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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 27°F - 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....
In other words, he will go to ANY lengths to keep me from being angry. I am NOT NICE when I'm angry.
(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.
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....
(*= 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.
People have no fur. Right now, mr. 'coon has a fur coat that's probably 4 inches deep
[edited by: lawman at 9:03 am (utc) on Jan. 2, 2005]
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).
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....
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.
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. :)
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....]
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.