I set it just inside the door of the barn, where the cow cookies and chicken feed are stored, because he has feasted there before.
Yesterday, I made Rog come out and check with me before he left for work, because I wasn't sure what kind of welcome to expect if we caught him. But no raccoon. This morning, I wasn't even thinking of it and opened the door, dogs along with me, and they surged in growling and snarling. The raccoon was in the trap, also growling and snarling! There was an adrenalin moment while I got the dogs out of there and closed the barn back up. Then I called Mark, who said he would like the coon if we caught it.
I have mixed feelings about the fate of this raccoon. I know his alternative fate is to be killed - there really is no good place to release him where he will not become somebody else's problem. At least this way he has a chance, and I am secretly kind of rooting for him, as long as he doesn't return to eat my poultry.
Mark's family has been avid coon hunters for at least three generations (not to mention, deer hunters, turkey hunters, duck hunters, pheasant hunters, bow hunters...) Coon hunting season is in the fall, when the raccoons have finished raising their families and have grown luxurious winter coats. The hunters take a flashlight, a backpack with a bottle of water and a little sustenance, and track on foot, following the sound of the dogs. It can be a long hunt - once they ended up near Oxbow Park, about eight miles away, and it's unlikely the hunt was traveling as the crow flies. Mark said often he and his brother, sister, dad or uncle will have worked all day, go coon hunting all night, return in time to do the morning milking, and just skip sleeping that day.
Mark invited me to join them on a hunt next fall and I just might take him up on the offer. I would go along for the adventure of traipsing through the woods and fields in the dark by flashlight, not to shoot a raccoon myself. It seems like a cultural aspect of being a farmer that I should experience.