Everyone gave solid advice.
Calls certainly drop off for us once it gets cold and we are beyond the mass of calls during the time when
litters are out and visible with the adult female.
Yes still active, nights as you know are cold, but we certainly aren't out of their ability to move and with so
many folks feeding cat food and dog food and other things directly to skunks, its hard to find any neighborhood
where they can't get a meal within the city and outer limits of suburbia here in NM.
Talking about sheds though and people saying "I saw them" or "I smell them" most folks are convinced they are
there even if they only visually saw them once and I can understand that, but can tell you from hundreds of cases
over the last 3 years alone in ABQ often they are gone and under some other shed in the area, trapped by someone else,
killed by a car, dead from other causes, etc...
Not sure if this owner has block walls like so many in our city do, but with block walls we target the gate where they enter.
Generally a one way door and a camera setup and then modify the doors and ground below to assure no re entry possible
and this process with normal activity and movement will have them out in 2-3 days max.
I use cheap trail cams that we've had for years and yes have done the paper bag or plastic bags in holes or loose dirt filled into
hole as a marker of activity.
If no solid block walls folks are always open to more skunks of course from the area and numbers wise they are healthy in numbers
here for sure, whether downtown near the high rises, or up in the heights or down near the river. They do well and so many folks
have unsecured sheds, crawlspaces and so forth plenty of "habitat."
I get maybe 1 or 2 stubborn ones a year that exclusion won't work for, but just in terms of your scenario there, she may be smelling
one thats making the circuit and has recently sprayed so its loaded with "cologne or perfume." We get enough calls where there
is not skunk on the property despite folks having seen them when they pass through grubbing or on way to resources they need. It
can be tough to prove to folks nothings there anymore as sheds at grade are difficult to view under though sometimes can remove
a header board and look straight down the channels and be done with it.
Of course and I know you know this being a trapper, if you trap long enough you are going to probably catch something. Just in terms
of residential clients we prefer to run exclusion if good walls and use the camera and door, its efficient, it works and there is no future
incursion into the back yard at least, whereas the front yards facing street are always open to activity from any of the native wildlife we have
Anyway, just .02, plenty of communal denning here despite not deep winter like many other folks get, have seen 5-10 in one crawlspace
many times here and several is more on track with average dens for winter.
Many of the homeowners of course block the hole themselves before they call someone, and often during the day as they don't know or can't
reason that its a nocturnal animal and so now they put cinder blocks or heavy stones over the only way out for it and then wonder why its still there!
Plenty of folks trap as a rule of course even if excluding as well. Obviously the scenario in terms of the house, the yard, the type of structure all matters
as well to that decision, in our area with most of the homes being solid concrete or solid stone walls and with much of the skunk action under sheds
we've found this works well for us.
Either way a trail camera even just a cheap one is worthwhile to get in and out quickly if there is no animal present, with the caveat the time you leave it
for may be dictated by how much activity is happening or not happening when weather turns colder or inclement.
Sheds are definitely far more prolific as a roost here than any other structure with so many homes being on grade slab with no basement.