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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw a large snapper today. It was at least a 17 inch carapace. I could have just grabbed him. He was traveling between lakes through a very small stream.

This got me thinking ... anyone trap them? How do you clean them? I remember in the 70s meeting an old guy that traveled around the UP trapping snapping turtles. I seem to recall him using a mesh trap of some kind.
 

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Growing up on Harsen's Island(1970's) we used to get lots of them. There was this old guy (Burnum Sears) that we would take them to . He would clean them and cook the meat. He used to hang the shell in a tree and let the birds pick it clean.

Guys used to trap them with chicken wire traps baiting with chicken guts.

Word of caution!! - Don't just grab one by the sides or you might be missing some fingers. The head can go all the way back to just about the end of the shell. Pick them up buy the tail.

I can still remember riding my bike holding a burlap bag with a snapper turtle in it. Hell, I used to ride by bike holding a shotgun during duck season.
 

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I was surprised to learn there is a season on snappers, and you may need a license. No joke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
8nchuck said:
Guys used to trap them with chicken wire traps baiting with chicken guts.
I've heard of the chicken wire type traps. They also can not be drowning traps.

Rudi's Dad said:
I was surprised to learn there is a season on snappers, and you may need a license. No joke.
Yup, you need a fishing license.
 

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First of all, my buddies and I decided to have a turtle farm and charge the neighbohood kids to see snappers. We liked to see them snap at broom sticks. I personnal carried two big snappers over two miles and so did two of my buddies. I guess we were around ten. We caight them in the drainage ditches for celery fields by Mona lake in Muskegon. It took hours because our arms were stinging from the effort. As stated above, they can snap at a distance so we had to hold them away from us. As we weakened they could snap our pants.

The turtle farm was a bust because the snappers had an unbelievably bad odor that caused the cops to come and shut us down.

I did harvest an enormous snapper years ago on the second day of DEER SEASON. Don't ask me why. I guess he looked tasty crossing the road on a hot day. I shot his head off and put him in a bucket. Hours later his legs were still moving. I hacked him apart with an ax and got all the meat. It was excellent eating although the "butchering" is not for everyone. No doubt there is a better way.

When the meat was all diced in a big bowl it was still writhing. Again, turtle hunting is not for everyone.

Tastes like .....en

Wally
 

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They are great eating if you get them at least 12" across, less than that and there isn't enough meat to be worth it. We always caught them with a set line of heavy cord tied to a stake on the bank or a nearby tree or log. Used a 2/0 or 4/0 hook baited with chicken wing tips - the hook went between the bones so the turtles couldn't pull it off. This was in Tennessee, this is not a leagle method here.
To kill them we would get it to bite a stick (not hard to do they will bite anything that comes close enough), stretch their neck out, and behead them with a hatchet. The bottom shell can be separated from the top with a sharp knife. just skin the legs out and separate into pieces like you would chicken.
All the meat you see is terrific eating. There is even a tenderloin attatched to the top of the shell encased in bones that look like ribs - good stuff too but it has to be a large turtle to be worth the trouble to get this piece.
Par boil, flour, fry. Yum. Just watch your fingers or the local ER gets to hear a good story.:D
 

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HillbillyinMI said:
To kill them we would get it to bite a stick (not hard to do they will bite anything that comes close enough), stretch their neck out, and behead them with a hatchet. The bottom shell can be separated from the top with a sharp knife. just skin the legs out and separate into pieces like you would chicken.
All the meat you see is terrific eating. There is even a tenderloin attatched to the top of the shell encased in bones that look like ribs - good stuff too but it has to be a large turtle to be worth the trouble to get this piece.
Par boil, flour, fry. Yum. Just watch your fingers or the local ER gets to hear a good story.:D
i butcher mine just about the same way. i use a pair of vise grips and grab the lower jaw and pull the head out to cut it off. as far as transporting them. i use a piece of wire. get them to bite on it and wrap the wire around him to the tail and twist it off. this will hold there head in and they wont move then. also a shot of amonia in there face and they usually will open there mouth right up.
 

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Fellas, I just checked the DNR website.
Highlights of Turtle Rules are:
Snapping turtles must be 12" or larger
Season July 1 Sept 30 (Lower)
Can be taken by hand, Trap, or net and traps must be labeled: name, address
Set lines are Illegal in Mich
 

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Rudi-also need fishing license and I believe there is a season bag limit. Check the fishing rules.

The second day of deer season is NOT in season.
 

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Season
U.P.: July 15-Sept. 30
L.P.: July 1-Sept. 30

Minimum Size
12" minimum carapace length

Possession Limit
Personal Use: 3 per day 6 total
Commercial Use: 10 per day 50 total

A fishing license is required to take frogs and turtles for personal use and as such may not be bought, sold, or offered for sale. Hand trap, nets, seines (up to 12 x 4 feet overall dimensions) and hook and line may be used. Set lines may not be used to take turtles. Traps used (or possessed) in reas frequented by reptiles must have a plate or tag attached bearing the name and address of the user in legible English.

For taking turtles, no more than three (3) traps may be used, mesh traps must be no less than one (1) inch mesh, and traps must be set to allow turtles to surface and breathe.

For commerical use a "commercial amphibian and reptile license" is required.

Here's a site that may offer some help.
http://www.etsu.edu/writing/adcomp_f05/studentwriting/cooter_stew.htm

Cleaning a snapping turtle is actually easier than you might suspect. Cut the turtle's head off and hang the turtle upside down overnight to eliminate the blood. The next day nail or otherwise fasten the upside down turtle's tail to a stump so that most of the shell hangs off the stump but is parallel to the stump surface (see illustration).

Cut and remove the plastron or bottom shell and then cut away each leg and the neck from the carapace or shell. Turtle fat is yellow and should be removed from the meat. Turtle meat is best if cooked immediately, but it seems to keep well if frozen in water.

Another way to clean a turtle in preparation for cooking is to parboil it first. Dick Stauffer, Conservationist art director, says about five minutes of parboiling the turtle, after killing it, makes a much easier job of cleaning the beast. You cut away the plastron, remove the entrails and then fillet the meat, including the legs and tail, away from the top shell. The skin, Stauffer says, should peel off easily after parboiling. The meat, after rinsing and cleaning in water, is ready for whatever recipe you prefer.

Snapping turtles can be prepared in a variety of ways, much the same as squirrels or rabbits. The best results are obtained by parboiling the meat until it can be easily removed from the bone. Try stir frying the meat with bacon in a very hot skillet or adding it to a stew or gumbo.
 

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The Southern Michigan Trappers Assn. fought a pretty hard battle to get the season put on turtles.

Prior to there being a season here in Michigan the commercial turtle trappers from the states to the south came into Michigan and trapped our turtles before the ever got a chance to lay any eggs. The states to the south all had season so what better place to come and trap than Michigan until there home state opened up.

They took a tole on the snappers in far southern Michigan before the season was finally put in place. They took the small as well as large turtles.

I have stopped an helped many snappers safely across the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
multibeard said:
The Southern Michigan Trappers Assn. fought a pretty hard battle to get the season put on turtles.

Prior to there being a season here in Michigan the commercial turtle trappers from the states to the south came into Michigan and trapped our turtles before the ever got a chance to lay any eggs. The states to the south all had season so what better place to come and trap than Michigan until there home state opened up.
Good news. Man, I did not even realize there were commercial turtle trappers! Where do they sell them? Has anyone ever seen turtle on the menu?
 

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Must be it is on the menus in OH IN and Il.

There used to be an old trapper in Oceana county that spent his summer trapping turtles to sell but have no idea where his market for them was.

I remember some one comming thru the camping area at the 1982 NTA Convention in Gaylord selling snappers out of a horse tank.
 

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I can't recall where, but I've seen turtle on the menu.

Tom,
Do you know of anyone who currently traps turtless?

Is there a webstie for MTA where I could get some info about it?
 

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I don't know about on a menu but I have a can of "Dominique's Snapper Turtle Soup" that I got for Christmas. :corkysm55

As for people who help snappers across the road (such as myself), picking up the turtle by the tail isn't recommended because it stretches their vertebrae. They should also be placed on the side of the road in which their heading. Apparently if you place them back from where they came, they instinctually will go back towards the direction they were going and thus back on the road.
 

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Whit1 said:
I can't recall where, but I've seen turtle on the menu.

Tom,
Do you know of anyone who currently traps turtless?

Is there a webstie for MTA where I could get some info about it?
Not realy Whit. There usesd to be a couple north of town that trapped a few. I haven't seen them for some time so I don't know if they still do.

I did have a couple traps but sold them to trout a couple years ago. I never did catch any.

I don't remember how many stringers of pan fish I fed to the wash tub (that big) snappers in White Lake when I was a kid. Nice stringer full of perch and sunnies hanging off the dock one minute. A stringer full of heads the next.

More than one old casting reel stripped of that black dacron fishing line when one of them picked up my worms and took off.
 

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multibeard said:
Not realy Whit. There usesd to be a couple north of town that trapped a few. I haven't seen them for some time so I don't know if they still do.

I did have a couple traps but sold them to trout a couple years ago. I never did catch any.

I don't remember how many stringers of pan fish I fed to the wash tub (that big) snappers in White Lake when I was a kid. Nice stringer full of perch and sunnies hanging off the dock one minute. A stringer full of heads the next.

More than one old casting reel stripped of that black dacron fishing line when one of them picked up my worms and took off.
I've had that one happen to me up north. I remember I was a teen and figured I could let the fish wait on the stringer until morning. When I went out to look there were not fish left and just a snapper relaxing about ten feet away from my stringer. I did the math and figured out what happened. Also, thanks for the postings on the turtles and how to butcher them. I should consider taking home a couple for eating. I've heard turtle soups pretty good. I probably wouldn't just go out solely looking for them, but I see them on occasion and have even caught a couple snappers on my fishing line. Next time I know what to do with them.............Supper!!!:p :evil:
 

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At the Michigan trappers assocation convention every summer they have a demo on butchering snapping turtles. Theres also a few place where you can purchase commercially made turtle traps.I personally never felt chicken wire was near strong enough and always used 2x4 inch welded wire for my traps.
carl
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
trapstercarl said:
At the Michigan trappers assocation convention every summer they have a demo on butchering snapping turtles.
Where do they have this? I'm sure a long way from me. :)
 
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