PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Pennsylvania game officials on Tuesday approved a hunting season for porcupines -- spiky, slow-moving animals that have grown in number and angered residents who say they destroy property.
Hunters will be allowed to kill porcupines from September 1 through March 31, according to the decision by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.
The animals had been protected since the 1980s, and porcupines killed for causing property damage had to be reported.
But the porcupine population has grown in recent years, particularly in the north-central part of the state, where they have done an "enormous amount of damage," prompting complaints, said Jerry Feaser, spokesman for the commission.
They are notorious for eating aluminum siding off cabins, brake lines, other car parts and anything with a salt residue on it, he said. They also eat wood and tree bark, he added.
"They'll literally girdle a tree and kill it," Feaser said. "It's amazing what damage these little critters can do."
The new guidelines allow hunters to take six porcupines daily during the season. Other northeastern states that allow porcupine hunting include Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, according to the Game Commission.
(Reporting by Daniel Lovering, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)