Of all the claims made concerning trapping, the one that gets me most is when they claim you can't reduce the population of mesomammals, particularly racoons, enough to make a difference unless you're trapping right during the nesting season.I have always wondered about this so I asked a turkey biologist about this, and he said if you apply trapping pressure within the current regulation guidelines and are catching less and less each year, that it is plausible that you may be reducing populations of those critters locally. That makes sense to me.
Anyway, if it doesnt take time away from habitat management and you still have time to do it, its fun and enjoyable, there is no downside.
Here is a record I kept of racoons, opossums, and skunks
In 2009-2010 I was just doing some general trapping and you can see I took 19 racoons and 19 opossums, which obviously wasn't going to impact the population. In 2010-2011 we put in more effort and took 76 racoons and 33 opossums. At the time we pulled the traps, we knew from the catch rate that there were still several racoons there. In 2011- 2012, we kept the traps out to reduce the population as much as we could, and by the end of season there were very few left. As you can see we took 107 racoons and 33 opossums that year. At this point the catch rate became very low. I should also mention another trapper took over 50 racoons on property to the west of us. Now look at 2012-2013. Despite the claims of moving back in, I already knew there weren't near the racoons simply because of the lack of sign. However, I was still surprised by how few racoons were actually there a full year later. I kept the same number of traps set for 3 weeks and only caught a total of 7 racoons, less than I could easily catch the first night in previous years. Even in 2013-2014 the numbers were still low. I didn't put in the same amount of effort as previous years, but it took enough effort to just catch 9 racoons that I knew there still weren't a lot of racoons there. Incidentally, camera data plus visual sightings clearly support that 2012 and 2013 were the best turkey reproduction we've had. I can understand when people want to make the claim that the increased turkey production was just coincidental, even though I disagree. But I'll never buy the claim you can't significantly reduce the population of racoons locally, because rather than just talk about it I've actually tried and done it.