There's been a thousand different bucket/box (let's call them containers) designs and configurations over the years. Ultimately, your personal decision on which route to take will be determined by ease of transport, ease of construction, and cost. At conventions I've found buckets of every color and shape you can imagine for sale, as well as wooden boxes, wire mesh tunnels and tubes, even sheet metal boxes! Fortunately, I have about a hundred coon boxes at my disposal, although they would fill a horse trailer, which is why I try to get out as many as possible preseason.
Personally, I prefer a custom built wood coon box about 24 in long by 11 inches wide and 10 inches tall, with a 10 in bottom at the back of the box and a hardware cloth or mesh wire back for better airflow. Some of the boxes are open on both ends for using a trap on each end, which enables doubles at each box. On the front sides of the box, we cut 4 inch deep rounded grooves to snugly fit the springs of a 220. The front or trap-end of the box doesnt have a floor, so when it's set the front half of the box is on natural bare ground. The back half of the box does have the standard wood floor, which I pound a nail through to provide an ideal holder to impale a carp head.
The profile of a fish head with it's tell-tale glaring eye really seems to get the coon going. It's crucial to give the coon something to look at in the back of the back, like the fish head I just mentioned. Its exponentially more visually attractive than just a glob of bait or a puddle of fish oil. Even the old foil ball trick will do the trick. I cannot stress this enough to give the coon something to look at and long after to complement your lure and/or bait odors. A carp head with a smear of my Black Label bait and a shot of fish oil or Ulti-Mag Cherry is ideal, and provides a smorgasbord type effect.
When using a shorter box or bucket, the coon may simply try reaching the fish head in the back rather then entering, which may cause some headaches with snapped traps and pullouts. The longer 24 inch box, as well as using fully closing or magnum style bodygrips such as the Bulldog 220 (check them out here http://www.kaatzbros.com/products.php?sub=196) or the Belisle 220 ( http://www.kaatzbros.com/products.php?sub=all&q=Belisle+220) greatly reduces the pullouts and snapped traps. You will notice a few catches by one or both front feet with these traps, where standard 220s may have simply been snapped. Also, be sure the box itself is solidly bedded in the ground to keep the coon from rolling or moving it while investigating, which can lead to more snapped traps.
Thanks for reading Part 1 of the Coon Boxing Series, take care...KK