Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife Management


Introduction: Increasing populations of raccoons (Procyon lotor) and reports of depredation on upland game, poultry, and garden crops indicated a need for research concerning behavior, mobility, and range of raccoons. The raccoon has seemingly adapted to the dry environment of the northern agricultural plains. According to records, the original range apparently did not extend into South Dakota. Lewis and Clark did not report raccoons when they traveled along the Missouri River in 1804 and 1806 (Coues, 1893). Although Visher (1918) noted that raccoons were not rare in wooded areas along streams in western South Dakota, he made no mention of them along streams in the eastern half of the state. Sutton (1964) pointed out the extension of raccoon range into the Prairie Provinces of Canada well north of that previously recorded. Stoudt (1965) reported the raccoon as a serious predator on duck nests in the Aspen Parklands of Manitoba during 1961-65 where it was almost unknown during the previous 10 or 15 years. He noticed raccoons were somewhat limited to areas adjacent to main drainages in southern Manitoba, but were spreading rapidly to other areas. This study was undertaken from March, 1964 to February, 1966 in east-central South Dakota in an effort to study the mobility and behavior of raccoons in an agricultural area. Data on denning and food preferences were obtained to reveal significant factors influencing behavior. A knowledge of these factors would help to explain much of the daily and seasonal behavior and lead to suggestions for management. In South Dakota raccoons have low fur value and are seldom hunted for sport. The meat is generally not an accepted article of food even though it is considered very palatable by people in other parts of the country. Management practices in the state consist only of control because raccoons are regarded as nuisance animals. Several people have studied mobility and behavior of raccoons: Butterfield (1944) in Ohio; Cabalka, Costa, and Hendrickson (1953) in Iowa; Sharp and Sharp (1956) in Nebraska; Stains (1956) in Kansas; and Stuewer (1943) in Michigan. The technique of monitoring animal movements by radio telemetry has stimulated interest in behavior studies. Recent studies of this type include work on raccoons in Illinois by Cochran and Lord (1963) and Ellis (1965), and in Missouri by Slagel (1963). (See More in Text)

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Carnivora -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 39-40)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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