Kurt M. Hodges

Title of study - An evaluation of summer raccoon hunting on raccoon ecology Date of thesis - December 1998

Recent interest in a summer raccoon (Procyon lotor) hunting season in Mississippi has prompted concern over effects of summer hunting on raccoon population dynamics. Determining potential effects of summer hunting on raccoons is necessary; however, such information is not available. I radio-monitored 94 raccoons (72 males, 22 females) January 1, 1996 - December 31, 1997 on two adjacent areas, one with, and one without a summer raccoon season. No differences were detected (P = 0.216) composite home ranges of raccoons between areas. I found no differences in survival (P = 0.356) between areas, although, differences existed in cause-specific mortality patterns (P = 0.030) between areas. I observed no differences in average movement rates (P = 0.063) of raccoons between areas. My results indicated that at moderate levels, a summer raccoon hunting season should not negatively affect raccoon ecology nor population dynamics.