The Raccoon Raid at Shades State Park

Last weekend I went camping at Shades State Park with a bunch of friends for a birthday celebration. We camped at Shades State Park and drove to Turkey Run State Park to go hiking. (At the time Turkey Run’s campground was full.) I really enjoyed Shade’s campground. They had a bathroom and shower facility within walking distance and there was a spot where you could park extra vehicles so they weren’t in the way. The raccoons though, were definitely a problem…

We were all fine and dandy playing corn hole and roasting dinner over the fire when we heard a low growl. Looking over at out picnic table we spotted a big raccoon, which we later named Frank, starting to pick through all of our food. After yelling it ran away. Little did we know that was just the beginning.

Frank kept coming back and we easily shooed him away each time by yelling or charging at him. He would then gingerly waltz over to another campsite to terrorize them, but he always returned to ours. Then Frank decided to bring along one of his pals. Obviously we weren’t warming up to one raccoon so maybe we would be nice to two, right? Think again ya bandits!

Pretty soon a bunch of people were using the weenie roasters as spears. That turned into throwing whatever was available to throw. Each time the raccoons would scamper off and come right back.

We got the brilliant idea of putting our cooler in our tent. Surely the coons couldn’t get inside our tent. Wrong again! As soon as we went to go to sleep we heard a horrible growling and thrashing sound. It didn’t take long to realize one of those little tyrants was chewing a hole in our tent to get to our cooler. What the heck! We kicked the side of our tent to scare the little devil away and inspected the damage. That sucker tore a 8 inch diameter hole in our tent! Oh it was so on now…

Of course we didn’t want any coons rampaging through our tent at night so we reluctantly put our cooler outside and stacked a full case of water bottles on top. Still, just in case, we kept a roaster by us throughout the night. Just as soon as we all settled in it was quiet, like the calming before a storm. It didn’t last long. The next thing we heard was our water bottle case being knocked over. Then we heard our picnic table and chairs being tampered with. This all tuned into a bunch of boys in their boxers running around our campsite trying to scare away the 5 or so raccoons that decided to join the party. After the raccoons were chased away yet again we looked and those rascals had gotten into our cooler and ate our hotdog buns. We then decided to put the corn hole board on top of our cooler to try and keep the coons out. Finally, it worked.

Obviously the raccoons still came back, but we were all beat. The last effort any of us had was one of the guys yelling, “Dammit Frank!” every time we heard a clank or a clunk.

The next morning we woke up and surprisingly our site wasn’t that bad. We had put all the food in the truck the night before so the only things that were messed up were some random utensils on the picnic table. For some odd reasons the coons didn’t even touch the big trash bag we left out. They must be snobby spoiled raccoons we decided. We found two corn hole bags in the woods, but two more were still missing. Assuming someone had thrown them at the raccoons the past night we searched but could not find them anywhere. When two more went missing the next night with a trail of soy beans left behind we figured out those darn animals had even ate our corn hole bags! Now that is a personal insult.

When it was all over we ended up with a torn tent, several bent weenie roasters, four missing corn hole bags, eaten Styrofoam plates and hotdog buns, and an untouched bag of trash (AKA a raccoon goodie bag). Note to self: Hang food and supplies from a tree for future camping trips. Needless to say this camping trip was one for the books. The only thing I regret is not taking any pictures. What was I thinking?

Have you had any wild camping experiences? Leave a comment below!

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