chain. Thinking that we as humans are at the top is a myth I think of often, especially on days like today, when I’ll be heading out to the tree stand for the opening day of bear season. I’m not at the top of the food chain, and I’m grateful I’m not as far down the chain as the skunk.

fisher vs skunk, bear bait barrel, Maine bear hunting,
The skunks don’t seem to know the fisher is present.
fisher vs skunk
Still seemingly oblivious to the fisher who’s now peeking around the barrel.
Attack begins. The skunks are now aware!
Fisher targets immature skunk
fisher vs skunk
Hovering, waiting for the right second
Right before the kill

And that was that…

And that was that. Remains show the fisher was successful. It comes to the barrel at all times of day and night, just as the skunks do. If its been successful again we haven’t smelled any evidence.

Bear season opened this morning. I’m less hopeful than any other year. One bear visited the barrel on day 25 and again on 28. It’s a smallish bear, not the brute I’ve been waiting and hoping for. I wouldn’t mind seeing the fisher that lives here, and I’d be happy to have him take care of our skunk problem.