Raccoon hunting (or coon hunting) dates back to many decades ago, maybe from the time of the earliest Native Americans. At that time, the simple purposes of coon hunting were for pleasure, food and the fur. But day by day it seems to fall out of vogue, leading to an uncontrolled increase in raccoon populations, as well as the spread of rabies and damage of crops. The only solution for this is hunting.
Unlike most other hunting sports, it can be said that coon hunting is a special sport. It brings to us the pleasure derived from enjoying the music of hounds on each trail of raccoon. Or raccoon pelts with a good enough price. Or delicious, good-quality meals from coons. Apart from that, it also comes with exciting things:
- Special time: Coon hunting has to be operated at night while this time for other species is illegal. So why? Simply because the night is the time when raccoons care most active.
- Special minor role of the firearm: Each gun for each hunter? NO. A .22 rifle, an iron-sight gun can be enough for several hunters to kill all the coons which the dogs will tree in a night. You can carry additional guns, but not necessary.
- Special hound: rabbit hunting, squirrel hunting, or deer hunting, etc. may be done equally well with or without dogs. However, coon hunting will seldom produce without a good hound. Of course, your coonhound puppy has to be trained carefully to tree your quarry. It may take a great deal of time, effort, money and knowledge.
Becoming a PRO raccoon hunter may require an extra measure of dedication and practice. But don’t worry. In this post, all basic tips of coon hunting will be shown in the paragraphs that follow.
Rules and regulations
For any hunting sport, one of the first things you have to consider is to understand the rules and regulations. Different states have different rules about coon hunting, so find out what laws applied for the specific state to avoid prohibitions. Contact the department of conservation before hunting to make sure that you have proper documentation to hunt.
Season for hunting raccoons
- Spring: After a rough winter, raccoons now are hungry and find turkey eggs and crops to fill their belly. So it is a great way to scout for hunting. Build relationships with landowners to open hunting opportunities and find food and nest sites without leaves on the tree.
- Summer: In the hot weather, the coons will gather at water sources and creek bottoms to find aquatic food or cool off.
- Autumn: Raccoons will be more fattening up for the next winter and only be out longer at night. Thus, follow the Coons for food sources and you will find coon as well.
- Winter: With heavy snow, the best advice for you is to give it up. As coons will move little. Apart from that, be careful with trapping for coons because it can be lethal to your dogs.
Get the right dog for the job
Picking the right coonhounds that will serve you well is the hardest part. So you should select a quality breed from a licensed breeder. Each coonhound has unique features. But they should be all good-natured to trail a scent, tree coons and let you know where they are by baying. And here are some types of dog you should consider.
- Black and Tan Coonhounds: One of the dogs having a closer relationship with hunters is Black and Tan. It will steadily follow a trail without any commands. When tree a raccoon, it will let the hunter know immediately.
- The American Leopard: Want a huge ferocious game? Choose the American Leopard immediately. It can hold a large game for a long time, with quick sidestepping movements and staring down its quarry.
- The American English coonhound: If you want a hot-nosed hound to find in the field, this is the good choice for you. But it does not work well in intense heat, so the American English is unsuitable for somewhere that will be extremely hot.
- Blueticks: Blueticks are quite helpful as they will call throughout the hunt, so the hunter will know what stage of pursuing the game he is at.
- Redbones: Work well until over two years old. Too funny, right? Like small children, Redbone coonhounds mature very slowly. Although it can be found in the body look like adult dogs, it is likely to be a boisterous rowdy puppy.
- Plotts: Like the American Leopard coonhound, Plotts are quite brave. Unlike other coonhounds, Plotts is particularly aggressive without getting injured in a large game.
- Treeing Walker coonhound: This fast coonhound is most perfect for competing in field trials
- Curs and Feists: This type of coonhound is extremely protective. So it is more appropriate to the small game, maybe with children. Apart from coon hunting, you can use it for rabbit and squirrel hunting.
Best location for hunting
The location of the hunt means everything, right? Knowing exactly the location, you will determine the populations of raccoons, the terrain, and accessibility.
Hollowed-out trees and large limbs of hardwood trees are popular locations that raccoons nest. But finding out nest trees is difficult, especially when they are active. Now is the time for your dog. Let it run through these mature timber with food sources that raccoons hammer. Don’t overlook grain, fruit fields, orchards, swamps, etc.
Being an omnivore, coons will find high protein, high carbohydrate foods. Focus on ponds and streams with potential food sources like crayfish, small fish, and pondweeds. Areas with lots of edge habitat or swamp thickets unbroken by fencerows. It is recommended to get access to the farm fields with CRP and bordering state lands with old growth timber.
Here are some places with the high population of raccoons that you should consider:
- Southern Michigan: Famous for a huge number of coons, Southern Michigan has the clear woods which help you get a smooth hunt. But the weather here is cold and snowy in the winters. So you can give it a try in other warmer seasons.
- Tennessee: With a great terrain for hunting (both hills and flat grounds) and beautiful scenery, you will have the best hunting experience than ever. The best time for coon hunting is from early September to the end of February. In this area, you can easily catch 12 – 18-pound coons.
- Northern Indiana: Unlike in Southern Michigan, the climatic conditions in Indiana is quite comfortable, particularly for coons to breed. But you have to research the locations here because the authorities restrict hunting coons in several locations. However, the coon sizes are so great.
- Ohio: In Ohio, you can easily explore and hunt coons. Moreover, the weather is great with the warmness in April.
Coon hunting gears
Carrying all the necessary equipment like a flashlight, knife, rope or warm clothes is the basic tip for any hunting trip. For a coon hunting trip, some equipment will make your trip better. Please follow the paragraphs below to outline the list of coon hunting equipment.
Many years ago, with a carbide light and a loaded .22 rifle, you can hunt coons with ease. Apart from them, rubber boots will make the feet dry, and the hunter often carries a compass, matches and a lead for dogs. But now, it is time for more sophisticated gears.
- Loaded .22 rifle: The same gun, but with a large objective scope. Even it is mounted with a LED lamp which helps you in searching high in the tree limbs for a shot.
- Boot waders: The same waterproof footwear is must. It will take you through the nastiest terrain in the woods and keep your feet dry crossing all bogs, creeks and brier patches.
- Night hunting lights: You want to navigate your way through the woods at night? A light is always essential. But the headlights are replaced by lighting systems offering long-lasting, lightweight, rechargeable power systems, bulbs lasting thousands of hours. So the need to carry a heavy and awkward has no longer been anymore.
- GPS tracking device: Today you can also use high-tech electronics instead of spending all day searching for a dog. Radio-frequency or GPS tracking collars can do it. Even some units allow you to tell if your dog is moving or stopping, etc.
- Coon squalling call: The coon hunting becomes easier with a specialized caller known as the coon squaller. Once blowing the call, the raspy sounds of a fighting coon or coon in distress will make the raccoon look down, even bring it down a tree to fight.
- Hunting knife and multi-tool: The knife is essential after harvesting an animal, while a perfect hunting multi-tool is best for emergency repairs. One in your pack, one in your truck, you will control all situations.
Hunting coons through swamps at night with dog barking and raccoon squalling will be an exciting experience which hunters never get. Hope that with these tips, you will have the best trip ever. You have any nice hunting tips? Or have any trouble with hunting? Please feel free to leave it in the comment below.