Raccoon Hunting: Exploring Different Hunting Methods

Raccoon Hunting: Exploring Different Hunting Methods

Are you an avid raccoon hunter looking to improve your hunting skills? Look no further! In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the world of raccoon hunting and explore various methods that hunters can employ to ensure a successful catch. From traditional trapping techniques to more advanced methods such as hunting with dogs and the use of trail cameras, we will cover it all. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced hunter, read on to discover valuable insights and tips that will elevate your raccoon hunting game to new heights.

Hunting with Dogs

Training and Breeds

When it comes to raccoon hunting with dogs, proper training is essential. Not all dog breeds are suitable for this activity, so it’s important to choose the right breed and invest time in their training.

Choosing the Right Breed

Certain dog breeds are more inclined towards raccoon hunting due to their natural instincts and abilities. Some popular choices include:

  • Treeing Walker Coonhound: Known for their excellent scenting ability and agility, these dogs are highly recommended for raccoon hunting. They possess a strong prey drive and are skilled at tracking and treeing raccoons.
  • Black and Tan Coonhound: These dogs have a keen sense of smell and are known for their endurance and stamina. With their distinctive baying bark, they excel at tracking and treeing raccoons.
  • Plott Hound: Originating from Germany, Plott Hounds are known for their versatility and determination. They are skilled at both tracking and hunting raccoons, making them a popular choice among hunters.

Training Techniques

To ensure your dog becomes an effective raccoon hunting companion, proper training is crucial. Here are some training techniques to consider:

  • Scent Training: Teaching your dog to recognize and follow the scent of raccoons is essential. Use scent trails or raccoon scent products to familiarize your dog with the raccoon’s scent.
  • Treeing Training: Train your dog to recognize when a raccoon has been treed by rewarding them for barking at trees or indicating the presence of a raccoon above.
  • Obedience Training: Basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and recall are important for safety during raccoon hunts. Ensure your dog responds reliably to these commands even in the midst of excitement.

Working with a Pack

Hunting raccoons with a pack of dogs can be advantageous as it increases the chances of successfully tracking and treeing raccoons. Here are some tips for working with a pack:

  • Pack Dynamic: Establish a hierarchy within the pack to maintain order and prevent conflicts. Introduce new dogs gradually and ensure they are compatible with the existing pack members.
  • Communication: Train your dogs to respond to specific commands or signals during the hunt. This will help coordinate their efforts and prevent confusion.
  • Teamwork: Encourage cooperation between the dogs by rewarding them for working together. Use positive reinforcement to reinforce desired behaviors.

Tips and Techniques

To maximize your success in raccoon hunting with dogs, consider the following tips and techniques:

  • Scout the Area: Prior to the hunt, survey the hunting area for signs of raccoon activity. Look for tracks, scat, or areas with overturned leaves, as these are indications of raccoon presence.
  • Timing: Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, so plan your hunts during the early morning or late evening hours when raccoons are most active.
  • Equipment: Invest in quality gear such as GPS collars, tracking systems, and strong leashes to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your dogs during the hunt.
  • Safety Precautions: Always prioritize safety during raccoon hunts. Wear appropriate protective gear, such as boots and gloves, and be aware of potential hazards in the hunting area.

By following these training techniques, working effectively with a pack, and implementing useful tips and techniques, you can enhance your raccoon hunting experience and improve your chances of success.


Trapping is a widely used method in raccoon hunting. It involves setting up traps to catch raccoons. This method is effective and allows hunters to control the raccoon population in a specific area. In this section, we will explore the different types of traps, bait and lure selection, as well as the proper techniques for setting and checking traps.

Types of Traps

There are various types of traps available for raccoon hunting. Each trap has its own advantages and considerations. Here are some commonly used traps:

  1. Cage Traps: These traps consist of a wire cage with a spring-loaded door. When a raccoon enters the trap to reach the bait, the door closes behind it. Cage traps are humane and allow for live capture, making them a popular choice for raccoon hunting.

  2. Foot-Hold Traps: Foot-hold traps are designed to catch raccoons by gripping their foot. These traps are typically made of steel and have powerful springs. It is important to use foot-hold traps responsibly and in compliance with local regulations to ensure the ethical treatment of raccoons.

  3. Conibear Traps: Conibear traps are quick and effective. They consist of a square or rectangular body with a trigger mechanism. When a raccoon triggers the trap, the device swiftly closes, trapping the animal. Conibear traps are lethal and should be used with caution.

Bait and Lure Selection

Choosing the right bait and lure is crucial for attracting raccoons to the traps. Raccoons have a highly developed sense of smell, so using a tempting bait or lure can significantly increase your chances of success. Here are some popular options:

  1. Food Bait: Common food baits include canned fish, marshmallows, sweet corn, or even cat or dog food. Raccoons are opportunistic eaters, so using food that has a strong odor will help attract them to the trap.

  2. Lure: Lures are scented substances that are used to attract raccoons. These can be applied to a nearby tree or object to create a trail leading to the trap. Lures come in various forms, such as liquid, paste, or gel, and are typically made from a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients.

  3. Visual Attractants: Raccoons are curious animals, and visual attractants can help draw their attention to the trap. Hanging shiny objects like aluminum foil or placing a brightly colored flag near the trap can pique their curiosity and increase the likelihood of them approaching the trap.

Setting and Checking Traps

Properly setting and checking traps is essential for a successful raccoon hunting experience. Here are some key steps to follow:

  1. Location: Choose a suitable location for setting the trap. Look for areas with raccoon activity, such as near den sites, trails, or sources of food and water.

  2. Positioning: Place the trap on a stable surface, ensuring it is securely anchored. Position the trap in a way that raccoons are likely to approach it, such as near trees or bushes that provide cover.

  3. Bait Placement: Strategically position the bait inside the trap to entice raccoons to enter. For cage traps, place the bait at the far end of the trap, ensuring the trigger mechanism is not obstructed.

  4. Safety Considerations: Always prioritize safety when setting traps. Ensure that the trap is properly secured and won’t pose a risk to other animals or humans. Follow local regulations and guidelines to prevent unintentional harm.

  5. Regular Checks: It is important to check the traps regularly to minimize the suffering of trapped animals. Check the traps at least once a day, preferably in the early morning or late afternoon when raccoons are most active.

By utilizing the appropriate traps, selecting enticing bait and lures, and following proper setting and checking techniques, you can enhance your raccoon hunting success while promoting responsible and ethical hunting practices.

Night Hunting

Night hunting for raccoons is a popular and effective method used by many hunters. It allows for better visibility and increases the chances of a successful hunt. In this article, we will explore different night hunting methods for raccoons, including spotlighting, calling techniques, and the use of night vision equipment.


Spotlighting is a widely used technique in raccoon hunting during the night. It involves using a powerful spotlight to scan the area for raccoons. The bright light illuminates the eyes of the raccoons, making them easier to spot in the dark. Hunters can then carefully approach the raccoon and take a shot.

Spotlighting requires a hunter to have good knowledge of the area they are hunting in. It is important to understand the raccoon’s behavior and habitat to determine the best locations for spotlighting. Additionally, it’s crucial to check and follow local hunting regulations regarding the use of artificial lights.

Calling Techniques

Calling techniques play a significant role in night hunting for raccoons. The use of predator calls, such as raccoon distress calls or mating calls, can attract raccoons to the hunting area. These calls mimic the sounds made by raccoons in distress or during the mating season, grabbing the attention of nearby raccoons.

Hunters can use electronic callers or hand-operated calls to produce realistic raccoon sounds. It’s important to note that proper timing and volume control are crucial when using calling techniques. Too much noise or calling at the wrong time might scare away raccoons instead of attracting them.

Using Night Vision Equipment

Night vision equipment is a game-changer for raccoon hunting during the night. It enables hunters to see in low-light conditions and detect raccoons that may not be visible to the naked eye. Night vision scopes or goggles amplify the available light, allowing hunters to spot raccoons from a distance.

When using night vision equipment, hunters should be familiar with their gear and understand how to adjust settings for optimal performance. It’s essential to use equipment that provides clear and crisp images, as this greatly enhances the chances of a successful hunt.

In conclusion, night hunting offers advantages for raccoon hunters, and various methods can be employed to increase success rates. Spotlighting, calling techniques, and the use of night vision equipment are effective strategies that can help hunters locate and target raccoons during the darkness of night. Remember to always prioritize safety and adhere to local hunting regulations when engaging in night hunting activities.

Hunting with Firearms

Hunting raccoons with firearms is a popular method due to its effectiveness and precision. When it comes to choosing the right firearm, selecting the appropriate ammunition, and understanding shot placement, hunters can significantly improve their chances of a successful raccoon hunt.

Choosing the Right Firearm

Selecting the right firearm plays a crucial role in raccoon hunting. The ideal firearm should be lightweight, easy to handle, and accurate. Shotguns and rifles are commonly used for raccoon hunting.

Shotguns are preferred by many hunters due to their versatility and wide pattern spread. A 12-gauge shotgun with a modified choke is a popular choice, as it provides a good balance between power and accuracy. However, if hunting in dense areas where shots are likely to be taken at close range, a 20-gauge shotgun with a modified or improved cylinder choke may be more suitable.

Rifles, on the other hand, offer greater range and precision, making them a preferred choice for hunters targeting raccoons at longer distances. A .22 caliber rifle is often sufficient for raccoon hunting, but larger calibers such as .17 HMR or .223 Remington can also be effective. It is essential to comply with local regulations and choose a firearm that aligns with the hunting laws of your specific area.

Ammunition Selection

Selecting the appropriate ammunition is vital to ensure a clean and ethical kill while raccoon hunting. For shotguns, hunters typically use buckshot or slugs. Buckshot is commonly used for close-range shots, as it disperses multiple pellets, increasing the chances of hitting the target. Slugs, on the other hand, offer a single projectile, providing better accuracy and range.

When using rifles, hollow-point or soft-point bullets are commonly used for raccoon hunting. These bullets are designed to expand upon impact, increasing the likelihood of a clean kill. It is crucial to choose ammunition that is appropriate for the firearm being used and complies with local hunting regulations.

Shot Placement

Proper shot placement is essential to ensure a quick and humane kill. When targeting raccoons, aiming for vital organs is crucial. The ideal shot placement is the heart and lung area, which provides a high chance of an ethical kill and minimizes suffering.

When aiming at a standing raccoon, the ideal shot is behind the front shoulder, approximately one-third of the way up from the bottom of the chest. This shot placement maximizes the chances of hitting vital organs. However, if the raccoon is moving, it is important to adjust the aim accordingly, leading the target slightly to compensate for its movement.

In conclusion, hunting raccoons with firearms requires careful consideration of the right firearm, ammunition selection, and shot placement. By choosing a suitable firearm, selecting the appropriate ammunition, and aiming for vital organs, hunters can enhance their effectiveness and increase the chances of a successful raccoon hunt. Remember to always follow local regulations and prioritize ethical hunting practices for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Hunting Regulations

Licensing and Permits

Before engaging in raccoon hunting, it is essential to understand the licensing and permit requirements. These regulations vary from state to state and even within different regions. To legally participate in raccoon hunting, individuals must obtain the necessary licenses and permits, which are typically issued by the state’s wildlife agency.

Acquiring a hunting license is usually the first step. This license demonstrates that the hunter has completed a hunter education course and understands the basic principles of hunting safety and ethics. Additionally, it ensures that the individual is aware of the rules and regulations set forth by the state governing body.

In some cases, a specific permit may be required solely for raccoon hunting. This permit indicates that the hunter has undergone additional training or possesses specialized knowledge related to raccoon hunting. It is important to check with the local wildlife agency to determine if such a permit is necessary.

Seasons and Bag Limits

Raccoon hunting seasons and bag limits are put in place to manage the raccoon population and ensure the sustainability of the species. These regulations dictate the specific time period during which raccoon hunting is allowed and the maximum number of raccoons that can be harvested by an individual hunter.

The hunting season for raccoons generally aligns with their peak activity periods, which vary depending on the region and climate. It is crucial to familiarize oneself with the designated season dates to avoid any legal complications. Hunting outside the designated season can result in severe penalties.

Bag limits refer to the maximum number of raccoons that can be harvested by an individual hunter during a given season. These limits prevent over-harvesting and help maintain a healthy raccoon population. It is important to adhere to these limits to promote sustainable hunting practices and preserve the overall balance of the ecosystem.

Ethical Considerations

While hunting is a recreational activity, it is crucial to approach raccoon hunting with a strong sense of ethics and respect for wildlife. Ethical considerations play a vital role in ensuring the well-being of raccoons and the overall ecosystem. Hunters must prioritize the following ethical principles:

  1. Fair Chase: Engaging in fair chase means giving raccoons a reasonable opportunity to escape and utilizing ethical hunting methods that minimize unnecessary suffering.

  2. Responsible Shot Placement: Hunters should strive for accurate shot placement to ensure a quick and humane kill. This minimizes unnecessary suffering and promotes ethical hunting practices.

  3. Respect for the Environment: Raccoon hunters should demonstrate respect for the natural environment by minimizing their impact on the ecosystem. This includes properly disposing of waste, avoiding littering, and refraining from damaging habitats.

  4. Conservation: Conservation efforts should be a priority for raccoon hunters. This entails supporting habitat preservation, participating in wildlife management programs, and reporting any suspicious activities that may harm raccoon populations.

By following these ethical considerations, raccoon hunters can enjoy their sport while promoting sustainable practices and ensuring the welfare of raccoons and the natural environment.

In conclusion, raccoon hunting is a popular and challenging activity that offers various hunting methods for enthusiasts. Whether you prefer traditional methods such as using hounds or more modern techniques like night vision technology, there are options to suit every hunter’s preference. It is important to remember to always hunt ethically and responsibly, respecting the natural environment and local regulations. With proper knowledge, skill, and a sense of adventure, raccoon hunting can be an exciting and rewarding experience for those who are willing to explore different hunting methods. Happy hunting!