Porcupines

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BackWoodsHunter
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Porcupines

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:46 am

What is everyones view on porcupines? We have a of a time with them destroying scotch pines, jack pines and oaks on our family hunting land so we make it a point to kill as many as possible. Besides the fact that pines and oaks are rare in our forest of popple trees it is just discouraging to see the top of a perfectly healthy tree cracked off after a windstorm because some a-hole porky girdled the top of it. I have a sweet video of my girlfriend shooting one (her first kill of anything ever) and my dad shooting another but I won't post it if I will get heckled for killing helpless animals or wastefully killing. They chew on our cabins and and deerstands and we have one stand of scotch pines we probably loose 20 or more trees a year to the porcupines. What are your views on porkies?


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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby dan » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:37 am

I have no problem with killing anything "if its legal game" But everything native to our lands has a reason for being here and is part of the grand scheme ;)


Wisconsin's prickly rodent
The misunderstood porcupine is a boon to the Northwoods.
Alan D. Martin
The common porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is a wonderful, necessary member of Northwoods wildlife, and I'm glad it is here in large numbers. Throw stones if you want, but I'll stand by porkies.

They kill trees, you say? Well, owls, wood ducks, hooded mergansers and woodpeckers need homes too, and porcupines are part of nature's snag-making team.

Porcupines hurt my dog, you say? Well, most dogs learn from that first painful mistake and don't go near porcupines again. Only one of my family's six hunting dogs hasn't gotten a snootful of quills in recent years, and only one needed a second dose to learn the lesson. The other grousers now bark, from a distance, at the quill-pig.

Because of such mishaps, some porcupines are shot on sight. That's a real shame because the porky isn't only the prickliest resident of the Northwoods, it's also one of the most interesting.

Porkies are the second-largest rodent in Wisconsin after the North American beaver. They can weigh 30 pounds or more in summer but their weight drops dramatically during the lean months of winter. Porcupines live in the northern two-thirds of the state in a territory that extends in a V-shape from about the Ellsworth area in Pierce County down to Wisconsin Dells and back up toward Green Bay.

Porcupines, like most rodents, are vegetarians. Their winter diet consists of conifer needles, buds and the bark of pines, hemlock, maples and birch. How these critters survive on foods with a protein content of only two to three percent is truly amazing.

Porcupines are sloppy eaters who drop a lot of greenery that provides a welcome snack for white-tailed deer during deep snows. If you spot a small pile of freshly-snipped branches on a winter walk, it's likely porcupines are nearby. Their winter dens are easy to find -- just follow your eyes and nose. Porcupines winter in caves and hollow logs. They travel the same paths every day. Near their dens you'll see distinctive fecal piles and smell the strong scent of concentrated urine.

In spring, abundant food allows the porcupines to roam more freely, and they grow fat and healthy while dozing in the dog days of summer. Porkies consume tender shoots, succulent twigs, roots, seeds and (often to the dismay of gardeners) apples, melons, carrots, potatoes and other juicy produce. Nor are the gardener's tools immune to the porcupine's gouging incisors. The animals need sodium to rid their bodies of high levels of potassium from leaves and bark. Axe handles, hoes, canoe paddles, gloves and anything else touched by salty human hands are porcupine magnets.

When defending itself, a porcupine sits very still, faces away from its enemy, raises up, bristles and rattles its quill-studded tail, protecting vital areas from potential predators with up to 30,000 barbed quills.

Although porkies are slow, ambling creatures, it's not always easy to keep your distance. A deer-hunting friend of mine still talks about his close encounter. Gary was sitting in his tree stand one day when a young-of-the-year porcupine climbed up the same tree and took a seat directly adjacent to Gary's face. He was kind of cute (the baby porky, that is), as he sat there making little noises with his teeth and watching this newcomer to the tree. Somehow Gary didn't find much to admire. He just kept a real close eye on the porky's tail and slowly, calmly eased out of his stand and made his way down the tree. His heart was pounding pretty hard as he reached the ground and looked up at the porky still perched on a branch.

Only one predator poses a significant threat to porcupines -- the fisher. These large weasels will wait for the right moment and inflict quick bites to the porcupine's face and nose, areas that can take little abuse before the injury is fatal.

The porcupine is relatively silent throughout its life, so many people don't recognize the whining squeal that sounds like a cross between a piglet and a crying baby. The sound varies in pitch and is most often heard in areas with rocky knobs and a good mix of conifers and hardwoods -- prime porcupine habitat.

Native Americans had both respect and use for the porcupine. Its quills were incorporated in elaborate embroidered pieces, baskets and artwork. Porcupine quills were bartered and traded with plains tribes who had less frequent contact with the woodland creature.

So keep an eye out for the barbed quill-pig of the woods on your next winter walk. And if one finds you, show some respect.
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:21 pm

Interesting article Dan, thanks for the new insight gives me SLIGHTLY more "appreciation" for the porcupine but they still have to die. They just kill soooo many trees on our land its not even right. I will edit the short video footage I have and post it here in the near future.
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby DEERSLAYER » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:11 pm

It sounds like you need some Porkypine recipes. Ma Infalt can probably make them taste like roast beef. :D
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:59 pm

I'm actually looking to get a hat made out of one and I think I found a lead today. I went and grabbed lunch with a few buddies today and mentioned it and they all said maybe "cat hat man" could have one made for you. Apparently "cat hat man" got a cat from the humane society (not sure if it died or he killed it) and he turned it into a hat. They met him at a recent "ag days" event at the local high school. My buds were there representing our tree climbing program and our college and met "cat hat man" who also had a booth there, I assume he was advertising taxidermy skills as a possible career. He waited til the coast was clear to pull the cat hat out and show them. I am going to contact him next time I shoot a porky!

Central WI is one messed up place :shock: :lol:
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:05 am

[bbvideo=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zabvH9z1sow[/bbvideo]
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby magicman54494 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:38 am

BackWoodsHunter wrote: I'm actually looking to get a hat made out of one and I think I found a lead today.


Are you kiddin me? I've stuck myself with a quill one time. You never want to have to pull one out!




BackWoodsHunter wrote: Central WI is one messed up place :shock: :lol:


You just figuring that out? I saw a pair of collie mittens at an auction once. The people having the auction said it was uncle so and so's collie. He loved it so much that when it died he had the mittens made out of it's hide :lol:
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby kenn1320 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:46 am

I am going to contact him next time I shoot a porky!


Many mounts are ruined due to customers not knowing what the proper care is "prior" to getting the animal to the taxidermist. Do yourself a favor and call cat man and ask him what to do "before" you go shoot one.

Are you kiddin me? I've stuck myself with a quill one time. You never want to have to pull one out!


He could remove the quils, still would be an interesting looking hat.

Ken
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby PLB » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:12 am

I thought they were protected in Wisconsin?? :?
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:48 pm

I don't think so! According to the 2011 regulations :

Protected Species means the following mammals, reptiles, and birds that may not be hunted,
trapped, or possessed without first obtaining appropriate DNR authorization: Mammals—
badger, Canada lynx, cougar, flying squirrel, jack rabbit, marten, moose, gray wolf, white
deer (all white except for hooves, tarsal glands, head, and parts of the head), wolverine, and
woodchucks (see landowner exemption, page 21); Reptiles—black rat snake, bull snake,
timber rattlesnake, and yellow-bellied (blue) racer; Birds—all wild birds (including song
birds and blackbirds) not specifically mentioned in the hunting, trapping, and migratory bird
regulation pamphlets are protected; All endangered and threatened species; All game animals
(including elk) which have an open and closed season, bag limit, size limit, or possession limit.


Unprotected Species means mammals and birds that can be hunted year-round without bag
limits or hunting hours restrictions, and includes starling, English (house) sparrow, chukar
partridge, coturnix quail, opossum, skunk, weasel, and all other wild mammals not specifically
mentioned in the hunting, trapping, and migratory game bird regulations pamphlets and
not listed as an endangered, threatened, or protected species (see ‘protected species’ listed
above). A small game license is needed for hunting unprotected species.



I believe porcupines fall under unprotected species, and then we were on private land so the landowner rules apply and those even allow you to shoot some of the protected species and other small game critters out of season. Too many loopholes!
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby john1984 » Tue Aug 24, 2021 4:09 pm

Anybody ever have a porcupine already up the tree that you have to be in ???

Today at my best bear bait site, they're is a porky up in the only tree that will work for this spot. I have to hunt out of this tree. It has to be this tree. I'm thinking I may have to shoot it with my bow before I climb up on the day of the hunt :lol:
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby Grizzlyadam » Wed Aug 25, 2021 1:50 am

john1984 wrote:Anybody ever have a porcupine already up the tree that you have to be in ???

Today at my best bear bait site, they're is a porky up in the only tree that will work for this spot. I have to hunt out of this tree. It has to be this tree. I'm thinking I may have to shoot it with my bow before I climb up on the day of the hunt :lol:

Yes I have several times in hemlock trees. One time I had three of them just a few feet above me for several hours. They never gave me any trouble, they just hang out. Every once in a while a turd bounces down and they stink but other than that no prob.
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby Rich M » Tue Aug 31, 2021 5:53 am

Used to see a lot of porcupines when hunting in VT. Neat critters.

Never shot one of those or a beaver.

They eat em on "Alone".
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby Chuck B » Tue Aug 31, 2021 6:17 am

Rich M wrote:Used to see a lot of porcupines when hunting in VT. Neat critters.

Never shot one of those or a beaver.

They eat em on "Alone".



I just watched a few of the alone episodes that they were eating some porcupine. Kind of look good, lots of fat. Anyone here ever try eating any? I would like to take some out of our land as well but don’t like to kill without eating.
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Re: Porcupines

Unread postby headgear » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:46 am

I think I read somewhere that they are one of the few animals that can be eaten raw like sushi, I am a big sushi fan but I have yet to try it. Like dan said, they have their place, I have run into 40's where all the tree bottoms were eaten up but the trees kept on growing, I'm not shooting something unless i eat it so I jsut let them go. I know people hate wolves around here too but they beautiful animals and if you are lucky enough to see them hunt deer you can learn a lot from them. They know the bedding areas well I will say that much.


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