1. Raccoons have a more defined home range. I have called the other three predators across a half mile of freshly tilled farmland. The raccoon, unless driven by extreme hunger, isn’t going to stray very far from tall hardwoods and a good water source.
2. Look for its unmistakable tracks around sand bars, creek and pond banks and adjacent roads.
3. Raccoons will not travel as far to a call as the other predators.
4. Raccoons are mainly nocturnal. I hear other callers talk about calling coons in daylight. I can only recall luring in three in daylight, and these came in during early morning or late evening.
5. The best method for detecting incoming night critters is a headlight with a red lens. Raccoons don’t tolerate a lot of light so use a low-intensity headlight. When the coon is in gun range, I use a rechargeable Maglite, which gives more than adequate shooting light to 75 yards.
6. I employ the same equipment I use when night calling for bobcats and foxes. Wear camouflage. The raccoon has excellent night vision. Having to look into the headlight hampers its vision somewhat, but any clothing that is light-colored or looks out of place will be detected.
7. It is always a good idea to occasionally sweep the light through the nearby trees. Often a coon that might not want to come to the call on the ground will climb up a tree to get a better view of what is going on.
8. Some states prohibit the use of e-callers on game animals that have a season. My effective sounds for calling coons are categorized into four parts: food, maternal instinct, curiosity and aggression.
9. Distress cries of young raccoons will turn on the maternal instinct and often bring on mama in a hurry, unless she has been fooled a couple of times before. Unlike the bobcat that seems unable to breech the mental gap between the real thing and a caller blowing a tune, the raccoon with its keen intelligence can become call-shy.
10. I like shotguns for night calling because I love to call critters really close (though not into my lap). My favorite is a 12-gauge with a red-dot sight. For the shooter who like to reach out there, the .223 or the .22 Hornet are ideal. (Check your state regulations. Some states designate raccoons as small-game and require the use of rimfire rifles.)
11. It is good practice to carry a pair of latex gloves when handling dead coons. These critters carry several diseases. In Georgia, coons are the primary carriers of rabies.