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Hunting Raccoons at Night – Tips, Methods, Gear & Tools

How To Hunt Raccoons At Night

Akin to masked bandits, raccoons are tagged as troublemakers, especially in North America. Most of us have had an unfortunate incident with these tree animals. They’re also among the most elusive when it comes to hunting.  

It’s a good thing we’re not new to this, as years of experience allowed us to understand the proper techniques in dealing with these rascals. Here are some tips on how to hunt raccoons at night.

1. Use the Right Gear

right gears

Firearms 

You can’t possibly go raccoon hunting without using the right gears. There are lots of gears that you could use to hunt these overpowering raccoons at night, where they are most prevalent wrecking your yard.  

You may want to use a rifle or a handgun for hunting raccoons. However, you have to remember that you can only use a rifle or a handgun of no greater power than one which uses .22 caliber long rifle ammo. 

Knife & Other Tools 

You may also use a raccoon hunting knife and other hunting tools. Knives are essential for coon hunting at night. You may also use a handy multi-tool where the hunting knife is the main feature of the tool. These handy tools can be of great help when harvesting an animal such as a raccoon. You can also use these tools during an emergency where you need to repair hunting sports equipment.

Hunting Lights

Since you are hunting at night without any night vision capabilities, you will need hunting lights to secure your coon hunting. Bring a high-quality coon hunting light to lock your raccoon targets firmly. 

You can’t possibly hunt nocturnal animals without having a powerful source of light like a LED lamp. Our team also suggests getting a hunting light that is lightweight, efficient and has long battery life. The most logical thing to do here is to also equip your rifle with scopes.

There are plenty of affordable night vision scopes available on the market.  You’ll also find scopes with a 300-yard viewing capacity.  

GPS Tracker 

In today’s advanced technology, having a raccoon GPS tracker to aid your raccoon hunting trip is beneficial. Besides using hounds, using a GPS tracker combined with a Garmin tracking collar for your hunting dog partner, you will easily locate your hunting dogs. 

You can find and steer your hunting canines clear of any potentially dangerous areas through the GPS tracker. And lastly, you can always go back to your vehicle after your night hunting using your GPS tracking device. 

Squalling Calls 

Like almost all animal hunting escapades, animal game calls are essential in hunting a raccoon, hog, or coyote, especially during the mating season. We suggest that you bring a high-quality coon squaller call for your prey when in a night hunt. 

Like a typical bird distress call, this accessory for calls is easy to carry and affordable. This raccoon caller will help you call, agitate, and rouse the coons from their dens, allowing you to track these animals in just a single call.  

2. Use Dogs to Track Coons

Dogs have become excellent hunting partners, especially in hunting and tracking down coons. A dog typically has this special sniffing skill to track the tree animals through the raccoon scent easily. Using a hunting dog in coon hunting, we always suggest putting a Garmin tracking collar to make your hunting raccoon easier and faster. 

All dogs vary in their way of tracking on how to hunt raccoons at night. Therefore, our team suggests that you learn every step, signal, and behavior of your dog to decrease hours spent in your nighttime raccoon hunting.

dogs

3. Look for the Best Places to Hunt

As a night hunter, it is always best to search for the best places or sites to hunt before starting your coon hunting. Finding the best spot is, by far, one of the biggest hurdles every predator faces. To help you look for the best place/location to hunt coons, you can become an active member of your place’s local coon hunting community. 

Introduce yourself to a lot of coon hunters. You can also participate in online hunting raccoon forums to get some coon and squirrel hunting tips. And the most important matter to be taken care of is probably looking for a coon hunting place/location where you can freely hunt raccoons without fearing any lawsuits. 

4. Take Advantage of Treeing Coons

Once your coon hunting dog makes a successful hunt in finding a coon nest trees, you will hear him howl and growl deeply out of his pure hunting instinct. However, they would never leave their raccoon nests, no matter what. You might hear a coonhound, but they will never leave their homes.

One thing is for sure, though; you need to take advantage of the situation by aggravating the raccoons to come out of their hiding place. You can also try using cat food to bait them to come out of their nests to take a shot.

raccoons on tree

Hunters can’t just shake the tree branches or vines, so you can just use your coon lights to shine all around the tree limbs and branches. Once you caught the coon’s eyes in the light, you can now take an accurate shot.

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5. Follow Proper Hunting Etiquette 

There are proper night hunting etiquettes that every raccoon hunter must follow. As a raccoon hunter, you are expected to follow the number one rule in coon hunting to treat others and their property with due respect. Never hunt at someone’s land or property without asking for their permission. 

And if the property owner agreed to let you hunt a raccoon on his land, you are expected to pick up your trash and close the fence gates of his property. It would be best if you never cut mud tracks through any of his fields. By simply following these rules, you will surely be welcomed for your next raccoon hunting spree again.

6. Wear the Proper Clothing

For your safety, you are urged to wear hunter orange when hunting a raccoon. You are required to wear hunter orange at certain times and locations. You must wear both a hunter-orange hat and a hunter-orange shirt, vest, or coat to satisfy this rule. The hunter-orange color must be plainly visible from all sides.

Camouflage orange does not satisfy this rule. [1] You can also use other gears, such as boot waders, for extra protection, especially if you are somewhere near a body of water.

hunting gear

7. Know When Raccoons are Most Active

If you aim to hunt raccoons, you must determine when these masked animals with a black mask over their face become most active. While it’s true that raccoons are night animals, there are also certain times that they become active during day time.  

Raccoons are generally found in rural areas such as near water bodies. Still, they can also create their homes in urban and suburban areas. They are naturally opportunistic and smart, so living just about anywhere is possible for them except at places with hotter climates or weather conditions and deserts.

Knowing when they are most active will give you, and your dog breeds a better idea of how to hunt raccoon in the woods at night. You can search for these places or sites where they usually live and hang out and use them as hunting opportunities.

FAQs

You can try various things to scare away raccoons. For one, you can try using strobe lights, a mouse squeaker, or motion-detecting sprinklers. They are also sensitive to noises, so using radios and other noise-makers can also deter them. Besides having sensitive ears, they also have a sensitive sense of smell. Another one is through using ammonia and vinegar to scare them away since raccoons dislike the smell of both.

Yes, there are other ways for you and your hunting friends to hunt raccoon without dogs. You can try to find the place where these raccoons usually feed themselves, almost all the time. And since raccoons are habitual animals, finding a pile of coon dirt/thing will probably signal their presence in that area. However, please note that dogs are excellent partners in coon hunting, as they can help you trail tree raccoons.

Yes, raccoons come out in the daytime. Most people usually say that when raccoons come out during the daytime, they are either sick or carry rabies. Well, this isn’t true at all. 

In fact, it is just one famous myth that most people believe. Raccoons may come out during the day when there is a food source available or if they have become agitated or troubled. Either way, raccoons may come out during the daytime or nighttime and even leave a coon trail, and it’s normal and fine.

Raccoons have an extremely strong sense of smell, so they easily track food sources. You can always use this information to your advantage. Using their sensitive smell, you can deter or scare them away by using things that give off the smell they always hated. They detest the smell of garlic, ammonia, vinegar, hot pepper, peppermint oil, onion, and Epsom salt.

Learning Night Raccoon Hunting

Learning night raccoon hunting is a fun activity that you can do together with your hunting friends. This hunting activity will also help you and your community to control raccoon populations and have more peace against these pests. However, there are also various essential things that a coon hunter must follow before hunting during nighttime. 

It is always recommended that you use proper hunting gear, use essential hunting tools, and determine the different ways of tracking these animals. You also need to have an additional measure of dedication to enjoy the night hunting with your fellow hunters. After a successful hunt, you can now enjoy a delicious bounty meal while wearing any of your raccoon pelts.

References:

  1. https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/raccoon/raccoon-regulations

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