03 Mar 2018

Deserving Porcupine Shot

, , , ,

Yesterday was one of those days.

We woke up to a chilly house. The winds roaring like a freight train overnight knocked the power out. Happily, though, we are in Pennsylvania and the lights (and the furnace) were back on at 9:00 A.M.

When our seven-month-old-but-monstrously-huge Taigan puppy came back from his first morning outing, he had something sticking out of his nose. Short little spikes? Some kind of burrs? Karen brought me some needle-nose pliers and held him, and I reached out and extracted three in one swipe. The puppy yipped.

On close examination, the little spikes proved to be tiny porcupine quills. It seemed strange that he had only three, right in the nose, and they were all short and about an inch long. Did he meet a baby porcupine? we wondered. Or did he just reach out and sniff one’s head?

But it was not to be quite so simple. A bit later, I saw in his profile view one more quill, bent against his nose.

Efforts to restrain this 75-pound seven-month Central Asian puppy failed. We could not hold him and keep his head still. He had to go to the Vet and be sedated, for one tiny quill.

Well, this morning the dogs were barking about something, when I got up. I looked out the back door and there was a full-sized adult porcupine sitting high in a tree about 50 yards or so from the back door.

I had Karen bring me a Winchester Model 1892 .25-20 Saddle-Ring Carbine (made in 1915) that I acquired in a recent auction and a box of cartridges. The trick would be figuring out where exactly you had to hold.

I fired a shot, which I thought went high. My second shot, held lower, seemed possibly to have struck. The porcupine seemed perturbed. Karen wanted to try her hand. She took aim and definitely hit him. The porcupine began trying to descend. I tried another shot, aiming distinctly below the varmint’s body, and that one really had an impact. The porcupine was hard hit and its paw was shaking in distress. I fired one more time and this last one knocked him right out of the tree.

The .25-20 is clearly an anemic round, not a lot more powerful than a .22 Long Rifle, but it is a good round for this kind of thing. It makes little noise and it took the porcupine a long time to figure out he was being shot at. Long enough for Karen and me to figure out the sights on an unfamiliar new gun.

So perish all our enemies!

(Porcupines are kind of cute but the injuries they can inflict on a dog are horrific. That last one quill yesterday also cost a hundred fifty bucks for veterinary services.)

10 Feedbacks on "Deserving Porcupine Shot"


I lost a good dog to a quill the vet broke off. It traveled to his brain and he was convulsing. He had to be put down. I did not take vengeance, never thought to. If I did the vet would have died.

Dan Kurt

An old friend, the most benign person one could imagine, when in the service taught pilots winter survival usually in the high Sierras. His go to survival food was Porcupine. Terrible taste but easy to find and kill by “downed” air men.

Dan Kurt


My mother told of eating porcupine sandwiches when she was young. My grandfather was homesteading in southeast Idaho around the turn of the last century. She said they called it “pork”, or something, but it definitely did not taste like chicken.


Quite a while back I lived in east central Minnesota. Porkies were everywhere and old white pines were there preferred roost and dining. I shot a lot of them, usually with a revolver, either a S&W K22 or a S&W Model 66 with .38 hard cast bullets in target loads. They were just a sponge for the .38s but 1 or 2 from the K22 usually brought them down.

At that time I had a big yellow lab. One memorable day he came home carrying a baby porcupine. I have never seen a dog so proud of himself. It was like, “Wow boss, your gonna love this.” Suffice to say, there were 1 inch quills all the way down his throat. To my surprise, he didn’t resist while I spent about an hour or more pulling them. You might think he would have learned something but noooo…


Oh yeah, ditch the pliers and get a 10″ forceps, works way better.

The .25-20 may be anemic but it has a huge claim to fame. In 1914 Jim Jordan used a .25-20, model 1892 Winchester to kill the Jordan buck, still the largest typical whitetail ever taken in the U.S.

I didn’t know Jordan but did work peripherally with his nephew, Bob Ludwig, a DNR forester, who did all the detective work to connect Jordan with his long lost deer. Fabulous story….

Capt. Craig

David, don’t you think that firing any rifle skyward, let alone one not sighted in, is not a good idea? A shotgun would have been apropos and a clean one shot kill.


I was firing uphill at a target less than halfway up a rising slope behind which rises a high wooded ridge, all of which is my own property. I actually had a 12 gauge magnum Model 12 nearby, and initially thought of using it, but it would have been a long shotgun shot, and I realized that all my duck & goose loads were sitting in storage and had never been unpacked.


Capt. Craig, your self-righteous safety lesson is probably misdirected. Anyone with a modicum of common sense knows that safety rules are really guidelines. When I was shooting porkies out of the treetops I KNEW that the trajectory/velocity couldn’t take that bullet within three miles of a the nearest farm. Because he seems like a common sense guy, I’m betting the same is true for ZDV’s low-vel .25-20 bullet. I suggest that you save your safety lessons for Chicago gang bangers and NYPD cops.


I hear that sniping the end off of the impaled quill will release it for removal. Glad you got power back and we did too just a few hours ago. The wife decided shes no camper!

Maggie's Farm

Tuesday morning links

Photo – another pic from a pal in Killington.  To be up on a mountain in the cold and snow is a great joy. At what age can kids do weight-training? Sports and calisthenics are best for growing kids  You didn’t need to kill the Porkie…


Please Leave a Comment!

Please note: Comments may be moderated. It may take a while for them to show on the page.

Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark