We had a large raccoon problem stretching out over two years. Besides making a huge mess out of our trash, they were also killing our chickens. I suppose I would have felt better about it if they had been eating the chickens, but these raccoons seemed to be killing for sport. They killed the chickens and left the carcasses for us to clean up. Sometimes they would bite the heads off of the chickens and leave the rest – what a way to go.
So we watched their numbers grow for a while, and finally we decided that we just couldn’t take any more. We decided to do something about it. I set out several live traps and I baited them with cat food. I knew which brand they liked because it was always disappearing from my cat’s bowl overnight. I promptly caught half a dozen coons of various sizes.
My wife thought that they were so cute. She insisted that I not kill them, and instead she promised to relocate them to a nearby State Park, about five miles away. So I trapped and trapped, and she relocated and relocated, and we carried on this way for some time.
Eventually I began to feel like this really wasn’t working out very well. I was going through a large bag of cat food every couple of days. And the raccoons were getting harder and harder to catch – they had started turning over the live traps, using their paws through the cage mesh to slide the food bowls outside of the traps, etc. After a while, we started to wonder if some of the raccoons we were catching weren’t the same ones that we had already relocated.
Finally, I decided to call the fish and game department, and I learned the truth. In order to properly relocate a raccoon, you have to move it a minimum of fifteen miles from its home. Otherwise, they will be right back within a few days. I guess they’ve got GPS under their little fur coats.
We kept up with the trapping a little while longer. On her last trip to relocate several large raccoons, my wife had quite a surprise. She was frightened witless when she released the trapped coons, and instead of running off into the woods like they usually did, they turned and started to chase after her. She managed to hop up on the back of the truck, and eventually the coons left without anyone getting hurt. Needless to say, the little critters didn’t seem so cute anymore, and she had a different attitude about letting me kill them after that happened.
I called the fish and game department again, and learned that there were no laws protecting the raccoons, as they are listed as a pest by the state. Long story short, we caught some more and after nearly six months we felt like the raccoon population was getting back down to a level similar to how it had been before they became a nuisance. We didn’t try to eradicate them – we just tried to control their numbers.
Our cat was quite happy to be the primary consumer of cat food at our house once again.
Several weeks after I had controlled the population of coons, I happened by my neighbor’s house while he was out front working in the yard, and I stopped to visit. He was so proud to show me that a big batch of skunks had made their home right under his front porch. Aaaahhhh… here we go again.
Thanks to FarmerDave for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.
We have over $2,097 in prizes lined up for the Fall 2015 Writing Contest, including all of the following:
– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each