Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Jamie v. Racoons

A few weeks ago we had some sod put down in our backyard. The first two weeks went as they should, I watered it everyday, all was great. I had even started to mow it. Then, the racoons came.

These little buggers figured out they could get in the seams of the sod and roll it around revealing a triumph of worms and grubs. I put everything back in place and hoped they would just move along.

Like racoons would move along. They returned night after night. I tried staking down the grass with tent stakes. I didn’t have enough stakes and they still made it through. I put more in and they decided to just rip the sod in the middle. I called our landscaper and they suggested using “lawn staples”. I got fifty (yes, fifty!) of them and the racoons simply pulled them out.

I decided the cavalry needed to come in so the landscapers came out and replaced some of the sod, since it had been damaged too badly, and laid down a fence that they use with deer on the sod to keep it in place. The next morning I called them to let them know the racoons had been in there again. The battle continues…


  1. I’d suggest a technique known as "shining ‘coons". You want a rifle that shoots 22 caliber shorts because of the quiet characteristics of this round. You’ll also need a Q-Beam or some other powerful flashlight, and a lot of patience. A good dog is real handy for this because they’ll wake you up when the coons are in your yard but, in lieu of a dog, you’ll have to wait up for them. Anyway, the shining part comes in when the coons actually show up. When that happens, your partner directs the Q-Beam at the coons and aim right between their beady little eyes and shoot. It’s important to note that the distance between a cat’s eyes is narrower than a coons, while a dog’s tend to be wider. Deers’ are higher and further apart but they are another popular shining target you might want to consider. Taping the Q-Beam to the barrel of the rifle works nicely as well in the likely event that your partner is your wife and will have no part of shooting the darling little animals.

    Oh, another thing to consider is that young coons are pretty good eatin’. They’re not hard to clean and have a savory flavor reminiscent of muskrat or possum. You don’t want to old ones though. They tend to be too greasy and gamy and will stink up your kitchen.

    Oh yeah, if you’re squeemish about shooting a gun in town, it may be legal to use a pellet gun. A pellet gun won’t kill a coon but it will definitely get their attention.

  2. Dave in Pennsylvania

    September 4, 2005 at 12:48 pm

    A Hav-a-Hart trap is the other good choice. It’s the best $50 of home improvement money I ever spent. The tally after eighteen months is about 6 opossums, 1 raccoon, and 1 skunk.

    You can show the catch to friends, neighbors, and before long, Mazie will appreciate the close-up look at a wild animal. Then drive out into the country and let them go.

    Relocating a skunk requires a little extra care but it can be done. I’ve read about and talked to people who have moved many skunks.

  3. I’m pleased to see the comments which cover, what appears to be the obvious solution. Anyone trying to defeat wild animals with staples for their sod, is someone who has never met a wild animal. The only thing to do here is work towards the source–shotguns, pellet guns, traps….what have you.

    Take off the gloves, Jamie! Let ’em have it!

  4. I believe war has been declared! .22 caliber’s are fun, but it will not repel a racoon. It will take more than one shot and will likely piss off said racoon. Pellet guns are great for aggrivating a situation but will not necessarily change the course of history. You could always get a trap (humane for you members of PETA, but I’d teach those bastards a lesson). Happy hunting!

  5. If you do happen to use the "shining ‘coons" technique, please let me in on the coon skin raffle… I really could use a new hat.

  6. Or try this thing… User comments lead one to believe that it works.

    If you want a laugh, check out the additional product photos…very badly photoshopped!

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