You know the smell … why skunk mating season is early this year

You can blame no snow and milder temperatures for skunks being more active.

“Since we’ve been uncommonly warm, they come out more and not so much see them, but you smell them,” said Matthew Hunt, a state wildlife officer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Although the skunk mating season doesn’t officially start for another two weeks, the ODNR already is seeing an uptick in calls about them across the Miami Valley.

“We smell skunks quite frequently,” Carla Gaines of Xenia said.

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In the past month, she said her family smells the skunks nearly every day.

“We’ve thought, are they living under our porch? Cause we smell them like they just sprayed,” she said.

Hunt said it’s possible.

In the winter months skunks typically find a place to stay out of the cold.

But due to the unseasonably warm weather, the critters are coming out more often.

“When you do get a warm day, or a semi warm day, they start coming out, especially at night,” Hunt said.

Although it may seem like just a problem for your nose, these animals can carry something called canine distemper, which can put your animals at risk.

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“If they get too populated, it makes it easier for them to spread diseases,” Hunt said.

It is best to take your dogs outside on a leash at night, keep them up to date on their vaccines and to prevent your home from becoming a home to skunks.

“Keep them from getting underneath your shed by putting up a skirting … underneath your deck, keep them from getting underneath there. Don't feed them,” Hunt said.

Those who have a skunk on their property who want it removed can call the ODNR for assistance.

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