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PA Game Commission Announces Open Season on Porcupines

News  April 15 2011
 — By Nora Hollway
PA Game Commission Announces Open Season on Porcupines

Open season is declared on porcupines.

Prickly but undeniably cute, porcupines will soon be caught in the crosshairs of hunting scopes across Pennsylvania.

Porcupines beware: Hunters are coming your way.

According to The York Dispatch, the Pennsylvania Game Commission decided to create an open season on the destructive varmints on Tuesday, April 12. Since the 1980s, the species have been protected under law.

Why would anyone want to hunt a porcupine? Porcupine meat isn’t regaled for its deliciousness and a wall mount seems a bit out of the question. Apparently quite the nuisance, the deceptively adorable herbivore has a tendency to chew up anything and everything much to the displeasure of residents of the state.

Like most rodents, porcupines’ front teeth grow throughout their lives. Allstate Animal Control explained that to maintain the length of their teeth, porcupines have to wear them down. This means that ax or shovel handles, aluminum siding, oars, trees – anything these little dudes can sink their chompers into – don’t stand a chance. In a porcupine’s eyes, all of these things were destined to be gnawed on.

“They’ll literally girdle a tree and kill it,” said Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser. “It’s amazing what damage these little critters can do.”

Starting out as just a mild annoyance, Pennsylvanians merely trapped and released them. If more protective homeowners decided to personally dispose of their porcupine problems, they had to report it. After years of protection, the porcupine population has steadily increased to a number that is just too large for the Pennsylvania Game Commission to ignore.

However those hunting porcupine had better be careful… porcupines may be of the rodent family, but their reproduction rate is much slower than their brethren. While overhunting could harm the long-term numbers of procupines, for now the overpopulation of porcupines appears to be best addressed through the open hunting season.

The first hunting season will begin this year on Sept. 1 and run until March 31. Hunters will be able to bag up to six porcupines a day. Other porcupine hunting states are Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

Do you think porcupine hunting is justified for population control purposes? Why or why not?

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