Coon hunting, also known as raccoon hunting, is a popular pastime in many parts of the United States. It involves tracking, chasing, and ultimately capturing raccoons using specially trained dogs. The sport has a long history and is deeply ingrained in the culture of many rural communities.

Coon Hunters

Coon hunting can be a challenging and rewarding activity for both dogs and their human companions. It requires a great deal of skill and patience, as raccoons are intelligent and elusive animals. Hunters must be able to read their dogs’ behavior and follow their instincts in order to successfully track down their quarry. Additionally, coon hunting is often done at night, which adds an extra level of difficulty to the sport. Despite these challenges, many hunters find coon hunting to be a thrilling and satisfying pursuit.

History of Coon Hunting

Coon hunting, also known as raccoon hunting, has been a popular pastime in the United States for centuries. It is believed to have originated in the early 1700s when European settlers brought their hunting traditions to America.

Initially, coon hunting was done for practical reasons, as raccoons were hunted for their fur and meat. However, over time, it evolved into a recreational activity enjoyed by many.

In the early days, coon hunting was done with the help of dogs, which were trained to track and tree raccoons. The dogs would bark to alert the hunters of the raccoon’s location, and the hunters would then shoot the raccoon out of the tree.

As the sport grew in popularity, hunting raccoons competitions began to begin to emerge, with hunters competing to see who could catch the most raccoons in a given period of time.

Today, raccoon hunting remains a popular activity in many parts of the United States, particularly in the South and Midwest. While the sport has evolved over the years, the basic principles of tracking and using coons and treeing raccoons with the help of dogs remain the same.

Equipment and Gear

Hunting gear

Hunting Dogs

Coon hunting season requires specially trained dogs that are quick, agile, and have a strong sense of smell. The most commonly used breeds for coonhound hunting are Treeing Walker Coonhounds, Black and Tan Coonhounds, and Blue Tick Coonhounds. These dogs are trained to track and tree raccoons, and their barks help hunters locate the tree where the raccoon is hiding.

Firearms and Ammunition

While you hunt raccoons, it is primarily done with hunting dogs, hunters may also use firearms to dispatch the raccoon once it has been treed. Shotguns are the most commonly used firearms for coon hunting, and hunters typically use 12-gauge or 20-gauge shotguns loaded with birdshot or buckshot. It is important to note that hunting raccoons regulations vary by state, so hunters should always check their local laws before using modern coon hunting or with firearms.

Protective Clothing

Coon hunting often takes place at night, so hunters need to wear protective clothing to keep themselves safe from the elements and other hazards. This may include insulated jackets, pants, and gloves to keep warm, as well as boots with good traction to prevent slips and falls. Hunters may also wear blaze orange clothing to make themselves more visible to other hunters in the area.

Coon Hunting Lights

Coon hunting lights are essential for hunting at night. These lights are typically mounted on the hunter’s head or hat and provide a bright beam of light to help locate and identify raccoons in the dark. Some hunters also use handheld spotlights or flashlights to supplement their headlamps.

Calls and Lures

Calls and lures can be used to attract raccoons to a specific area. Coon hunters may use electronic calls that mimic the sounds of raccoons or other animals, or they may use natural calls such as owl hoots or coyote howls. Lures such as raccoon urine or bait can also be used to attract raccoons to a specific location. It is important to note that some states prohibit the use of lures or baits for coon hunting, so hunters should always check their local regulations before using these tools.

Hunting Techniques


Hunting Dogs

One of the most popular techniques for coon hunting is treeing. This technique involves training deer hunter and a dog to track and chase a raccoon up a tree. Once the raccoon is treed, the hunter can then approach and either shoot the raccoon or use a catch pole to remove it from the tree.


Calling is another technique that hunters use to attract raccoons. This technique involves using a call that mimics the sound of a raccoon or animal being in distress or a mating call. The hunter will then wait for the raccoon to approach the call and either shoot it or use a catch pole to remove it.

Track and Trail

Track and trail is a technique that involves following the tracks dogs trail of a raccoon until it is found. This technique requires a lot of patience and skill, as raccoons are known to be elusive and can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

Night Hunting

Many raccoon hunters prefer to hunt at night, as raccoons are nocturnal animals. Night hunting can be done using a variety of techniques, including spotlighting, which involves using a bright light to locate raccoons in the dark. Night hunting can be dangerous, so it is important for hunters to use caution and follow safety guidelines.

Overall, there are many different techniques that hunters can use for coon hunting. Each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages, and hunters should choose the technique that works best for them and their hunting style.

Safety Guidelines

Coon Hunting Safety

Firearm Safety

When participating in coon hunting, it is important to follow firearm safety guidelines to prevent accidents. Hunters should always treat their firearms as if they are loaded, and never point them at anyone, even if they believe the firearm is unloaded. Hunters should also keep their fingers off the trigger until they are ready to shoot. Additionally, hunters should be aware of their surroundings and never shoot at anything they cannot clearly identify.

Navigational Safety

Navigational safety is essential when coon hunting. Hunters should always carry a map and compass, and be familiar with the area they will be hunting in. It is also recommended to carry a GPS device to help navigate and mark important locations. Hunters should always let someone know where they will be hunting and when they plan to return.

Dog Handling Safety

In coon hunting, dogs are often used to track and tree raccoons. It is important to handle dogs with care to prevent injuries. Hunters should never hit or abuse their dogs, and should always provide them with adequate food, water, and shelter. It is also important to ensure that dogs are properly trained and equipped with tracking collars to prevent them from getting lost.

First Aid

Accidents can happen during coon hunting, so it is important to be prepared with a first aid kit. The kit should include items such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. Hunters should also be familiar with basic first aid procedures, such as how to treat cuts and scrapes, and how to perform CPR if necessary.

Following these safety guidelines can help prevent accidents and ensure a successful and enjoyable coon hunting experience.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Hunting Licenses

Before going coon hunting, it is essential to obtain a hunting license. Hunting licenses are issued by state wildlife agencies and are required for legal hunting. The rules and regulations for obtaining hunting licenses vary from state to state. In most states, hunters are required to complete a hunter education course before they can obtain a hunting license. The course covers topics such as firearm safety, wildlife identification, and hunting regulations.

Hunting Seasons

Hunting seasons for raccoons are established by state wildlife agencies. These seasons vary from state to state and are designed to manage the raccoon population. Hunting seasons are typically established based on the breeding and birthing cycles of raccoons. It is important to know the hunting season in your state before going coon hunting to avoid breaking any laws.

Wildlife Conservation Laws

Wildlife conservation laws are in place to protect wildlife populations and their habitats. These laws vary from state to state and include regulations on hunting methods, bag limits, and the use of bait. It is important to follow these laws to ensure the sustainability of raccoon populations and the environment.

Private Property Laws

Coon hunting on private property requires the landowner’s permission. It is essential to know the private property laws in your state before going coon hunting on private property. In some states, it is illegal to hunt on private property without written permission from the landowner.

In conclusion, legal and ethical considerations are essential when going coon hunting. Hunters must obtain a hunting license, know the hunting season in their state, follow wildlife conservation laws, and obtain permission from landowners before hunting on private property. By following these laws and regulations, hunters can ensure the sustainability of raccoon populations and the environment.

Coon Hunting Culture

Social Aspects

Coon hunting is not just a sport but also a culture that brings people together. It is a way of life for many people who enjoy spending time outdoors with their friends and family. Coon hunters often form tight-knit communities where they share their experiences and knowledge with each other. They also use social media platforms to connect with other hunters from different parts of the world.

Competitions and Events

Coon hunting competitions and events are a big part of the culture. These events bring together hunters from different parts of the country to showcase their skills and compete against each other. The most popular competition is the World Championship Coon Hunt, which is held annually in Alabama. There are also state and regional competitions and hunts that take place throughout the year.

Culinary Traditions

Coon hunting has a rich culinary tradition, with raccoon meat being a popular ingredient in many dishes. Raccoon meat is known for its unique flavor and is often used in stews, barbecues, and casseroles. It is also used to make sausages and jerky. Coon hunters take pride in their culinary skills and often host cookouts where they showcase their favorite recipes.

Overall, coon hunting culture is a unique and vibrant community that values tradition, camaraderie, and the great outdoors. Whether you are a seasoned hunter or a curious newcomer, coon hunting offers a rewarding experience that is both challenging and fulfilling.

Conservation and Wildlife Management

Coon hunting is not just a recreational activity, but also an important tool for conservation and wildlife management. Raccoons are known to cause damage to crops and property, and can transmit diseases to both humans and other animals. By hunting raccoons, hunters help to control their population and minimize the negative impact they have on the environment.

In addition, coon hunting also helps to promote responsible wildlife management practices. Many coon hunters are passionate about preserving the natural habitats of raccoons and other wildlife, and take steps to ensure that their hunting activities do not harm the environment. They also often participate in conservation efforts, such as supporting wildlife research and habitat restoration projects.

Overall, coon hunting plays an important role in maintaining a healthy balance between wildlife and humans. By promoting responsible hunting practices and supporting conservation efforts, coon hunters help to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the natural beauty and diversity of our planet.

Training Tips for Coon Dogs

Training a coon dog requires patience and consistency. Here are some tips to help you train your coon dog:

Start Early

It is best to start training your coon dog when it is still a puppy. This will help the dog develop the skills it needs to become a successful coon hunter. Puppies are also easier to train than adult dogs.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a coon dog. Reward your dog with treats and praise when it performs well. This will encourage the dog to repeat the behavior.

Teach Basic Commands

Teach your coon dog basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” These commands will help you control the dog while hunting.

Introduce the Dog to Coon Scent

Introduce your coon dog to the scent of a raccoon. You can do this by placing a raccoon hide in a tree or by using a coon scent lure. This will help the dog learn to track the scent of a raccoon.

Hunt with Experienced Dogs

Hunting with experienced coon dogs can help your dog learn the ropes deer hunting. It can also help your dog develop its hunting skills.

Be Patient

Training a coon dog takes time and patience. Don’t expect your dog to learn everything overnight. Be consistent in your training and reward your dog for good behavior. With time and patience, your coon dog will become a skilled hunter.

Advanced Hunting Strategies

Experienced coon hunters use a variety of advanced hunting strategies to increase their chances of success. Here are a few techniques that can help you take your coon hunting to the next level:

1. Scouting

Scouting is an essential part of any hunting trip, and coon hunting is no exception. Experienced hunters scout their hunting areas in advance to identify potential den trees, feeding areas, and travel routes. This information can help you set up your traps or tree stands in the most effective locations.

2. Using Dogs

Many coon hunters use specially trained dogs to track and tree raccoons. These dogs are trained to follow the scent of raccoons and to bark when they have located a raccoon in a tree. Using dogs can be a highly effective way to locate and hunt raccoons.

3. Baiting

Baiting can be an effective way to attract raccoons to your hunting area and trapping them. Experienced hunters use a variety of baits, including sweet corn, marshmallows, and honey. It’s important to use bait that is legal in your area and to follow all local regulations.

4. Hunting at Night

Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, so hunting at night can be an effective strategy. Many hunters use spotlights or other forms of artificial light to locate raccoons at night. It’s important to follow all local regulations regarding night hunting.

5. Using Calls

Using calls can be an effective way to attract raccoons to your hunting area. Many hunters use raccoon calls or predator calls to mimic the sounds of raccoons or other animals. This can be a highly effective way to lure raccoons into range.

By using these advanced coon hunting season strategies, you can increase your chances of success on your next coon hunting trip. Remember to always follow local regulations and to hunt safely and responsibly.

Coon Hunting by Region

United States

Coon hunting is a popular pastime in the United States, with many different regions having their own unique traditions and techniques. In the Southern United States, for example, coon hunting is often done with the use of hounds, which are trained to track and tree raccoons. In the Midwest, on the other hand, many hunters prefer to use the “still hunting” technique, which involves quietly stalking the raccoon and waiting for it to emerge from its hiding spot.

In the Northeast, coon hunting is often done in the fall, when the leaves have fallen off the trees and visibility is better. Many hunters in this region prefer to hunt at night, using powerful flashlights to spot the raccoons in the darkness.


Coon hunting is also popular in Canada, particularly in the eastern provinces. In this region, coon hunting is often done in the winter months, when the raccoons are more active and easier to track in the snow. Many hunters in the woods of this region prefer to use snowshoes to navigate the deep snow, and to use specialized traps and snares to catch the raccoons.

In the western provinces of Canada, coon hunting is less common, but still practiced by some dedicated hunters. In this region, coon hunting is often done with the use of hounds, which are trained to track and hound and tree the raccoons in the dense forests and mountains.

Overall, coon hunting is a diverse and fascinating pastime that is enjoyed by hunters of all ages and backgrounds across North America.

Future of Coon Hunting

Coon hunting has been a popular pastime for many generations, but its future is uncertain. While many people still enjoy the sport, there are concerns about the impact it has on deer and raccoon populations and the environment.

One potential solution to these concerns is the use of tracking technology. GPS collars can be placed on hunting dogs to track their movements and ensure they are not harming non-target animals. This technology can also help hunters locate and retrieve their dogs more easily.

Another way to ensure the future of coon hunting is through education and responsible hunting practices. Hunters can be trained to identify and avoid hunting in areas where raccoon populations are low or endangered. They can also be taught to use non-lethal methods of control, such as scare tactics or exclusion methods.

It is important for coon hunters to be advocates for the sport and to promote responsible hunting practices. This can be done by participating in conservation efforts and educating others about the benefits of coon hunting. By working together, hunters can ensure the future of this beloved pastime while also protecting the environment and the animals they hunt.

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