Camping Stories - Raccoons Are Clever

We don't have to deal with larger animals like bears where we camp but we have a lot of smaller animals to deal with, especially raccoons.

A few years ago during a summer camping trip, we left the campground for the day and headed north to pick cherries. After picking 6 buckets of cherries and having a few cherry fights, we headed back to the campground and pitted them. We then tucked them into our electric cooler (with a latch) for safekeeping until the next day when we were leaving to head home.

We spent the evening sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows, making some popcorn over the fire, and drinking some wine and beer. When my husband and I crawled into the bed in our tent camper later that night we were really tired and fell asleep almost instantly.

The next thing I remember is my eyes popping open because a loud growling sound had woken me up, but not my husband. No, he sleeps through just about anything. The noise sounded really close. Then I heard what sounded like two animals fighting. Because I'm a big chicken I was afraid to move at first, but since my husband wasn't showing any signs of ceasing his snoring, I managed to make myself get out of bed and look out the door to see what was going on.

I nearly screamed when I saw 4 huge raccoons right outside our camper door. They had the latch to our cooler popped open and several bags of our cherries on the ground. Mostly empty bags I might add. They had been there a while feasting away. Two of the racoons were fighting over a nearly full bag, which is the commotion I had heard. I quickly slammed the camper door shut.

Now, because I was excited and all worked up over those raccoons outside my door, I had to go to the bathroom really bad. Did I mention we don't have a bathroom in our camper? That meant I had to figure out a way to get the raccoons to leave so I could salavage the rest of the cherries and get to the bathroom before I wet myself.

My husband, Mr. heavy sleeper, still hadn't woke up so I marched over and shook him so hard his teeth nearly rattled. After several minutes of incoherence from him, he finally woke up completely when he heard the raccoons fighting again, this time about two feet from his head becasue the sleeping compartment of our camper was almost touching a hilly wooded area and the raccoons had dragged the bag of cherries right next to the end of our camper to continue their fight.

By then I was convinced, the raccoons were going to develop superhuman powers, open the door to our camper or chew through the canvas portion of it, and attack us. It didn't help that I now felt like my bladder was going to burst at any second.

My husband, my hero! He got up, took a broom, went outside, and chased the raccoons away. Well kind of. They took up watch at the edge of the wooded area and stared at him as he got our cooler closed to salvage what was left of our cherries (less than half), and loaded the cooler in our vehicle. He then picked up the remaining cherries on the ground, put them in a trash bag, and put them in our vehicle too, in order to discourage the raccoons from coming back and finishing the leftovers.

By now, I was wishing we had never gone camping that week, had never picked cherries, and that I would have had only 1 beer instead of 3 earlier in the evening because maybe then I wouldn't be jumping around trying to not wet myself like a little baby.

My husband said he would walk to the campground's bathroom with me, just to be nice. But now, I didn't want to come out of the camper. I could still hear and see the raccoons. They were definitely well fed because they were huge! But I absolutely had to go to the bathroom so my husband gave me the broom so I had a weapon (told you I was a chicken) and we proceeded to the bathroom but only after I made him grab a long thick stick we were using to put out spread the ashes in our fire pit at night to put out the fire. I wanted him to have something to fight off the raccoons that I was sure were going to follow us.

The rest of the night passed without any further raccoon fights in our camping area.

The next day we had to explain to my brother and sister in law why we didn't have enough cherries left to make cherry wine when we got home.

Lesson Learned: Even if a cooler has a sturdy latch, stow inside at night because animals are clever and can open them!

Do you have a camping story to share? If you do, please make a post in the comments section.