Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 55

had hit the icy snow since there were
puddles of urine around it.
Roze says, in his book The North
American Porcupine, that porcupines
risk injury and death from falling out of
trees because they are relatively heavy
and prefer to feed far out on branches
that are often brittle. I know I've
watched them foraging on hardwood
tree branches, expecting them to fall
any moment as they crawl farther and
farther out on a limb that bends with
their weight.
Sometimes porcupines do fall, but
they usually aren't badly hurt. For
instance, one of Roze's study animals
had a series of injuries that he called
"consistent with falling belly-first out
of a tree."
According to Roze, another
researcher, Wendell Dodge in western
Massachusetts, who autopsied 200
porcupines back in 1961, found healed
leg, hip, and rib fractures, broken teeth,
injured eyes and ears, hernias, and softtissue injuries. One even had a 4-inchlong pine branch in its abdomen.
A week later, in early March, I
checked on the dead porcupine and
found a live one sitting next to it on
the ground under the large spruce tree
almost as if it was holding a late wake
for it. Eventually it shuffled over to the
spruce trunk, deftly climbed its mostly
bark-stripped trunk, and moved far out
on the limb.
I followed other porcupine tracks
from the upper section of the grove,
over to the neighbor's clearcut on
Sapsucker Ridge. There I saw a small
but old chestnut oak and a bent, larger
one, both of which had debarked
branches.
Beneath them were bark pieces and
scat littering the ground. I continued
FEBRUARY 2015

following the tracks for 20 feet to the
remains of a hollow tree log left by the
loggers. At its entrance was a huge pile
of porcupine scat. I kneeled down on
the snow and peered inside the log. A
porcupine was tucked into it.
Both log dens were 200 feet or
so from the spruce grove. While
porcupines wander much greater
distances during the summer, their
temporary winter dens, which they use
for an average of 23 days, are usually
within 300 feet of their food trees. The
spruce grove porcupines followed that
pattern.
The same porcupine appeared
three days later at the base of the large
spruce where the other porcupine had
died and reluctantly climbed the tree
when I spoke to it. It looked as if that
beautiful tree had been completely
girdled high up.
So, too, had at least four other
large spruces. But according to Gary
Gilmore, a service forester with the
state Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources, Norway spruces
throw out new limbs if they have been
topped.
By March 10, I was seeing as many as
four porcupines feeding in our hollow
hemlock trees, leaving nipped twigs
and scat on our road. Although this
still was winter food, probably they had
left dens upslope early and were using
hemlock habitat for shelter, meager
though it was.
Near the end of March, I found
only two porcupines in hardwood
trees and they were eating buds. The
rest seemed to have disappeared once
spring arrived. But I had enjoyed my
porcupine winter and the chance to
learn a little about how they survive
the cold months.
55



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 68
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 69
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Cover4
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