As I walked up to my trap I could tell something wasn’t right. The ground was muddy and looked like a tornado had rolled through.
My pocket set was dug to hell and dished out and my trap was empty. Wrapped around a log was my wire and I knew my raccoon had busted himself loose.
If you’ve ever tried trapping a raccoon without an anchor then you have probably found a similar scene. Raccoon are strong animals and are harder to keep trapped than a fox so why aren’t you using an anchor? Read on and you will stop having lost raccoons and wasted trap sets.
Anchoring Raccoon Traps
Raccoon have tapered front paws which make them particularly good at wriggling out of traps and they have proven to be proficient escape artists. And if need be they are willing to chew their paw off to get free.
This becomes a constant obstacle since raccoon generally live in areas with limited natural anchors. I frequently find myself trapping on rocky creek beds which do not lend themselves for stakes. I also find thich brush which takes away the effectiveness of a stake even when you can get one in the ground.
Because of these unique challenges a raccoon trapper must have multiple tools at their disposal to anchor their sets.
A great way to anchor your raccoon sets is with a well setup drag. The best are small heavy drags for raccoon. A great low cost option is a railroad plate or multiple bricks tied together.
Use a three foot long piece of 14 gauge cable to connect your drag to your set. Always replace damaged cable between catches.
A simple drag set will prevent the raccoon from breaking free and also keep them close enough to your set location to easily locate.
If you are working an area where you have a long walk to your trap sets, then you will instead want to create a makeshift drag with materials you find. It’s only practical to carry your anchors if you are trapping just off the road or from a boat.
Makeshift drags can be produced logs of at least four inches in diameter tied together with wire. Some trappers have had good results from medium sized rocks but I’ve found it difficult to keep them secured by wire.
Another excellent drag option are two or three prong grapples. They are lightweight making them easier to carry a distance and they can be preattached to your trap with an extension chain.
If your location allows for a stake to be used then cutting pieces of hardwood for homemade stakes works great for raccoon. But if you don’t have to travel far to your sets, then rebar stakes are the most stable. Make sure your stakes are at least two feet long connected to your trap with a short cable with a swivel attached at the mid point.
Stakes are also good for drowning sets. Just be sure there is at least 18 inches of water where you anchor your traps.
Use either a sliding wire setup or a wrap around. For the sliding wire I use about ten feet of wire with my anchor set in the deep water. Then take the one way sliding lock from the trap chain and slide it to the guide wire.
For the wrap around set you need a long trap chain. Use an extension wire if necessary. Stake the trap chain in deep water so the raccoon cannot reach the bank. Place another stake in the deep water and the raccoon will wrap up around it as they go to deeper water trying to escape.
With a proper anchor you will lose very few raccoon. Always go with a stake set if the terrain allows it but a good drag set is almost as effective. As always, scout your area so you know ahead of time what type of anchor suits the trap location and prep your anchors before heading out.
For more raccoon trapping tips read these articles