How To Trap A Coon Without Catching The Barn Cats

The raccoon is often the most damaging nuisance animal on the homestead. From robbing eggs from nests, killing chickens and rabbits, to eating livestock feed or raiding the sweetcorn patch; the masked bandit causes a good deal of grief to the smallholder. Coons are fairly easy to catch but trapping them around the barnyard poses some problems. Most homesteaders keep barn cats for rodent control and the common baits used for coons also attract barn cats. Here is how we trap coons without catching cats…

Use Cage Type Live Traps

First, around the farm we don’t use the same traps that we use on our fur trapping line. Instead of foot hold traps or body gripping traps, we exclusively use live traps. Doing this means we can release barn cats unharmed if they happen to end up in our trap.

Feed The Cats!

Make sure your barn cats are feed well when you are trapping coons in their home range. A hungry cat will be much more likely to mess up your set.

Use Bait That Is Less Attractive To Cats

This is the Real Secret. Even when using cage type traps, it is important to keep the cats out of the trap so that it is open and working when the coon gets there. On our fur trapline we use sardines, shellfish oil and animal gland lures to catch coons. These are fool proof coon catchers but they are also very attractive to cats. If you use such baits, within minutes after you leave, a cat will get trapped leaving the coon free to wreck havoc on your property. I experimented with many, many baits until I found the greatest cat proof bait there is. Can you guess what it is?

Marshmallows! Coons have a notorious sweet tooth that cats (unless very hungry) don’t seem to have. Marshmallows combine the smell of sugar with the eye appeal of it’s bright white color. We almost never catch barn cats in a set baited with marshmallows. In fact I don’t think that it has happened more than once in the past 10 years. If there is a coon in the area he just can’t resist 3 or 4 marshmallows.



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9 thoughts on “How To Trap A Coon Without Catching The Barn Cats

  • July 8, 2015 at 8:53 am
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    This is very helpful. We’re pretty sure it was a coon that ate all the eggs a poor devoted duck had been sitting on.

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  • July 8, 2015 at 11:44 am
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    Great post! I always buy clearance marshmallows after holidays for this very reason. After all, raccoons don’t care if the marshmallows are shaped like candy canes in July. lol Works every time! I also smear peanut butter on the kick plate just in case the coon gets the marshmallows without triggering the door.

    Sharing!
    Lisa

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  • July 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm
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    We have used tin foil balls in our traps, but not marshmallows yet. I may just give it a try. Thank you!

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  • July 12, 2015 at 6:55 pm
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    Problem is that we do not have any place to relocate the racoons to once they are trapped. They are not in season here in TN until Sept but the damage they are causing is at a peak now.

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    • July 13, 2015 at 8:44 am
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      Diane, I think you have to use the old sheep farmer adage for dealing with sheep killing dogs:
      “Shoot, Shovel and Shut up”

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    • July 12, 2016 at 1:22 am
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      Exterminating a raccoon may be legal in the case of depredation, check local hunting regs.

      Reply
  • September 1, 2015 at 9:46 am
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    We used Marshmellows and ended up catching a skunk!

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    • September 2, 2016 at 9:49 am
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      I use eggs as bait for skunks. Works every time. I’m told they think the marshmallow is an egg 🙂

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  • August 5, 2018 at 12:31 am
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    I think we have racoons in our quanset. There is a 5 inch hole in our quanset wall so the cats can get in and out to eat and drink and they can also get the mice from around the trucks and combine. The cats have large feeders that are always full until the coons come in, the coons come in, eat all the food and drink and dirty the water. The cats only go in the quanset now when I’m there to check their food and water. I also give them a treat every day to keep them around. I am going to try the wire cage and marshmallows. I’ll let you know what happens. We have one male cat and two females. The females have had kittens but the have never shown up, I’m sure the racoons have killed them.

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