Pennsylvania approves hunting porcupines
Porcupines have grown in number and angered residents who say they destroy property, but they can now be hunted September 1 through March 31.
Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 12:34 PM
PORCUPINE PROBLEM: The animals have reportedly eaten aluminum siding off cabins, brake lines and other car parts, and anything with a salt residue on it. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
PITTSBURGH - Pennsylvania game officials on Tuesday approved a hunting season for porcupines — spiky, slow-moving animals that have grown in number and angered residents who say they destroy property.
Hunters will be allowed to kill porcupines from September 1 through March 31, according to the decision by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.
The animals had been protected since the 1980s, and any porcupines killed for causing property damage had to be reported.
But the porcupine population has grown in recent years, particularly in the north-central part of the state, where they have done an "enormous amount of damage" prompting complaints, said Jerry Feaser, spokesman for the commissioners.
He said porcupines have eaten aluminum siding off cabins, brake lines and other car parts, and anything with a salt residue on it. They also eat wood and tree bark, he added.
"They'll literally girdle a tree and kill it," Feaser said. "It's amazing what damage these little critters can do."
The new guidelines allow hunters to take six porcupines daily during the season. Other northeastern states that allow porcupine hunting include Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, according to the Game Commission.
Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director of the Humane Society of the United States, called the decision to hunt porcupines "a mockery of ecological conservation."
She said she sought information from the state about porcupine populations and range estimates but received only 16 reports for 2006 through 2010.
Four of those related to property damage, she said, while the others documented injuries to porcupines or injuries to wildlife caused by porcupines.
"They have no data," Speed said. "So we have no information about how many porcupines are currently in existence and what kind of impact hunting them would have."
(Reporting by Daniel Lovering, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)
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