Raccoons: The New Super-Predator?
Source: Sasser, Ray. “Super ‘Coons.” Texas Sporting Journal September/October 2010: 72-76.
I read an interesting article (cited above) recently regarding the notion that there may be more raccoons in Texas today than ever before. Now as the old adage goes, everything is bigger in Texas!! But egads…. does that have to include raccoons too?!
There are several factors that the author noted for this population growth:
- Hunting pressure (lack of) — no longer are raccoons hunted down for their fur; and ‘coons hunters today prefer the “tree-and-release” method of hunting.
- Predator de-eradication — as we progress steadily from our agrarian ways of life to the modern technologically driven life, farmers are no longer roaming their fields and hunting down the predators (which includes raccoons).
- Flushing — “the process of increasing the nutritional plane of livestock just prior to breeding season (it also increases the reproduction rate)”. More and more feeders are being placed for livestock and also to draw in wild game.
The author points out that the fact that raccoons are eating the high-protein foods that are being used in the flushing process is producing new generations of raccoons that are healthier due to their higher reproductive and survival rates. One financial fact that was highlighted was that raccoons eat up roughly 10% of the high-protein foods that are meant for other animals on the farm. So a ranch that goes through $100,000 worth of high-protein foods incurs a loss of some $10,000 of that food to the raccoons!!! Even I don’t eat that good!!!
As with hog population control, it’s all in time and effort. We need more hunters making/taking more time and putting forth more effort! A key point the author states is so simple and all hunters should follow:
Make sure the landowner and the local game warden know what you’re doing.
Sound advice indeed! I wonder what the current Texas state record for heaviest raccoon is??!!