Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Defense of Property in Northern Wisconsin: From Porcupines

Porcupine damage to garage door frame, and its solution
He woke in the early morning hours, well before sunrise. What was that noise? It sounded like a mouse, chewing on something. Then he realized the noise was not from inside the house. It was from outside the house. He grabbed a rifle, the ubiquitous Ruger 10-22. Prior experience had shown him a .357 magnum was too much gun. Putting on hearing protection in the middle of the night is inconvenient, not to mention waking the entire family. Fortunately, the family dog was kenneled at night. His doggy talents were unsuited to the task required.

The pest was revealed by an LED flashlight from WalMart. It slowly waddled into the garage as he approached. Tossing a couple of expended lead bullets, set aside for re-casting, ahead of it, turned its path back outside. There was no need to exacerbate the damage by firing a round inside. Once on the grass, a .22 Long Rifle to the back of the head dispatched the beast efficiently and instantly.
Porcupines are destructive pests in North American forests. They are one of the largest rodents in North America. Their teeth are continually growing, so they must continually chew to keep their tooth length in reasonable limits.

While their chewing on and eating bark during winter months is said to add little nutrition to their diet, the practice does enormous damage to trees.  My brother recently harvested mature trees from some of the family land. A number of those trees were planted by our parents.

Many of the trees had been damaged by porcupines. The pests significantly reduced the return on the slow growing crop.

Porcupines not only damage trees in the forest. They love to chew on plywood and pressed board. While my brother and I were expanding and refurbishing the family hunting cabin, the damage by  porcupines mounted to hundreds of dollars in material, and dozens of hours of labor.

Hoplophobes seldom consider how valuable the gun is as a tool of rural residents. Porcupines are a pest of the North Woods. Rattlesnakes are a danger, when they take up residence under the front step in the desert. I have used personal firearms to dispatch both.

A rural resident does not have the luxury of calling "animal control" to manage his pests. It would be an impractically expensive and time wasting system. Few, if any, rural governments could afford, or county boards vote for, such a frivolous expenditure of tax dollars.

When most people either grew up on a farm, or had relatives there, the push to disarm them never got off the ground. It was only after a majority had left the land to live in cities for a generation, that restrictions on gun ownership made headway in the United States or in Australia.

Those who wish us disarmed claim they don't intend to take guns from farmers and hunters. Tell that to the farmers and hunters in Australia and New Zealand, who find many of their family heirlooms now banned by law.

When I interviewed an Australian Member of Parliament about the passage of the extreme 1997 law, he specifically remembered the inclusion of .22 rifles, and shotguns. There was no consideration of farmers. The legislators saw no downside. The big effort was to get it passed while emotions were high, before any debate was allowed by the media. Air guns, crossbows, and slingshots were included "to cover as much as possible, with this legislation, realizing the momentum would never be greater".

The most important change, he said, was to move from the expectation an Australian had a right to a gun, to the presumption they did not.

I do not see that happening in the United States.

©2019 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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