The fine art of hunting the Common Snapping Turtle as passed on from my Dad and my personal hunting experiences.

Step 1: Introduction

My dad taught me the fine art of Turtle Hunting; I'm referring to the common "Snapping Turtle". This prehistoric steadfast has an extremely bad temper and if given the opportunity can sever a finger or inflict a horribly bad wound with his vicious bite.If given the opportunity is very relative because your mere presence in his territory is his opportunity.
You can find "Ole Moss Back" in just about any State in the United States, and residing in any place that has year-round water such as a pond, Tank, River, or Creek. Most of my hunting experiences have taken place in various Creeks.

The "Snapper" or common Snapping Turtle can reach weights up to forty (40) pounds, his head and neck can measure approximately two and a half (2½) inches around. He's all muscle and has a hard shell with round scallops on the shell edge directly behind his head, and has distinctive sharp serrated points on the shell edge at the base of his shell and where the tail begins. He has dinosaur scallops that protrude upward on the top of the tail and travel the length to its ending tip. His breastplate is a yellow colored smooth plate with indentations that run horizontally and allows for flexibility. He is omnivorous but prefers meat and mainly feeds on such delicacies as Crayfish, Minnows, Adult Fish, various water insects and, has also been known to take a Duck or two. Yes, you read correctly, this "little Pretty" will swim quietly underneath the unsuspecting fowl and grab it by the feet pulling it under, for its dinner.

Step 2: Proper Attire, Hunting Implements, and Location

Okay, if we are going hunting for turtle, then we must dress the part. you'll need a cap, long sleeve shirt with a button down collar, a pair of Levis, Lee Riders, dungarees, or other old denims, a pair of old smelly socks, not necessarily matched, and a pair of "Tennies", not necessarily matched.

Next comes the hunting implements, which calls for an old broom handle, mop handle, hoe handle, or any like item, just as long as it's straight, long, and comfortable to the feel.Finally, we need a "Tow Sack" or "Gunny Sack", (burlap bag) with a long and heavy gage tie rope or string.

We then have to select a likely hunting spot, so we'll look for a creek that we know has water in it year-round, full of lots and lots of snags, smelly standing water, brim full of mosquito larvae, and adult mosquitoes that delight in sucking out your blood while you are sweating profusely under a hot beating sun in ninety (90) to one hundred plus (100+) degree temperature. Be sure there is plenty of Cut Grass, Nestles, Thorny Limbs, and the like to cut your body into little pieces each time you get out of the creek bed to relocate.Sprinkle that with lots of Cow, Sheep, and Horse dung to walk through, and as if that isn't enough be sure the odor of the slimy algae accumulations is sufficient to turn the nose of a skunk. If all of these conditions are met, then "by golly" we're in the right place to match wits with "Ole Moss Back".

Step 3: The Hunt, in Practice.

On with the hunt: Once we've climbed over all the barbed wire fences and lowered ourselves into the creek, go to any creek bank and begin to prod and poke your broom handle, or like device in and around the bank, around various snags, all through the creek bed while listening intently for a "hollow" sound. Upon hearing the telltale sound, immediately and without hesitation place your foot directly on top of the item that produced the sound. Run your stick around the item feeling for a "hit," "bump," or "movement" from below.If you feel a hit, or bump on the stick or if something begins to move under your foot, then you can be pretty certain that you have found your quarry.

If you are standing in chest deep water, take a deep breath and stick your head under water, place your hand on the leg that is pressing down on the turtle, and run it down to your foot, being very careful to keep your hand on your leg. Feel for the Turtle's shell and inch ever so slowly toward the shell edge. If you know where the bump or hit came from, go to the opposite direction. This should be its tail end. Feel for the jagged or pointed serrations to confirm that it is his tail end. Once confirmed, then reach in the directions that the serrations point until you find the base of its tail. Usually the turtle will bend its tail inward under its body. You will have to pull its tail away from the shell in order be able to get a firm hold. After you have a firm grip on the base of the tail, remove your foot and pull up and away from your body being sure to position the Turtle's breastplate facing toward your body. This will position his head and open gaping, hissing, pink mouth away from you, and make it more difficult or him to bite.

Step 4: The Catch, and Final Disposition.

Placing your catch into the "Gunny Sack" can be a little tricky.Do this on the creek bank, so if you lose your grip, you won't lose your turtle back into the creek. Place the sack on the ground, and open the end with your stick. Point the turtle toward the sack opening and shove his head and body into the sack. Pull the sack up and away from your body thus depositing "Mr Turtle" at the bottom of your sack. Tie the sack opening off, being sure everything is secure. Tie the remaining rope or line to your belt, pick the sack up, jump back into the creek, throw the sack behind you, and continue the hunt. The object here is to allow the turtle and sack to be pulled along with you in the creek thus eliminating having to carry twenty five (25) to forty (40) pounds of turtle around.

If you are lucky throughout the remainder of your hunt, you may collect several more turtles, but don't take more than you plan to eat. Yes, I said eat! Turtle is quite a delicacy and has been Said to contain seven (7) different flavors of meat. I can attest that you will taste several different flavors, but I would be hard pressed to specifically identify those flavors.

Once you have collected your turtles, the next step is the cleaning process. Ah yes, fun time is about to begin. Let me tell you here and now, that this is a task for not one, but two men. No boys, or women, should attempt this process.(I'm sure there are some boys and women out there who could accomplish this task, but for the most part it shouldn't be attempted by either) While I don't want to offend anyone's sensibilities I'll just say here, that the "Snapper" is a very strong and durable beast. It takes a lot of strength to skin a turtle, so someone must hold the shell while the other party does the deed. Any further description here would be overkill. (No pun intended)

For cooking instructions, may I suggest Justin Wilson's "Cajun Cookbook", or you can scan the Libraries efficient "Dewey Decimal System" under "Exotic" food preparations.

EXCUSE me? <br /> <br /> &quot;No boys, or women, should attempt this process.&quot;??<br /> <br /> That's extremely offensive and there's no reason for that line to be in your instructable. Actually, there's a lot of lines that shouldn't be in your instructable. It sounds more like you're trying to be dramatic than actually teach something.<br /> <br /> Next time, do try to be less wordy and rude.<br />
<p>This gal is still a little girl. I just looked at her profile. Ignorance is bliss. She probably never got enough attention when she was wee high to a grasshopper.</p>
<strong>Well tweetspie, it seems that I have succeeded with my Instructable. I thank you for your comments. Indeed the Instructable was in fact meant to be wordy, dramatic, humorous, as well as teach. <br /> <br /> Your ID more or less says it all except, I might suggest you lighten up a bit and be a little more tolerant, and less sensitive. It does not become you. Rudeness is obviously in the eye of the reader here and the wisdom of youth and inexperience prevails. You might try reading subject matter more appropriate to your interests and knowledge level, it should prove somewhat less stressful to you.<br /> <br /> Thank you for your comments, it is pleasing to me to see that my Instructable has accomplished it's intended goals. </strong>
The purpose of an instructable is to teach. Not to be dramatic. If you want to be dramatic and humorous, write a book. Or, as your &quot;wit&quot; suggest, maybe a short story is more your speed.<br /> <br /> My ID suggests nothing, as you have no idea what it means, so I'd suggest you leave what you don't know out.<br /> <br /> I will not be more tolerant of sexism, whether it is meant to be a joke or not. It is NOT a laughing matter. I also refuse to be more tolerant of ageism, which you are also guilty of, not only in your instructable, but in your reply.<br /> <br /> My view of rudeness has nothing to do with my age or &quot;inexperience&quot; since you know NOTHING of my life OR me, therefore have no idea WHAT I have experienced. Nor do you know what &quot;becomes me&quot; because again, you have no idea who I am.<br /> <br /> I did not personally attack you, and therefore, there was no reason to attempt to personally attack me. This is also rude. It seems as though someone needs a little lesson in manners and how to treat others. I assume that because you were in the military and are from Texas, you're probably Christian, and therefore have at least&nbsp;HEARD of the concept of &quot;treat others as you would like to be treated&quot;. Maybe you need to brush up on your morals as well.<br /> <br /> Finally, you have no idea what my interest or knowledge base consists of, as I did not even bring up the subject matter of your instructable, so much as your lack of manners.<br />
<strong>tweetspie it's too bad that my Instructable has&nbsp;resulted in raising your ire, but it appears you have picked the wrong forum to air your pettiness.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> My Instructable was meant to be wordy, dramatic, humorous, as well as teach as I stated before.<br /> <br /> I do however thank you for reading it, &nbsp;and regardless of your comments, it apparently caught your&nbsp;attention as all good Instructables are intended to do. &nbsp;Therefore, I believe it was quite successful in accomplishing my goal of writing a&nbsp;teaching instrument, as well as entertaining the reader.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Thank you for your&nbsp;input.&nbsp;<br /> ldchev&nbsp;</strong>
I agree with tweetspie. And what, because she is a woman, she is automatically petite? (no offense, tweetspie) Stop being a sexist jack@$$. The point of instructables is not to be dramatic and all that other crap, its to teach stuff. Not to let everyone know you have values from the 1920s. Cause I'm pretty sure I could find several kids or women that could get bitten in the arm by a snapper and still kick your butt. So stop drawing conclusions about people and re-write your 'ible.<br />
<p>No boys, or women, should attempt this process.( <em><strong>I'm sure there are some boys and women out there who could accomplish this task, but for the most part it shouldn't be attempted by either)</strong></em> <strong>While I don't want to offend anyone's sensibilities I'll just say here</strong>, that the &quot;Snapper&quot; is a very strong and durable beast. It takes a lot of strength to skin a turtle, so someone must hold the shell while the other party does the deed. Any further description here would be overkill.&quot;</p> <p>Kingbirdy23 and tweetspie, I have some difficulty understanding why you two want to take issue here, but it is obvious to me your reading comprehension is somewhat lacking. Did you not see and read the words in parenthesis?<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The sentence following states:&quot;<strong>While&nbsp; I don't want to offend anyone's sensibilities here&quot;...</strong>.</p> <p>Apparently your pettiness and focus on trying to pontificate has clouded your good judgment and any semblance of manners on your part seems to have escaped you. Civil and Constructive Criticism is most welcome here but this is obviously not your aim.</p> <p>Have a good day and thank you for your comments even though they are ill intended</p>
I do not understand why you decided to bring me back into this, but since you did...<br /> <br /> Just because you add in parenthesis and some women and children might be able to do it and then afterward say that you don't want to offend anyone, doesn't mean you don't offend anyone. There was no need to even include any of it, and it speaks volumes that you continue to argue that it's just fine just because you wrote that you don't want to offend anyone.<br /> <br /> It's a classic case of CYA.<br />
Who made you the instructable format police???? Your manners seem to be the one that needs checking, try stepping back and reread your first comment, it is quite easy to see who is rude here. Enough said.
<p>Seriously! You got that right alabam. Tweetspie &amp; Kingbirdy are just plain ole miserable folk.</p>
ok so it's CYA....what's your point? <br>his point &amp; mine, is that you are making a mountain out of a mole hill....over reacting to something that should be left alone....can we get on with the instructable now??PLEASE??
Someone didn't get the joke.
I am going to take this avoidance as an admittance of wrongdoing. I hope this means that you will consider your manners in your next instructable.<br />
'Avoidance'? I think it's more a case of 'ignoring'. There comes a point when someone is so unreasonable that to further take them on is pointless.
<p>Well said!</p>
AMEN!!!!! :-)
I think tweetspie will, in 30 or so years, understand how it is simple to deduce a likely note that word) scenario of her experience. I would hate to think someone could live through many years of experience in life and post comments such as those she has. <br> <br>I also have to wonder if she has ever encountered - called actual experience - a snapper. Having done so might change her mind about letting someone with 2 X chromosomes take care of the task. I know of some women who would tackle it, but I think most, with actual experience, would rather leave it to someone else who has a little more arm strength by nature. <br> <br> <br> <br>
<p>8p I am woman, hear me roar 8) I have been trying to catch a few snappers that are aggrivating the bloody hell out of me. They are strong No Doubt! Mine are like dinosaurs. I caught 2 so far. One of them was so big, that after 2 days in a big square garbage container, finally managed to use his weight and get the container to tip over, allowing him to escape. I might add, I secured the container against the garage with other things against the container to avoid the tipping over. He was over 50lbs.</p>
&quot;Tweetspie&quot; if you had any experience with snapping turtles, you would be able to understand that they are not something a women or child should tussle with, their skin/shell is very rough, as a 14 year old boy much more physically capable then most women i could hardly saw a dead snappers head off, and this was while it was dead, the author is not trying to be sexist, and is not sexist, but just trying to state the facts as it would be near impossible for most women and children to do it
I think he is probably just trying to make the instructable more entertaining by making it dramatic and humorous... It would be pretty boring if there was absolutely no humor, it would be like school if it's only educational :O!!
<strong>Lukish, you are very perceptive. Of course I tried to make it as interesting and ENTERTAINING as I could using the best word picture I could come up with.<br> <br> Thank you for your comments and having the intelligence to understand what makes a good instructable. </strong>
lighten up sweetheart, you missed the joke.
I love it
<em><strong>Hey thanks Paul for stopping by and reading my instructable on &quot;A Turtle Hunting We Will Go. I do appreciate it and your comment.&nbsp;</strong></em>
My daughter hunts snappers, and we have them for supper. I shared a similar story on facebook, and wow! What a bunch of flak. <br> <br>I did not take the &quot;no women or children&quot; comment personally. I viewed it as an indication that one must steel oneself for this task. If you've ever been close to a large-ish snapper, you'll know why. <br> <br>Here's my question. Suppose one doesn't want to feel around in the mud trying to ascertain which end of a midieval weapon-like reptile with a 1000 psi bite is the business end. Anyone have luck live-trapping these things? If so, could you share your trap plans?
<p>(yeah i know this reply is about 4 years too late .. ) </p><p>The way that I like to catch them is with a fishing pole. A good sized hook (I think i used a size 2 hook last time) and a nice chunk of hot dog is all it takes. Unlike playing a fish, you want to keep a constant pressure on the line so they don't have a chance to spit the hook out while you reel them in. slow and steady wins the race :)</p><p>realize that the snapping turtle does not have alot of meat in its mouth so you will quite often have them kick the hook out with their front foot before you get a chance to land it. When you are fortunate enough to get one close scoop it with a landing net and get the soup pot ready.</p>
darlajanette, I appreciate your taking the time to read my Turtle Hunting Instructable and your supportive comment. <br> <br>Yes, there are those that do trap Snapping Turtle. Personally, I have no direct knowledge of the method or devices used, but I would guess that you could put the inquiry on the internet and retrieve some interesting information. <br> <br>I would like to share with you- and you can pass this on to your daughter- an interesting thing that happened to me this January. I was contacted by one Thomas Jaeger about this instructable. Mr Jaeger was, and may still be, producing a show on Food Network about people that put themselves at risk looking for food. He works with Intuitive Entertainment of L.A. <br> <br>I explained to him that I no longer am active in the pursuit of Hunting Turtle, and he asked if I knew of anyone that was. I didn't, but told him there were surely many that still are active in this endeavor. I missed my chance at fame, hahahaha, but was honored that he took the time to make contact with me. Mr Jaeger is on facebook and maybe your daughter could make contact if she is interested in sharing her experiences in Turtle Hunting with him. <br> <br>Again thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my instructable. <br> <br>
Idchev, <br> <br>I'll look him up! I'm sure my daughter will find what he has to say interesting, as will I. At 11 years old, that child is driven to provide for our family. For Mother's Day this year, she wrote me some poems, drew me some pictures, and gave me a coupon for &quot;One free bowl of snapping turtle soup.&quot; <br> <br>I found a live trap at http://www.grit.com/Wildlife/Turtle-Traps-Build-Your-Own.aspx. She and I built it this afternoon, and we'll put it in the lake tomorrow. I don't care what anyone says -- snapping turtles are not welcome in the lake where my children swim. I'm not about to relocate them, and I better not catch anyone relocating theirs to my place. Eating them is a good use of a natural resource. <br> <br>Thanks for taking the time to post your story, and for the information on Mr. Jaeger. <br> <br>Best, <br>Darla
<p>This is an abomination. I cannot believe that this is under herpetology. I thought this was how to catch turtles to observe, not how to butcher them. I am deeply offended.</p>
For instance did you know that the American alligators white blood cells can deter any know and unknown disease and viruse in seconds. How do we know that well by opening up the thing or injecting various things into it right ?
Part of studying reptiles is to butcher them actually how else can you see what all lies inside lol ?
Also the &quot;Carapace&quot; is good for knee pads,helmet,shield,etc. and the plasma is good for a lot of things as well......
Also the &quot;Carapace&quot; is good for knee pads,helmet,shield,etc. and the plasma is good for a lot of things as well......
Well this is interesting. You have a lot of people on here saying how wrong it is to kill a turtle when the main source of food here &quot;in the U.S. of A. Is.....You're not going to believe this folks is Beeeeeeef!!!! That's right animal friends, and guess where beef comes from.......Chickens!!!!!! Lol <br>I have worked with animal divisions for 8 yrs and believe me when I tell you that the common snapping turtle annual population is more abundant than cattle so think about that and say it is cruel and turtle is way more tastier and healthy than cows meat also just saying you should try some. Oh and also just to give you a heads up the meat at the store isn't real its cloned(shhhhh) ?
<p>This is the funniest thing I've found in a while. I do want to try one.. haha. and we have some in the pond... hmmm..</p>
So very happy to see you enjoyed this write. Take care, and thank you for stopping by and for the friendly comment.
<p>Absolutely! Need to get rid of those pesky things anyway ;) They bite the udders off of cows... haha (lots of cows in my area) Anyway. Thanks for the laugh!</p>
<p>Как такое можно делать, вы что варвары, мало того что жирафа убили, так теперь и черепах. полное вам презрение. Вы плохой человек.</p>
Wow, tons of comments from all over the board. Thanks for sharing and putting up with all the flak and keeping a cool head. Always wanted to try turtle.
<p>Well thank you so very much for your supportive comments to'bryant. I really do appreciate it. Yes there are those that want to agitate and pontificate, so I try to hold myself back a little realizing where the venom is coming from. I have to assume not all of them are vegetarians or vegans, so I wonder where do they think their meats come from as well as how they got there in the first place. Again thank you for reading my Instructable and showing you supportive kindness. </p>
after I send the turtle to the great pond in the sky I take a nail and pound it through it's tail and into a tree trunk about eye level where I clean it.
<strong>I have never tried it that way, but I could see how it could work. It isn't easy any way you decide which way is best for you.&nbsp;<br> <br> Thank you for taking time to stop by and read this piece, and for leaving your comment.<br> <br> Have a great day!!</strong>
You are an awful person and should be condemned to the depths of hell for killing turtles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I totally agree with you Jaime
<br> <strong>&quot;How is this under herpetology you heartless jerks !&quot;<br> <br> After reading the above question that you posed, I can fully understand<br> why you would be in agreement with Jaime.&nbsp;<br> <br> Again thank you for your comments and for reading my indtructable.&nbsp;</strong><br> <br>
&quot;<strong>Jamie, thank you so very much for your well directed comment. I am most appreciative and ask only one thing for your consideration. Being as you are concerned with my fate, would it be too much to ask if you could furnish me with some good old fashion popcorn recipes that might come in handy during my stay in hell. </strong><br/><br/>Thank you and May God Bless<strong>&quot;</strong><br/>
Im part of the the PETP (people for the ethical treatment of plants) and I find this instructable extremely offensive. This is extremely... Crap, thats no plant... Sorry then carry on =/
<strong>Hahahaha, your are correct, this is not about Plants, however your comments are appreciated.....carry on then......</strong>
Is there even a &quot;real&quot; petp or just the fake ones?

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy working on my Website at: http://d21c.com/pygman/Pigs-and-Poets.html I am a retired USAF MSGT. I was widowed in 95 and ... More »
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