Raccoons are highly intelligent and curious animals, but they can also be a nuisance and destructive animal to farmers, landowners and homeowners alike. These nocturnal mammals can destroy agricultural croplands, can cause structural damage to homes and barns in search of food, they will tear up a chicken coop to get at your chickens and eggs. Raccoon’s are very effective turkey predators as well. They will kill adult turkeys, but typically take their largest toll on turkey populations by consuming the eggs. The list goes on but these are enough reasons to learn how to effectively control the coon populations.
They are many methods to hunting raccoon’s successfully such as using hounds, trapping and calling. Today I am going to share my strategy for calling coons successfully. Calling coons can be easy if you know where to find them and have the right equipment.
Food and Location To Find Coon Sign:
The key to calling coons is knowing where to find them. Raccoon’s do not construct their own den sites and are quite flexible in their housing choices. While hollow trees are a common nesting location, so too are barns, old squirrel nests, large forks in tree limbs, brush piles and underground holes. Common home areas for Raccoon’s are wetland areas for water and food supply are usually plentiful. Raccoon are omnivores and will eat just about anything. Most wetland areas have trees and other forms or shelter and protection. Most seek refuge in hollowed out trees or underground burrows which are usually in abundance in these areas. Look around muddy banks of creeks or ponds, you will often find their tracks and scat.
Corn fields or stored corn is another great place to look for coons. Coons tend to be creatures of habit and will use the same trails over and over, which take them from bedding to feeding areas. Read their sign of tracks and feces to locate coon travel routes to determine where to set up. They will eat heavily in late summer and early fall to put on high fat reserves for the winter. Mating occurs between January through March and aggressive males often spar, so using calls that mimic the sound of a fight can bring territorial boars in on a string.
Equipment And Technique
Raccoon’s are mainly nocturnal. While some success can be had hunting in the day, most of my success has come from hunting just after dark. Hunting at night has it’s challenges but with the proper gear your success rate goes up tremendously. A good hunting light such as a Stalk tech is what i use for all my night hunting adventures. I use a Foxpro Inferno caller on the opposite side of the den or tree in order to make them come out to see what is going on. I put the caller around 5-10 yards from the tree depending on terrain. Most times I use a decoy and set it up in a little cover to make them come out and inspect it. I think this helps to get the coon out of the hole to try and get a good look at what is going on while giving you time to get the hunting light on him and prepare for a shot opportunity. It is always a good idea to occasionally sweep the light through the nearby trees. Often a coon that might not want to come to the call on the ground will climb up a tree to get a better view of what is going on. I usually sit 25 – 50 yards from the setup depending on terrain and the weapon I’m using. You want to be camouflaged and hidden while being quiet as possible. No real need to worry about the wind or scent control.
I normally call for 10 -15 minutes and if no coon in sight time to move to another set. If you see eyes peeking out but not coming all the way out I will stay and keep trying different calls to get it to come out. I will stay as long as it is still popping its head in and out of the hole as that means it is still interested. I usually leave if it goes back in and I can’t get it to look out for a couple minutes.
It is a good idea to come back to that tree about an hour later and try calling again but make sure the caller and decoy is not where he can see it unless he comes all the way out.
This is my basic calling sequence……
I run the caller on high right from the start. I start out with a free meal ticket such as a bird in distress or mouse in distress call for about 2 minutes. If none have come out I will switch to young coon pup distress and play it for 2 minutes. If there is no response to the raccoon puppies call, I switch fairly quickly to the raccoon fight call for another 2 minutes and if nothing is seen then it’s time to move on to the next den.
If one shows himself during any of the sounds I decide what to do by watching the coon to see if he is just peeking or actually coming out.
If it looks like it is going to go ahead and come out I will just let what ever sound is playing keep playing.
If it looks like he is just peeking out to take a look I will give the sound playing just a little bit and then switch to another sound and see if that gets the coon to go ahead and come out. Don’t be afraid to switch up the sounds to see what will get them all the way out of the den.
Most of the time coon hunting is up close and if you want to save the pelt a smaller caliber rifle is preferred. I use either a .22lr, .22mag or my .223 while coon hunting. Most of the time I’m using the AR15 .223 simply because I often call for coyotes and coons in the same night. That and my AR15 has mounts for night hunting lights on the weapon already. I shoot Hornady 55gr vmax red tips and always put down the animal I’m hunting with precision without making a total mess out of the pelt. I have seen people successful with a shotgun as well.
Calling coons can be a great way to help control the coon population and very fun way to hunt. Be sure to check your local and state laws regarding night hunting and using E-callers.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below