We’ve got a woodchuck problem again this summer. Last summer we had three woodchucks living under our house. I researched and discovered the solution was fox urine. You sprinkle the stinky stuff around your house and the woodchucks pack their bags and skedaddle. I used a whole bottle last year, which meant we needed more. This sent Layce and I to Atwood’s Farm Supply store.
I walked in and saw the cashier was available for questions. I asked, “Could you tell me where the fox urine is located?
“The what?” the young cashier asked, her face a mask of confusion as if she thought the question might be a joke. As if we, two women in a farm supply store, would joke about such a thing. Fox urine is no joking matter.
“Fox urine, you know, you use it to get rid of woodchucks,” I said.
Oh, my, this wasn’t going well. “They look like mini-beavers and one of them has taken up residence in my garden shed. Some people call them land beavers. They’re kind of cute but I don’t need another pet,” I said.
“We don’t have urine for sale,” the girl said.
I try another thing on my list. “Do you have dehumidifying crystals? We have a moist closet.”
“A moist closet?”
“A moist closet and a woodchuck,” I repeated.
“We don’t have that either,” she answered too quickly—an indicator that she’d like us to go away.
“Let’s just look around,” Layce said. She was squeezing the orange candy circus peanuts. I’ve been craving them. I saw it as a sign of love that she was searching for the freshest ones.
We went hunting for fox urine on our own. No luck. I went one way to find help. Layce went another. I found a clerk. “Do you know where the fox urine is?” I asked. The young man looked at me like I might not be right in the head.
Another clerk came around the corner with Layce in tow. “Do you where we keep the fox urine?” the other clerk asked my clerk.
My clerk said, “What’re the odds, two women looking for fox urine?”
“Do I know you?” I asked Layce.
“Not unless you’ve found the fox urine.”
“You know, why don’t you go ask Rod in the gun department,” the clerk said. “He’ll know.”
As we made our way to the gun department, I said, “We’ve got most of the store talking about fox urine. It’s like a scavenger hunt.”
Layce said, “Do you think it’s weird that a man named Rod is working in the gun department? You know, how mobsters call their guns a rod?”
“It would be weirder if Rod worked in the fishing department,” I said.
“Or if Rod was a porn star,” Layce countered.
Rod, in the gun department, was delighted by our question. “We don’t carry fox urine, but you can order it online.”
“How exactly do they collect the urine from the fox?” I asked. I imagined foxes peeing in cups.
“I don’t rightly know. What are you looking to get rid of?” he asked.
“A woodchuck,” Layce replied.
“You know, they make leather shoelaces and banjos out of woodchuck hides,” he said.
“The surgeon, who operated on my mom, told me she put herself through medical school selling coon hides. She’d get fifty or sixty of them a week,” Layce added.
“There’s good money in coon hides,” Rod said.
“You’re telling me,” Layce said. “They paid for her medical school.”
I was getting a serious Silence of the Lambs vibe. All this talk of hides was making me nervous. “We’ll get it online,” I said. “I just want the woodchuck to go way, not make shoelaces or banjos out of its hide.”
“You know, coyote urine works even better,” Rod said.
“Right,” I said. “Next question. Do you have any…”
Layce pulled me away. “I don’t think now is a good time to mention our humidity problem.”
“Probably not.” I could see Rod from the gun department suggest we find some other weird substance online to solve our moist closet problem. (I found out later that you can get dehumidifying crystals at Lowes.)
When we got home Layce went online and ordered a 16 ounce bottle of coyote urine. We were set. In two days time we would be rid of the woodchuck. I dribbled coyote urine all around the shed. Within a day the woodchuck was gone. So were all the squirrels and cats.
The downside? I haven’t been able to use the shed because it stinks of pee. Alas, I should’ve just learned to live with the woodchuck. Lesson learned.
“A touching story about the power of love.”