Turtle season!

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Gathering' started by Blackhawk45hunter, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    3E6BE0DE-2D31-4914-86C7-EFF089688B4F.jpeg E38A0A69-ED33-46FE-9BAC-816D296CE4F9.jpeg D865A48F-A8F6-48D2-AC9F-1F301A697ED9.jpeg 57ECF68A-E6B9-4668-B755-412911886F8A.jpeg turtle season opened last Monday here in Ohio and it’s started off with a bang for me. So far I have 6 legal turtles, 11” shell length is the minimum here.


    I use setlines consisting of roughly 10’ of tarred bankline, a galvanized 6/0 circle hook and a kydex tag with my info burned in.

    I have 6 more lines set so I’m hoping that after work I find at least 2 more legal turtles.


    Anyone else chasing these little dinosaurs?
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  2. hlydon

    hlydon Guide

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    What’s the processing like? Do you get much meet from an 11”? I’ve never had turtle, so I’m curious as to the flavor, texture, etc.
     
  3. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    It’s definitely not as easy going as processing squirrels, but a 11” turtle gave me (this is a guess, I didn’t use a scale) around a pound or so of deboned meat. That along with a nice shell to keep.

    After butchering the first run of turtles and discarding the ‘extras’ I realized I should’ve saved the tails for soup. That would give me another 1/2 pound or so per turtle. Next run I’ll save all the tails and package them together for soup.
     
  4. Oni

    Oni Guide

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    Dang!

    Turtle don’t look too friendly in that last pic.

    Always wondered what they tasted like. Not sure we have snapping turtles in my AO, haven’t run across any in my outings.

    We have a pet map turtle. He’s pretty cool. Gets excited when he knows it’s feeding time.
     
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  5. Kenneth

    Kenneth Guide

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    Can you show pictures of how to process them? Thank you and

    GOD Bless you and your family

    Kenneth
     
  6. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    I’ll take pics this weekend when I do the next run of turtles. I’m keeping them in a barrel and changing water daily to clean them out first. It also makes things easier for me because I can catch all week and butcher all at once.
     
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  7. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    I’d bet you do, they’re everywhere. Set some lines baited with chicken gizzards overnight in a local pond and you’ll have at least one in the morning.

    They’re mostly nocturnal and spend the day buried in the mud to stay cool. You’ll be shocked at the number of turtles in your favorite panfish pond.
     
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  8. Outdoor Dauber

    Outdoor Dauber Roughian #3 Supporter

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    I have wanted to fish for turtles for a couple years. I have the PA legal hooks, jugs, etc. but haven't gotten to go yet.
     
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  9. dial1911

    dial1911 Supporter Supporter

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    Tagged... this is really interesting to me. We have lots of snapping turtles around here.
     
  10. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Do it!
    There’s no better time than the present to try.
     
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  11. Outdoor Dauber

    Outdoor Dauber Roughian #3 Supporter

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    It's just a matter of balancing life. Lol
     
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  12. MohaveGreen

    MohaveGreen Guide

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    Very interesting. Having grown up in the desert southwest I know precisely three things on this subject: 1. Tortoises are not turtles, and you do not, under any circumstances, lay your hands on a tortoise, lest you draw the wrath of the BLM. Unless maybe you are helping it off the road to avoid traffic. 2. Les Stroud once got some sort of mouth infection or something from eating a turtle in the Georgia swamp episode. And 3. Snapping turtles mate in spring / early summer. And I only learned this because my wife and young kids and I saw a couple of them very aggressively but seemingly very safely "fighting" last week when we stopped at a park for lunch in Somewhere South Carolina on our way to the beach. Yeah... Google told me they weren't fighting, which explains why nobody was going for the death chomp, if you will.

    I'm not sure how I thought you caught them, but I had no idea you did it with hook and line. Maybe traps, if I had to guess before seeing this thread. Anyway, thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to seeing some processing pics and learning more.
     
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  13. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Yeah it’s pretty important to fully cook turtle meat. I treat everything (wild) that isn’t deer, elk, moose etc, like I know for a fact it has something that’ll make me sick. I cook the daylights out of it. Parboiling before frying, grilling or baking usually.
     
  14. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    12204016-FE88-47C1-90CB-BC69C1B87F9F.jpeg Got this little guy tonight. Out of the 5 lines I had set this morning, 3 had turtles and only one was legal so I turned the others loose. This guy was feisty as heck, trying to nail anything in reach or close to it. He’s gonna taste awesome and his shell is gonna make a great addition to the quickly growing collection.
     
  15. Wilderness Spirit

    Wilderness Spirit Guide Vendor Supporter

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    A coworker of mine got my son interested in catching snappers years ago. His grandmother watched him during the summer when school was out and took him to check his sets. He had a blast catching them. We did the same thing .We kept them in a tub during the week and processed them on the weekend. He still talks about the fun he had.
     
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  16. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    When your keeping them in a tub. What do you do?
    Feed them at all? Look for anything particular?


    Also, any concerns over pollution contamination? Especially heavy metals.

    Thanks. Just curious.
     
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  17. Wilderness Spirit

    Wilderness Spirit Guide Vendor Supporter

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    Keeping them in a tub of clean water and changing the water daily helps to purge them out from the mud they bury in.
     
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  18. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Just keep them in some water to keep them cool and allow them to ‘purge’ of any nastiness in their guts before butchering. Some folks feed them, and I have been trying, but being reptiles they only eat every few days and mine haven’t eaten at all. I made sure to rinse them off until cleaned of all mud before adding them to the hold tank and they haven’t really clouded the water much at all. I’ve mostly been changing the water to keep them cool, it’s crazy hot this week.

    I’m not really concerned about pollution or heavy metals, as the water where I’ve been trapping is pretty clean. Lots of fish species present, which help to indicate decently clean water.
     
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  19. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks!

    I worry about the accumulation of toxins over the years. In my area there is alot of Lead, Mercury and PCBs that lie in the mud. And turtles live a long long time.

    I really wanna try it but don't know if I can get over the pollution.
     
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  20. snapper

    snapper Guide

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    Years ago a now departed friend of mine used to catch snapping turtles for both the meat and to make clocks from their shells. A favorite story is that George was well known for his hunting prowess with snappers and one night, on the way to an awards banquet where he was being recognized, he saw a particularly large turtle on the side of the road, just above a swamp. He immediately pulled over and went after the turtle; who promptly scooted into the swamp. Not willing to give up, George gave chase. Eventually he triumphed and the turtle ended up in the car's trunk and George, along with his long suffering wife, drove off to the banquet. Of course, his pants from the knees down were now stained with muddy swamp water but he didn't care...any anyone who knew him just chalked it up to George being George.

    I still have one of his clocks and it hangs in my den/equipment room where I get to notice it everyday. He was a wonderful guy and will be missed for years to come.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

    snapper
    (and yes...at 4 days old I was named after a snapping turtle)
     
  21. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Sounds like a heck of a guy! I’ve been considering a snapper shell clock... dang it now I have one more project for this winter, lol
     
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  22. snapper

    snapper Guide

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    George Fuge was the director of the college outdoor center I attended in the Adirondack region of NYS. He was one of three major influences in both my personal & professional life. I felt blessed to be able to make the transition from student to colleague to friend over the years. Quite a man.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

    snapper
     
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  23. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    I and a buddy set another 10 lines tonight, hopefully tomorrow night we find at least a couple legal keepers. The ones I have in the garage right now are almost ready to butcher, so I’ll need to fill the tank back up to keep things rolling.
     
  24. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Cool! Im very intrested in the dispatch and butchering process.
     
  25. RobOz

    RobOz Guide

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    How do you unhook the non legal ones?
     
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  26. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Watching this thread with anticipation.
     
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  27. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    VERY carefully. :18::18::18::18::18:

     
  28. 45jack

    45jack Supporter Supporter

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    Imagine if they got as big as sea turtles...
     
  29. Outdoor Dauber

    Outdoor Dauber Roughian #3 Supporter

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    You'd need a winch to pull them in!
     
  30. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Yep!
     
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  31. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Are they like some snakes where they can still reflexively bite after decapitation?
     
  32. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Like you wouldn’t believe lol. The muscles all work LONG after slaughtering. I had the rear legs from one on ice in a cooler, not attached to a turtle, for an hour. When I started skimming they came back to like and fought the knife all the way until the legs were skinned, and deboned.

    Reptilian nervous systems are crazy.
     
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  33. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    Had a friend that lived in Mississippi and he had floating cage traps set in several of his ponds and would sell them to locals. Never had it myself.
     
  34. Daveboone

    Daveboone Scout

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    A few years ago I found a 12" shelled snapper crossing the road near my camp. I was amazed at the quality and quantity of meat I got out of it. I was also surprised butchering it was pretty simple. We made a chowder following the Louisiana chef Emerils recipe...and it was delicious, but tough. I later found out it is normal to par boil it for a couple hours first. I will do it again, but I am very leery of taking a turtle from anywhere near farmlands/ populated areas, due to fertilizers, etc.
     
  35. Daveboone

    Daveboone Scout

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    I have to smile when I remember that after butchering the turtle, a full four hours later....the heart still was beating. As you guys mention, the critters literally try to crawl away right through the cleaning process. I was relating this to my friend, a veterinarian. He did his doctoral thesis on alligator snapping turtles, which apparently are the only vertebrate with an internal "lure", its tongue, which it dangles from an open mouth like a worm...then chomp!
    Anyway, for whatever purpose of his research, he was collecting however many alligator snappers for dissecting, whatever. He had some local turtle hunters helping him with this. They showed him how to butcher them, and he quickly showed them how to stop the post mortem crawls....after decapitating, cut off the tail, and take a section of wire clothes hangar and run it up the middle of the spinal column (the base of it being at the base of the tail, destroying its central nervous system. immediate dead dead turtle. Cool.
     
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  36. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    @Daveboone Wow! Thats pretty cool and makes sense to me.
    Disrupt the flow!
     
  37. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    That technique was mentioned in the Meat Eater podcast a year or so ago. Both in relation to fish (Japan) and river turtles in South America.


    I have a turtle to butcher this weekend.
    When I do, I’ll try to remember to get pics to post here.
     
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  38. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Well I tried taking pics while butchering today... but it was really hot so I had to be quick and couldn’t get pics once my hands were covered in blood and fat. Sorry guys.

    I DID manage to get a bunch of shells cleaned and ready to mount on the wall so I’ll get a pic once they’re finished. My plan is to cover a section of a wall in my bedroom with snapper shells. It’s looking like I won’t have a problem getting enough shells haha.
     
  39. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Good thread. I recently found a nearby area populated with a bunch of snapping turtles and I've been researching this subject. I've learned a lot about the handling, cleaning, and processing; would like to see more about your rig for catching them.

    My hands-on experience with wild turtles has been with the common red eared slider, haven't messed with snapping turtles much.
     
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  40. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    You need a gopro! lol
     
  41. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Or a buddy that’s into that sort of thing!

    Did you try the coat hanger trick that @Daveboone mentioned, and if so, did it work?
     
  42. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Haha no not yet. The next turtles I butcher will get that test. I wanted to save the tail intact for easier skinning on this one. The tail skin got fleshed and is soaking in a 50/50 solution of alcohol and glycerin, aka snakeskin tan. It’s gonna soak a few weeks and then get worked, flattened and dried to use as an inlay on my next knife sheath.
     
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  43. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Ok so I'm gonna back track a bit.
    Im goin for it!

    Season here in CT opened today. Here's the regs.

    Season Dates: July 15 - September 30

    Bag Limits: Daily 5, Possession 10, Season 10

    Size Limit: Minimum 13” shell length.
    Legal Methods: Hand capture, dip net, turtle hook, floating or non-floating turtle trap, or hook and line.



    Now we can't legally set a jug line, set line or trot line. So I could handline or rod and reel.

    I'm thinkin of just using a stout boat rod I have with a big ole Penn reel. (Think JAWS) a stainless hook (5/0) and 40lb mono. Live bluegill and a bobber.

    Ive got a few ponds in my area I've seen snapping turtles go to and fro during egg laying season. So I know they're there.

    Now I know I can catch them. But then what?
    Do I have to keep them alive for a few days or can I dispatch them on site? Which I would prefer (on site)

    I don't really have a setup to keep live turtles. Plus I live with my Mother in Law. She already gives me side eye glances. I don't need to be homeless!!
     
  44. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    That seriously sucks that you can’t set setlines...

    Keeping them to ‘flush them out’ is preferred. I use a plastic barrel set on its side with a slice taken off the ‘top’ and change water daily until the water stays clear.

    That said, I have a coworker that catches a few each year for making soup and he claims to not ever do any purge period. He kills on site and claims not to experience any off tasting meat.

    My personal theory is that if the water they come from is clean, then a purge isn’t necessary. The purge is just a good way to be safe and assure the best quality meat.

    If you can figure out a storage solution, do a few days of clean out. If not, give it a go with one and let us know how it turned out! Maybe your water is clean enough to not need a purge period, which would be awesome.




    Welcome to the madness!
     
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  45. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    Just be glad you guys aren't in NY
     
  46. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    That would definitely slow down harvest!

    That said, firearms and bows are illegal in Ohio regarding turtles and there have been a couple times I could have taken home a MONSTER of a snapper if it was legal here.
     
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  47. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    I was even thinking of tying a line to a pole and leaving it overnight but leaving a pole unattended is a no go as well!!
     
  48. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    Man that’s rough
     
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  49. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

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    I’d say your best bet then is to go wading with a stick and ‘feel’ around for them buried in the mud. There are some YouTube videos of how to do it.
     
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  50. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Thats gonna be a big NOPE!! From me. :D
    I like my fingers right where they are!!
     
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