The Basics of Raccoon Hunting
Raccoon hunting is one of the more popular hunting “sports” in rustic areas. While some enjoy this sport purely for fun and the sake of a challenge, it can also be a great aid in training hunting dogs as well as bring in quite a bit of money in the fur market. And let’s not forget that it proves to test the hunter’s rugged outdoors skills. In this article we are going to talk about the equipment you will need for raccoon hunting as well as a few basic need-to-know facts about the raccoon lifestyle that will make hunting them a great deal easier!
There are a few pieces of equipment that every barebones raccoon hunting pack should contain. As raccoons are largely nocturnal creatures, you will be hunting them during the night time. This means hunting lights and lots of extra batteries. Many experienced hunters prefer to use hardhats with lights attached to the front—much like mining hats. This allows the hands to have much more freedom. A gun is another item you should take along on your hunt. Many suggest a dependable .22 caliber rifle. Of course, you’ll need to understand the power and range of the gun well enough to handle it at night, so a bit of practice might be in order if you aren’t used to shooting in the dark. A cell phone and compass (or GPS device, as most modern day hunters now prefer) are also very handy to have. You never know what will happen at night, especially if you don’t know an area well. In case of accident or injury, it’s good to have a way to contact someone for help.
Other items you may need include a skinning knife and a trash bag. Many hunters seeking only the skins of the raccoon will skin the animal just after the kill. This makes it a great deal easier to transport the skins without having to carry around the extra weight. Don’t be fooled—raccoons can be large, heavy critters, and it you are lucky enough to bag more than one a night, the weight can certainly add up. And last, but certainly not least, you will likely want a hunting dog to help you tree the raccoons. There are many breeds used for raccoon hunting, however some of the most preferred are bluetick coonhound, redbone coonhound, American black and tan coonhound, and mountain cur. Don’t feel limited to these specific breeds, though. Many people have had success with using beagles, springer spaniels, German hunt terriers, and patterdale terriers for hunting raccoon.
It always helps to know a little about the animal you are hunting. As mentioned earlier, raccoons are nocturnal creatures, so they do a lot of their activity during the night. They like to make their home in tall hollow trees, which is why hunting with a dog is so handy—it can run the raccoon up the tree leaving it nowhere else to go. Raccoons will travel as far as a couple of miles from their home to hunt for food, so it’s a good idea to scope out your hunting area ahead of time. You can look for tracks and other signs that raccoons may be nearby which will save you a lot of time in the long run by not having to stumble around in the dark guessing where the raccoons are. You might also find it difficult to spot the raccoon even with your flashlight or hat-light. The best way to spot a raccoon is by using a dimmer light to point at the trees. If you can get the raccoon to look towards the light, you should see their eyes glowing from the tree.
Raccoon hunting can be a great hobby that can be both challenging and fun! –Just make sure that you have all of the equipment you should need and be prepared for all types of weather.