Live-catch wire cage traps (24″ x 8″ x 7″ or similar) are the best method of control for most urban situations and are utilized by Varment Guard technicians. Traps set on lawns and roofs are either sleaved or secured to a 36″x 16″ piece of 1/4 inch-thick plywood, masonite or 1/2 inch mesh hardware cloth to prevent trapped raccoons from tearing up sod or shingles around the base of the trap. Traps are set to intercept a raccoon as it approaches the garden or garbage cans.
They usually follow established trails, fence lines, buildings, or other cover as they move from the woods. Effective bait items include pieces of apple, melon, peanut butter, fish, fish-flavored canned cat food, sardines, cooked fatty meat, or fried bacon. The bait is placed at the rear or closed end of the trap, but protected so that the animal cannot reach in through the side of the trap and steal the bait.
Raccoons are clever and may be difficult to lure into a live trap. This is especially true for raccoons that have been trapped before and then released, resulting in trap-shy animals. The doors of live traps can first be tied open for several days to permit the animals to become accustomed to the traps and to feeding on the bait (i.e., pre-baiting) in situations involving bait-shyness. Once the bait is being accepted, then the traps are set. Specially designed live-catch traps are available which can be placed over chimneys to capture raccoons that have taken up residency there.
Control pole capture and trapping by herding
A raccoon that has entered the living or work space of a building must sometimes be captured quickly to prevent personal injury and property damage. This can be achieved using an animal control pole (catch stick) and suitably-sized live trap. A single-door cage trap is placed on its closed end with the door facing upward and propped open.
Once the raccoon is secured about the neck with the control pole, it can be lifted and ″stuffed″ into the trap. Once the trap door has been sprung, the noose can be relaxed and the pole withdrawn from the trap. This measure may require two people if the raccoon is large or difficult to handle. Alternatively, one or more live traps can be set directly along the walls of the room occupied by the raccoon. The raccoon usually can be herded or guided in the direction of the nearest trap, especially if the top of the trap is covered with a towel or blanket so that appears to be a hiding place for the excited animal.
Because of the potential of spreading rabies and distemper, relocating and releasing trapped raccoons is not advisable and is illegal in some states.