Varmint APB: How to kill a raccoon

The raccoons continue their attempt to gnaw their way into the chicken coop, and I’ve had about enough of it. The idea that a passel of varmints, fattened up on turkey feed, could one night breach our defenses and snack on our flock just as they’ve started laying is too much for me.  So I have a plan. I will trap them. I will kill them. And, to recoup my turkey feed, I will eat them.

We don’t have a trap, but our friend Les does. And the only reason it isn’t sitting outside our chicken coop, baited with raw meat, is that we’re not quite sure how to dispatch the raccoon once we get one.

My idea of a humane kill is one shot through the heart, but we can’t discharge firearms on our property. Taking a trapped raccoon somewhere else to kill it would just prolong the poor thing’s agony. Besides, I don’t think shooting an animal in a cage is particularly safe, or particularly easy.

There is drowning, which would be easy, but I suspect there’s a lot of suffering involved. At the moment, we’re leaning toward carbon monoxide – put the trap in a box and attach the tailpipe of our catalytic-converter-free Land Rover. In the movies, people who die this way just drift off to sleep.

Before we do anything, though, I’m soliciting input. Many of you have much more experience killing things than I do, and I’d like to hear your ideas.


75 people are having a conversation about “Varmint APB: How to kill a raccoon

  1. I would like to kill cats, do you have idea what’s the best way? drowned one before but I don’t have a sea near anymore…

    • Even though this was posted a long time ago, I just came across it today and I am not sure if you, “S,” will ever even read what I am writing in response to your above post about killing cats. I have a feeling you will and just wanted to say that I honestly hope that you die in a very, VERY painful way!!! You are a sick, twisted, and pathetic piece of shit!

    • take that saferick asid and mix it in its food or u take the stuff that heats up ur car and mix it in there food and they will die

  2. Jonathan in Korea says:

    Hey, I don’t know if this is still an issue, but I know in Florida the recommended way to euthanize invasive exotics, such as the Cuban tree frog, Bufo toads and iguanas, is to capture, place in plastic bag, and then simply freeze them until dead. I know those examples were all relatively small (except iguanas which can grow quite large) and exotherms, and therefore more easily killed by temperature change, but maybe this is something to consider when dispatching your unwanted ringtails. Possible problems would include freezer space large enough to accomodate the raccoon and Havahart trap. The other thing I can think of would be to render unconscious then slit the throat — but again, maneuvering the animal so as to get a clean blow to the head may be difficult to manage. For the electrocution method, I know when I’ve seen videos of slaughterhouse methods, they use a large clamp to direct the current through the head basically, which is probably a more quick and effective way of rendering the animal unconscious.

    Regardless, I discovered your blog by way of Chef John at Foodwishes. It’s fascinating! I’m very interested in sustainable living, and it’s great to see people working towards that and talking about real solutions and methods. Thanks for writing about your experiences!

  3. Coons were after my chickens so I captured a couple in traps (peanut butter on toast always works great as bait) and I out the raccoon in the shed and turn on the tractor and shut the door. 20 minutes later…dead raccoon.

  4. I’ve trapped and killed many coons attacking my chickens. I use a box trap to remove a live raccoon and keep the blood scent away to keep the rest coming. Marshmallow spread works as an excellent bait. Use a .22LR to shoot the coon in the head in the trap usually they are all balled up by morning anyway. sometimes they will look up into the barrel or grab the barrel of the gun. Don’t shoot at that point. It’s an inhumane kill. I find that 2 in the head/neck region and 1 in chest takes them out quickly. You need to do more than slit the throat. If that’s all you will hear the critter drowning in it’s own blood. Headshot is the quickest way I’ve come across even then there will be about 30-60 seconds of convulsions. NO DEATH IS HUMANE. What you perceive as humane is slow unless it is euthanasia which is a controlled substance that vets have access to. I have killed 11 coons by my method. the bodies usually fit right down into a post hole and make excellent fertilizer. Be sure to do your critter control before they have their young. Each coon you kill will cut 4-6 more that you will have to withstand later.

  5. I have a raccoon that has lost fear of my family and even walk right in front of us, I’m afraid that one of these nits will bite my son.
    Trapping it could it be simple, but to kill it, I just don’t know how.
    I don’t own a gun, any suggestions.?

    • Accidental Mick says:

      Buy a small air pistol, they are quite legal in most places. You wont harm the raccoon but you will give it a painful shock when you hit it. If you get into the habit of shooting at it ,it will soon learn to keep clear of humans.

  6. We had a beautiful pair of kittens that went missing. Often when we are away we leave a feeder out for the cat and kittens. Last time we used it we came home and found it tipped over and totally empty. Then one day we found that something had slopped the cats water all over the deck. It was difficult figuring what was doing this because we do not have raccoons here in the city, we thought. Tonight I found two of the filthy beggars on our deck licking the cats dish, and drinking the cats water. So, we do have raccoons here in the city. For the first time. Now I suspect the filthy raccoons have killed the kittens for food. We had a raccoon at our cottage by the lake a few years ago which crawled down the chimney. Fortunately it was too large to make the corner and get out of the chimney into the cottage. We wire meshed the chimney. Now I am setting out to obtain a trap. As far as killing a raccoon, I feel they are as deserving as rats. I also have squirrels, and I find it strange that if you take the bushey squirrel tail off, it is not much different than a rat, yet people feed the squirrels and calll an exterminator at the first glimpse of a rat. The squirrels are more destructive. They climb my stucco walls knocking the stones off. They have chewed through my neighbors shed wall. Squirrels wintered in a cabin at the beach and totally ruind the cabin and all it’s contents causing thousands of dollars in damage.

  7. A humane way to kill any varmint is to use ETHER to put the critter to sleep. You can buy ETHER spray as “Starting Fluid” at automotive shops. It is often used to start Diesel motors in cold weather. Should they ask what you want it for, tell them you have a Diesel washing machine that is hard to start. Just drop a tarp or old blanket over a varmint in a trap, then lift a corner and spray in a dose of ETHER, close the corner, wait, and listen for silence. (Or maybe snoring!). An ETHER overdose can be fatal. Once the critter is out” (hospital terminology) you can cautiously handle the critter, (make sure it is “out” and not just playing possum). After poking it a few times you should be able to go about fitting a plastic bag over it’s head, and give it another shot of ETHER, then secure the plastic bag with duct tape or rubber bands. Starting fluid really isn’t starting anything in this application; it is making a silent ending. Next topic, Disposing of the body gangster style with cement shoes gangsters call it “swimming with the fishes”.

Converstion is closed.