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Raccoons with an Airgun

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Author Jim Chapman

Raccoons with an Airgun

Raccoons are an animal that is very intelligent and a lot of fun to watch moving about in their never ending search for food …. In the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, their idea of the right time and right place is not always compatible with their human neighbors. Over the years I have hunted raccoon that have become real pest and a financial burden due to their high populations, their ability to thrive near homes, farms, and their never sated appetites.

I have hunted coons as pest on a few farms here in the Midwest where they damage crops, and in at least a few cases destroyed poultry yards. Out west, I’ve hunted them around farms where they have literally swarmed in to raid feeders and corn cribs, taking not ony the grain and feed but damaging the buildings and structures around. We have lock down garbage cans to deter these masked raiders around my place and tend to leave them alone, but they have torn holes into a few homes in the area looking for winter housing. And then some hunters and trappers take them for their fur, and in much of the country they are regulated as a fur bearer.

There are two ways I like to hunt raccoons; the first (and most exciting) is calling, and can be done both during daylight hours and at night. If calling in the daytime I prefer early morning or dusk, and will set up as for most predator hunting. I think that full camo with face mask and gloves will improve your success rate. I like to star by locating an area that contains trees which look like they’d make good dens, and use a woodpecker, baby squirrel distress, or rodent call and start screaming in 2-3 minute blast with a short pause before picking it up again. Though it occurs frequently, I am always surprised when I see a raccoon charging head on into a call. It is easy to think of them only as garbage can raiders, but they are in fact predators and move in with purpose. I have just about had them run up my leg more than once. I use a mouth blown call when hunting at night as well, along with a red filtered spot light that I sweep between calls.

The second method, where legal, is to lamp the trees looking for the tell tale glow of eyes up in the trees. I have a scope mounted lamp that I use so that after the raccoon is spotted I can hike into range for my shot. The animals are pretty tenacious, and I do think head shots are preferable when possible, though a chest shot with a high power gun is effective if the range is not too far.


Calling at night in Texas using a rodent distress call I had both a coon and a ringtail cat come in

The airguns I use for taking these mid sized critters tend to be hard hitting and accurate. I have killed many raccoons with .22 caliber guns, but have a preference for the mid bore .25 calibers in a precharged pneumatic powered airarm. They provide a bit more reach, and if a head shot isn’t possible requiring the body to be targeted, the larger caliber is more effective. A .27 grain 25 caliber pellet traveling at 900 fps generates about 60 fpe which will anchor a raccoon on the spot even with a body shot. As most raccoon hunting takes place in low light conditions, a scope with good light transmission characteristics is a must. Lately I’ve been using a scope with an illuminated reticle, as it helps in picking up the target in near darkness. I also like to use a tactical light with a pressure sensitive switch mounted on the gun, as it gives the hunter mobility to move around as required.


Hunting another ranch in Texas, I was asked by the property owner to shoot raccoons, fox, bobcats, skunks and porcupines that we found while out hog hunting. These two came out of the same tree

Conventional high powered airguns offer a practical means of controlling mid sized pest species such as raccoon, possum, and everything up to fox. Keep the range to around fifty yards; use a heavy round nose pellet in .22 or .25, and take head shots when possible. These guns are fairly quiet, but if your gun has a shrouded barrel or integrated moderator all the better, you can use them in populated areas without disturbing the neighbors. As I frequently mention, adding an airgun to you hunting battery will allow you to expand your hunting opportunity while providing a means to rid your property of pest animals without having the resort to poison or traps. Another interesting aspect of raccoon hunting is that you never know what else might turn up; I have taken skunks, possums, ringtail cats, and other night time predators and pest while out for raccoons as my target specie.

156 Rating: 2.5/5 (203 votes cast)

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