Deer feeders are a great way to attract deer to your property and enjoy watching them. However, they can also attract unwanted visitors, such as raccoons. Raccoons can be a nuisance and cause damage to your feeder and surrounding areas. In addition, they can be carriers of diseases that can be harmful to humans and pets. Therefore, it is important to take measures to get rid of raccoons at deer feeders.
This guide will provide an overview of raccoon behavior, prevention measures, and humane removal techniques to help you deal with this issue effectively and responsibly.
Understanding Raccoon Behavior
Before taking any action, it is important to understand the behavior of raccoons. Knowing what attracts them and how they behave can help you take preventative measures that are more effective. Here are some key points to consider:
- Raccoon feeding habits: Raccoons are omnivorous and will eat almost anything, including fruits, vegetables, insects, small animals, and pet food. They are especially attracted to sweet and high-protein foods, which are often found in deer feeders.
- Raccoon physical characteristics: Raccoons have dexterous front paws that allow them to manipulate objects and climb trees. They are also excellent swimmers and can easily cross bodies of water. These characteristics make them very adaptable and able to find ways to access deer feeders.
- Raccoon habitat and behaviors: Raccoons are nocturnal animals and are most active at night. They are also opportunistic and will seek out sources of food wherever they can find them. They prefer wooded areas but can also adapt to urban and suburban environments.
Preventing raccoons from accessing your deer feeder is the best way to avoid the problem altogether. Here are some effective measures to consider:
- Place your feeder at least 6 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from any trees or structures that raccoons can climb. This will make it harder for them to reach the feeder.
- Use a feeder that is designed to be raccoon-proof. These feeders usually have a locking mechanism that prevents raccoons from opening them.
Cleaning up the Area
- Keep the area around your feeder clean and free of spilled food or debris. Raccoons are attracted to food sources, so keeping the area tidy can reduce their interest in your feeder.
- Remove any fallen fruits or nuts that may be on the ground. These can also attract raccoons and other animals.
Use of Raccoon-Proof Feeders
- Consider using a feeder that is specifically designed to be raccoon-proof. These feeders often have a weight-sensitive mechanism that closes the feeder when a certain amount of weight is applied, such as when a raccoon tries to climb onto it.
Use of Motion-Activated Sprinklers and Lights
- Install motion-activated sprinklers or lights around your feeder. These will startle raccoons and discourage them from approaching your feeder.
Use of Sound Deterrents
- Play loud music or use a radio near your feeder. Raccoons are sensitive to noise and may be discouraged from approaching the feeder if they hear loud or unfamiliar sounds.
Humane Removal Techniques
If preventative measures are not effective, you may need to consider humane removal techniques. Here are some options to consider:
Trapping and Relocation
- Use a live trap to catch the raccoon. Place the trap near the feeder or in the raccoon’s path. Bait the trap with something sweet, such as marshmallows or honey.
- Once the raccoon is caught, release it in a wooded area at least 10 miles away from your property. It is important to release the raccoon in a suitable environment where it can find food and shelter.
- Check your local regulations before trapping and relocating raccoons. Some areas may require a permit or have specific rules for trapping and relocating wildlife.
Contacting a Wildlife Removal Professional
- Consider hiring a wildlife removal professional to help you remove the raccoon. These professionals have the expertise and tools to safely and effectively remove raccoons without causing harm to the animal.
- Wildlife removal professionals will also know how to prevent raccoons from returning to your property.
Preventing Raccoon Return
- Once you have removed the raccoon, take steps to prevent it from returning. This includes using preventative measures such as raccoon-proof feeders and cleaning up the area around your feeder.
- You may also want to consider using a repellent spray or granules around your feeder. These products often use natural ingredients such as cinnamon, garlic, or peppermint to deter raccoons.
Raccoons can be a nuisance at deer feeders, but there are effective and humane ways to deal with them. Understanding raccoon behavior and taking preventative measures can help you avoid the problem altogether. If preventative measures are not effective, consider using humane removal techniques or contacting a wildlife removal professional. Remember to act responsibly and with respect towards wildlife at all times.