Raccoons are among the world’s favorite animals. With their endearing masked faces and their cute ringed tails, they win over the hearts of children, Disney movie fans, and nature lovers alike.
The problem with the cute, if not cuddly, wild raccoon is that it can be enormously destructive. Raccoons can decimate flower plantings, vegetable gardens, herb collections, and new shrubs. They carry a variety of diseases that kill both pets and people. And with their urine and feces, they can do enormous damage in enclosed spaces in a very short time.
We are recommending trap and release as the best method for managing raccoon populations. Of all the traps on the market, our top choice is the Havahart 1079 One-Door Cage Trap. In addition to cage traps, however, we recommend two effective non-humane traps. One is a The Duke 0510 Coon Trap that traps a raccoon’s paw. The other is The Dakota-Line Snare Trap, an effective general-purpose trap.
If cost is an issue, the non-humane traps are more economical. If you read the testimonials we have chosen for each product, you will have a good understanding of the (mostly) pros and (relatively few) cons for each of them, so now you can choose the right method and begin.
You can go to any part of this review by clicking on the links below.
What Should You Look for in a Raccoon Trap?
The main things to look for are ease of use, effectiveness and price. Our 1st and 2nd choices are the easiest to use. The question is, are you looking for a humane trap and release method (Choice #1) or are you looking to dispatch the animals (Choice #2) .
Why We Recommend Amazon.com
Many traps are available at larger home improvement supply centers, but it is not unusual for a retailer to be out of stock. For best convenience and lowest price, we recommend Amazon.com for all your raccoon traps & repellents. Free two-day shipping is available in the United States for purchases over $25.
#1 Choice – Havahart 1079 One-Door Cage Trap
A great way to trap raccoons humanely at a great price, but there is a learning curve
This one-door cage trap is the best humane way to trap raccoons of the half a dozen or so we have tried. This trap is offered at a great price (especially compared to the $500 per raccoon the pest control people were asking for) and I even got the shipping free (click here to see the price on Amazon). But I found out there is a learning curve for using it effectively.
The main thing to understand about this trap or any other trap, for that matter, is that easy to bait means hard to trip. It’s hard for an armadillo to avoid stepping on the floor of the trap to take the bait (although armadillos are a little fussier about their bait than raccoons or squirrels). It’s not hard for a raccoon to snatch the bait without setting off this trap, but there is a way around this.
What I do is to hang my bait (I found the best bait to use are marshmallows or Gummi worms, they also love bacon, but I prefer to keep that for me) from the crook of a coat hanger suspended from the top of the trap. There is no reason not to put bait on the trap pan, too, but if you hang an enticing goodie where the raccoon absolutely has to trip the trap to get it, you’ll trap the critter a lot more often.
The other issue with this trap, and I don’t think it is a design flaw, just a trade-off in ease of use, is that the it is not impossible for the raccoon to open the door with its tail. Or if you catch a mama raccoon with its babies, maybe the babies can open the door. Or maybe the raccoon gets its tail caught in the door sometimes.
This is another trade-off. This is because the hinge pin for the spring-loaded door isn’t as tight as it could be, but it’s probably as tight as it should be. You don’t want to have to struggle with the door when you release an understandably very angry, animal back into the wild. That’s when you want an easy-open door. The price you pay for not getting your fingers nipped or needing to get rabies shots when you release the animal is the possibility of an occasional raccoon getting out after capture. But there’s a way to deal with that, too.
The way to make sure your raccoon does not get out is to place the trap on an incline, making sure the door end is higher than trap end. Since the raccoon has to go into the trap head first, it won’t be able to use its neck and shoulder muscles to fight the door.
What have we had go wrong with this trap?
- Some critters seem to butt into the side of the trap and set it off without ever going inside or getting the bait. Judging from digging patterns, we seem to have had an armadillo that does this.
- We live in Texas, where raccoons can grow pretty big. The biggest raccoons can open this door with their tails, although I don’t know of any other humane trap that captures them, either.
- We have never had a squirrel in this trap. Either they are too light on their feet or they shy away from one-door traps. Either way, a smaller two-door trap (that will be harder to load) is what you need for them.
- And the cat gets really upset when he has to spend the night in the trap. Maybe we should have trained him as an indoor cat, but he goes nuts if he’s cooped up all night, and this is the best way we have of keeping him safe.
OK. Enough on the negatives. This trap is the easiest to set of any we ever tried. It captures cat-sized animals and we have never seen one injured in any way. It’s not an “industrial strength” trap for larger animals, but you really don’t want to get between a great big mama raccoon and her kits, anyway. One last piece of advice, put something hard underneath the trap when you are transporting the animal to your release site. The trap will stand up to scratching and clawing but your upholstery or truck bed will not.
You can buy it at Amazon by clicking this link Havahart 1079 One-Door Trap, alternatively you can read what other Amazon’s customers said before choosing to buy.
#2 Choice – The Duke 0510 Coon Trap
Raccoons are very clever and are not always tricked into being caught in a cage trap, especially if they’ve witnessed seeing another coon being caught in one. An alternative trap, but not a humane one, is the Duke Coon Trap. Duke makes a trap which is high quality and very effective. It’s the raccoon’s natural curiosity which makes these traps so effective. Currently on Amazon, this trap has a very high approval rating of 4.5 out of 5 and 227 customer reviews. You can read these reviews by clicking here.
How do you use the Duke Coon Trap?
1. It is highly recommended you use the “Duke DP Set Tool” to set the trap, if you don’t, you will struggle setting it. The problem is, they are not sold with the trap because you only need one tool to set all your traps. You can buy the “set tool” here on Amazon.
Watch this video to learn how to set the trap:
2. Anchor the trap in the ground using an H-bar or bend a piece of rebar into a U-shape. Hammer it into the ground through the loop at the end of the chain.
3. Stick the spike into the ground at 45 degree angle.
4. Put some bait around the trap and a bit inside, either marshmallows or cat/dog food.
5. Then just wait for the coons to come along.
If your are not sure if it’s legal to use these traps in your area, please check your local and state laws.
Many people suggest they are safe around cats and dogs because the raccoon has to reach inside and pull the trigger. Cats and dogs aren’t able to reach inside and pull the trigger like a raccoon can. However, I wouldn’t risk using it where any cats or dogs are nearby just in case they were playing with it and it went off by mistake.
Although this is not a humane trap, it is popular with people who have chickens or other animals which the coons kill. Their reasoning is, it’s better to have a dead coon than a dead chicken.
Once you have caught the coon, you will have to dispatch it and do it quickly to avoid it suffering. Therefore before setting the trap, choose your dispatching method carefully. In addition, decide how you are going to dispose of the dead animal. Many people choose to bury them. However, one trapper advised to dig a big hole in case you trap a skunk instead because skunks can leave a very long-lasting nasty smell.
- Very effective
- Low cost
- You have to dispatch the coon after it’s been caught.
- You then have to dispose of the dead animal.
One of the best places to buy these traps is on Amazon. Click here to see how much they cost on Amazon and read feedback from other customers.
#3 Choice – The Dakota-Line Snare Trap
These Dakota-Line traps are top quality and suitable for the professional trapper. They are very simple to use, you tie one end to a fence or stake it into the ground and you make a 6″ loop with the other end. The important bit is to place the loop in the path the raccoons use on a regular basis. You want to position the bottom of the loop about 1″ off the ground.
You can watch this video to see how one trapper uses it:
- Low cost
- Simple to use
- General purpose trap
- Can be time-consuming to set if you are not use to them
Although these traps are cheap and simple to use, our #2 Choice, The Duke trap, is specifically designed for coons and is by far the simplest and probably the most effective trap.
However, if you want to checkout the spec and price of these snare traps, click here to see them on Amazon.