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Skunks Causing Stir In Somerset

Dozens of skunks invading local neighborhood.
SOMERSET - Jim Schrock has lived in Somerset for more than 70 years. He's used to seeing his fair share of squirrels and rabbits in his backyard, but this summer it's been skunks and now he's doing something about it.
 
A few months back Jim noticed a bunch of holes in his yard, and wanted to know what was causing the problem.
 
With help from a neighbor, he set up a camera, and was stunned by what he found.
 
 “Believe it or not there were skunks all over the place. So I began coming out at night and spotlighting the place and there were skunks everywhere,” Jim Schrock says.
 
Jim spotted dozens of them. More than he's ever seen in his 70 years in the area.
 
But it wasn't just the smell that had him concerned.
 
“Especially where there are children. I was concerned about rabies. So I decided to make this a community project,” Schrock says.
 
With help from his neighbors, Jim raised $250 to start trapping the skunks. So far he's caught 15 of them.
 
The skunk struggles, though, aren't just in Jim's neighborhood.
 
 “I'm probably up to about 50 or 60 (skunks) now and I'll probably get 20 or 30 more by the time the years over. So far, the good thing is we haven't had any problems with the rabies as far as them biting anybody,” Animal trapper Jim Griffith says.
 
Griffith has been trapping animals throughout the region for more than six decades.
Thanks to some wet weather, he says skunks have had better success finding food near homes.
 
“The grubs are up a little bit more and they're pretty easy for them to get too,” Griffith says.
 
The Pennsylvania Game Commission says skunk complaints have escalated in the region this year.
And while Jim may be fixing the problem in his backyard, he's also hoping to spread the word throughout the community.
 
“They're all over town and I'm trying to educate people in the area about what we do and what we do is all legal,” Schrock says.
 
Tips from the Game Commission and folks at Penn State helped Schrock limit the number of skunks coming into his yard this summer.

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