NORTHPORT — Ronald Baker loves the smell of skunks.
That’s right. The horrendous, make-you-cringe odor from our black and white striped friends in the morning, to Baker, smells like victory.
‘It’s the smell of money,” Baker says.
Baker is more commonly known as Trapper Ron, aka the proprietor of Trapper Ron’s Humane Animal Removal & Relocation Services. The business is well-established in the Detroit area, but Baker and his wife recently migrated to Leelanau County to open a new branch of the nuisance animal removal business. It’s an enterprise with boom potential in springtime as skunks, raccoons, mice and moles make like tourists and come out of the woodwork.
“I get sprayed by skunks all the time,” Trapper Ron said. “I may have been bitten by a bat once. It’s kind of hard to tell. Their teeth are like needles.”
Record-Eagle photographer Jan-Michael Stump and I ventured out with Trapper Ron one recent morning on the hunt for skunks. This particular morning we were at the home of the Bison family on M-22. David and Lisa Bison noticed a big burrowed hole at the back of their horse shed and, smelling skunk, called Trapper Ron, who set up the skunk traps the night before.
“We have four little ones,” Lisa Bison said, when asked why they called Trapper Ron.
Trapper Ron gave me the rundown in the Bison driveway of how to hunt these malodorous polecats. First, they come out at night, so the 10-inch by 12-inch cage traps need to be set before dark. The best bait? Sardines. Take a can of sardines and peel back half the metal lid and set it in the back of the cage. Then go home for the night and come back in the morning to see if you lured a skunk into eating a delectable dish of ... sardines.