In the last decade these amazing new Style Dog Proof Raccoon Traps have revolutionized the raccoon and opossum trapping market. They are a species specific style of trap designed to catch animals such as raccoon and opossum that have great dexterity with their front feet and fingers, while having an opening to narrow for a dog’s foot to enter. In addition, true Dog Proof “DP” traps are pull only tripper mechanisms which are nearly impossible to catch a dog. However Mr. Raccoon and Mr. Opossum reach right in and easily pull the trigger. I find they totally commit on pull trigger style traps where as on push / pull style traps the raccoon sometimes get caught by toes and pulling out of the trap, much harder to lure into a trap after this occurs.
Some of the major benefits of having a trap to catch only Raccoon and Opossum include:
- Much better relations between hound hunters and trappers.
- Deer hunters and farmers can easily remove nuisance raccoon from bait piles and corn fields.
- One can set traps closer to residential areas to remove nuisance raccoon.
- Trappers can set close to water without fear of catching muskrat and mink prior to season.
First, when I was a kid my father was an avid hounds man and we always had a few raccoon hounds, beagles and fox hounds. I pretty much had to set traps in the water or in trees in the areas where we ran the hounds. Today one can set the new Dog Proof Raccoon Style traps virtually anywhere without concerns of catching dogs.
Second, deer hunters, farmers and other folks with nuisance raccoon problems find the DP’s are extremely easy to use, reusable and extremely effective at capturing raccoon. Meaning those who are baiting deer or trying to remove nuisance raccoon from farm fields can quickly and affordably eliminate those raccoon.
Third, setting close to residential areas to remove nuisance raccoon getting into trash, chicken coops and home gardens requires a little better understanding of properly using the DP’s. Yes they will catch every raccoon or opossum in the area, they can and will also catch every domestic cat if not baited properly. So if you do not want to catch house cats in your DP’s bait your traps with something sweet such as fruit jelly or marshmallows.
Fourth, In Michigan during 2016 in Zone 2 a fur trapper could not set coilspring, longspring and jump style foothold traps within 50 of the water until November 1st , but the DP style traps can be set as close as the water’s edge in Zone 2 starting October 15, please read the Michigan Regulations for 2017 trapping season for this fall. By harvesting the raccoon prior to mink and muskrat season one has a lot less raccoon messing up sets targeting mink and muskrat. Plus the raccoon harvested in the DP’s are dry versus the ones caught at other water sets which are usually soaked and wet down a drowner wire. Much easier to carry the catch back to the vehicle.
One of the most effective brands of Dog Proof Raccoon Traps on the market today is made right here in U.S.A. the PCS Feather Light Dog Proof Trap. It is made of cast aluminum to offer years of dependable service. Here is a video link of the PCS Feather Light Raccoon Trap in action http://www.pcsoutdoors.com/12packpcsfeatherlightdogproofcoontrap.aspx
Other brands of Dog Proof Traps with pull only triggers that I have used with very good success included the Bridger T-3 Dog Proof Trap, Diablo Dog Proof Traps and the Duke Dog Proof Trap.
Once you acquire your PCS Feather Light Traps no dying or waxing is necessary as the cast aluminum does not rust and the raccoon do not shy from the color of the cast aluminum. After a year of use one should Speed Dip the chain to the trap which will rust a little, but that is the only maintenance on this amazing little raccoon catching machine. We use AuSable Brand Cable Trap Stakes to anchor the DP Trap. When setting your Feather Light DP Trap make sure that once the coon is caught it cannot reach anything solid as it could use it as leverage to get out of the trap. I know some folks wire traps to trees but I do not recommend; the animal is held much better if trap is secured by a stake and the animal is allowed to let the trap chain and swivel do its job.
Just like when fox and coyote trapping, I really like 3 to 6 traps in one location about 20 feet apart. Raccoon really do travel in groups and it is very common to catch two to six raccoon in one group. The first time I set my property on the AuSable River with DP’s I caught 11 raccoon out of a dozen traps. Just remember to set the traps far enough apart, if set too close together, Mr. Hungry Raccoon will stick his hand in the one that is too close and be caught by both feet. The DP does a great job of holding raccoon with minimum foot damage so one can release small ones to become large sought after raccoon in the future.
Some prime locations to catch raccoon include most every stream, river or swamp. I try to find spots with water near and either corn field or large acorn or beech nut trees nearby. Always a favorite location is where a small feeder stream enters a larger stream or river. Watch for very large den trees. The raccoon has one of the easiest tracks to identify its hind foot looks like a child’s foot. Their tracks can be found in the mud along the water’s edge as well as edges of farm fields with their trails leading into the woods. These are also prime set locations. If you really want to increase your raccoon catch pre bait 2 weeks prior to season.
Additional items recommended when trapping with DP Style Traps include setting tool, AuSable Cable Trap Stakes, bait and lure and American Coon Caps. The American Coon Caps allow one to preset and pre bait the DP trap at home cutting time in the field and allowing you to set more traps in a day. In addition, the caps keep small rodents and birds from stealing bait and setting off your DP traps before Mr. Raccoon can get to the set and get caught. If you are on a budget you can keep rodents out of your DP’s by placing a golf ball, styrofoam cup or other such device over trap. The hungry raccoon will knock the device off trap to get bait but, rodents will avoid them. For lure, I recommend Lenon’s Raccoon Super All Call Raccoons will eat most anything but these lures and baits really call them in and make the raccoon work the trap till caught. Some other exceptional baits and lures that I use for raccoon trapping are Trent Masterson’s Truck Load Coon Bait and Mike Kain’s Raccoon lure both made right here in Michigan.
So the night before I plan on setting DP Traps I pre bait the inside of the DP Trap with 1 teaspoon AuSable Brand Coon Bait and place a Kidney Bean size of Lenon’s Raccoon Super All Call Lure into the top of the American Coon Cap. Set the DP Trap with the American Coon Cap lured and baited. Simply add an Ausable Brand Cable Trap Stake and you will have setup ready to catch any and all 30 lb plus Michigan Raccoons and hold them there until you return. On the morning of the set I am able to quickly drive the stake in the ground and poke the trap in ground ready for action in groups of 3 to 6.
Catching raccoon in DP style traps and can be addicting, just remember to keep setting some foothold style traps in dirt hole type sets for fox and coyote. Every year some of my largest raccoons are caught in fields trapping for fox and coyote.
We wish you many double and triple catches on your raccoon line this fall. There will be a second annual trapping seminar at Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare, Michigan on October 7, 2017 please check their website www.jayssportinggoods.com for details. I will be a guest Trapping speaker this year, and I’m really looking forward to answering any trapping related questions and sharing some of the techniques that work for me as a Michigan Trapper. Jay’s also carries most of the trapping supplies I mention in my articles.
Watch for the November issue of Woods – N – Water News as I will be sharing my favorite water sets for Muskrat, Beaver and Otter. I welcome you to visit my website at www.LenonLures.com.
More reading on the art of trapping ...