Are you thinking about getting involved in hunting raccoons at night, but aren’t sure where to start? In this article, I will take you on a crash course in night hunting for raccoon. Nighttime coon hunting is a difficult sport to master, but if you stick with it you will find it to be a highly rewarding pursuit.
5 Raccoon Hunting Fundamentals
While the basics of coon hunting are not complicated, successful coon hunting will take practice, built on a handful of basic fundamentals. Master these areas of knowledge and skill, and you will be rewarded with many successful coon hunts.
1. Selecting the Best Coon Hunting Gear
You can definitely get by without the latest hunting gadgets and gizmos, but understand first that investing in key pieces of equipment will increase your chances of a successful hunt.
Here is our list of the best essential coon hunting gear.
Night Hunting Lights
Unless you possess the gift of night vision, you’ll want to begin with buying a quality coon hunting light. Raccoon are nocturnal creatures, and if you hope to navigate your way through the woods at night and take an accurate shot, you’ll need a powerful light source.
A secondary gun mounted LED lamp, like the Streamlight 69260 is essential when searching high in the tree limbs for a shot at that elusive coon.
A sturdy pair of rubber high boots, or boots with integral waders are a must, because a raccoon in distress will take you through the nastiest terrain in the woods.
Your waterproof hunting waders like the Bogs Classic High Boot will keep your feet dry crossing all those bogs, creeks, and brier patches.
Coon Squall Call
A good coon squaller call is an affordable accessory that every coon hunter should be carrying. Calls like the Flextone can be found for less than $20. The calls help agitate and rouse the raccoon from their dens, giving your dog an opportunity to track and tree the animal for you.
You may also want to pick up a mouse squeaker and a bird distress call to draw out the holed up coons.
There are also many new electronic game calls with preloaded raccoon distress calls. Not only can they help your raccoon hunting, but they can come in handy on your other predator hunts.
GPS Tracking Device
There are two important reasons for investing in a GPS hunting device.
First, when you combine the GPS with a Garmin tracking collar, this device will help you locate your hunting dogs if they’ve ran too far ahead of you. Use the GPS to find and steer them clear of any potential dangerous areas.
Second, a handheld hunting GPS will direct you safely back to your vehicle after your hunt has concluded.
Electronic Dog Trainer
A dog training collar like the Garmin Delta training collar is essential in being able to train and control your dog’s behavior in the field. The Delta training collar uses the Tri-tronics technology, and a three button handheld control unit.
It uses momentary stimulation, tones, and vibrations to correct your dogs behavior. Some dogs respond better to different stimulus, so its best to experiment here. Another option is to look into dog training at your local coon hunter’s club. The Garmin Delta also has the capability of controlling 3 dogs at once, which is perfect for the serious coon hunter.
Hunting Knife and Multi-Tool
A small hunting knife is essential for coon hunting at night. Look for a hunting knife or multi-tool where the knife is the main feature.
You’ll need the knife after harvesting an animal, and a good hunting multi-tool is always handy when out in the field and you need to make emergency repairs to your equipment. Keep one in a day pack, and keep one in your truck and you’ll be covered for most situations.
2. Finding Places to Hunt
Finding land to hunt raccoon will be one of the biggest hurdles you will face as you get started coon hunting. Urban areas continue their unrelenting spread, threatening our woods and hunting grounds, and lawyers have put the fear of lawsuits into the minds of landowners who would otherwise be happy to let you take some coons off his property.
The two best things you can do to overcome these challenges, is to be an active member of the local coon hunting community, and just being a presentable and respectable hunter towards property owners.
Being part of the hunting community can be several things. We believe you’ll build a network of contacts and friends by introducing yourself to other local coon hunters, meeting people at competitions, participating in online hunting forums, and teaching others to hunt.
If you plan on asking landowners for permission to hunt their land, you need to be putting your best face forward. Don’t show up in a muddy truck wearing dirty clothes, looking like a redneck. To ease the property owners concerns about a liability, present a simple release statement that says the owner will not be responsible for any injury or damage that may occur during your hunt.
3. Tracking Coons
Tracking coon scent trails is an essential skill for you and your dogs to learn. Every dog tracks a little differently. Learning each dog’s signals and behaviors will help you have successful coon hunts.
Understanding the habits of raccoon can give you a better chance of finding a a population of coons. Use a quality scouting camera to take photos around potential hunting areas. Ask yourself how a coon might behave given the season and weather conditions. Together, these clues are part of the whole picture. The better you learn to read them, the better success you will have hunting coons.
4. Treeing Coons
Many times, when your dog finds a hot trail, you will be able to tell when he thinks he has treed a coon. He will begin to howl and growl deeply, out of pure instinct. A treed coon will almost never leave that tree unless you can shake the branch or vine he is on, to the point where it feels aggravated and threatened. Use your coon lights to shine all around the branches and limbs. You are hoping to catch his eyes in the light and be able to take an accurate shot.
5. Coon Hunting Etiquette
The number one rule to coon hunting etiquette is to treat others and their property with high respect. If you are hunting someones land with their permission, by all means close fence gates behind you, pick up all of your trash, and don’t go cutting mud tracks through his fields. By following these rules, you’ll be welcome back to that guy’s hunting land again and again.
If you’ve made it this far, you just might have what it takes to be a great coon hunter. Even though coons are typically on an open season, be 100% sure by getting familiar with the regulations at the local natural resources department.