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I have been feeding my family for many years on what I can harvest from the wild, whether it is plant or animal. With that said, while we will eat just about anything, I do have to admit that the porcupine is not at the top of my list of animals I pursue. After coming clean on that issue, if we were out of food, or if this was an emergency survival situation, I would have no problem harvesting a porcupine or two.

In an emergency situation, the pursuit of food is often based on risk and reward, on whether the energy expended is equal to or less than the amount of energy gained. In the case of the porcupine, it is worth the effort. Anyone can take advantage of porcupines, as they are slow, have poor vision offset by very good hearing, and can be dispatched quickly with a stick. Their famous quills are 3 to 12 inches in length but they cannot be launched at attackers. In other words it is the ultimate survival meat source.

The porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is the second-largest rodent found in North America, weighing 20 to 30 pounds and measuring 24 to 36 inches in overall length. Only the beaver is larger. While rodents are constantly being hunted (squirrels, woodchucks) or trapped (beaver and muskrat), many people don’t hunt porcupines, unless they are doing damage to their property and, honestly, very few of those people who harvest porcupines don’t treat them as a food source. Porcupines are slow, easy to kill and loaded with fat, a much needed element in a survival situation, especially in the winter. That is why I consider it the perfect survival meat source.

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American Survival Guide January 2020,