How to not catch a raccoon


Headshot for Lindsay Eckert 2For the past year, a family of raccoons has called my pap’s barn“home.” The night-loving creatures hide away during the day and sneak away at night to unseen land (I bet they’resitting around a bonfire planning their next destruction). Every morning, we find evidence of their efforts and it heats my pap’s blood to a boil.

We tried countless coon-catching methods. But, the closest we ever got to catching one was when my even-tempered, always lady-like mother went chasing after one with a pitch fork. Last week, we had a family weekend at my grandparents’ and the tale of the taunting raccoons snarled through every conversation after we asked my pap why a shotgun was sitting at the front door.

Then, my cousin’s wife came back from the store. Putting raw bacon, peanut butter and honey buns on the counter, she said, “Here’s the ingredients for your ridiculous coon hunt.”

Although my cousin is an articulate and educated orthodontist, dental school didn’t include tips for coon catching. Ironically, a toothless “TV star”who calls himself the Turtle Man and yells “live action” every five minutes had all of our answers. His “team” is three toothless men dressed in T-shirts adorned with “snapperlicous.”

We watched Turtle Man cover raw bacon with peanut butter, rub honey buns onbarn walls and tuck the concoction in the back of a “live action” trap.

We headed for the barn with our ingredients and a new education in “coon catching”to catch these little devils, for the first and last time.

My cousin and I followed Turtle Man’s every step, while our pap monitored from the house. We had full confidence in the honey buns’ ability to lure, because once we got back, the smell of the buns lured us to the pantry.

Our plan to stay up all night vigilantly waiting for “live action” fell short. Pap fell asleep in his chair and my cousins and I started watching Saturday Night Live. We were having so much fun, we forgot about the family pest.

The next morning, we went to the barn to find our “coon catch.” The honey bun and bacon were untouched. Pap was worried we missed a crucial step, “Did the Turtle Man say we needed to cook the bacon first?”

We’re going to stick to more “reliable” sources such as Wikipedia.


By Lindsay Eckert
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Lindsay holds weekly office hours at Downtown Westfield Association Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. Please stop in to share your story ideas, concerns or events you’d like to be covered with her.