Keeping Raccoons Away from Your Campsite

Keeping raccoons away from your campsite isn’t always easy, but it’s worthwhile. Raccoons may look cute, but they’re happy to make away with your provisions. We know this from experience. One raccoon-infested campsite was all it took. In the night, as we slept at a Northwest Arkansas campsite, we heard amazing amounts of clattering and banging. The noises were loud enough to sound like people, so we grumbled about our noisy neighbors and went back to sleep.

The next day, we stepped outside the tent, expecting to light the fire and cook breakfast. All the food was gone from the campsite. Suddenly, the night time clanging and banging made sense — it had been the sound of our storage tins. And it hadn’t been human beings taking all our campfire foods, because people could have slipped away with tins full of muffins and oranges with no trouble and no noise.

It was raccoons.

To make a long story short, we found the tins. They were scattered around the nearby creek, surrounded by raccoon footprints. They were banged up and gnawed on, but there was enough salvageable food in them to make breakfast. We were lucky.

Frustrate the raccoons.

Raccoons generally want your food, and maybe your toiletries. Things that smell good, in other words. Make those scrumptious smelling things hard to get and you’re halfway there.

Halfway was just about how well we did this. We used tins to contain all our food on this car camping trip, so the raccoons weren’t able to get into the food. They were able to carry off the tins, though, and to smash them against the rocks by the creek. We suffered some losses, not to mention a lot of time spent hunting for our goods in the woods.

Leave food in a closed car or a sturdy locked cooler to keep raccoons out.If your campsite has a picnic table, store the cooler under the table so it won’t open easily. Don’t store food in your tent, because raccoons can open or even chew through your tent.

Deceive the raccoons.

Boil up some hot peppers in water, mix in a little soap, and cool the mixture. Pour it into a spray bottle and you’re ready. Squirt the solution around your campground when you arrive, and the hot pepper smell will repel the raccoons. They want your bacon and stew, not hot peppers.

Don’t pour bacon grease on the ground or leave food scraps out, and maybe the raccoons won’t smell your tasty meals and try to get into them in the first place.


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