Raccoons are one of the easiest animals to catch. You can catch raccoons in a wide variety of sets and traps. They are also taken on a wide variety of baits and lures, many of which can be made at home or bought at a grocery store.
Raccoons live in a wide variety of habits from
swampy meadows to wooden highlands. Most of the better raccoon trapping
locations are around crop-growing(mainly corn) farms. Even better if a slow
running stream runs through the farm.
Raccoons tend to den as close as possible to their food sourse. They will
den in oak trees, barn lofts, old burrows that have been modified. When
the corn is growing the will often sleep in the field or close by and never
make it back to their dens. You will find alot of trails coming into corn
fields that look like cowpaths from the constant comings and goings by raccoon.
Lures and Baits
Raccoon will be caught on a wide variety of baits and lures. They have a
big sweet tooth and sweet baits catch coon deep into December.
One thing that is important with 'coon baits and lures is if you do not
catch the animal and it does not like the taste of the bait or lure, it
will ignore that lure or bait from there on.
For dry land trapping, I like to use marshemellows, powdered mini-donuts
and just about any sweet bait or lure. Keeping to sweet baits is great around
areas where dog or cat catches are a possibility. Also, any fox or coyote
lure seems to attract 'coons pretty well.
For water trapping, a sweet bait can work but since a raccoon is on the
lookout for fish, give it what it is looking for. Fish oil, fish juice,
shellfish oil and salmon oil are the most popular, the latter two being
a bit expensive. For baits, just about any kind of fish will work, carp
seems to be popular or any kinda of salted fish as it does not freeze quite
as quick as others.
Water trapping raccoon is not a fancy affair. For the part you need only
one or two baited sets and be able to set good blind sets where you find
them. Yeah, it is nice to have a large repetoire of sets but to be quick
and efficient, its better to stick to just two or three.
One of those sets that you should be making is the pocket set. Pockets probably
account for almost half of the raccoons caught during a given year. To make
the set, make the opening about 6 inches and dig back into the bank about
as far as you can. Try to make the pocket so the back of the pocket is above
the waterline. For raccoon, you want to have the trap outside of the pocket.
Place your bait inside the pocket, if you use bait and squirt your oil-based
lures above the pocket. After a few days splash a little water above your
set and the lure will come back to the surface.
One set that has come along the last years to the public has been the fish
stick set. This set is for places where you have a flat sandbar where we
see raccoon tracks all over it and you cannot figure out where to make a
set. To make the set, stake a peice of fish, large enough to be seen, by
the water. Set two traps in the water close to the peice of fish and wire
the traps away from each other so they do not tangle each other. Check your
local laws regarding exposed bait as some states require the bait to be
either covered or not visible from the air.
Blind sets are great for raccoon though there are not that many places to
use blinds sets on a wateline as a land line. Most of the blind sets are
around culverts, places where the bank comes down to the waterline and you
can see where the raccoons are entering the water. Also good blind sets
are where the bank is vertical and the water in the stream forces the raccoons
to hug the bank or where a rock forces the raccoon to walk around it.
To stake the traps, I prefer to use slide-wire drowners to drown the raccoons.
Some people like to use long chains to hold the raccoons but I am just used
to the drowners. To drown raccoons, you will need a minimum of one foot
Land trapping raccoons is a bit different than water and not quite as easy.
One of the best things about land trapping raccoons is that the fur that
comes off a highland raccoon is normally better than their waterside-caught
counterparts. These raccoons tend to be take with sweet baits and gland
lures intended to catch fox and coyote. Trapping raccoon on dry land is
mainly done by trapping trails and transition areas leading to feeding areas.
Raccoon are heavy trail users. A well-used raccoon
trail may look like a cow path, especially if it leads to a corn field.
Setting these trail involves either snares, footholds or conibears (unforntunately
illegal in my state, check your state's laws for what you can use). Out
of the three, I prefer snares the most as I can set them faster and much
more efficiently. Footholds can be good too though you will have to add
a little guidance to get the raccoon to step on the pan. Also, if you want
to protect the trail your trapping from being destroyed by a caught raccoon,
you can use the same slide wire systems water trappers use to drown their
animals to slide the animal away from the trail. This can also be handy
for sliding animals in high visibilty areas into a ditch to keep from losing
a trap and animal to trap thieves.
Where you cannnot find trails but plenty of sign,
its time to go to the cubby and dirthole sets. Cubbies can be build out
of just about anything. You can make them out of logs and sticks in a box
or teepee design or out of rocks. Some people build there cubbies with lumber
at home and some people use buckets, normally these are used with conibears.
Snares are pretty much worthless at cubbies so footholds and conibears,
where legal, guard the cubbies. If you are fortunate enough to be able to
use conibears, your cubby must be deep enough so that the raccoon has to
enter the cubby to get to the bait or all you will catch is raccoon by the
Dirtholes can catch any animal that walks on
land and the raccoon is taken in plenty of them. Trying to catch raccoons
in dirtholes can often be a frustrating matter. Raccoons are reachers,
meaning that they like to reach into holes to grab whatever happens to
be inside.This makes trap placement at dirtholes difficult. Normally you
set the trap about 6-9 inches away from the hole. I like to really make
the raccoon work the set, meaning I want its feet dancing all over the
set. To do this, I like to dig two dirtholes and different angles causing
the raccoon to go back and forth between the two holes. Somewhere in its
search for the bait it will step on the pan and get caught.