Should baiting ever be allowed in the hunt

The racoon

Procyon lotor

Raccoons are small bears. They often use their paws like hands. During the day, the nocturnal and crepuscular animals like to sleep in tree hollows. Distinctive features are the short, bushy curly tail and the contrasting dark face mask.

Raccoon - Photo: Christoph Bosch

Protection status
The raccoon is not subject to any international protection status.

The raccoon is not subject to any national protection status.
Red List FRG (2009): not endangered (Neozoon)
Red List NRW (2011): not endangered (Neozoon)

Hunting law
Federal Hunting Act
The raccoon is not listed in the Federal Hunting Act.

State Hunting Act
With the amended state hunting law coming into force in May 2015, raccoons are still subject to hunting law. Recently they can be hunted from September 1st to February 28th according to § 1 Landesjagdzeiten-VO. Young animals can still be hunted all year round.

Raccoons - Photo: Christoph Bosch

Hunting route in NRW
2001/2002: 2,200 (including fallen game: 124)
2002/2003: 2,668 (of which fallen game: 148)
2003/2004: 3,071 (of which fallen game: 171)
2004/2005: 3,346 (of which fallen game: 201)
2005/2006: 4,617 (of which fallen game: 238)
2006/2007: 3,600 (including fallen game: 245)
2007/2008: 5,467 (of which fallen game: 320)
2008/2009: 7,212 (of which fallen game: 377)
2009/2010: 6,368 (of which fallen game: 363)
2010/2011: 8,573 (including fallen game: 543)
2011/2012: 8,437 (of which fallen game: 524)
2012/2013: 11,075 (of which fallen game: 626)
2013/2014: 8,725 (of which fallen game: 869)
2014/2015: 10.093 (of which fallen game: 878)
2015/2016: 10,109 (of which fallen game: 1,032)
2016/2017: 12,803 (of which fallen game: 1,351)
2017/2018: 17,201 (of which fallen game: 1,492)

Stock in NRW
The estimates of the population are mainly based on the hunting route. 2017/18 recorded the highest route ever registered in NRW. The highest stand densities are still to be found in East Westphalia-Lippe and in the Southern Mountains. In the Westphalian and Lower Rhine lowlands, the population density is still rather low. Increases are reported from all regions, but not from the raccoon stronghold in the Höxter district. Here the population has obviously reached its capacity limit. Apparently natural regulatory mechanisms are at work. Their density there is estimated at 10 to 15 animals per 100 hectares.
In addition to parasites, natural enemies also include birds of prey and other predators, which mainly prey on young animals. Numerous individuals are also killed in traffic.

NABU position on the 2018 amendment to the State Hunting Act
NABU rejects the hunt for raccoons. In particular, the "damage" to small game or young birds that is often claimed in hunting circles, even in federal states with significantly higher populations, has not yet been conclusively proven. In addition, it is rather impossible to push back the species through hunting. Studies in Scandinavia have shown that intensive hunting tends to increase reproduction and the rate of spread.
Nevertheless, in individual cases it may be necessary to hunt predators (predators) such as raccoons in order to protect endangered species locally. The hunt for predators during a legal hunting season cannot, however, be justified by the fact that a certain species is one of the predators and that its prey potentially includes an endangered wild species. To protect strongly threatened species, it is more advisable to implement local species protection measures in extreme cases with a reduction in predators as a management measure
Furthermore, it is legally inadmissible to regulate the spread of neozoa through the State Hunting Act, as the obligation to keep all hunted species formally applies here. The goal of restricting the population of non-native species and thus protecting the native fauna typically falls under species protection law.
In this context, NABU welcomes the continuing ban on manslaughter traps as a positive but inadequate development in the state hunting law. For animal and species protection reasons, all traps, including live traps, should be banned. Open traps such as wire mesh traps pose a significant risk of injury to the trapped animal, for example when attempting to rescue it. They also increase the likelihood of missed catches.

Brief portrait
distribution and habitat
Its home is in North and Central America. In the meantime, the raccoon is also widespread in many parts of Europe. In 1934 two pairs were released for hunting reasons on the Hessian Edersee. A good ten years later, other individuals managed to escape from a fur farm in the Strausberg district (east of Berlin). In retrospect, it is clear that both populations form the basis of today's German population. In North Rhine-Westphalia, raccoons can be detected particularly in the eastern part of the country. From the mid-1990s onwards there was a massive increase in the population. The number of raccoons shot increased 16-fold between 1992 and 2002 (from 165 to 2,668). Over 50 percent of the raccoon population in North Rhine-Westphalia now lives in the Höxter district.
Raccoons are 'ecological generalists'. This means that it is easy for them to develop new habitats and to use the resources they contain. When it comes to choosing their habitat, they still have one preference: old wood in the vicinity of bodies of water. Here they find enough food and shelter. Since raccoons are cultural followers, they are increasingly discovering cities with their parks and gardens for themselves.

The crepuscular and nocturnal raccoon belongs to the small bear family. During the day he likes to sleep in tree hollows or in attics. Its distinctive features are the bushy curly tail, the contrasting dark face mask and brown-gray fur. Furthermore, he is characterized by his ability to climb nimbly.
Adult raccoons measure a maximum of 97 cm from head to tail tip and weigh between 4 and 10 kg. So they are about the size of a small dog. Raccoons often live together socially and form separate groups according to sex. Adult males mostly colonize fixed territories.
During the mating season, the males seek out the females. After about 65 days of gestation, it gives birth from April to the beginning of May about 2 to 3 young animals that are still blind at birth. They only open their eyes after two to three weeks and leave the litter box for the first time after about six weeks. Gradual separation from the mother takes place in autumn. Raccoons can live to be over 16 years old. However, they often die earlier because they are victims of road accidents.

When foraging for food, raccoons use their hand-like, very sensitive paws. The species name 'raccoon' probably stems from the fact that the animal gropes for food in the water with its 'hands'. The nimble hand movements carried out in the process were incorrectly interpreted as "washing movements". Raccoons are omnivores, but they mainly feed on fruits, berries and acorns, but also on eggs, insects, crabs and fish. Before the cold season, they eat a layer of fat to protect themselves, although they do not hibernate.

Online atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia, Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe, 2018
Red List of Mammals in NRW, LANUV, 2011
Neobiota-Portal NRW, LANUV, 2018

Status: January 2019

nabu position paper on hunting