View Full Version : Raccoons--Shot placement with a scoped .22 pistol

January 7, 2001, 12:51 PM

I have a recurring backyard garden pond problem. They eat my fish. Head shot or is the bone too hard? Lungs? Where is the heart located?


January 7, 2001, 02:14 PM
Head shots will be most effective. If you get a head on shot, visualize an x on the head with the left ear to the right eye and the right ear to the left eye. Center of the x as the aiming point will strike the brain. A hit lower, between the eyes will not be directly fatal. Using this aiming method, animals at least to the size of an adult bovine may be dispatched with a .22.

January 7, 2001, 03:23 PM
22's are funny though. You hit the sloped skull of a critter, and it might do a little number and bounce off. IF It was head on, I'd shoot right bellow the chin, in the "whitepatch" hehehe as deer hunters would call it. IF it was a side shot, I'd aim right bellow the ear, and behind the eye. This area is the thinnest part of the skull for alot of little critters. I saw a wolf skull in a taxidermy shop that had a perfect little .22 hole punched there.

Art Eatman
January 7, 2001, 05:48 PM
Yeah, a hollow point in the middle of the head is usually a one-time event. I recently tested a QuikShok on a rock squirrel, and the exit wound was much larger than I expected, for what that's worth...

The heart? Well, it's located in the chest cavity, last I heard. :) From the side, it's just like shooting a deer, coyote, bobcat, elk, cow: Low in the chest, right behind the foreleg.

Ain't help wonderful?


January 7, 2001, 06:37 PM
Greetings and thanks for the replies.

I use low power subsonic ammo for reasons of my neighbors being close by. I swear I put a bullet square in the middle of a raccoon's forehead two nights ago. The next morning, when I went to look for him where he fell off the fence he was sitting on, he was gone. He shrieked and fell and made no further sounds after I shot him.

This was a tough shot as the raccoon was at eye level, lying down and almost head on. I was using a laser sight; I thought if I shined it in his eye I would spook him away. Yes, I was sure of my backstop.

I have dispatched them sucessfully in the past using the "white patch" shot and the shot through both lungs under the forearm (yes, Art, the "chest cavity"). The "chest cavity" shot was not an instantaneous kill. He ran around the backyard screaming for about thirty seconds.

Where is the heart relative to the neck and the spine, anybody up on raccoon anatomy? Maybe I'll try a search for "raccoon+anatomy."

Regards and thanks.

January 7, 2001, 07:31 PM
I have shot lots(100+) of racoons in traps and out of trees, 90% have been head shots with 22 shorts and I have never had a problem with penatration. No other hits have been very quick to kill unless the spine was hit.

January 7, 2001, 07:59 PM
I've shot raccoons in traps and in the wild and they are
tough buggers sometimes. I want to try something I read
in my "Home Tanning" book the next time I get one. They say
on page 25 under Methods of killing, "Animals that could
injure the trapper, such as bobcats, badgers, raccoons,
are shot with a .22 rifle either through the spine between
the shoulder blades, directly in the heart or lungs through
the chest, or through the spine of the neck." Kind of hard
to get that shot in the wild but in traps it would work.

January 7, 2001, 08:56 PM
I trap too,but I never shoot a coon,grey fox or skunk in the head or spin being that if its a carrier of rabies it can release the virus(atleast that whats I heard).I shoot them in the lungs and leave them in the trap till it dies.Have any of you ever tried to release a coon from a foothold trap?

January 8, 2001, 01:40 PM

pawcatch, try one of those loops on a stick, like snake catchers use, around the neck to hold the head away from your tender bits. Use a heavy stick so you can bash his head in with it if my plan doesn't work.

We've tried trapping. We catch all the cats in the neighborhood, and when we get a coon, he has no trouble getting out of the "Hav-a-hart" trap. Maybe we need a new trap. Bet raccoons are noisy in a foothold trap. I think those are banned here in Santa Barbara, Kalifornia.

tlt, I looked you up to see if I could mail you a dead raccoon, but I am in California and you are in Illinois, where my father's family is from (Rosiclare, Elizabethtown, Hardin County). I don't think the hide would survive the trip. Nice web page you have.


January 8, 2001, 03:25 PM
Just do a google search for raccoon anatomy.



ANATOMY: Has mask to help reduce glare and may enhance night vision. Its tail is used as fat storage, balance when climbing, and a brace when sitting up.
SENSES: Touch is highly developed. Fingers are very nimble. Smell important in finding food.
VOICE: Low twittering sounds, growls, snarls.
LOCOMOTION: Good climbers. Good swimmer.
HABITS: Nocturnal. Secretive, curious and usually solitary. Does not hibernate but will sleep for several days during colder weather.
ENEMIES: Adults have few natural enemies; Young are threatened by great horned owl, wolf, coyote, large snakes, and bobcat.
REPRODUCTION: Mate Feb-Mar. (gestation period of 60-65 days) so young are born Apr.-May. Average litter 35. One litter per year. Male has no part in raising young. Some females will mate at age of 1. Young will open their eyes at 3 weeks and will leave their mother in the fall.
MISC.: Doesn't "wash" food as some myths say. This behavior is used to moisten the food.


Good hunting.

January 8, 2001, 07:44 PM

I've used the medium size and the large size Havahart
traps on coons. The medium size one has a door on
both ends of the trap but I just open one door and
put the bait close to the closed door end. The trick
with this trap is that the coons have learned to roll
the trap over and then the doors will open. I fixed
'em on that one. I wired a 3 foot piece of rebar to
the bottom of the trap perpendicular to it so they
couldn't roll the trap. Never lost a one after that.
Then I bought the bigger size trap that only has one
door that is spring loaded. No matter how much they
roll that one the door won't open. Hope that helps.


January 8, 2001, 07:50 PM

I mail / ship hides frequently. They must be cured first
though or they will decay like raw meat. After the
animal is skinned the all the flesh and extra stuff must
be scraped off. Then a 1/2" layer of salt is applied and
the hide is left to dry out for 3 - 4 days. After it is cured it will be preserved forever if kept away from insects
etc. Hair-on-Hide is a place up in Wis. that will tan hides
for you with the fur on (furskins as opposed to leather).


January 9, 2001, 08:05 AM
I've got a couple of mean-ass Jack Russels that'll gut a coon in about 10 minutes. Of course any cats they catch wind up the same way.

January 25, 2001, 12:26 AM
If you're not going to take off one toe at a time, then a head shot is the place to aim............:D

Keith J
January 25, 2001, 01:29 AM
It took 9 rounds of .45 shotshells at 20 feet to kill one within 30 seconds in my attic. Yes, it was hard hearing but at least I could keep the gun in control thanks to the light recoil of the shot loads.

BTW, it was out of a Para-ord so no mag changes were necessary. Raccon scampered about 10 feet during the melee and most pellets hit the animal. The ears alone had 15 holes from the shot.

Don't get in my attic. I told you I'm bad news.

January 25, 2001, 01:57 PM
Roger that, Keith J. I said, "ROGER THAT, KEITH J."

February 6, 2001, 01:37 AM
Since you are using pistol, you may want to stay with a body shot using hollow point. Depends on how close you can get.................
Happy Raccooning...................

Keith J
February 7, 2001, 10:39 PM
Your signature looks mighty familiar. Did you used to be on the Townhall forum? Warlady and ALS started their own. Catch all the lib-smacking action at :


February 8, 2001, 10:05 AM
Keithj, townhall forum? What's the url?
I have never been there, but I'll check it out.

[Edited by handgun357 on 02-10-2001 at 11:07 AM]

Keith J
February 10, 2001, 01:57 AM
At least the forum. http://www.townhall.com is still alive and kicking. Go to Warlady's site for a much better run forum on politics, general lib-bashing and other fun stuff.

February 22, 2010, 02:52 PM
Just a few days ago i shot a raccoon with a daisy 1880 pellet gun right in the eye and he died and none of my neighbors heard it luckily because i live in a suburban area. So it is possible to do so with only a pellet gun.:cool:

February 22, 2010, 05:45 PM
I always shoot coons in the back of the head. There the skull is thinner. A shot in between the eyes is not going to be very fatal.

February 22, 2010, 06:00 PM
Hollow point in the chest/shoulder. If you don't hit right on with a head shot it may bounce off.

February 22, 2010, 06:02 PM
Put a trap out and kill em on your watch....


February 22, 2010, 07:02 PM
They can be hard to kill, I wouldn't use a body shot with subsonic ammo if you have nearby neighbors; they might find one dead on the front yard.

If you shoot one in the head and don't see the hind legs kicking, you probably just knocked it unconscious.

Raccoons are very strong, I've had one tear the sheet metal top out of a havahart live trap and escape. I usually use a foothold trap, or the xl size box trap with a spring-loaded door: http://www.havahart.com/store/live-animal-traps/1081

James R. Burke
February 22, 2010, 07:11 PM
If out in the woods 30-06 110 grain V-Max along side the head.

Art Eatman
February 22, 2010, 07:14 PM
Necrothreadia is bad enough without drifting from scoped pistol use to BB gun.