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How to Make a Coon Trap Out of PVC Pipe

by Mike Schoonveld
Raccoon populations need to be controlled by an annual harvest of surplus animals.

Raccoon populations need to be controlled by an annual harvest of surplus animals.

Raccoons have become one of the most important fur bearing animals in North America. Because of their ability to thrive in a variety of habitats, the loss of wild and wilderness areas has had little effect on their numbers. Their ability to thrive in close proximity to humans and even in urban environments has made harvesting surplus raccoons by trapping an important method for controlling their population. Their inquisitiveness and their acceptance of man-made items in the environment make trap sets made with PVC pipe very successful.

Choose a likely spot to set the trap based on the presence of raccoon tracks or droppings.

Pound the metal trap stake into the ground at a 45 degree angle to a depth of 10 inches.

Rotate and wobble the top of the trap stake with your hand in a circular motion to enlarge the hole made by pounding in the stake to 2-inches in diameter, then remove the stake.

Insert seven-inches of a 14-inch section of 2-inch PVC pipe into the hole. Twisting it sometimes helps it go in if the hole is tight; tapping the top of the pipe firmly with the flat side of your claw hammer accomplishes the same thing.

Pack the dirt firmly around the exterior of the pipe to ensure that it's firmly planted in the soil with the top 7 inches of the pipe protruding from the ground at the 45 degree angle.

Use the claw part of the hammer to dig a hole in the topsoil directly below the top of the pipe. The excavation should be slightly larger around than the size of the size 1 ½ trap when it's set and 2-inches deep.

Drive the trap stake into the ground and through the end link on the trap's chain to prevent the raccoon from being able to escape once the trap closes across its foot.

Open the jaws of the trap and lock it in the ready mode by engaging the trip-lever into the notch on the trigger pan. Then position the trap in the hole in the topsoil, pushing it firmly into the bottom of the hole to make it sit solidly. The only part of the trap that should move when a raccoon steps on it should be the trigger pan on the trap.

Tear a piece of waxed paper slightly smaller than the diameter of jaws on set trap and drape the paper over the trigger pan to prevent dirt from geting under the trigger pan when the trap is covered with dirt.

Sift some of the topsoil dug out to make the trap bed back over the top of the trap, being careful not to pile in any sticks or twigs that could keep the trap from closing when it's triggered.

Level the soil over the top of the trap using a 2-inch paintbrush. The trap should be completely covered with about a quarter-inch of topsoil and should look as though it is an ordinary bare patch of ground.

Rub a chunk of raw fish on the exterior of the pipe to make it smell of fish, then drop the chunk of fish into the pipe, letting it fall to the bottom.

Items you will need

  • 14 inches, 2-inch PVC pipe
  • 16-inch metal trap stake
  • Claw hammer
  • Size 11/2 foot hold trap
  • waxed paper
  • 2-inch paintbrush
  • Raw fish

Tip

  • Raccoons are attracted to the trap set because of curiosity about the white pipe sticking out of the ground as well as the smell of the fish. Because the PVC pipe is set at a 45-degree angle, the raccoon, investigating the smell and attempting to reach inside the pipe to get the fish, will naturally work it from the direction it's pointed. As the raccoon attempts to get to the bait inside the pipe, it will eventually step on the trap's trigger pan and be caught.

Warning

  • Raccoon trapping is strictly regulated by state wildlife agencies. Laws vary from state to state. Check the regulations for your state to determine license requirements, open seasons, and other stipulations before you set any traps.

About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.

Photo Credits

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