Editor’s Note: To improve the habitat and the amount of wildlife on your hunting lands, hunt coyotes, feral hogs, foxes, raccoons, possums and bobcats. The more predators you can remove from the property you hunt between now and deer season, the more you’ll protect wildlife habitat, and the more food your wildlife will have. As Michael Johnson, a predator trapper and hunter from Plainfield, Georgia, explains, “Since I’ve been hunting these predators on my family’s land, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of turkeys. I trap predators too because they’re very-smart animals and often may spook before we can take our shots. Predators are like cockroaches – you can beat their numbers back but never entirely get rid of them.”
Johnson reports that two years ago, he and one of his friends had their best year of predator hunting and took 15 coyotes, 25-30 gray foxes, five red foxes, 18 bobcats and at least two to three dozen possums and the same number of raccoons. “I have a fulltime job, so I’m not a predator hunter and trapper only. We just take predators as we can. Our numbers aren’t as impressive as some of the guys you see on TV who are predator hunters. But I work 50-60 hours a week plus run traps and predator hunt at night, while raising a family.
“I’m often asked what I do with the raccoons and possums after we skin them. I’m not going to eat a possum, but I did get a recipe from an older man in Chauncey, Georgia, who told me his family had been cooking raccoons for more than 100 years. I tried his recipe for raccoon and found it delicious. Here’s his directions.”
* Put a quartered raccoon that’s been skinned and seasoned with salt, pepper, meat tenderizer, garlic salt, crushed red peppers and ground red pepper in a roasting pot along with onions, bell peppers, celery and carrots, 1 cup of apple juice and 1/2-cup Italian dressing.
* Baste the raccoon, and put it in the oven for 2 hours on 350 degrees.
* Wrap sweet potatoes, and bake them in the oven for 2 hours.
* Debone the raccoon; pull the ligaments, tendons and fat out of the meat; thicken up the juice the raccoon’s been cooked in with flour to make a gravy.
* Peel the baked sweet potatoes, slice them up, and add them and more carrots and onions to the pot.
* Bake the meat and the vegetables for another two hours at 250 degrees for a delicious roasted raccoon.
** Be sure to check your state’s regulations about trapping and hunting predators. **
To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ print, Audible and Kindle books at http://johninthewild.com/books/. You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.