Racoons

Anyone have and effective remedy against racoons?
I have a backyard vineyard in town and they are devouring my fruit. They are getting through the bird netting like it is not even a problem for them.
I have a "have a heart" trap and in the last two weeks have caught 4 of them. I caught two earlier in the season for a total of 6 so far. I take them about 6 miles away. Is this far enough? How large a family do they usually have?
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it's not. they aren't birds :)

is trap & release legal where you are? it's not in a lot of places because it's both inhumane & dangerous for the animals. in any case, no, 6 miles is not far enough to move a racoon to prevent it's return. minimum of 20. they have rather large ranges, especially males. a female racoon will usually have between 2-8 kits. they stay with mom for a year, until the next litter is born, then they're kicked out. some teenage racoons stay in gangs for the next year until they get to be 2 years old, but not all of them do this. is your grape arbor small enough to enclose in a chainlink dog pen (you can get extra panels to extend length & width)? that would keep the racoons out, as they aren't much for digging. or you could get electric fencing... either sheep mesh or standed, with the wires at 6", 1' & 3' should also keep them out. lee
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enigma wrote:

Not as inhumane as trapping and then shooting them ;)

No, it is about 60 fee long and 60 feet in width

May be a good option but then again, I live in town and I don't know about the legality of electric fences either.
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actually, yes, it can be. local populations have their own set of parasite & disease resistances, their own set pattern of food gathering, their own 'pecking order'. moving an animal to a strange location is pretty much dooming them to a slow death due to starvation, disease/parasites, or fighting & subsequent infection if they aren't killed outright.

nice size! what types of grapes do you have?

hmm. i don't see why not. kids learn real quick not to mess with electric fences ;) have you tried one of those sprinklers with a motion sensor? lee
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enigma wrote:

I grow Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Have not tried that. Do they work?
I have not had a problem with them until this year. I have been trapping and releasing ground hogs this year and now that they seem to be gone the racoons are moving in. I also have occasional problems with deer but I have only seen them once this year - in early March.
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not a fan of merlot. i do like the cabernets. i had a pinot noir when i moved here, but it got strangled by the faster growing concords... so i ripped out all the grapes. i'd like to replant & a vintner just bought the house across from us for a summer house, so i'll be picking his brains first. i think i can supply the translation from CA to NH growing conditions.

i'd have to say i think it depends a lot on the local racoon population. for the most part, i'd suspect it would work for a few weeks, especially if you move it around a bit. racoons do *think* and they will start to ignore something not completely random. they work pretty good on deer, but deer are not very smart.

is it dry in your area? or has it been a particularly lush year? either one might cause racoons to be in areas they would normally avoid. or you may have a new neighbor that doesn't secure his garbage & they've moved in because of an easy food source... lee
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enigma wrote:

There will be a BIG transition from CA to NH. Cabernet Franc is fairly cold hardy. There are also new hybrids for cold climate that have been developed such as Frontenac. I suggest you talk to the nearest growers to you or your agriculture extension agent or one in New York State - perhaps someone at Cornell.

It has been a semi draught year - very good for wine grapes.

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i have land in NY, near the Finger Lakes too, but not a large amount. we want to eventually move the farm from NH to NY, but i'm being picky about where & what i want on the new property. since i have a decent working farm already, i am not in a huge rush to settle on something yet ;)
i'd look into the motion activated sprinkler as at least a stopgap deterrent. check with your town about the electric fence though. lee
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in

For many people,
humane = "it gives me a warm feeling in my tummy & I don't have to see the results". inhumane = "I would have to see the results of the decision I made".
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On 9/26/2007 1:46 PM, Paul E. Lehmann wrote:

Racoons consumed my entire crop of table grapes, one vine each of 'Perlette' and 'Black Monukka'. They did not touch the grapes until they were ripe.
I was advised to tie paper lunch bags around each bunch just before they were complete ripe. This is supposed to protect the fruit from both racoons and squirrels.

I have a medium Havahart (brand name) trap for squirrels. I release the squirrels in a state park about 5 miles away, on the other side of an 8-lane freeway. There are pleanty of hungry coyotes and hawks in the park.
I was told that I need a large Havahart trap for racoons. If I catch any, I can take the trap to the local animal shelter (which won't accept squirrels). The shelter will relocate racoons that are a problem.
In any case, I no longer have my grape vines. The entire slope where they were planted had to be stripped and regraded because of a slope-failure in a rain storm. Most of the rest of my garden is also gone, chewed up by the grading equipment. :( The repairs will be done by Friday (so I was told). In the meantime, I heard a rustling in the back yard one night about 6 weeks ago. With a large flashlight, I checked and saw a large racoon and three small ones; they found nothing but desolation.
Replanting should begin in the next week or two. I have rooted cuttings of 'Perlette', 'Black Monukka', and 'Flame' to put on the slope. While the whole slope had to be repaired, it did not really move where the old grape vines were growing. Grapes have tough, deep roots. Thus, I am adding a third vine.
It will be about three more years before I again worry about racoons.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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David E. Ross wrote:

but it takes their largest trap for big raccoons.
Last animal bothering my trash cans turned out to be a female skunk with 4 young ones. I described that elsewhere but imagine mother in trap with kids that will not leave. I was able to get her out without getting sprayed. Now trap is back in shed and I got garbage cans with locking lids.
Frank
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Don't know if anyone has tried to build a barrier at the base of the grape vine that is difficult for raccoons to climb? I know they can climb simple structures, so this barrier would have to be designed very well with no easy places to grasp and climb with their powerful claws.
Perhaps an even more wild idea may be to feed them cat food at a corner of your lot and build a fence or barrier between the cat food and your grapes? The logic is that once they're satisfied with cat food, they won't have much interest in your grapes?
BTW I confess to feeding raccoons on a shelf in my back porch along with neighborhood cats, opossums, birds and any critter that can climb up to a shelf about 30 inches above the floor. I can assure you that the raccoons can climb this height very easily. I built the shelf in order to keep my neighborhood dogs from eating the cat food. That was successful. And I don't mind feeding the other critters, as well. Fortunately, the skunks haven't figured out how to climb the shelf. So if you want to feed cats and not skunks, the shelf may be your solution. Of course, if the dogs visit me and beg for food, I feed them, as well. In case you're wondering, I buy a 16 lb bag of cat food each week. Most of it goes to the raccoons, of course, since they're bigger and hungrier than the cats and opossums
It may take a lot of cat food to satisfy your raccoons, depending on how many and how big they are. Then, again, they may prefer the grapes over cat food? You may test that question by placing a bunch of grapes next to some cat food and seeing which they eat first?
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raycruzer wrote: snip...

I assure you that there are not many things that a raccoon cannot climb, especially if there is a reward at the other end. I routinely have raccoons on the roof of my house, mostly a single female that takes her young up there via an arbor and pergola. What they are doing up there beyond running back and forth totally escapes me. A "teenage" raccoon sometimes comes and tries to drink from my watering can on the front porch. The worst damage I've ever suffered at the paws of my night visitors is one small ceramic pot of Mammilaria plumosa (?) tipped from the porch and broken. The visitors carefully avoid the large pots of seriously thorny cacti on the porch so they certainly aren't stupid.
My neighbors have a large group that comes in the early evening, over and under a 5-foot chain link fence, to drink from the in-ground pool and snatch whatever cat food might be about. I snapped a picture with my cellphone of nine drinking at one time in a reasonably orderly group. The amazing thing to me is how fearless they are and how little attention the cats pay to them while their food is being stolen.
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John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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