Raccoon Pockets

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Published on: Oct. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

gloves and bait or lure.

I use #1 coilspring traps almost exclusively. The trap is strong and is easy to set and "bed" into the soil, and they are available in a variety of "humane catch" styles. These include rubber jaws, double jaws, "off-set" jaws (the jaws don't close completely) or "laminated" jaws (jaws with extra metal added to make them wider and more comfortable). The #1 1/2 coilspring, and the #11 longspring work well, too.

I dye all my traps with logwood crystals and dip them in wax. The dying process protects the metal of the trap much like blueing protects gun metal, and the wax makes the trap operate faster. I modify the trap from the factory by shortening the chain to just six or seven links. I also move the chain from the end of the trap to the center of the underside of the trap. I add a slide lock to the last link in the chain. This allows the trap to travel along the length of a wire or cable in only one direction.

I use 14-gauge wire, doubled and twisted together to make one wire that is six or seven feet long. Small (3/32-inch) steel cable works well and is more durable, but it is much more expensive. I attach the wire to a 12- to 15-inch long hardwood stake at one end and a 4-foot long anchor stake at the other. The wire passes through the slide lock between the two stakes. After assembling the apparatus, I just wrap the wire around the two stakes and "package" it for easy storage in the boat.

Making the Set

After excavating the pocket in the stream bank, I bait the hole and set the trap. I usually use a chunk of carp or sunfish I've caught and frozen for bait. Canned sardines or tuna work well, too. I add a few drops of a sweet smelling, commercially-made lure to a tuft of grass and place it over the bait in the hole. The grass is important because it discourages shorebirds and other sight-feeding, non-target animals from bothering the set. The lure's strong scent carries far to attract animals that find their food by their sense of smell.

Another way to attract animals is to put lure on a cotton ball and place it in a 35-mm plastic film canister. Cap it until you're ready to

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