Throughout the year, you may notice your catch rate of raccoons may go up and down. Below I outline 5 reasons why you may not be catching them and how to overcome them.
- Breeding season! During late winter months raccoons are in full swing trying to reproduce. All they have on their mind is reproducing and finding mates, especially bores. Many passive sets rely on food-based lure attractants, and truthfully the raccoons may just no that interested during that time. Try switching to a gland based or urine-based lure. Only a small amount behind the pan may help you bring in that illusive raccoon. Not recommended outside of breeding season.
- Trap shy raccoons! Many companies and individuals release raccoons. This can lead to trap “shy” or “smart” raccoons. Basically, a raccoon that is unwilling to enter a trap or knows how to avoid the trigger mechanism of the trap. Sometimes it’s a simple as changing the style of trap, go from a pan style to a swing panel. Change from a cage trap to a plastic catch trap or vice versa, those changes may work to lure the raccoon in. The other potential, if the situation allows for it, is to do a positive set, forcing the animal to enter the trap from its den.
Below is a video of a hesitate raccoon around a trap.
- Weather! During the cold months, especially in northern areas, raccoons will be less active. If it is extremely cold out, they may hunker down and not move at all, keeping warm. Their a reason most animals try to put on weight for winter months. You may be better saving your time and effort by planning the trapping around warmer days or days in which weather patterns are shifting.
Below is a video of 5 raccoons who never left the location under the deck all night.
- Wrong lure or bait! During different times of years, some animals will be looking for particular food sources. If you can match that food source smell, taste, ect you catch rates may improve. For instance, when fruit is in abundance, try using a lure that smells like berries, ect. There are many commercially available baits to choose from that range from fruit to fish to gland-based smells. Just remember, not all the lures taste good, so they should only go behind the pan unless you know they are palatable!
- Moved on! Sometimes animals move out from a spot for different reasons. Maybe it wasn’t suitable enough for a den, more people traffic during the day than expected when it made residence the night before. The other 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 sign, try putting up a camera to see if the animal is still using the area. If the camera isn’t capturing any, physically prove that the animal is no longer their and fix the area of concern. Just because you didn’t catch or get video of any animal does not mean there isn’t one there, cameras malfunction and sometimes animals just won’t leave for a bit. So it is always imperative you prove there are no animals before closing off an area!
I hope this helps improve your catch rate!