Raccoon Hunting: Bait, Gear, Dogs, and Beyond

Raccoons often pose a significant nuisance due to their clever and agile nature. Distinguishing themselves from typical pests, these resourceful ringtail creatures possess dexterous little hands capable of wreaking havoc, whether by scattering trash or posing a threat to our cherished pets.

Indeed, they exhibit a rather aggressive disposition towards anything that dares to confront them. Consequently, there are occasions when the presence of one or more raccoons becomes untenable, necessitating their removal.

Whether driven by the need to eliminate troublesome “trash pandas” in your vicinity or to embark on a raccoon hunting adventure, here are effective strategies for a successful raccoon hunt.

How to Hunt Raccoons

Hunting is a great way to get rid of raccoons and it can be accomplished using various methods, but the most popular one involves the use of dogs. Here are some tips on how to hunt raccoons:

  • Location: The best places to hunt raccoons are wooded pastures with fruit or nut-bearing trees and a nearby water source. Raccoons can also be found in agricultural fields, berry patches, and cornfields.
  • Time: Raccoons are nocturnal animals, so hunting is typically conducted at night.
  • Dogs: The most well-known method of hunting raccoons is coon hunting with dogs. The dogs used for coon hunting are called coonhounds and are known for their ability to trail a scent. The Treeing Walker Coonhound is one of the best hunting dog breeds for capturing raccoons.
  • Bait: Bait can be used to lure raccoons to a specific area. Some popular baits include sweet corn, marshmallows, and honey.
  • Equipment: Hunting equipment includes a hunting rifle, a flashlight, and a hunting knife.
  • Safety: Always prioritize safety when hunting. Wear appropriate clothing and gear, and make sure to adhere to all hunting regulations and laws.

It’s important to note that hunting regulations and laws vary by state and country, so it’s essential to check with local authorities before hunting raccoons.

Locating Raccoons

Raccoons tend to congregate in areas abundant with food sources. They are frequently encountered in rural regions, where they commonly construct their dwellings in tall trees.

Surprisingly, raccoons can also establish a thriving presence in more urban settings, such as behind apartment building back alleys. Any location offering raccoons a secure habitat and a consistent food supply becomes an open invitation for them to potentially cause an infestation.

In rural settings, farmers often grant hunters access to their property to address raccoon-related issues. This mutually beneficial arrangement may involve compensation for pest removal services or an invitation for hunters to use the land for pursuing larger game like deer or turkey.

Utilizing local classified ads or leveraging social media connections can be an excellent approach to connect with individuals seeking raccoon removal services.

Hunting Raccoons During Mating and Nesting Seasons

Much like other game species, the mating season stands out as a prime opportunity for raccoon hunting. During the months of January through February, raccoons actively embark on a quest to find a mate and, naturally, suitable den sites to rear their young.

During this period, males enter a phase of heightened activity known as “rut,” engaging in sparring matches and emitting distinctive squealing sounds.

Following successful mating, female raccoons embark on a quest to locate a nest. This nest can range from a lofty, hollow tree to an attic space, as long as it offers warmth and dryness.

They typically remain secluded in these locations until around June when their offspring reach a sufficient size. Indications of a raccoon den may include food remnants, scat, and even structural damage to siding or the roof.

Effectively Attracting Raccoons: Calls and Bait

In your quest to master raccoon hunting, utilizing “squaller” calls becomes invaluable for enticing out aggressive males during the mating season in January and February.

However, if your aim is to draw out entire raccoon families, particularly juvenile raccoons, employing chittering and purring calls can prove equally effective.

Whether you opt for traps or rifles, the strategic use of bait can significantly enhance your chances of luring raccoons, particularly if you are already aware of their frequent presence in the area.

While these resourceful creatures have a penchant for consuming a wide variety of items, marshmallows, hard-boiled eggs, watermelon, and fresh fish have proven to be particularly enticing baits.

Remarkably, even an empty tin foil can pique a raccoon’s curiosity. However, when selecting bait, it’s wise to consider their customary local diet for the most effective results.

Harness the Power of a Hunting Dog

A seasoned hunting companion, armed with a keen olfactory prowess, can deftly detect the elusive scent of raccoons carried on the wind and expertly assist you in the pursuit.

Amongst the elite breeds proficient at this art, the Treeing Walker Coonhound stands tall, specializing in the art of treeing raccoons.

With unwavering determination, it treks raccoons to their arboreal sanctuary, accompanying its efforts with a resounding howl, ensuring the quarry remains cornered until your arrival.

Furthermore, in addition to its tracking prowess, a devoted hunting dog serves as your vigilant protector, warding off any tenacious raccoons that may opt for a confrontational stance.

Appropriate Hunting Gear

Raccoons, despite their small size, possess surprising resilience. Unlike hunting larger game such as deer, the use of larger calibers and shotguns is generally discouraged.

If your aim is to secure a trophy pelt or consider taxidermy, opting for smaller caliber rifles proves the wiser choice. However, when your goal is primarily pest control, relying on larger calibers like a shotgun will suffice for the task at hand.

In your quest to master raccoon hunting, pay close attention to your choice of ammunition. It’s a common misconception that generic rounds will suffice; this assumption can lead to disappointment.

Never underestimate the tenacity of raccoons. To effectively bring down a sizable and potentially aggressive male raccoon, it’s imperative to equip yourself with predator and varmint cartridges, capable of delivering precise shots that penetrate their formidable hides.

For enhanced precision, invest in a quality scope, especially when pursuing these nocturnal creatures during their most active hours at night.

Safeguard your valuable hunting equipment with a dedicated gun case, preferably a rifle case if that’s your preferred weapon. Additionally, ensure your ammunition remains protected and organized by employing a watertight, hard ammo case.

To gain a tactical edge, consider employing motion-activated night cameras. These devices can help you discern the nightly routes taken by these elusive creatures, providing invaluable insight for successful tracking and hunting endeavors.

In summary, here’s a checklist of hunting gear for raccoons:

  • Clothing: Wear suitable hunting attire, including hunting jackets, vests, gloves, pants, and boots. Briarproof clothing is also recommended to protect against thorns and other sharp objects.

  • Lights: Hunting at night requires a reliable light source. Popular coon hunting lights include Razor, Hellcat, Bright Eyes, and Boss.

  • Dog Supplies: If hunting with dogs, you’ll need a leash, collar, and tracking system.

  • Hunting Knife: A hunting knife is essential for skinning and cleaning the raccoon after the hunt.

  • Hunting Rifle: A hunting rifle is necessary to take down the raccoon.

  • Bait: Bait can be used to attract raccoons to a specific area. Popular baits include sweet corn, marshmallows, and honey.

  • Safety Gear: Always practice safety when hunting. Wear appropriate safety gear, including eye and ear protection.

It’s important to note that hunting regulations and laws vary by state and country, so it’s essential to check with local authorities before hunting raccoons.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Raccoon Hunting

  1. Choose the Ideal Time: Opt for warm afternoons in late winter, especially after a prolonged cold spell. These conditions typically yield greater raccoon hunting success.

  2. Equip with GPS: Equip yourself with a GPS tracking device. This invaluable tool not only assists in locating your way back to your vehicle but also helps ensure you stay within permitted hunting areas. Many hunters nowadays also employ GPS tracking collars for their dogs, enhancing the effectiveness of your hunting team.

  3. Select Your Hunting Gear: As previously mentioned, ensure you’re equipped with the appropriate clothing, lights, dog supplies, a hunting knife, hunting rifle, bait, and safety gear, as listed earlier.

  4. Know Your Quarry: Familiarize yourself with raccoon behavior, such as their preferred habitats, feeding patterns, and movement during different times of the year. This knowledge can significantly improve your hunting strategy.

  5. Scout Your Hunting Area: Before your hunting trip, scout the area to identify raccoon trails, feeding sites, and potential dens. This proactive approach increases your chances of a successful hunt.

  6. Practice Stealth: Raccoons have keen senses. Move quietly and avoid making unnecessary noise. Stealthy approaches to your hunting spots can prevent raccoons from detecting your presence.

  7. Use Effective Calls: Learn and use raccoon calls or distress calls to attract raccoons. These calls mimic sounds that raccoons find intriguing, increasing your chances of luring them into your hunting area.

  8. Ethical and Legal Considerations: Always hunt ethically and within the bounds of local hunting laws and regulations. Respect private property rights, obtain necessary permits, and prioritize safety in all your hunting endeavors.

By following these tips and tricks, you can enhance your raccoon hunting skills and increase your chances of a successful and enjoyable hunt.