Resembling bandits with their black, white and gray markings, raccoons have adapted to civilization, living in cities and suburbs where they frequent trashcans and dumpsters for food. These clever animals also live in the wilderness where hunters track and kill them for their fur as well as their meat. Before going raccoon hunting --- also known as coon hunting --- it's a good idea to check your state's hunting laws.
Raccoons rest during the daylight hours and become active at night. This means that coon hunters don't pack up their gear and leave for their hunting trip until after sunset. However, first you should visit your hunting site during the day. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the location, look for signs of raccoons, such as tracks or feces that might not be visible in the dark, and get a lay of the land to avoid accidents or getting lost come nighttime.
Coon dogs greatly aid a hunter when tracking raccoons. They locate the coons, chase them and corner them, usually in trees. When choosing a raccoon hound breed, look for a dog with a high-developed sense of smell, a desire to chase raccoon, the ability to run through different types of terrains including water, loyalty and obedience. Five breeds often used for coon hunting include the Bluetick Coonhound, Plott Coonhound, Black and Tan Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound and Treeling Walker Coonhound.
You can employ one of two different hunting styles when using dogs to coon hunt. For a laid-back hunting trip, you can train your dogs to search out raccoons on their own while you and your hunting party sit, talk and enjoy each other's company. When employing this hunting style, however, you must keep an open ear so you can hear your dogs bark when they corner a coon. If the dogs don't flush out any game, they will return to camp. This style works well when you're not sure where raccoon populations are located. If you are familiar with the territory and know where coons are in abundance, you will want to lead your dogs to the location instead of letting them roam freely. However, you must have good communication and control over the dogs in order to keep them in the desired area.
When going coon hunting you must carry two essentials supplies: a headlamp so you can see not only where you're going but illuminate the raccoons' eyes, which allows you to see them; and a .22 rifle to kill the coons. You should also bring rubber boots to keep your feet dry, a gun light to help you make pinpoint kill shots, and a coon squaller, which is a whistle that sounds like a raccoon in distress. This sound often makes raccoons look down so you can see their eyes easier. In case your dogs disobey you and run away, it's also a good idea to invest in GPS tracking dog collars.
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images