Coon Habitat

EDITOR'S NOTE: Do you want more places to hunt and hope to cement relationships with farmers to be able to predator hunt more? Do you enjoy hunting during the summer and early fall? Then consider calling and hunting raccoons with a Johnny Stewart electronic caller.

Coons destroy millions of dollars worth of crops nationwide each year. Many farmers get crop depredation permits to have hunters take the raccoons destroying their crops. To become the friend of farmers by taking the raccoons on their lands this summer and fall, you need to know all you can about the varmint you'll be hunting.

Here's some of the latest research on raccoons. For the last decade, Dr. Bruce Leopold, a wildlife ecologist at Mississippi State University, has intensively studied carnivores, animals that eat other animals. Leopold has particularly studied the habits of the raccoon. In this special report, Leopold gives us some of the latest information that scientists have learned about the bandit eyes and how this information can enable us all to take more coons.

QUESTION: What have you learned about coon habitat in your recent studies?
ANSWER: We've learned that coons are much more diverse in their habitat selection than we've originally assumed. Many people have envisioned the coon as primarily a wetland animal. However, we've found from our studies that coons move through pine plantations and live in a wide diversity of habitat but still are more abundant in bottom-land hardwoods. Coons can live almost anywhere.

QUESTION: You started a new raccoon study about a year ago. What information are you gaining from that study?
ANSWER: We have about 45 raccoons collared and released wearing radio transmitters on the Black Prairie Wildlife Management Area, which is primarily an agricultural region with mostly fescue fields and CRP land (Conservation Recovery Program). There are only a few patches of woodlands going through this area, but the coons are very abundant there.

This information has shown us that there are coon-hunting opportunities on lands and in habitats that coon hunters may not have considered hunting before. We've learned that the raccoon is a very adaptable animal that can survive and flourish in a wide variety of habitat that we previously haven't thought to be good coon habitat. Even if you don't have quality river-bottom habitat close to home, you can still go coon hunting and have a great likelihood of being successful.

QUESTION: Why are we starting to see coon populations build and grow in subdevelopment areas?
ANSWER: I'm not certain, because I'm not familiar with that biology. Therefore I'll have to give you a speculative answer. Most scientists have learned that the coon is a very adaptable animal. A coon doesn't have specific food requirements, its habitat requirements aren't that restrictive, a coon is tolerant of humans, and it's fairly aggressive. So there's no reason a coon can't live in suburbia.