Night Moves

No, this post isn’t anything to do with my evening prowess.

Instead, it’s a lesson in humility.

We have just under an acre here, and we decided to fence the entire back yard after clearing away the undergrowth, so that we could let the cats out to roam the yard.

We had about 2.73 bazillion feet of wood fence installed, and I’m in the process of installing a plastic netting type of material along the top that will dissuade the aforesaid felines from attempting an “Escape from Berlin” type maneuver.

Since it was installed, I’ve had one spot where a raccoon (or many raccoons…they all look the same) has been digging under the fence.


This is, I suppose, a behavior left over from before the fence was installed, when the raccoons would regularly wash their food and perhaps themselves, in the swimming pool. I know this occurred, because I frequently found muddy footprints around the pool deck, and small snail shells and other detritus from raccoon meals in and around the pool.

I suppose the local raccoon population thinks it somewhat presumptuous of me to wall off their access to the local “cement pond”, but I prefer not to have raccoon poop on my pool deck thank you very much.

Anyway, one or more of the masked bandits has persisted in penetrating my formidable fortress of wood. Photographic evidence of this exists, taken with my neighbor’s infrared game camera.
Photos By Trail Camera

I decided that I’d teach the persistent fellow a lesson.

Mistake number one…me deciding to teach a wild animal a lesson.

I have a humane trap that I’ve used on previous occasions at our old house to trap raccoons and opossums, and I decided to deploy it here to trap this guy.

However, this one seems to be rather sizable, and a trap full of angry raccoon isn’t something I was particularly looking forward to dealing with, so in a fit of inspiration, I concocted a brilliant plan.

I thought.

The trap has two ends. One end is held open by a spring, and snaps shut when the animal goes inside to eat the bait placed within. The other end is held shut with a metal bar, and upon removing the bar, the end can be lifted and the animal is free to leave the trap.

Now with an opossum, this is OK, because they are fairly non-belligerent, and even a small raccoon is more intent on escape than revenge.

A large, thoroughly pissed-off raccoon however, might just decide that he’d like to take a chunk out of my hide on his way out of the trap.

So, thinks I, let’s just close the end of the trap, but …wait for it… DON’T put the metal bar in place. That way, the critter will bumble into the trap, critters being stupid as they are, and when the trap snaps shut, he’ll go all ape-shit and stuff, and bang against the other end, and it will fly open, and he’ll run away scared out of his wits and he’ll never come back.

Brilliant, right?

Not exactly.

I placed the trap on the ground near the normal entrance point under the fence, and sprinkled some dry cat food inside just past the trigger plate.


Raccoon goes inside to get food, steps on trigger plate, door snaps shut, previously described mayhem ensues, raccoon leaves, problem solved.

Raccoon didn’t read script.

Instead, raccoon saw food, and DUG ALL THE DIRT OUT FROM UNDER THE TRAP TO GET THE FOOD!!!


Trap is sitting there this morning, with the trap door still in the raised, ready-to-getcha position, food is all gone, and the area around it is covered with raccoon prints. Looks like he must have had the neighbors all stop by to enjoy the smorgasbord.

Now I gotta dream up plan B, and now, all the raccoons in the area are like “Hey, this guy’s passing out cat food!” so they’ll all be wanting to join in the nocturnal foray.

Sigh… I hate being outsmarted by a critter. And they do it so easily…


About TwoCaptains

The TwoCaptains are Jim and Janet, both US Coast Guard licensed boat captains home-ported in Daytona Beach. We recently sold our 1990 Ocean Yachts 56' CPMY "Magic Carpet", and now we're in the hunt for a replacement.
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2 Responses to Night Moves

  1. Maureen says:

    so how about putting a quarter of a sleeping pill in some wet food then while the raccoon is asleep drive him ten miles away.

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