Hatches and Raccoons ...

The rangers in ENP have warned us that the raccoons on Pavilion Key have learned to unzip tents and open rubber hatches, this is true.

In addition, now they have also learned to open the QCC hatches.

As far as I know they haven’t been able to open the Current Designs/Pygmy type straps…

The little darlings…

Try putting the Raccoons INSIDE the kayak and THEN close the hatches…bet they will have a hard time getting them off then!

Couldn’t resist…


If you do try that,
please get some video of it to share with the rest of us! ;^)

Porcupines find the…
rubber hatch’s very tasty. Had one eat my hatch 60 miles from the nearest road.

Even if they do not succeed in
getting the rubber hatches off, they will #&*! them up trying. I always take my rubber hatch covers off of the boat when I am camping and take them to where I am sleeping. The last thing I want is damaged covers. I never leave food exposed in the boat overnight. I always pack all of my food in thick-walled, plastic, gallon containers. The coons might play with them, but so far they have not been able to get into them. They are crafty little critters and I am sure that it is just a matter of time…

San Juan 'coons
The 'coons in the San Juan IS in Washington have figured out just about every angle in getting to your goods in the compartments. I’ve seen 'em get thru every kind of hatch but the CD style and I’ve seen 'em chew through foam bulkheads. Of course, they know ALL about zippers, easily entering your tent at night!

They can easily climb most any kind of rope and hanging your food does little to protect it. We have even been known to put all the food in a boat and float it out to a mooring buoy. Pretty drastic measures but…it works.

The other thing that works is a .22 pistol. wakes up all the other campers but…



I use this

Even though we don’t have bears in most of Texas. The raccoons in some of the state parks, like Brazos Bend, are a total nuisance. They aren’t scared off by anything, will walk into your camp with you there, you can yell, bang pans together, they just look at you.

yea does little critters do like to raise cain. I’ve had them steal the whole bird fedder out of the mango tree and it was suspended in the air. although the great dog Moose made them go and hide when we camped on lulu when visiting mike. Back in the 80’s they would go through peoples ice chest in flamingo and take out what they wanted and then close the lid when they were done. People would come and complain to the rangers that some one had stolen their food! The good thing is every once in a while a bobcat comes through the northern islands (picnic north)and thin down the population. Now im up in alaska we don’t have coonies but a bigger tipe of coon which will definitly open up a hatch for food so we use the plastic bear proof containers and store them away from camp

They are indeed pesky critters.

Thay can indeed climb any rope. As a matter of fact; last year I watched one climb down approximately 25 feet of parachute cord to get to a trash bag suspended from a tree limb. The tree limb was approximately 50 feet above ground level.

The same raccoon was unable to get into our cooler; it being so tightly secured with bungees cords that my wife could not remove them.

The raccoon’s solution; he/she starting dragging the whole cooler across the gravel bar, and into the woods. It was actually making good progress

till I “intervened”. I know for a fact that the cooler weighed in excess of 35 pounds.


To discourage chewing, put Bitter Apple on the rubber hatches. Pet supply stores sell it.

To keep the critters away in the first place, perhaps some moth balls taped to the hatches and kayak itself would do the trick. I have used it at home to keep skunks from digging holes and entering the crawl space under the garage building.

Mothballs work for armadillos, too
We have problems with them digging in our garden.

.22 CB bullets. No louder than a pellet
gun. Nicknamed City Bullets.

Yea, shoot em.

Rubber hatches too???
I never camped at Pavillon but did many other places in the ENP.

Raccoons never managed to open my VCP rubber hatches, they tried many times since their prints were all over the kayaks in the morning but never got in.

That’s indeed bad news, that can ruin a trip.

A little insurance…
…that I’ve seen used is to turn your (rubber hatch) boat upside down at night…

Then they have to work on their backs…

take up little room and give the raccoon an added challenge, say 4-6 per hatch encircling the hatch…when they snap it might wake you alerting to the threat…we experienced a troop of 7-9 raccoons at mid-cape out from flamingo trying to get into everything, turning on the radion and a battery powered light kept them away after we scared them off.

When camping on lakes…
…I’ve taken to anchoring my boat 20’-30’ offshore with my food stored in the hatches, which seems to be enough to discourage critters from bothering with it, despite the fact that most of them can swim. Between the food’s packaging, the dry bag and the hatch cover, it apparently cuts the scent down to the point that they aren’t attracted enough to swim for it. It takes nothing more than a rope and a rock to anchor a boat.

hatches did not get opened by racoons on Pavillion this past new years. There are hardly any racoons or trees left after the hurricanes last year. There were some as soon as we left to retire for the night that tried getting in the kayaks but other than sandy footprints, no problems.

On Tiger however, did hear wild hogs at night checking along the shore looking for food. I had never heard hogs on Tiger before this last trip.

A trick someone I know uses: leave a bowl of vodka out and in the morning you can just step over their sleeping bodies.

At the risk
of repeating myself, I would pay good money for video of , too! ;^)

Pete in Atlanta

We have the same problem here
In the Gulf Island region in British Columbia, racoons have been known to get very crafty. Rubber hatches have been opened and one of the biggest things that seems to attract them is fresh water (most of the islands have none). We left a silver wine bag filled with water on a picnic table one night (not thinking anything of it) and in the morning, it had been ripped open and was bone dry!

Since there are no bears on the islands, I know that some keep their food stuff in their tents.

Thankfully, the racoons haven’t seemed to figure out how to open Pygmy hatches yet.