The preferred cage trap for skunks has tight mesh, usually 1/2×1, to keep skunks from digging. However, many of us have old cage traps, or even new hardware store traps made with 1×1 mesh that we use for skunks. There are plenty of skunks caught in cage traps made with 1×1 mesh, leaving a mess to contend with. When caught, as we all know, skunks will pull dirt into the trap, a lot of it at times, especially if they are caught early in the evening with many hours to pull dirt into the trap. Sometimes dirt can fill half of a cage trap. At any rate, getting the dirt out of the trap, with a live skunk inside, can be “dangerous.” Get a skunk riled up by tilting a trap to drain the dirt out and bingo, they will of course unload.
Sort of by accident I guess, I learned that if you set the trap down, but keep it elevated about six inches off the ground with supports at each end, you can get the skunk to do the dirt work for you. The skunk hauled the dirt in, so why not let him push it back out? If the cage is left tight to the ground the skunk will keep working the ground and continue digging, while adding more dirt to the pile. However, once the cage is off the ground, the skunk will keep trying to escape, digging at the dirt in the cage, which allows the dirt to fall back to the ground. Left alone, in a few hours the cage will be completely void of dirt, all of the dirt piled underneath the trap. The distance the trap needs to be placed off the ground is directly proportional to how much dirt there is in the cage. Make sure the the trap is high enough off the ground to allow the dirt to fall out with space between the dirt and the trap after the dirt drops out of the trap.