November 27, 2022

Letter to the Editor: A war on raccoons

According to the Des Moines Register of 28 October 2022, our legislature is poised for a new war, a war against raccoons.

According to reports, we have been invaded by hordes of the creatures and it is time to act. Since everyone in Iowa is expected to have a gun, it is only fitting that the people with these guns be allowed to shoot something year around and our next candidate is raccoons. Can’t you just visualize, or hear as the case may be, gunshots ringing out in the middle of the night in the neighborhood when the local coon is raiding somebody’s garbage can. Trash day could become hazardous.

But an act allowing for the killing of raccoons year around serves innumerable purposes: it of course gets rid of raccoons, it gives an outlet to all our citizens who now have guns but don’t know what to do with them, it gives the legislature something to do to earn their per diem, and it attempts to give the public the idea that our legislators are actually accomplishing something. With these things in mind, it is a certainty that a bill will be passed allowing us humans to kill raccoons whenever it is personally decided that one’s neighboring raccoon is no longer cute, but a pest. All will be well in la-la land once again.

Now, I for one, who have been living in Iowa most of my life, have been living peaceably and quietly with raccoons the entire time except for one winter when a war over dog food ended in a victory for the raccoons — by the end of the winter they could get into my garage to get the remaining dog food but I couldn’t. This defeat at the paws of the coons did not cause me to wish them dead. After the initial annoyance, I had to congratulate them on their ingenuity, perseverance and intelligence — some of the same qualities for which we congratulate our star athletes.

So, if we are to have a vote on whether to kill raccoons all year or no, I will have to vote no. An occasional annoyance does not warrant the death sentence.

Richard E. H. Phelps