Coon hunting as we know it today, dates back to the very first European settlements in the North America. Native Americans were hunting raccoons too, but the sport of coon hunting started with the import of scent hounds from the European continent. Yeah, history of coon hunting is quite interesting.
Scent hounds, which possessed extraordinary tracking skills, were perfect for chasing and locating coons. With years of training and breeding, the hunters developed a special breed, adapted perfectly for coon hunting. Now they can easily combat harsh and damp terrain and trace raccoons simultaneously. This type of breeding also led to coon hunting competitions, consisting of categories like water races, drag competitions, and treeing contests.
People were beginning to be more and more interested in coon hunting. Raccoon fur reached high value and its meat became quite a delicacy to the Americans. Consequently, the sport experienced a massive boom in the 20th century. During the great depression, lots of people survived by eating raccoon meat or selling raccoon pelts. Such high demand almost made them endangered, but the raccoon population rose back again in the 40’s.
The era between the 40s and the 80s recorded the most massive raccoon hunting seasons in the history. It peaked in the late 70’s with the all-time high of 5.2 million raccoons killed in one season. This led to the market oversaturation and the demand for raccoon meat and fur dropped.
The Fall and Revival
With low demand, the number of raccoons hunted per season dropped below one million, during the 90s. Thanks to this, the raccoon population exploded. People started to see them as pests that invade their homes and damage their property. Combined with the increase in demand for their fur, this led to a rebirth of coon hunting in this century.
Nowadays, coon hunting is becoming more popular than ever. For some, it’s just a hobby and some see it as an extremely profitable venture. Also, the advance in technology during the years have made it even easier for today’s hunters.