Cold Weather Coon Hunting Advice
Posted on February 02 2022
Raccoon hunting is an old sport that’s been around for decades. It sets itself apart since it’s the only type of hunting that takes place at night. The darker the sky, the more active raccoons are, making them easier to find. While it’s possible to hunt these animals year-round, fall is the ideal season for it.
As the weather changes and temperatures get colder, raccoons’ hides start to thicken, and they begin fattening up in preparation for winter. However, colder temperatures bring plenty of challenges for hunters, so it pays to be prepared. Let’s take a look at some ways you can ensure a successful cold weather coon hunt.
If you’re going to be hunting during the colder seasons, you’re going to need the right gear to get you through it. Here’s a quick list of a few pieces that are essential for coon hunting in cold weather.
If you’re hunting raccoons, you’re likely going to be in heavily wooded areas and near a water source. This means you’ll often be trekking through creeks and streams or slogging through marshy areas, so having waterproof boots is a must. Wet feet are a problem all on their own, but it’s even worse when the temperatures are low. Nothing will end a hunt faster than frozen feet.
Waterproof boots that keep your feet dry are essential. During the winter months, you’ll also want boots that have insulation to keep your feet warm. Bright Eyes Brushbuster Boots offer both waterproofing and insulation, making them a great choice. Plus, the chaps will keep your legs dry and protect you from scrapes when hiking through brush and briars.
Coon hunters typically need warmer clothes than any other type of hunter since temperatures are lower at night. Dressing warm may seem obvious, but many hunters have started out in the evening thinking they’re okay with a few layers, only to realize they should have added more.
Some hunters prefer not to wear a jacket or some other kind of top layer as it can block access to coon hunting supplies kept in their vest. The Brushbuster Vest is fully adjustable and will easily fit over the top of a thick winter coat, giving you the best of both worlds.
Coon hunting is easiest in wet conditions. When the ground is damp, your dogs have an easier time picking up a coon’s scent and tracking it. If it’s snowing or extremely cold, it’s a lot harder for your dogs to do this. That’s why it’s critical you have a good headlamp.
Whether you’ve scoped out the area ahead of time or not, you’ll need a bright light to help you find possible dens or hiding spots to get your dogs closer to the source. Plus, whether the ground is wet or covered in snow, your footing may be unsure. Walk lights can help you scope out the best path to take and help prevent trips and falls. The Bright Eyes Viper Hyper-Lite is the ultimate coon hunting light, with the brightest lights and longest burn time than any other on the market.
Timing & Preparation
If you’re planning to hunt in the winter, you’ll likely need to do a little more prep than you would in warmer seasons. This is because raccoons tend to hole up in their dens when it’s cold. This mild form of hibernation, called torpor, means these animals will be a lot less active and harder to find.
Since the thickest, best pelts come from the middle of winter, you may want to take this challenge on. Near the end of fall, pay attention to coon travel routes. Try to find their dens ahead of time so you know where to look in the colder months.
Whether you’ve done this prep work or not, you can check near creeks and lakes, corn or farm fields, marshes, and areas with thick hollow trees. If you can find a tree with scars on the bark, you’ll know you’ve found a den with multiple coons.
Once you’ve got a good idea of where these creatures are hiding and where they’re most likely to go when it warms up, you’ll know where to take your dogs to help them catch a scent. Since dogs tend to have a harder time finding a track in the cold, it can be a huge advantage if you give them a place to start that’s likely to have a fresh trail.
Another place you can try is near water sources. Find a lake or creek that’s likely near a den. If the water is frozen over, look for holes or openings in the water. This is where the coons will have to come to drink, so these are great spots to find a track.
Most raccoons will spend days at a time in their den without coming out during the colder season. Their fat stores allow them to go into a mild form of hibernation, making them much harder to hunt. So, if you want to hunt them during the winter, you have to time it just right.
It’s unlikely these animals will leave their den in temperatures below freezing. Watch the weather forecast for a warm-up. If you can find a night that’s forecasted to be above freezing after a couple of days of temperatures below, it’s highly likely coons will come out that night to forage and hunt for food.
If there’s a cold spell or a snowstorm and you see higher temperatures forecasted soon, you’ll want to plan your hunt for that time. This is the best way to ensure your hunt is successful.
Coon Hunting in the Cold
While winter may not be the optimal time to hunt for raccoons, it can be done. The proper gear, equipment, planning, preparation, and timing can help you succeed in cold weather coon hunting. If you’re looking to upgrade your gear to prepare for a hunt, check out Bright Eyes Lights for all your coon hunting needs.