Porcupines come through the place from time to time, but it's been a while since I've seen one. They seem to have gotten the idea than they are not very welcome. But the other day I found a dead one among the hay bales, evidently shot by the rancher. I flipped it up into the jumble of bales to keep the dogs away from it.
Our first experience with one here was a mite prickly. Emma came back to the front door with her nose full of quills. I wrestled her down and used a pair of kelly forceps to remove them, without much cooperation from her I might add. Once that was done I put her inside, grabbed a shootin' iron, and went searching. No luck at all. Figuring that maybe Emma had learned her lesson I let her out and she took me right to the tree the perps were using as a hideout. I put her back inside so they wouldn't fall on her and then did the deed.
It was a mom with her little-one (see pic). I felt bad about it but it had to be done. More than a few dogs have met with a bad end because of them. And although they seem to be innocuous critters they are extremely destructive. Anything with salt or a salt-derivative on it is fair game to them: corral posts, porch railings, shovel handles. If you or a critter has touched it, they want to eat it. They have amazingly efficient teeth and can make short work of a canoe paddle, for example. I have photos of aluminum signs chewed all to pieces by them. Folks have discovered their tires chewed all to hell as well.
They are definitely in the varmint category out here. I don't like killing anything that's truly inoffensive. Unfortunately, that's not the whole story with porkies.
The Indians used to refrain from killing them because if a man were lost or injured and on his own it would be easy to catch and kill one for emergency vittles. Cleaning them might be another story, however.