Raccoon hunting, known colloquially as coon hunting, should be booming. Hunting is hardly regulated in Missouri; limits are only set on dates when hunters and trappers can harvest fur, not how much. But the number of hunters running dogs is declining.
The state's raccoon population has increased steadily since the 1940s, when over-hunting sent numbers to a dangerous low. But harvest sizes are variable, as are markets. Fur prices peaked in the 1970s, with single pelts worth upwards of $30. Pelts from the 2012-2013 hunt averaged $20.79 a piece at auction. When multiplied by the 7,966 pelts sold in the 2012-2013 brought in $165,613 for Missouri trappers and hunters.
Another large part of the sport is the prestige (and sometimes money) that comes with winning a competition hunt where no raccoon gets killed. But as dogs hunt farther, decreasing availability of land has caused problems, with deer hunters from the city and farmers tightening their grasp on thinning forests. A mix of old-timers and younger hunters brought up hunting with family are doing their best to keep the sport alive.