5 Reasons You're Not Catching Raccoons


Throughout the year, you might notice your catch rate of raccoons will fluctuate. Below I outline 5 reasons why you may not be catching them and how to overcome them.

  1. Breeding Season

    During late winter, raccoons are in full swing trying to reproduce. All they have on their minds is reproducing and finding mates, especially bores. Many passive sets rely on food-based lure attractants. Truthfully, the raccoons may not be interested in food during breeding season. Try switching to a gland-based or urine-based lure. Only a small amount behind the pan can help you bring in that elusive raccoon. This is not recommended outside of breeding season. 


    1. Trapping shy Raccoons

    Many companies and individuals release raccoons which can lead to trap “shy” or “smart” raccoons. This is a raccoon that is unwilling to enter a trap or knows how to avoid the trigger mechanism of the trap. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the style of the trap. Instead of using a pan style, use a swing panel. Change your sets from a cage trap to a plastic catch trap, or vice versa. These simple changes may be all you need to lure the raccoon in. Another potential trap set (if the situation allows for it) is to use a positive set, forcing the animal to enter the trap from its den.


    Below is a video of a hesitant raccoon around a trap. 

    1. Weather

    During the cold months, especially in Northern areas, raccoons will be less active. If it is extremely cold, they may hunker down and not move at all to stay warm. This is the reason most animals will put on extra weight for winter months. It may be beneficial to save your time and effort by planning trapping around warmer days or days in which weather patterns are shifting.


    Below is a video of 5 raccoons who never left their location under a deck all night. 


    1. Using the Wrong Lure or Bait  

    During different times of the year, some animals will be looking for particular food sources. If you can match that food source (smell, taste, etc) your catch rates may improve. For instance, when fruit is in abundance, try using a lure that smells like berries. There are many commercially available baits to choose from that range from fruit to fish to gland-based scents. Please remember that not all the lures taste good. They should only go behind the pan unless you know they are palatable!


    1. Moving on

    Sometimes animals move out from a particular spot for different reasons. Maybe it wasn’t suitable enough for a den because there was more human traffic during the day than expected when making residence the night before. Another thing that can happen is death. A lot of the time the raccoon may have been hit by a car or killed by a predator. If you no longer see tracks or other signs, try installing a game camera to see if the animal is still using the area. If the camera isn’t capturing photos of the raccoon, be sure to physically prove the animal is no longer there before fixing the area of concern. Just because you didn’t catch or get a video of the animal(s) does not mean there isn’t one there. Cameras can malfunction and sometimes animals won’t leave for some time. It is always imperative that you prove there are no longer animals remaining before closing off an area.


      I hope this helps improve your catching rate!