Can a Pellet Gun Kill a Raccoon?

Ever wonder if shooting a raccoon with your pellet gun will work? Well, you won’t need to go much farther than this article for the data you’ll need to make an informed decision. We’ll discuss what kind of guns are best for killing these pesky animals and whether it’s legal in certain areas!

The Debate on Whether a Pellet Gun Can Kill a Raccoon

Can a pellet gun kill a raccoon? This issue has been disputed for some time because of aspects such as accuracy, firearm capacity, and whether or not you should be shooting or capturing them for pest management.

On the one hand, some argue that pellet guns are ineffective in removing these animals. They claim that pellet guns are not powerful enough to kill the raccoons. 

On the other hand, some believe that using a pellet gun to kill a raccoon is cruel. They argue that the animals suffer when shot with these guns and that it is not a humane way to get rid of them. 

So, what is the truth? Can a pellet gun kill a raccoon?

The answer to this query is, Yes, a pellet gun can kill a raccoon. However, it must be noted that the firearm must be powerful enough to generate at least 35 ft-lbs of energy. In addition, the shot must be placed in a crucial area for the animal to be killed. 

Some pellet guns are designed specifically for killing raccoons and other fur-bearing animals. These guns typically use hollow point pellets designed to cause maximum damage. 

It’s also worth noting that the legality of shooting a raccoon with a pellet gun varies by state.

It is essential to check with your local laws before attempting to kill a raccoon in this manner.

Power and Accuracy of Gun and Shooter

When considering which airgun to use for dispatching raccoons, it is crucial to select a gun with enough power and accuracy to ensure a humane kill. Rifles firing pellets with at least 25 ft./lbs.

Energy will be suitable for this purpose, but guns with more power (up to 35 ft./lbs.) will provide a more significant margin of safety.

Moreover, a rifle capable of producing muzzle energy and sub-1-inch groupings at 50 yards will provide a greater chance of success when hunting in close quarters. The Air Force Talon P carbine is an excellent choice for hunting raccoons, as it is both powerful and accurate.

Hunting Requires Precision.

Practicing Accuracy is important if you want to take down a raccoon with a pellet gun.
Practicing Accuracy is crucial if you want to take down a raccoon with a pellet gun. Photo by: https://elements.envato.com/user/jirkaejc

One of the most important reasons for accuracy is safety. A stray shot can quickly kill someone who is not the intended target.

Before taking a shot, knowing your surroundings and what is beyond your target is vital.

Precision is a vital skill in hunting because it dramatically affects the chances of hitting the target so that the animal is killed quickly and humanely without sustaining any unnecessary pain.

To achieve accuracy, shooters need to be well-trained and practiced. Raccoons are not easy targets, so it is essential to take the time to practice before attempting to shoot them.

Type of Pellet Gun Best for Raccoon Sized-Animal

When choosing the best air rifle for hunting raccoons, there are a few things to consider. The size and speed of the raccoon will determine the type of air rifle you need.

FPE stands for “foot-pounds of energy” and measures the power of a pellet gun. Caliber is the diameter of the pellet gun’s barrel in millimeters.

Raccoons are around 18-30 inches in size, so you will need an air rifle with enough power to take them down. A .22 caliber pellet gun with a 25 FPE is ideal for this purpose, as it will deliver the necessary kinetic energy to take the animal down.

Another thing to consider is the noise level of the air rifle. If you live in an area where many people or animals could be disturbed by the sound of a gun firing, you will want to choose a quieter air rifle.

Benjamin Marauder air guns are among the least noisy available, clocking at only 74 dB. 

Finally, you will want to consider what air rifle you want. If you plan to hunt raccoons regularly, it might be worth investing in a repeating air rifle that allows you to fire multiple shots without reloading.

However, if you are starting out or only plan to use your air rifle for occasional hunting trips, you should suit a more straightforward, lightweight model.

Distance and Area for Shooting

When shooting raccoons in urban areas, it is vital to consider the distance between the target raccoon and any potential bystanders.

Whether practicing shooting a pellet gun in the comfort of your backyard or a national hunting preserve, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your surroundings to ensure no risk of ricochet or stray bullets. 

Although shooting raccoons as pests can be an effective way to get rid of them, there may be other ways to eliminate them, depending on the situation. If hunting raccoons, it is essential to consider all the factors involved before taking a shot.

Hollow point pellets are best for shooting raccoons.
Hollow-point pellets are best for shooting raccoons.

What Should You Consider Before Shooting a Raccoon?

Shooting a raccoon requires some thought. Raccoons are insect and carrion eaters and also assist the ecology. In contrast, they may damage humans, pets, and other animals. Six-month-old raccoons can become quite aggressive. Shooting a raccoon should be evaluated thoughtfully.

What Does a Raccoon Do? from a Scientific Standpoint?

Raccoon in the backyard
Raccoon in the backyard

Raccoons are fascinating creatures! They have a voracious appetite for both plant and animal foods, making them omnivores willing to solve challenges to have a bite to eat. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. They are excellent climbers and can often be found in trees.

They have a perfect sense of smell, which aids them in finding food. They also have excellent hearing, which allows them to stay safe from predators. Raccoons are inquisitive animals and will often explore their surroundings. When threatened, they may scurry away or hide.

What is a Raccoon

A raccoon is a small, bushy-tailed animal closely related to the bear. They are found in North America and are known for their naughty behavior.

Types & Species

There are seven types of raccoons in North and South America, including the North American raccoon, ringtails, cacomistles, coatis, kinkajous, olingos, and olinguitos. Of these, the North American raccoon is the only one native to the US.

Raccoons are essential to know if you plan to shoot them with a pellet gun because they are a protected species in many states. While you can hunt them in some states during specific seasons, it is crucial to be aware of the laws regarding hunting them before you do so.

Are Raccoons a Pest or Useful?

Raccoons are often considered pests because they can be destructive and cause a lot of damage. They can also carry diseases that can be harmful to humans and pets.

However, raccoons also have some valuable qualities. They are very intelligent animals, and you can train them to fetch items or open gates for food.

Raccoons can also help control the population of other pests, such as rodents. Overall, raccoons are both a pest and valuable animals, depending on the situation.

Why Hunt Raccoons, What Resources Do Raccoons Provide?

Raccoons provide a valuable food resource that is worth hunting. They are greasier and tendered dark-meat animals than chicken or turkey and have few calories.

They also provide potassium and vitamins. Protein, saturated fat, salt, and cholesterol are modest in raccoon meat. Raccoon hunting is primarily for meat and fur, although the coat may not be as valuable in 2022 as it is now.

Raccoon hunting provides a way for people to get food for their families and a way to get fur for coats and other items.

Time of Day Planning to Shoot Raccoon (Sight and Light)

There is no “best” time to shoot a raccoon, as hunting conditions shift depending on geographical area and the season. However, there are some things to factor in when planning a daytime or nighttime hunt for raccoons.

The night is when raccoons are most active, giving you a slight edge if you’re hunting them. However, daytime shooting can be more successful in some cases, as raccoons tend to sleep in larger groups and female raccoons often share dens.

Artificial light or night vision may be necessary to see raccoons clearly at night. Generally, hunting with a spotlight from a vehicle and calling frequently works best for shooting raccoons at night.

Nothing coon locations throughout the day can also help increase your success rate when hunting at night. Thermal Night Vision scopes for pellet guns are pricey but function with excellent spotlights and timing. 

Scope Mounted Gun Lights, hybrid hunting flashlights, and LED Headlamps are all excellent options for lighting the way during a nighttime hunt.

Night Raccoon Hunting with Stu

Join Stu from Coon Creek Outdoors as he takes us on a nighttime adventure of raccoon hunting. Watch as he uses expert calling techniques to lure them into range and then takes shots with a 25-caliber air gun (the closest thing to using a 22.) Covering approximately 50 yards away. Get ready for an exhilarating experience!

Coon Creek Outdoors. (2021, February 17). RACCOON Hunting at NIGHT with a AIR RIFLE [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqp4MYLDACI

Safety and Nearby Neighbors

You should consider a few measures while using a pellet rifle for hunting raccoons.

  • First and foremost, This goes without saying with any potentially lethal weapon, always be conscious of your vicinity and avoid firing in anyone’s direction.
  • Secondly, you need to be familiar with pellet guns can easily ricochet off hard surfaces like metal or concrete, so always be sure to take all necessary precautions to avoid hitting anything other than your target.
  • Finally, ensure that you use the appropriate safety gear when hunting with a pellet gun, including eye protection and hearing protection.

How to Kill a Raccoon with a Pellet Gun Safely?

Taking the necessary precautions when hunting raccoons is essential, as they can be dangerous animals. One way to kill a raccoon with a pellet gun is to identify the animal and its traits before you begin.

Knowing your weapon and having the right equipment are also important. It would be best if you warned people of your hunting excursion and where and when you will be hunting. It is also essential to follow basic gun handling laws.

When hunting raccoons with a pellet gun, it is vital to maintain muzzle safety. Ensure your gun is pointed in a safe direction. And that no one is standing in front of or behind the target.

Before shooting, you should also know your goal and weapon constraints. Pellet guns are not as powerful as rifles, so you must aim for the head or chest to kill the animal quickly.

If the raccoon is wounded, it may attack, so a first aid kit is an absolute prerequisite in case of an unexpected attack.

  • Use Air Gun Noise Suppressor: If you are using an air gun, it is crucial to use noise suppression if your state allows using a suppressor. This will help reduce the chance of spooking the coon and making him run away.

The Legality of Killing Raccoons with a Pellet Gun

Raccoons are protected in most states, as they help to preserve ecosystems. Hunting raccoons can hurt the population, as it can remove an essential part of the food chain for other animals.

Most states allow shooting a raccoon without a permit in your backyard property, but anywhere else requires a license because they spread diseases. Before killing raccoons, it is essential to check your state’s wildlife and conservation laws to ensure you are following the proper protocol.

Hunting Session

Hunting for raccoons is a popular sport in the United States and is legal in many states within the session. However, before you can go out hunting for raccoons, you need to obtain a hunting permit. In most cases, you must abide by specific hunting rules and regulations.

For example, raccoon hunting is allowed in Michigan from October to March. To hunt raccoons in Michigan, you must have a valid fur hunting license.

You must visit your local government site store to obtain a hunting permit.

Please ensure you are familiar with the hunting regulations of the state where you will be hunting, as each state has its own rules and regulations.

Raccoon Hunting Laws Differ by State

The details in the table below will help you get started hunting and shooting raccoons legally in the United States of America. It includes information on when the necessary legislative sessions are held and links to pertinent data and resources. With a bit of practice and a gun, you can end that rascally raccoon before it destroys your crops.

STATE LEGALITY RULES SESSION
Alabama Hunting & fishing license needed. hunted daytime /nighttime 

5 per party

No Closed Season

Open Permit- Public Land

Alaska No hunting rules around Raccoons. Still, you need a hunting license/permit contact Alaska Department of Fish and Game  Open session 

(Coons Not Native to Alaska)

Arizona It is legal to trap and kill raccoons, but you need a License  NIGHT-time 

open areas of the state. 

carrying a Permit 

from August to March.

Hunted Daylight hours.

California A license or hunting permit is required. All of Imperial County

Night & Day 

Nonlead projectiles

July 1 through March 31
Colorado A furbearer license 

-before the first hunting trip of the season to register intent

Hunt: A half-hour each side of sunrise and sunset November through February. May vary from year to year
Connecticut Only licensed hunters or property owners may shoot. Hunting state-owned & private property – half an hour after dusk to half an hour before dawn. Jan. 1 – Jan. 15 &  Oct. 15 – Dec. 31
Delaware Raccoon hunting is allowed from 7-12 am during rifle deer seasons. Raccoons and opossums should not be killed unjustly. Nov. 1 through Feb. 28, 2023
Florida Florida hunting license In Florida, there is no raccoon bag restriction or limited season. Year Round 
Georgia hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. No seasons are closed & no limits are enforced on private property. Year-Round Hunting
Idaho Reclassified as predatory wildlife.

One needs a valid hunting or trapping license to take raccoons

They can be hunted at night with an artificial light & no permit specific only to raccoons  Aug-Jan Sessions May vary
Illinois A hunting or trapping license is needed to kill a raccoon legally There is no restriction to the quantity of raccoons that individual hunting may take Nov 10, 2022 – Feb 15, 2023 -; Closed 18-20 November and 1-4 December 2022 in provinces with rifle deer season
Indiana Tenants may catch raccoons that harm their property without a license. A hunting license is required otherwise. Anybody born after 1986 must attend a hunter education program. Nov. 8 – Jan. 31
Kansas Problem raccoons can be controlled without a permit. The raccoon, or any of its remnants, must not be relocated. Nov – Feb 

 11/16/2022 – 02/15/2023

Kentucky Nighttime shooting is legal for raccoons year-round. Except for the current gun deer season, you’ll need a permit.  You must hunt on designated public lands Oct 1, 2022 – Feb 28 2023
Louisiana Basic Hunting License & Hunter Education Two raccoons and two opossums Year-round
Maryland Furbearer Permit, Managed Hunt Permit, Maryland Hunting License. Hunting only permitted: Wednesdays & Saturdays/ Designated areas only. October-March 2023
Massachusetts Must-Have State Hunting license 3 Raccoons every two days.    October – January
Michigan Base License 

Fur harvesting license 

No Bag Limit 

Raccoons and opossums may be killed at night with firearms no larger than a 269 caliber. Oct. 1 – Mar. 31
Minnesota A certificate of gun training/hunter education is required for a hunting license. Hunters must be on foot. North furbearer zone.

For safety, wear at least one prominent reflective garment.

10/15/22 – 03/15/23
Montana General Hunting license Regulations to manage nongame wildlife Sept – March 
Missouri Wildlife Code recognizes raccoons as furbearers that may be hunted/. You can shoot raccoons out-of-season without a permit. Furbearer hunters must possess an unfilled firearms deer hunting permit if during daylight hours.

Daily limit: Any number

August 1, 2022, to October 15, 2022

November 15, 2022, to February 28, 2023

Mississippi Hunting license, except while hunting on lands titled in his name. Raccoons may be legally hunted at night November  – March 
Nebraska Fur harvest permit or Written permission Within the season no bag limit Sept. 1, 2022-Oct. 31, 2022
Nevada No hunting license is needed, but a trapping license is required.  Is considered an unprotected mammal Any time of the year
New Hampshire Furbearer Hunting Licensing Hunting can be done at night

No Bag Limit 

Sept. 1 – Mar. 31 
New Jersey A firearm & Hunting license is required; no permit is needed. Air Gun, .22 cal. rifle or Shotgun

No daily or seasonal bag limits

One hr. after sunset–1 hr. before sunrise

 

Oct. 1, 2022–Mar. 1, 2023;

7:41 p.m. start Oct. 1, 2022,

Closed Dec. 5–10 & 14, 2022

New Mexico NMDGF authorizes licensed furbearer hunters to hunt for raccoons

by use of a gun of .22 caliber.  

You may not shoot at any protected furbearer from a road or within the right-of-way fences of any maintained public road.  April 1–May 15, 2022; September 1, 2022–March 31, 2023
New York To hunt furbearers, you need to possess a hunting license Crossbows may not be used while hunting with a dog for any small game Oct. 25- Feb. 15
North Carolina Raccoons are considered furbearers and may be lawfully harvested via hunting and trapping during the appropriate seasons.

Raccoons’ private property hunting seasons in different South Carolina game zones.

Legal hunting season on private lands for raccoons varies by game zone in South Carolina.  Dec-March
North Dakota Regular – Firearms; purchase a North Dakota hunting license. All captured animals are removed in 48 hours, and that rubber gloves be worn for handling all furbearers. 04/01/2022 – 03/31/2023
Ohio A hunting Permit will be best unless in one’s backyard.  

Handgun: Any caliber.

Neither a bag limit nor a possession restriction is enforced here.

hunting raccoon may use a continuous single-beam light 

Nov. 10, 2022 – Jan. 31, 2023
Oregon Property owners require a fur takers license, a furbearer hunting license, or a free license to take furbearers on their land. Neglect to declare catch will preclude the license holder from acquiring a furbearer or fur takers ticket for the following furbearer season. November 15 through March 15
Pennsylvania Hunting license or a fur taker license No Bag Limit  Oct. 22 -Feb. 18, 2023.
South Dakota Residents need a predator/varmint license

Dogs cannot be used to help capture raccoons by non-locals.

Limit: Unrestricted. Shooting Hours: Unrestricted Season Dates – Nonresidents

Start: Dec 1, 2022

End: Mar 15, 2023

All year for Residents

Tennessee Hunting license and/or a special authorization may be required The time frame for legal hunting is half an hour before to dawn and half an hour after dusk. Sunset Sep. 16 – Sunrise March 15, 2023: Nightly bag: 4 Year-round, except where prohibited by local ordinances. 
Texas Texas protects raccoons. A license is required. Nighttime fur-bearer hunting on private land is permitted. September 1- August 31
Utah License is Required unless on your property  Official shooting hours are from 1/2 hour before sunrise until sunset. Nov. 17, 2022, to March 1, 2023
Vermont License is required  No bag limit October 8 – December 31, 2022
Virginia hunter education certificate & hunter license  Two per hunter taken between 12 pm on one day and 12 pm on the next Firearms Season

October 15 through March 10

Washington Raccoon hunting and trapping licenses are Needed. No Bag Limit  Sept. 1 – Mar. 15
Wisconsin No hunting  license is needed to shoot raccoons on your own property, but you’ll need one on public land Shooting times 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset  Resident Oct. 15–Feb. 15, 2023

Non-resident 

Oct. 29–Feb. 15, 2023

Wyoming You can hunt raccoons without a license at home but need a license in parks. 0.25 caliber  Firearms, muzzle-loaders. All year round 

 

Final Verdict

Now that you know how to hunt a raccoon with a pellet gun, it’s time to ask yourself: is the raccoon a friend or foe? In some states, shooting and killing a raccoon without a permit is legal. However, other states have different restrictions in place.

Regardless of your stance on hunting animals, whether for sport or pest control, always follow safety protocol when handling any weapon.

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