Can you do the raccoon job yourself?

In most US states, it is illegal to trap and relocate raccoons without a license. In addition, amateurs make so many mistakes they never considered possible, and most cases of do-it-yourself trapping that I see result in problems for both the raccoon and the homeowner. However, if you do want to do it yourself, here is my advice:

TRAP TYPE: Use a large, sturdy cage trap, at least 30" long and 12" tall. The Havahart 1079 is good, or the Tomahawk 608SS.
BAIT: Raccoons are omnivores, so you can use anything. But white bread or marshmallows are good, because meat will attract stray cats.
SETTING TIPS: Set on a firm, flat surface, and make sure the trap doesn't wobble. Line the bottom of the trap with leaves. Set the trap in a shady spot, so that the animal doesn't bake in the sun. Don't set the trap near any wires or wood siding or anything you don't want clawed to pieces.
KILL OR RELOCATE? If you must kill the animal, do it humanely, by shooting it, or in a CO2 chamber or lethal injection, don't drown it like a lazy asshole redneck. If you relocate it, you can't do so on public lands in pretty much any state.

How To Get Rid Of Raccoons Yourself for Free - Raccoons can be very clever and intelligent animals, and in many cases are considered to be attractive by many people. This is until they actually make their way into the home, and then the cute raccoon will quickly become a problem. The first that many people will know about having a pest problem is that they will hear scratching in the attic or in the wall. Some people will respond to this by looking to remove the raccoons, but some people will look to a professional to actually deal with the problem.

Encouraging Raccoons To Leave The Property - The majority of instances where a raccoon will find a way to get into a property will be if they are females looking for somewhere to have their young. They may already have young and are looking for somewhere safe to raise them. The simplest things that people will look to use when trying to remove raccoons is a raccoon repellent, and using those based on the scent of predator urine will often be effective. Some people will also recommend lighting the particular area of the property they are occupying, as this will make the mother feel nervous, and this can be very effective when combined with a repellent. Mothers will want to find somewhere that is safe to give birth or to nest their young, and both of these factors will often encourage them to leave your property.

The truth is that raccoon trapping is not easy, at all. I've done it for years, and in my first year, my first 100 or so raccoon jobs, I made many mistakes. Also, I am a state licensed professional. In almost all states, it is not legal for homeowners to trap and relocate raccoons. It may seem simple, like in the above picture, but so many things can go wrong, and almost all attempts I see by homeowners are laughable at best, but harmful to animals and property at worst. Please, at least consider calling a licensed professional in your area before you attempt to do it yourself. It could be a mother raccoon with babies, it could be rabid, there are so many variables. You can read more raccoon trapping tips here.

Catching A Raccoon - In some cases the do it yourself tips mentioned above won’t work, and the raccoon will remain in the property. At this point it will be wise to call a professional because trapping and catching a raccoon is not a simple thing to do. Even if you catch or kill the mother raccoon, it can still give you the problem of finding and dealing with the young. Most professionals will look to remove the young from the site first when the mother is away looking for food, and then set a trap to catch the mother. It is best to do this in the confined space in which the raccoons live, as this will mean that you are much less likely to catch another animal in error. If you do set your own live trap cage then it is important to check it regularly to ensure the minimum amount of suffering once the raccoon is caught. Some people will choose to use food as bait, while others will actually put one of the young in the cage to lure the mother into the trap. Either way, once the raccoon is caught it is important to deal with it quickly.

Removing The Raccoon From Your Home - Once a raccoon has been trapped, then it will often get quite agitated and frightened by being caged, so it is important to be careful, but to make sure you deal with the raccoon correctly. Some states will have rules stating that such animals should be humanely destroyed, while in others it will be up to the homeowner what they do. If people do want to release the animal, then it is wise to take it a long way from your property as raccoons will naturally want to return to the safe comfortable environment from which they have been removed.

Conclusion - Removing raccoons is not something to be done on a whim, and in the majority of cases you will have to remove the young as well as the adult raccoon. There are a number of health risks and diseases that are associated with removing raccoons, so if you are at all concerned then it is usually best to hire a pest removal expert.

Go back to the How To Get Rid of Raccoons home page.

You can read more information on this website, with these specific how-to articles:
How To Get Rid of Raccoons in the House
How To Get Rid of Raccoons in the Ceiling
How To Get Rid of Raccoons in the Wall

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