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Critter thread. Birds, Raccoons, Deer?

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Masbustelo

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Last year I bagged my grapes, which worked really good for birds. It was a pain to put them on, but it will go better this year. I had zero problems with birds, and the grapes were in great condition. The problem I had was raccoons, particularly the last two weeks til harvest. They climbed up the vines and stripped the leaves off as they went. Quite a few of the cordons didn't bud this year (gaps), where I think they broke or weakened the vines. It seems they don't like capsaicin. I've been doing some research. Since my grapes will be bagged, I am thinking of boiling hot peppers, making a pepper spray and then keeping the foliage dosed every 3-5 days pre -harvest. Does anyone have any comments or experience?
 

KevinL

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I tried capsaicin spray and repellents last season with no result. It seems once they are aware of a food source there is little that will deter them. If your grapes aren't near a building, fence or other growth that raccoons can climb, I've been told by some folks that you can run a small solar powered (or plugged in) Electric fence run around the grapes about 6 inches or so off the ground will prevent them from approaching. This would probably be most effective. If you're vineyard is small enough then you can probably run some configuration of electric fence to block all of their approaches, even from above on your house if you run a wire over the grapes.

Illinois has incredibly dumb laws about trapping (requiring a permit or a game warden coming out and determine that you've "had enough damage" before giving you permission to trap.) You also cannot relocate them in Illinois, although that bit makes sense. They're overpopulated by 3-4 million or something like that since fur prices went into the tank. Also relocating is ineffective, because even if you take them 20 miles away, they usually return within a week or so. There is an open season on trapping, but I'm not sure exactly when it starts. Some time late fall I think.

I simply had to go to war. Seven raccoons had terrible accidents last season in my vineyard involving a sledgehammer and an SKS bayonet I had fixed to the end of an old hoe handle. I would do twice nightly patrols (from 11 PM to 2 AM) for the final two weeks or so. They're awfully clumsy creatures, but only in my vineyard. I live close enough to a forest preserve that the Coyotes regularly come out on patrol at night. They enjoyed the Raccoon carrion buffet that was available in the fall.
 

BigH

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I have heard stories about mean people combating raccoons with a combination of these tools. Not sure how they all work together.

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KevinL

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I didn't use a capsaicin commercial spray. Instead I boiled a combo of peppers (chili, crushed red, and cheyenne) and combined it with a bit of soap to get it to stick. I sprayed those on the berries.

For commercial repellants I tried the Bonide Granules. That didn't seem to have any effect at all. The raccoons had already started raiding me at that point though. Like I said, I think once they have found a food source there is little that will deter them. Perhaps if I were to use it earlier in the season I'd actually get some results. At this point I'm resigned to simply leave these things lying around. Terrible accidents occur.

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Johnd

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Marshmallows work wonders in those leg traps for coons.........so I’ve heard.
 

treesaver

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Man up and trap and kill the dang things. If your worried about neighbors with nose trouble, do it behind a wall or movable shed. Coons are scared of nothing, they are the toughest critter living in your city, just take care of the problem. Put their carcass in a plastic trash bag and send it with the garbage.
 

KevinL

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I recognize this - You should be using the SKS it attaches to as a back-up weapon! :)
Unfortunately, Army regulations in 2004-2005 were lame, and don't allow you to bring home your bounty weapons other than Bayonets. Otherwise I'd have a nice SKS and my very own fully auto chinese made AK-47. I probably would have tried to keep the FN-FAL we had in our private "platoon armory" as well. They'll trust us to sleep with our loaded rifles for a year, but heaven forbid we try to take anything other than bayonets back home with us.

Being a Combat Engineer had its benefits. As we were the guys finding the Caches, we also had the pick of the litter for our collection before we turned over the leftovers to the infantry.

Back on Topic. I actually hadn't considered dropping the carcasses of the raccoons that had "accidents" in the trash. As my city uses a contractor rather than City Employees I imagine there are fewer restrictions about what kind of "leftover meat" from dinner ends up in landfill.

I did forget to mention for birds I've been using netting and mylar tape with good success last season. The only pest that I had extended trouble with were possums. There are no regulations for trapping and killing possums. But the only way I've gotten them is if I am out on patrol and catch them in the vineyard and I see them have a terrible accident. Crossman Pump BB gun has enough power behind it to do the trick. If Anyone has a trick for trapping possums causing possums to have terrible non-road-kill related accidents I'm all ears.
 
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treesaver

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Kevin, they are easy to trap. Come to anything stinky! Easy to catch in those DP traps that you showed in your post. Coons and possums come easy in those, baited with mini marshmallows with some molasses or jack mackerel on the marshmallows. Like I said, drop in a plastic bag after dispatch and the trash man will haul them away!
 

KevinL

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Kevin, they are easy to trap. Come to anything stinky! Easy to catch in those DP traps that you showed in your post. Coons and possums come easy in those, baited with mini marshmallows with some molasses or jack mackerel on the marshmallows. Like I said, drop in a plastic bag after dispatch and the trash man will haul them away!
I had trouble getting the possums in the DPs. I had the Mini Marshmallows in them because that is how the raccoons kept having accidents. (my SKS spear has seven notches in the handle.) I tried a cat-food and marshmallow mix one night, but woke up to a feral cat in the trap. Go figure. I manged to let it go without injuring the cat or myself. I hadn't thought of using Molasses. Maybe the possums will be more likely to pull the trigger with something sticky on it. Jack Mackerel seems like a good idea too, although I worry I'll end up with a cat again.

I've been considering getting a set of Duke #1-3/4 coil spring traps and seeing if I'll have better luck with those. Maybe I'll just stick with the DPs and mix the bait up for the possums. I don't have to worry about the carcasses because of the local coyote pack from the forest preserve. They clean up the carrion I throw on the back of my property 3-4 times a week. I've been at a loss for what to advise people who don't have that kind of... luxury. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

Masbustelo

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I caught a feral cat last year and took it to the pound. I wasn't even sure what kind of an animal it was at first, kind of scary. Now I have chipmunks to deal with.
 

treesaver

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Kevin, if your going to use a foot trap, don't go bigger than a 1 1/2 size for coon and possum. You get too big, you can end up with foot damage more than you like. I trap all winter every year and catch hundreds of coon an coyotes, so If you need sugestions, I'm your huckelberry! lol
 

KevinL

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It looks like I must revise my statement on Possums in Illinois as well. Our benevolent betters in Springfield have determined that to take one without the governor's blessing is poaching, and violators will be sent to the county keep to have their left hand struck from their wrist.

More accidents it is then...
 

treesaver

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Surely as a landowner, you can protect your property! Here, if a critter is doing damage, you can take care of the problem, unless it is deer or turkeys, their prize game animals. But still, if you get an officer involved, they will issue you a take tag, even on their game critters. One of the reasons I live here, we still have a bit of common sense!
 

Dennis Griffith

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Surely as a landowner, you can protect your property! Here, if a critter is doing damage, you can take care of the problem, unless it is deer or turkeys, their prize game animals. But still, if you get an officer involved, they will issue you a take tag, even on their game critters. One of the reasons I live here, we still have a bit of common sense!
Where is here? I fence my area as if I bothered with catching/trapping/shooting rogue critters here, it would be a full time job. Coons parade by and visit all the time. This is due to a coon hunter organization being within a half a mile of my property. They own about 50 acres and people catch and release coons there regularly. As you know, coons don't recognize property lines and don't hang out long when the dogs start to chase them. So they visit us neighbors and try to make themselves at home. Our dog is effective in discouraging ones smart enough to get past the electric at the top of the fence. They usually end up out with the buzzards.
 

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