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*sigh* Now my husband thinks I'm whacked -
because I wouldn't let him shoot the raccoon....

 3:53 am on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Okay. We have a cat (indoor pet), a dog (indoor-outdoor pet), and 2 horses (outdoors logically). This is all fine, we spend a grand a year or so feeding/caring for them, not a problem. However, because we live in the mountains and the winters can be pretty rough, we feed the birds (and incidentally the chipmunks) for about 4 months a year.

Well, this winter we have a raccoon. It's been mutzing about under and around the house for a month or so now, but it can't get into the garbage etc. so we just haven't worried much about it. So tonight after two ABYSMAL days (cold - the HIGH was 27F - and while we didn't get a whole lot of snow, the wind has AVERAGED 50mph - so YOU figure the chill factor!) - the raccoon is IN the bird feeder, which is a tray about 8" wide by 24" long, hung 6 feet off the deck and 3 feet off the deck rail (sits on a 2X6 hung by chains from our upper deck), scarfing up what little the birds left today.

Husband wanted to know if he should get the rifle.... and I (predictably if you know me) said no. He's not thrilled. We've been married nearly 30 years, you'd think he'd have figured this out, right? Guess not....

So we will feed the 'coon until spring on leftovers, down in the meadow (which hopefully will keep it from bothering the bird feeder). And before we get the horses back up here (raccoons carry some things that are transmissable to horses and are SERIOUSLY bad juju), we will borrow a havahart trap from DWR, trap mr. 'coon and take him somewhere where he will have plenty of stuff to eat but not bother horses or humans.

Husband isn't real happy about this. Oh well. There are limits to the things I'm willing to kill for no good reason: if it's edible and hunting season, that's one thing. A winter-starved raccoon? That's another....



 4:56 am on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm with you on this one. There's no reason to shoot (especially with a rifle) a raccoon, unless it's bothering your horses, or has rabies.

Sorry, but have to question your husband's judgement on this one.


 5:14 am on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, he's WAY older than I am, and brought up in an area where the local "culture" gives them leave to "use" fur-brothers.... he's not as bad as many, but then he's lived with me for a long time now and I tend to make things impossible when I know I'm right but he won't bend....

In other words, he will go to ANY lengths to keep me from being angry. I am NOT NICE when I'm angry.


 8:35 am on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

My main problem with my man is that he puts food out in the back porch for the cat we "inherited" when we bought the house. It has the chihauhuas spooked so they won't use the "doggie door", and uses that same doggie door to come in shen we are in bed (with the dogs). Why are we feeding it?


 1:26 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

vkarly, if you want to keep the coon outa the birdfood I'd suggest putting slinkys around the chains holding it up. Just attach the slinky to the top of the chain and let the rest of in hang around the chain so that it can move. Works for squirrels so I'm guessing it'll keep the coon spooked too.


 2:41 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dont shoot the poor sod, he only wants something to eat.

Leave him some food elsewhere in your garden.


 5:54 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yup Essex_boy, that's my decision. We'll move it in the spring, and feed it until then. Nice thing about raccoons is they eat ANYTHING that doesn't eat them FIRST.


 7:55 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

(especially with a rifle)

Just out of curiousity, what else would you shoot it with? A shotgun wouldn't kill it instantly, and between a pistol and a rifle, what's the difference?

This question should be read in light of the fact that I agree shooting the animal (in this case) wouldn't have been what I would have done. Just wondering what other shooting apparatus you would consider possibilities.


 9:19 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

In other words, he will go to ANY lengths to keep me from being angry. I am NOT NICE when I'm angry.

Wow. How do you train them to do THAT?


 9:25 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

How do you train them to do THAT - Keeps her own rifle to hand ;)


 11:47 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, mivox, it comes from me taking him apart a few times in the early years (mentally/emotionally, not physically needless to say).

As to what else to shoot with, MatthewHse, a crossbow works as well as a rifle, and is FAR less noisy. In any case, the 'coon is quite happily munching leftovers down in the oak grove today....


 2:10 am on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

As far as what else to shoot it with, my preference has always been a pump action BB air rifle. Pump it up about 5-7* times and take a shot at the animal's butt. Watch it run away alive.

(*= The number of pumps should be determined by the overall power of the BB gun. I've had an air rifle for about 10 years, and I know how much damage a certain amount of pumps will cause. The key is to make it strong enough to hurt, but not to get lodged into the skin.)

Also, a paintball gun with non-toxic paintballs would probably work even better.


 2:12 am on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ah.... mattglet, paintballs do NOT work on raccoons. 'coons are too - um - ARROGANT to be scared off by paintballs.


 2:18 am on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Really? That surprises me. I've seen people with welts the size of 50 cent pieces b/c of a paintball. You'd think the animals would not take kindly to that. Very interesting.


 3:15 am on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

People have no fur. Right now, mr. 'coon has a fur coat that's probably 4 inches deep....


 5:34 am on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

People have no fur. Right now, mr. 'coon has a fur coat that's probably 4 inches deep

You may have just swung me to your hubby's viewpoint. Mmmm... a nice fur coat.
In real life I bought a fur stole at a garage sale for $5 (and it's very nice), but would not buy a new fur. In NZ we could do with destroying some oppossums (which are not NZ natives and destroy NZ bush and have very nice fur) and rabbits (likewise, but in pasture).

[edited by: lawman at 9:03 am (utc) on Jan. 2, 2005]


 10:25 am on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a good plan. Once the coon knows you're there and got food, if you don't feed it, keeping your trash outside undisturbed will seem like a super-human task. I do kinda miss those coons that once dragged our garbage bins hundreds of yards all over the lawn on a regular basis when I lived in the Chicago 'burbs. They'd strew our garbage out over all the lawn in plain sight of Joe Public. We went through half a dozen contraptions to keep the lids on. With our most coonworthy contraption, those coons were smart enough to do a team job with one pulling the lid off the bin (it was attached with rather strong springs) while the other emptied it.

We did the cagetrap thing many times (the city took them only a couple of miles away). Once when the city had taken away one large animal, they left behind the cagetrap thing to be picked up later, no bait or anything in it. Next morning, a very junior coon had wandered into the unbaited trap, presumably looking for mom. I'm sure he found her (city brought him away too); he probably also found his way back to our trash cans at a later date, too. We ended up admitting defeat and putting those trash bins in our garage, with the door locked (yeah, otherwise they'd just let themselves in).


 3:25 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Could you compomise and maim it? ;)


 4:06 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Use you brains...catch the little bugger and release him somewhere out of harms way or is that to much to ask?

[edited by: lawman at 5:11 pm (utc) on Jan. 2, 2005]


 4:26 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Judge Jeffries, sir....

That's exactly what I said we were going to do, since mr. coon isn't edible. While I'm perfectly happy to kill and eat deer, elk, etc., racoons do NOT fall into that category. We'll borrow a havahart trap from DWR in the spring before we bring the horses back from pasture, and take it up one of the creeks where it will be safe and happy for a while - I hope. Ought to give the horses a thrill, carrying a coon in a metal thing in the panniers for several hours....

olwen: as to fur coats, I'd be happy to have one, but I'm not spending the kind of money they want for them. AND I'm not going to take the time to kill them myself and have the skins tanned etc. BECAUSE you can't also eat the meat (well, okay, I COULD, were I starving.... but I'm obviously not...)

TheVisitor: watched it last night, and someone else already tried that I guess, poor thing - it limps and looks as if one of its feet may have been in a trap at some point....


 5:13 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

From the Foo charter:

This is NOT a forum for . . . political, or nationalistic discussion, . . . or personal crusades.


 6:21 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm not going to take the time to kill them myself and have the skins tanned etc.

Do-it-yourself fur coats are not an easy option anyway.

Several decades ago, growing up in rural Lincolnshire (England), my then next-door neighbour tried to cure animal skins, thinking it would he would make his wife a fur coat. He didn't do it right, and eventually the stench made him give up.

Let the creature keep his fur. I'm sure everyone will be happier all round that way.


 7:22 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Even if it is done right, curing and tanning is a horribly smelly process. ;)

Winters are mild here, so I don't have to feed many winter-starved creatures, but when I lived farther north, I fed the bandits peanut butter, shelled corn and suet in the winter. Even then, I reserved feeding wild critters for the worst of winters. There's something to be said for winter thinning. Summer thieves were dispatched with a shotgun, which by the way, is absolutely devastating at close range.

As for keeping them out of the trash cans, ground Habaneros sprinkled on top of the trash works quite well. Freshly spent shotgun shells worked quite well too.

Nothing has worked as well as owning dogs. :)


 8:37 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Our dog, while very good for birds (being a Brit, that's a fair given) has yet to notice the raccoon. She'll bark at people, cats and rabbits OUTSIDE the fences, but not at someone (even someone she doesn't know) who opens the gate to come in the lot.

Narrow range, I guess.

[As to tanning, nope. I won't mess with it. I know of various places in SLC which take care of that quintessentially icky-smelly process, for about a dollar a square foot without hair, and 5 bucks a square with hair....]


 10:11 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

How much to tan my hide? The 'service' I use costs me a fortune. Ahem...


 5:22 pm on Jan 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>>>coon isn't edible

Out of interest - why not? isn't a raccoon made out of meat, like many other animals?


 5:38 pm on Jan 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

You can eat a raccoon. You could also eat a skunk or a muskrat. But... those critters are known to have an incredibly strong flavor. I see raccoons as nothing more than incredibly large, masked rats. Additionally, many people have grown accustomed to munching on grain-fed animals. As Dali would say though, "Everything is edible". :)


 5:40 pm on Jan 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Raccoon is edible, but most people don't consider it desirable. I've never had it myself, but I've heard it's extremely "gamey," coarse and tough.


 11:06 pm on Jan 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ah.... well, my dad and his family ate raccoon during the Depression - sometimes that was all they could get. According to him, it was greasy and gamey. I've never wanted to try it myself. He also said squirrel was pretty bad as well.

Alternatively, I would imagine that if one was hungry enough, and had the means to "acquire" it, raccoon or squirrel would taste pretty good. Assuming of course that there wasn't ANYTHING else available.


 6:28 pm on Jan 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Funny Essex_boy. Funny.

..... Shane

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