Vernon Hills taking steps to curb skunk population
BY KATLYN SMITH email@example.com | @Katlyn_eSmith October 2, 2013 7:52PM
The village and the police department also have set up links on their websites with more information on the issue. | Sun-Times files
Updated: November 4, 2013 12:02PM
A common critter is causing so much of a nuisance in Vernon Hills that officials are taking steps to curb its population.
The village and the park district have partnered to hire a trapper targeting skunks.
Throughout the central part of the village, six traps have been installed on public property near a residential area by Deerpath Park.
“There’s quite a few of those little guys out there,” says Mike Moorman, the district’s superintendent of parks.
Residents have reported sightings of the nocturnal creatures even during early morning hours.
“They don’t discriminate,” Moorman said. “They don’t distinguish between park grounds and private property.”
A milder winter in the region has allowed the animals to flourish, producing more offspring through two breeding seasons.
“Vernon hills is not the only area experiencing an increase in skunks this year,” says Kim Christenson, a public information officer for the police department. “It’s a common problem brought on partially by the warmer weather.”
The traps are checked daily, and so far, they’ve turned up four skunks as of Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Because skunks can pick up human scent, officials are urging residents to stay clear of the devices.
“The traps should be left alone,” Christenson said.
“They won’t be as effective if people have been near them.”
Residents are not the only ones coming into contact with skunks, possible carriers of rabies.
A community police officer was cornered by a couple of the stinky animals during a check of a building.
“They kind of came out of nowhere,” Christenson said.
The officer escaped without getting sprayed, but another officer wasn’t so lucky.
The police department and the village also have set up links on their websites with more information on the issue, including how to avoid getting sprayed and steps to take if you do.
Outlined are several tips:
• When walking at night, residents should jingle car keys and carry a flashlight.
• Homeowners should clear away potential food sources by tightly closing garbage lids and limiting bird feeders.
• They should check wood piles, sheds and gaps below decks — all possible nesting grounds for the unwanted guests.
In addition, the police department is directing questions to Community Service Officer Lon Paulausky at 847-362-4449.
Officials plan to meet to study the impact of the traps and other areas they could saturate with traps.
The village has not scheduled the talk yet, Moorman said.
For details, visit www.vernonhills.org