By Ralph Scherder
When it comes to catching big raccoons, I don’t think type of set matters all that much. I’ve caught jumbos in dirtholes, and I’ve caught them in pockets. However, the attractors you use do seem to play a role.
Big boar ’coons are as territorial as any other animal that has reached maturity, and they’ll often fight to protect that territory. Many of the biggest raccoons I’ve trapped through the years have sported facial scars that prove it. For this reason, I’ve found them to be especially attracted to gland-based lures and urine. I know a number of canine trappers who will tell you how much jumbo raccoons love their fox and coyote sets.
I probably use more gland-based lures than any other raccoon trapper I know, particularly red fox gland lure. I don’t know a critter that isn’t attracted to it, in fact. Combined with a fish-based bait, it’s murder on monster ’coons. Of course, the fringe benefits of using it are also good. No matter how much I love big raccoons, I’ll never complain about an incidental fox catch.
Last season, I started experimenting with different types of baits on my raccoon line. I started using commercially prepared baits that are meant more for predators such as foxes, bobcats and coyotes more than in previous years. It definitely put a few huge raccoons on my stretchers. How much it makes a difference is still to be determined, but based on my records so far, I’ll be stocking up on more this fall.
Another thing I’m looking forward to trying more of on the raccoon line this fall is long-distance call lure. Although long-distance call lures are a standard for most canine and bobcat trappers, you very rarely hear about them being used in raccoon trapping. A friend and I have speculated that the reason for this is that most raccoon traps, by nature, are on location, whereas you typically have to draw in a canine or ’cat to your sets from a greater distance.
While it’s possible that the animal’s range has a lot to do with it, I still think long-distance call lure has a place in the raccoon trapper’s arsenal. I don’t know how else to explain the raccoon catches I’ve made in fox sets that were a good distance from ’coon habitat. Something drew them there.
In fact, when you open the jar of one of my favorite raccoon baits, you’re hit with a heavy dose of skunk essence. This particular bait has pulled a lot of big boar ’coons to my sets the past couple of years, and I don’t see why a good long-distance call lure wouldn’t do the same.
To read Scherder’s entire article on adjusting your trapping strategies to catch large raccoons, you can purchase the digital version of the October 2013 Trapper & Predator Caller issue.