The first ever hunting I did raccoon hunt. Raccoon hunters are always avoiding by my parents, but as for me as early as I realize about hunting I walked the path of raccoon hunters. Me and my hound usually hunt the ringtails at dark. Most of the exciting memories were made on raccoon hunt, being alone in the forest at night, staring at the stars and keep focusing on the dogs excited barking while they chased the hunt.
Equipped with needle-sharp teeth and a quick temper, the raccoon is a fighter and a challenge to the hound’s man/hunter. They may run for miles (km) and when cornered, can kill or maim hunting dogs twice their size.
Hardwood forests near water make good raccoon habitat. They also live in marshy lowlands and can adapt to habitats ranging from the Florida mangroves to the arid plains of New Mexico.
Raccoon eats almost any kind of food including berries, fruits, nuts, frogs, crayfish, and insects. Sweet corn is a favorite. They hold their food with small, nimble paws.
An adult raccoon may travel up to 5 miles (8 km) on its nightly feeding rounds, especially in warm weather. During the day they often den up in hollow trees. But they may bed in the tall vegetation along the edge of a marsh, in a culvert or in the ground burrow of another animal. Raccoon frequently uses different dens or beds on successive days. They den up for a period of heavy snow; in cold climates, they may hibernate. Ranked among the most intelligent game animals, raccoon also has excellent hearing and good eyesight.
The raccoon has a black, mask-like band across the eyes and black rings on the tail. Most raccoons weigh between 15 and 20 pounds (6.75 and 9 kg). The largest on record, 62 pounds, 6 ounces, (28.1 kg) was shot in Wisconsin in 1950. They can run up to 15 mph (24 km/h) and are good swimmers.
The vast majority of raccoon hunting is done with hounds, especially Walkers, black-and-tans, and Redbones. Tracking is easiest on damp, cool nights with a slight breeze. Some dogs can pick up a cold trail, making it possible to hunt in daylight.
When pursued by hounds, raccoon usually run in large circles, crawling in and out of holes and climbing up and down trees to lose the dogs. They may jump to the ground from as high as 50 feet (15 m) and scurry away unharmed. They stay in a tree only when the hounds get so close that other avenues of escape are impossible early in the season, you may be able to call raccoon. After dark, take a stand along a stream bank, lakeshore or cornfield. Use calls to imitate an injured bird or rabbit. Most raccoon hunt experts use .22 caliber hunting rifles, although some prefer 20-gauge shotguns with No.6 or 712 shot. Where legal, a few hunters use small-caliber handguns.
Where to Find Raccoon
Look for holes in trees that could be den sites (left). You seldom see the raccoon during the day, but an area with many dens would be a good spot to hunt after dark.
Check for tracks in the soft dirt around ponds, marshes or streams. Raccoon goes to water to drink and to find foods like crayfish, frogs and small fish.
Raccoon Hunt With Hounds
Release the hounds and allow them to range ahead to pick up raccoon scent. To better control the hounds, some hunters keep them on the leash until the dogs detect the fresh scent, then turn them loose (left).
Listen for the hounds to start baying, and then follow the sound. Some hunters use orange or red headlamps to find their way through the woods. The colored light is less noticeable to a raccoon than a white light.
Continue to follow the dogs until they either tree the raccoon or lose it. Sometimes the chase goes on for miles (km). Hunters can tell when their dogs tree a raccoon because the baying becomes more intense.