UPDATE – Operation Critter Storm – A War with Raccoons

racoonWell, it has been two years since my original post….and they are BACK!  With a vengeance!  The final tally in 2011 was 11 raccoons and 6 possums.  Now this year, we stand at 4 coons and 1 possum….my cage is wearing out from all the use.  Not to fear, I will persist until I have relocated everyone of these nasty critters.  The battle continues…………..  If you have ever had “critters” in your yard, you can identify with my frustration!  For the past few years, some critters have been burrowing in my plants and shrubs looking for grubs, worms, or whatever fuzzy little night creatures seek to fill their insatiable appetites.   Your local Ace Hardware can offer lots of solutions….and I have tried them all.  First, I tried moth balls attempting to offend their sensitive noses.  Well, it didn’t seem to bother them at all!  And, Jane ragged on me for days about the smell!   Next, the Ace guy suggested little bags of chemical coyote urine!  Supposedly, the predator scent will make the critters fear that they will become prey for the coyote and stay away.  Don’t believe it…..not true!  Another waste of money!  There are also a variety of  other chemical repellants…..that are equally expensive and ineffective!

While having your mulch disturbed daily is an inconvenience, the declaration of war came when 4 raccoons got locked in the garage and tore up everything.  Bird seed (the source of their mission) was strung all over the garage, trash cans turned  over, tools askew, paint cans knocked off their shelves, and, most offensive, paw prints all over Jane’s little red Lexus!   Horrors….don’t mess with Jane’s stuff!!  The last straw had been thrown.  All out conflict was about to ensue.  BTW, we know there were four raccoons trapped in the garage overnight  because after we opened the door, we say one parent and two youngsters exit stage right.  It was not until the next morning, when the garage was tossed again, that we saw the fourth racoon leave to join up with the family.  The fifth racoon (the big one) was up a tree the first night and never spent the night inside.

Now that war was declared, I added a steel cage/trap to the arsenal, baited it with Triskets and peanut butter, and placed in the backyard under a tree among the azaleas near the bird-bath!  And, I waited………..

The first night, we caught one of the youngsters.  They are actually cute little critters up close.  But, they have a nasty disposition when caged too long.  Now, the question is what to do with this pest?  The lady at Ace said that her husband “took care” of their pests  and they NEVER came back.  I got the impression that her husband took no prisoners!  I, on the other hand, did not have the heart to put the little racoon out of my misery…..in fact, it is against the law to discharge a firearm within the city limits unless you are defending your family from imminent danger……or celebrating the liberation of Libya!  So, I called Animal Control (AC) only to be told that it was against the law to transport a racoon in your car.  It seems that 1 in 5 raccoons (foxes, coyotes, skunks, and possum) have rabies; and the city does not want a resident to release an infected animal away from their normal area.  Animal Control also said that raccoons can find their way back to their den (usually a storm drain) from 10 miles away!  AC will pick them up, but will release them nearby so they can re-visit your yard almost immediately!!

Jane and I decided to release our first captive 6 or 7 miles away.  Since, it is illegal to transport the ‘coon and you don’t want to be caught releasing a potentially rabid animal in someone else’s yard, a degree of stealth was required!  We chose a street that looked fairly deserted and drove to the end where there was a junkyard, a little creek, and a couple of small, older homes!  Thinking we were in the clear, we took the cage out of the trunk, opened the trap door, and released the ‘coon…..just as the homeowner at the end of the street drove up!  Oh, shit!  We are going to get fussed at now!!  A rather large, intimidating woman asked me what I was releasing in her yard!  Since I was caught red-handed, I fessed up!  She was nice about it…said she even raised a baby racoon (until it bite her) and thanked me for not killing the  critter!  As Jane and I drove off, in silence and haste, with visions of Deliverance dancing in our heads, we made a solemn pledge never to come back down this road!  We found a more isolated spot for subsequent releases.

Long story, cut short, so far we have captured and released 5 raccoons and 2 possums from our yard in a 7 day period.  They don’t call it the Liveable Forest for nothing!  And the beat goes on…………


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