How do I find a porcupine?
resolved Sep 11
Look up trees
Hike in Garnet Canyon at dusk
Camp at Death Canyon Shelf
Hike in Death Canyon at dusk
Camp at Alaska Basin
Wait for snow and look for tracks
Look for 5-millimeter tooth marks in tree bark
Follow your nose
Go to a location where porcupines live in the wild
Create a market on Manifold asking people how to find porcupines
Make porcupine noises
Listen for noisy chewing
Go to a nearby zoo and ask where the porcupines are
Drive on a highway with a lot of dead porcupines late at night. Try not to run them over.

How do I find a porcupine?

I've asked a dozen different rangers and mountain guides for advice on how to find a porcupine. A couple rangers described porcupines as "a real nuisance" and "a menace" in Death Canyon, but I haven't had any luck meeting this menace.

As soon as I see or hear one, I'll resolve to any answer that proved useful in helping me meet a porcupine! I'll push the market close date until that happens — I've been on the lookout since December and it could take patience. In the meantime, I'll tip for any porcupine information that's new to me!

I'll only consider ethical ways to meet a porcupine in the wild, so leaving a saucer of salt outside my tent, for example, wouldn't count.

It's been a great wildlife season and I've thoroughly enjoyed recognizing my neighborhood elk and dodging my first flying squirrel. But I haven't had any luck with porcupines, so I'm extending the close date by a year.

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A couple nights ago I heard a porcupine while coming down the switchbacks after Garnet Canyon! I went back up the trail (a herculean effort after being awake and moving for 18 hours) and looked in the trees but couldn't see him despite trying sooo hard.

I'll keep looking though! This season I've also become obsessed with trying to meet the owl who hoots outside my window. I've been waking up at night, staking out the tree I think he lives in, asking neighbors and rangers for advice, reading research papers on owl hunting .... I might as well look for porcupines at night while I'm at it.

Where do you live? Are there porcupines there?

@Alice They spend the hot/sunny parts of the day in trees, and forage around on the ground near dawn and dusk.

@FutureOwl I didn't realize till recently how often porcupines fall out of trees (and risk self-quilling)! I haven't seen any porcupines in trees yet, though last week I did come across a black bear cub 50 feet up a whitebark pine, snacking on pinecones and swaying in the wind.

@IsaacKing If only I were cute enough to make porcupine noises!

@RobinFoster I'd heard about the odor but didn't know what it smells like! Thanks for sharing.

Why would it be unethical to put out a saucer of salt?

@IsaacKing You can't feed the wildlife. And thankfully, I haven't had any salty gear chewed on.

@RobinFoster Wikipedia says they have a strong smell to deter predators.

I've added answers for everything I've tried so far.