"If you’re familiar with porcupines, they can cause an enormous amount of damage to a rural home," Jerry Feaser told me. "They literally chew through things."
Feaser works for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which has lately been wrestling with porcupine trouble. State law lets homeowners kill animals that are causing damage to homes — provided the animals are caught in the act.
"The problem is that porcupines are nocturnal, and the [low] likelihood that someone is actually going to catch them in the act is an obstacle," Feaser told me.
So last year, the commission created a hunting season on porcupines. They figured this would give homeowners an opportunity to kill porcupines that were causing trouble, even if they couldn’t catch them red handed (red-quilled?).
Then the invisible hand of the porcupine black market reached into rural Pennsylvania.