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Thread: Porcupine Encounters

  1. #1
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Porcupine Encounters

    I don't get to see many porcupines on the trail, so I was quite surprised when I ran into two of them in Monadnock State Park just at the outset of my multi-day hike (I was doing the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway.)

    I spotted the first one at Gilson Pond Campground at the end of the weekend when almost all campers were gone and I actually managed to get a picture.
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    The second one was on a side of Red Spot Trail that I took to ascend Mt. Monandnock. This time around I was too slow and the porcupine ran away into the brush.

    A few days later I came upon a pile of needles on the trail just past Kitteridge Hill. I was really puzzled by what could have transpired here. I'm guessing that the porcupine was attacked, however, I found no blood or other evidence that would show that the attacker succeeded. I am still wondering what predators could be going after a porcupine with all these sharp needles???
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    Finally, more recently I was hiking with my wife in Adirondacs and we came across a branch impaled with porcupine needles. I was puzzled again but upon closer inspection (the branch still had fresh green leaves on it) I think the porcupine climbed a branch that cracked under its weight and both fell to the ground. Ouch!!!
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    I guess I can call this year a "Year of Porcupine!"

  2. #2
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    I've seen a few around shelters over the years. A big one was climbing in a tree a near the Perch and I have seen numerous shelters with the board ends all chewed up from porcupines. Quills all over the place on the ground. I woke one evening in one of those three sided lean-tos to see one chewing wood pretty close to my partner's feet at the end of her sleeping bag.

    Edit: I had the pleasure of holding down a 130 pound Rottweiler while my sister pulled quills out of his mouth. Glad he knew I was helping.
    Last edited by Raven; 07-12-2017 at 05:37 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member yogi's Avatar
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    While I've never seen one, my dog found one near Eliza Brook Shelter a couple year ago. It was a long walk out Reel Brook and down the road to our car at the Mt. Kinsman trailhead for the poor guy, followed quick visit to CAVES in Concord.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Fisher cats (and mountain lions!) are capable of killing Porcies. I've seen a pile of quills in the Catskills but also, no blood.
    Tom Rankin
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  5. #5
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    One day during an early morning hike up Lafayette via OBP a porky stepped out to the woods and onto the trail just above the steep rocky chute with the slippery base rocks. I followed that porky almost all the way to the hut, it finally turned off the trail just short of the hut in that last open area. I hung back a bit and it really didn't appear to be stressed about someone following it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    I've spotted a few sleeping in trees, but not encountered one on the ground in the Whites. They're mostly nocturnal. In Alaska, on the other hand, "nocturnal" is meaningless, so I met a few. They turned their backs and slowly walked away along the easiest path - which was usually the moose trail or streambed I was following.

  7. #7
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    Seen them climbing Equinox and Schunemunk. Saw several dead ones along Routes 2 & 302 on Sunday morning.

  8. #8
    Member JToll's Avatar
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    We saw one on the Ethan Pond Trail not far from Zealand. It climb along the ground then high up in a tree.

  9. #9
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    My dog treed one near the summit of Carter Dome on the Rainbow Trail one day. He's not always the shiniest peanut.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    Two years ago tenting on Teton Crest trail heard a noise in the vestibule, expecting a pesky marmot, came nose to nose with porkyWhen we got down ranger said it was a new problem on that trail- they were eating through pack straps and boots left out, they thought for the salt. Lucky for us no casualties!

  11. #11
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Not sure what they are like these days but back in the 70's Slide Mt. in the Catskills were riddled with them. In that area I have seen them chew the waist belts off of backpacks, scrape their teeth on fry pans, and chew through Sig fuel bottles. Not to mention teeth marks on old metal trail markers. They are scared of very little in general. But wouldn't you be if you were a four legged walking pin cushion.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ed'n Lauky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Not sure what they are like these days but back in the 70's Slide Mt. in the Catskills were riddled with them. In that area I have seen them chew the waist belts off of backpacks, scrape their teeth on fry pans, and chew through Sig fuel bottles. Not to mention teeth marks on old metal trail markers. They are scared of very little in general. But wouldn't you be if you were a four legged walking pin cushion.
    Oh yes, I remember them well. Back in the late 50s and early 60s I spent a number of nights in the shelter on Slide. The dog I had then once got some quills in a paw and never again touched one, but would chase them away as we attempted to sleep. I haven't been back since they took down the shelter and tower. In my mind's eye they are still there along with the porcupines.
    I used to look at my dog and think 'If you were a little smarter you could tell me what your were thinking', and he'd look at me like he was saying 'If you were a little smarter I wouldn't have to'. Fred Jungclaus

    Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place with curators in museums; others we take for walks. Roger Caras

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  13. #13
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Not sure what they are like these days but back in the 70's Slide Mt. in the Catskills were riddled with them. In that area I have seen them chew the waist belts off of backpacks, scrape their teeth on fry pans, and chew through Sig fuel bottles. Not to mention teeth marks on old metal trail markers. They are scared of very little in general. But wouldn't you be if you were a four legged walking pin cushion.
    They are still here, but diminished in numbers. They do still chew on quite a few things! We had to evict one from the Balsam Lake Mountain cabin when renovation started!
    Tom Rankin
    Web Master - NY Forest Fire Lookout Association
    Volunteer - Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President - Catskill 3500 Club
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    I saw one drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's. Its quills were perfect.

    Seriously, I've run into three on trail, all in Mass. One in a tree on the MM in the Holyoke Range, one in another on the north end of Round Mountain headed toward Frissell, and one, near the end of a long day, where the Money Brook and Prospect Mountain trails intersect deep in the Hopper. This one, in evening, was poking around near the stream. It looked at me from a safe distance, and vice versa, and we went on about our business.
    Last edited by Driver8; 07-13-2017 at 02:40 PM.
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