Saturday, December 17, 2011



 Raccoons have proven to be one of the most adaptable of North America's fur bearing animals. Many species of animals have experienced serious declines as the continent transitioned from wilderness to mostly civilized. Some species have held their own. Raccoons, as much or more than any other species, not only learned to live along side the settled continent, they embrace it.
Many of my best spots to trap raccoons aren't along still-wild streams or natural marshes. I find plenty of raccoons close-to-town, in-town or in and around farmyard barns and buildings.


Trapping these spots safely, isn't easy. In many of these areas using the normal foot-gripping or body-gripping traps is inviting trouble. They'll catch 'coons just as handily in a barnyard as in the wilds, but they will also catch dogs and cats if those are present.

It's not my purpose (here) to pass judgement on the practice of allowing dogs and cats free range. But snapping a trap on Fido's toe or having one of your body-grippers bring an end to Mrs. Farmer's favorite Calico is a sure way to end your welcome.
Cage traps are one answer. What you catch can be released. But cages are bulky and expensive.

Recently, a new kind of trap has been invented and are so good at restraining raccoons some trappers have sold all their old, traditional style traps and only use these.

Each brand goes by it's own name such as Lil'Griz, Coon Daggers, Coon Cuffs and others. Trappers generically call them DPs (for Dog Proof), some state DNRs call them enclosed trigger traps.

The reason they work so well is because they play to the dexterous, almost hands-like front paws on raccoons. The trigger is enclosed inside a pipe, bait is placed inside the pipe, the raccoon smells the bait, sticks its front paw into the pipe to pull out the goody inside and grabs the trigger. The trap fires, pinning the animal's foot inside. Job well done.

Most dogs have paws too large to fit inside the pipe. Even a little yapper dog would have to work extraordinarily hard to get caught. I've heard reports of cats being caught, but it's rare. I've personally never caught a cat in a DP and if a cat did manage to get caught, it could be easily be released, wisened to a repeat performance.

Opossums are the most likely "non-target" animal, but in most civilized places, ridding the area of  'possums is as important as removing the raccoons.

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