Amazing encounters with wildlife

Throughout my life I have had amazing encounters with wildlife, and today I’m going to start sharing some of those stories with you. Today I’ll start with encounters with an ermine and a skunk.

I was deer hunting on my woodlot and sitting on the ground with my back up against a Hemlock tree, when I saw an ermine running back and forth about 50 yards from me. At that time of year, ermine are white and beautiful. That ermine, still running back and forth, got closer and closer to me.

When it got about 10 yards away, the ermine turned and ran right at me, running up my leg and stopping on my chest. Ermine have very sharp teeth and if it had bit me in the neck I probably would have died. It happened so quick all I could do was turn my head and stare at it.

Thankfully it quickly decided that I was not a tree and it leaped off me and ran away. That is an encounter I have never forgotten!


Running a bit late for a Selectmen’s meeting one evening years ago, even though it was dark, I dashed down the stairs into my workshop without turning on the light. Approaching the door to the garage, I felt our cat move across my feet in front of me and reached down to pet him. Bad mistake.

The skunk blasted me right in the face, and I staggered and started running back upstairs, shedding my stinking clothing along the way before jumping into the shower. Linda later collected the clothing and threw it away.

Eventually I got to the Selectmen’s meeting. No one sat near me. And it took three days to get rid of that awful smell. Another encounter I have never forgotten!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.