UGLY, ill-tempered but good eating. That, in a "tortoise shell", is the description of the well-known snapping turtle. The looks of a snapper certainly belies its eating qualities. Turtle meat is white and delicious and resembles, somewhat, the breast of chicken. Old-timers will tell you there are seven different flavors of meat in a turtle.
View laws on capturing and selling turtles and other reptiles and amphibians.
There are many different ways of taking turtles. The old-timers say "noodling" is the best. The "noodler" works along a stream and runs his arm into muskrat holes and root tangles. When he locates one of the critters, he merely pulls it out by the tail.
A similar but far safer method involves the use of a long steel rod with a hook on the end. When this probe strikes a turtle, you will detect a springy thump. By working the hook under the shell you can pull him out. The early spring and fall months are most productive for these methods.
Other ways of catching snapping turtles include the use of bank lines, float lines and traps. Each is effective under varying conditions. Bank lines are most successful on large lakes and long stream banks. Float lines seem to do best in small impoundments, like farm ponds, and traps should be set in streams where there is a current.
For bank lines you need short lengths of heavy staging to which are tied large hooks (size 5/0 to 10/0). Your line should be long enough to permit the baited hook to lie on the bottom. A number of baits can be used but bloody, tough, beef neck is best.
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