Texas Raccoon Hunt

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Several weeks ago I decided to head into East Texas with my dog Marley and my good friend Terry for a few days of hunting. This trip did require a good amount of planning, I had to find a location, rent a vehicle and situate a place for us to stay. This location was approximately a 25 hour drive so I was very happy to have my good friend Terry join us to help out with the driving.

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The Eastern part of the Lone Star State is beautiful, everything is green and to woods are close to almost like a jungle. The 500 acre facility offered plenty of space to roam and during the on season is popular for hunting Ducks, Deer, wild pigs and Coyotes. We had three days to spend on this beautiful ranch hunting a variety of animals including Raccoons.

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For this trip we brought several PCP's from the Western Airguns line, a .357 Rattler, .30 Rattler and the New .22 caliber Sidewinder. These are semi-automatic hammerless PCP Airguns that produce a ton of power.

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For this trip we teamed up with PARD Optics, they produce high quality Night Vision and Thermal scopes that would help us see in the dark, as well as to record the action as we go. Our host Butch gave us a nice tour of this property, he drove us all over on the side by side 4x4 that gave us a good detail on the lay of the land. Butch is a very accomplished hunter and gave us some good insight as to what we could expect over the next several days on this ranch.

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After our tour of the ranch Terry, Marley and I left to get lunch and head back to the motel where we would rest up and return later on that evening. That evening we loaded up in the van and headed back out to the ranch to meet up with Butch. For the night hunt we brough the .357 Rattler that I had setup to shoot 143gr NSA's at 235 fpe as well as the .22 caliber Sidewinder configured to shoot 25gr redesigns at 53 fpe topped with the PARD DS35 LRF scope. This is a neat gun because it produces a ton of power, is semi/full auto and has a 15 shot removable titanium magazine.

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Butch took a bit of time explaining some of the gear he uses for hunting Raccoons at night such as various lights, a more detailed look of this can be found in the enclosed video at the bottom of the page.

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Aside from a bunch of neat gear, Butch brought his dog Skipper who is a professional Coon hunting dog and one that he has trained personally. Between Skipper and Marley I would say we had a pretty good chance of getting onto some Raccoons for this evening's hunt.

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We loaded into the Side By Side and headed out and down a small narrow path through the property where we would wait for Skipper to pick up a scent. It didn't take long for skipper to start barking to let us know he picked up a scent, Butch stopped and let him loose to give chase. Skipper is fitted with a GPS collar that allows Butch to track his exact location as well as being able to show if he has one in a tree. Skipper will chase the Raccoon, get it into a tree and the bark to let us know he's found one for us to come and shoot. Let me say that hiking through these thick woods was very difficult, navigating through vines that have thorns, fell trees and thousands of spiderwebs was no easy task at night. I played cameraman for most of the first part of the night and had a heck of a time getting through without falling on my face. Terry was ahead of me while Marley and I stayed back a ways to give him space to scan the trees. We soon came up on where Skipper had trapped a Raccoon in the tree, he was excited and barking while jumping at the base of this large tree. Even with Night Vision and thermal it can be difficult to locate a small target high up in the tree, especially with so much foliage. With a little bit of patience Terry was finally able to get a good view of the Raccoon about 30' up in the tree where he was able to make an excellent headshot with the .357 Rattler.

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This was Terry's first Raccoon taken out here in Texas and it was what I'd say was a pretty good sized one. After collecting our gear we headed back to the side by side to continue on, it was about 11:00pm by this time. We headed further down the trail, stopping frequently to look around where Skipper finally picked up the scent of yet another Raccoon. This time it was a bit closer to the trail in an area that's essentially a marshy swamp with water about knee deep. Skipper quickly found the tree where I was fairly quickly able to take aim and make a headshot...THWACK!!! That Raccoon splashed down into the water below where Skipper and Marley were able to eagerly recover it. As I mentioned it's not easy to spot these animals, even with a thermal scope as they tend to be obscured by branches, foliage and the fact you are having to aim upwards while trying to steady yourself in off camber terrain.

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After getting two kills with the .357 Rattler it was time to switch over to the .22 Sidewinder topped with the PARD DS35 LRF NV unit. This in my opinion is about one of the best setups for this type of hunting, accurate, powerful and able to achieve lightning fast follow up shots. Many times the Raccoons will move throughout the trees if you miss a shot, so having a gun that is semi auto makes things much easier without having to take one hand off the gun to cock it. We continued down the trail into another swampy area where Skipper got wind of another Raccoon, watching that dog work is simply amazing. He gets so excited, and I think Marley thoroughly enjoyed getting out to hunt with another dog. Marley and I walked down the trail where I could hear Skipper, it took awhile but I was finally able to see the tree the Raccoon was in. I moved to several different spots about 45 yards away from the tree so I wasn't having to look straight upward, I had a nice comfortable angle to shoot from. I spotted the Raccoon through my scope and was able to take it down with the second shot.

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This was a fun filled, very exciting first night of our trip and was so happy we had some success on getting three Raccoons. The Rattler and Sidewinder both worked extremely well and part of that was pairing them with good optics. This was our first dedicated Raccoon hunt and wow was it exciting, I highly encourage others to get out and try this type of hunting. Having Skipper with us was an experience in itself and we would have had a heck of a difficult time without him. I plan to share the rest of our adventure, it does take time to get everything together for sharing. If you enjoyed this read I encourage you to check out the enclosed video that documents everything in full details in 4k quality. I would enjoy hearing stories from any of you who have hunted Raccoons in a similar fashion, it was a bunch of fun. Cheers, Dana

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