Way OT: Dealing with criminal trash pandas

Submitted by Grampy on April 28th, 2018 at 7:19 AM
I’m living near the woods, and one or more raccoons have invaded my deck to get after my bird feeders. I would like to get rid of them and am hoping someone on the board has experience with them that doesn’t require the use of firearms. My buddy has a paintball gun, but I don’t know if that is effective. How well do traps work? [EDIT]: Thanks for all the useful, if somewhat depressing, advice. There’s a reason they are called ‘vermin’.



April 28th, 2018 at 7:29 AM ^

We had a raccoon problem and had to hire a company to trap them (illegal in my town to do it yourself). They placed traps out and put those big s’mores marshmallows in them (apparently the white stands out to them). Worked super well—we got 6 of them + 1 opossum.

Raccoons have a huge range, so you have to take them like 30 miles to keep them from coming back.

Good luck. I hate those trash pandas.

Laser Wolf

April 28th, 2018 at 7:31 AM ^

Not exactly the same, but we had an issue with skunks tearing up our lawn looking for grubs. We installed a motion sensor light shining right on the affected areas. Being that skunks are nocturnal it was enough to scare them away for the most part. Could work for raccoons too.


April 28th, 2018 at 1:59 PM ^

Back in the early 90s a bunch of guys on the track team lived near there. They also had a raccoon problem. Its hide ended up hanging on the wall with a ~.22” hole in it. I’m not sure what happened to the rest of the raccoon. One of the guys who lived there was from southern OH. I am pretty sure raccoons are a staple of the diet down there, so stew is a distinct possibility.


April 28th, 2018 at 7:37 AM ^

getting rid of the racoons isn't going to work.  Get used to them.  Maybe try installing the feeder on top of a pole.  Less racoons/birdshit on deck.



April 28th, 2018 at 7:47 AM ^

I'll go with this response.  If its not racoons, the squirrels will eat anything - everything - you put out for birds.  Have you actually seen the racoons?  They don't usually go after bird feeders, anyway, they'd prefer the birds (and your trash cans).  Squirrels, OTOH...  If some bird nests get destroyed, look at racoon nation.  If bird food is getting torn up, probably squirrels.

In either case, learn to live with it because nature lives in the woods.  You can't just relocate the entirety of woodsland animal life, and something else will piss you off next week.

Wait for the deer to start eating your flowers...


April 28th, 2018 at 9:52 AM ^

We got a Norwich terrier puppy last summer. She has terrorized the chipmunk and mouse population. She’s brought me 2 dead chipmunks and a dead mouse. She’s outscored our 3 year old Scottie 3-1. I give her 50-50 odds she’s going to catch the squirrels that love to get into our bird feeders. That little dog is fast.


April 28th, 2018 at 9:54 AM ^

I was in a summer-long war with them last year. Brought me zero pleasure but it was lbpeley about 25 and chipmunks 0. They are quite destructive and there's really no way to deal with them other than lethally. I've only seen 2 or 3 this year so far. If it stays that way we won't have a problem.


April 28th, 2018 at 7:42 AM ^

Get a trap, put some cat food or whatever in there. If you don’t want to shoot and dump it (.22 works well), just release it somewhere in the middle of nowhere


April 28th, 2018 at 7:45 AM ^

Watched a fascinating documentary about urbanized racoon populations in Toronto. Those guys are very mobile and cover a huge range, but are typically territorial. If you remove the raccoon from its territory, adjacent raccoons will soon realize it and move in. You'll be calling the trappers for one raccoon after another.

Plus, as mentioned above, wildlife is part and parcel of living near the woods. Enjoy them.


April 28th, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

A big part of the problem is Toronto's recycling program, which gives everybody green bins to put food and other organic waste out for recycling. The idea is that this will get made into compost, which can be sold. The old green bins were thoughtfully easy to open, so of course it ended up being a racoon feeding program as well.

In the last couple of years the city has been introducing racoon-proof green bins. Shortly after they were introduced, though, the racoons had figured out how to open them. I imagine a racoon somewhere getting rich with a seminar on how to open them.


April 28th, 2018 at 7:48 AM ^

So, this is going to be a recurring problem, as you have a great food source - the birdfeeder. Even if you remove the current (1? 3? 10?) racoons after it, next year or the year after, some more will find it and you're back to square 1


The best way to solve the problem is to remove the food source. Buuuut since you probably really like watching the birds at the feeder, the next best solution would be to try to racoon proof it via hanging on a wire, shields, etc. Lots of ideas online on how to do this

If you're dead set on the sisyphean battle of leaving the feeder as is, and only dealing directly with the racoons, the hav-a-hart traps work well. Bait with peanut butter and marshmallows

Like CTS said, you have to take them a long ways to get rid of them, which presents several problems - you are transporting a critter that could have parasites/disease, which is not the best. Also you're transporting it out of its home range, which can result in low survival rates of translocated racoons. Third, you generally are not permitted to release them on public land in most states, which means you are stuck breaking the law, or need to get permission from someone 10+ miles away



April 28th, 2018 at 8:02 AM ^

Ces bâtards de rats! Quoi qu'il en soit, laisser tomber ceci ici.
Deux joueurs qui ont fait le voyage à Paris finiront par transférer. Le moment reste à déterminer.



April 28th, 2018 at 8:11 AM ^

As a homeowner "you or someone you designate, are allowed to hunt raccoons who do, or are about to do damage to your property any time of the year. No license is required ".

From the DNR hunting and regulations handbook.

edit: whoops. Didn't read your whole post. The only way to get rid of racoons is to eliminate the food source.

Bo Schemheckler

April 28th, 2018 at 8:13 AM ^

I do this for a living. Get yourself a live trap I recommend a hard plastic shell type versus a cage type. Put it right out under the bird feeder with something sweet as bait such as honey buns, Pop tarts, Smores, ect. Sometimes sardines or cat food work better this time of year as well. Once you catch them you need to take them at least 35 miles away as the croe flies or they will come back. You can also use a trash bag and some duct tape to connect it to your tailpipe if you get the plastic shell trap which is more humane than the bucket of water solution many use.


April 28th, 2018 at 8:34 AM ^

Clearly you don’t realize that by catch and release your just giving someone else the problem. A raccoon that gets into trash and buildings will always go back to doing that, they don’t learn their lesson. So, most of the time, putting it down as humanly as possible is not a callous solution. My father used to trap them, walk the cage to the end of the dock and drop them in with rope, come back an hour or two later... was not my favorite chore.

Shop Smart Sho…

April 28th, 2018 at 10:54 AM ^

I've dealth with dozens and dozens of them in my life. If you don't have the ability to secure your trash, which isn't really that hard, then you need to learn to shoot. Aside from opossums, they are the easiest pest animal to shoot and kill. Drowning them or poisoning them is in no way humane. 

Bo Schemheckler

April 28th, 2018 at 8:33 AM ^

Assuming the feeder are a few feet off the ground you can also attach steel flashing to the poles that hold up the bird feeders. Raccoons and squirrels both cannot grip flashing so they can't climb up it. Make sure the flashing you get is as wide as possible and probably attach at least enough to cover a 3 foot section of the poles. If you need 2 sections of flashing to do that make sure you attach the bottom section first and then the upper piece over top of that sobot doesn't create a hand hold for them halfway up the flashing.