It was just getting dark when a buddy and I unloaded our gear on the edge of a harvested corn field. Guns and lights are standard night time hunting gear, but we also carried an electronic call, which we’ve found very useful for raccoon hunting night or day. We hiked a couple hundred yards across the open ground, then stopped and swept a filtered light across the woods surrounding the field until catching the reflected glow of eyes up in one of the trees. Moving in closer we set down the call thirty yards from the gnarled tree trunk, and backed up another ten.
Sweeping the light up the big oak, we saw multiple sets of eyes that added up to at least two coons, but none presented a clear shot. My partner was working the light and the call on this set, and whispered, ready? I responded “hit it”, at which he manipulated the remote on the FoxPro call to slowly dial up the sound of a raccoon fight. This is a very specific sound that incorporates growls, clicks, and various vocalizations, and I at least, don’t have a hope of replicating it with the mouth call I’ll sometimes use for a distress calls. This is definitely an application where a digital is the best tool for the job!
Within a minute spotted three raccoons spilling out of the tree and hitting the ground at a dead run towards the call. We hit mute and they pulled up, with a big boar standing on his hind legs for a look-see. I had the crosshairs of my illuminated Hawke scope locked in with the crosshair right between the eyes. The rifle I was carrying on this hunt was the .25 caliber FX Verminator dialed up to full power; and has selected JSB Jumbo Exacts which are one of my favorite all around hunting pellets. Squeezing the trigger the gun a subdued pop and I watched through the scope as coon number one did a back flip with his den mates making hell for high leather back to the trees.
We hung the coon up in a tree so no coyotes could get to it, and moved on. Besides being a pest raccoons are classed as fur bearers, and in fact there is quite a good market for the pelts. My friend lives on his farm and has a couple buyers in the area; he brings his quarry in whole and the buyer takes on the responsibility for skinning, tanning, and handling the fur before selling it up the chain. Give a coyote a couple minutes, and there won’t be a raccoon pelt of any value left!
We trekked on through the icy cold searching the trees with our lights, stopping every now and again to sound the e-caller. Did I mention it was cold? It was ice-in-the-mustache-painful-to-breathe cold! Even though I was bundled to a point where I was a round formless mass, it was still cold. We found a place to set up back to a large tree, and positioning the call on the other side of the road, I dialed up a distress call. Not more than two minutes later another big boar raccoon came charging up. It happened so fast he was almost on top of the call before I could mute it. I barked to stop the fired up predator, but instead of stopping he headed straight in almost running up my leg! But the raccoon stopped dead just as I squeezed of the shot and rolled our second coon of the hunt.
We collected the two big raccoons, the one was an absolute giant, and headed back to the truck. We grabbed a bite to eat at an all night dinner and I started the 45 minute drive back home, having experienced a great hunt almost in my back yard. I think raccoons are one of the most underrated predators out there. At the right time of the year, either a raccoon fight sequence or a distress call can bring them charging in. This is not shooting pest animals over the garbage bin (nothing at all wrong with pest control mind you), but true and exciting predator hunting and a great game for airgunning!!