Groundhog Day 2012: Woodchuck rescuer prepares for big day

A groundhog named Phil has attracted thousands to the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, every Feb. 2 for an annual Groundhog Day celebration. But a lesser-known groundhog named Durnkik Dave has been stealing some of the spotlight.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Bob Will, a 70-year-old licensed wildlife rehabilitator, has made it a hobby to rescue thousands of groundhogs near his Drunkik, New York, home.

He said he's driven by a love of the animal. His collection of woodchucks has also attracted television trucks and locals during the holiday, though it's not quite as large as the Punxsutawney celebration. 

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The Los Angeles Times reports: "But in truth, Will says, every day is Groundhog Day at his house. It has been that way for decades, since as a child he brought a bloodied groundhog home, nursed it back to health, and released it to the safety of a friend's property a few months later."

Will is now well-known enough among woodchuck enthusiasts that he fields calls from concerned people hundreds of miles away, asking him to pick up an injured groundhog. Other woodchucks are dropped off at his doorstip. 

When the groundhogs are healed, Will releases them on his friend's farm. But Will doesn't always succeed in saving injured groundhogs, which is the hardest part of his hobby. "I go to pieces," he told the LA Times. 

Drunkik Dave isn't the only groundhog competing with Phil. In Staten Island, New Yorkers celebrate with a woodchuck named Staten Island Chuck. In 2009, Chuck bit the mayor's finger, says the Staten Island Real-Time News.

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