Tobe Brockner

How to Catch a Raccoon

Growing up in Louisiana, we engaged in all manner of hunting, fishing, and catching things…frogs, snakes, crawfish, catfish, deer, raccoons, rabbits, and whatever else we could get our hands on, our hooks into, or sighted in with a rifle.

This led to a fairly interesting childhood with nary a dull moment. I remember leaving the house during the summer when school was out at 7am and not returning until 9pm or 10pm at night. We’d go out into the woods, the bayous, and “the ditch” behind our neighborhood and stay there all day long, every single day. I don’t remember what I did for food or water…peeing wasn’t a problem, anywhere we could whip it out and let go would work, but the fulfillment of other basic necessities escapes me at the moment. I know I didn’t die, so it must not have been so bad.

I remember one day having a discussion with one of my pals about trying to catch some raccoons. I must have been 10 or 12 probably and we weren’t allowed to hunt at night, which is generally the only time you can hunt a raccoon since they are nocturnal. As we sat brainstorming, I remembered a story I had read in Where the Red Fern Grows, which I had just recently completed reading. (Yep, I was that much of a bookworm that I actually read for fun, even during the summer when school had let out.)

I recounted the story to my friend. The way to catch a raccoon is to find a big log and bore a hole into it about a half inch in diameter. You’d drop something shiny down in the hole, a bit of tin foil maybe, and then nail four nails in at an angle on four sides of the hole. The idea was that the raccoon, attracted by the shiny tin, would reach down into the hole, grab ahold of the tin foil and attempt to pull his little paw out.

Unfortunately for the raccoon, his paw would now be bigger coming out than it was going in on account of the fist he made while holding onto the tin foil, and when he tried pulling it out it would snag on the nails, thus trapping him. 

My friend thought for a moment and then, “Wait! All he’d have to do is drop the tin and he could get out!”

But I was ready for him and countered, “Yeah but raccoons are dumb and for some reason they just won’t let go of the tin, even if it means saving themselves!”

That made perfect sense to two 10-year old boys so we set out to find a suitable log and build our trap. After getting it all set up and checking on it every few days with nary a coon to be seen, we abandoned the project and turned our attention to other things. Thus, our short stint as coon hunters came to an abrupt end.

But, there’s a lesson to be found here. Two of them actually.

The first is to beware shiny objects. They aren’t always what they seem and chasing them could lead to entrapment…loss of focus and wasted time and/or money. 

The second lesson has to do with sacrifice. By grabbing onto the tin and not letting go, the raccoon is willing to sacrifice the whole for the part. Like the dumbass raccoon, so many times in life we refuse to let go of things that are keeping us trapped.

These could be toxic relationships, past traumas, time invested into a business or career, or anything else that gives us potential momentary pleasure at the expense of long-term benefit.

Sometimes you just have to let go. It can be hard and painful. Trying and traumatic. But necessary for progress. What are the things keeping you trapped? Cut them. Cut them now and free yourself.

If you need some tools to help you do that, you may be interested in checking out my free ebook, Take Your Life Back: A Practical Guide to it for free by clicking on the image below...


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Tobe Brockner

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