Catching snapping turtles.. Advice?

Poisoned

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I hope this is the right area of the forum, sorry otherwise.

Me and at least one other friend are going to go try to save some snapping turtles, they're in a man-made large pond. The homeowner is going to kill them or have them killed if nobody can get them out, because they want to use the pond for their animals and the turtles are killing/eating them.

One turtle is either being extremely exaggerated about - or is ANCIENT, OR, a Gator Snapping turtle and not just a common snapping turtle like the rest. Either way, unless they are seriously exaggerating, he has a head the size of a dinner plate.

I have a few plans here to remove them, at least the smaller ones.. I don't even know how deep this pond is. It's a 80 mile trip there so I really can't go once to just check it out.

I'm planning to bait a lot of jugs and use them as bobber, tying hunks of meat to the other ends so I can see where a turtle is that has some.

Then, just wading (hopefully the entire pond is wade-able) while feeling with a probe for turtles and going from there, I have a single large net that'll work for fairly large common snappers.

If these turtles can be coaxed with food, another thing I'd like to try it luring them over a net I can pull up.


Any advice is very appreciated, I've never done this before but I don't want them killed for being turtles.
 

tortoisetime565

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I don't think he is exaggerating. We have a snapper that lives in our creek he has come every year for at least 15 years and his head is the size of a volly ball. We call him Pimp Daddy T but that has nothing to do with his size. I wouldn't wade because they can easily snap through a boot and into a leg... Be careful!!
 

dmmj

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It will be hard to lre one, mainly because they are trap eaters, they usually wait for the food to come to them. If yo have never handled snappers before, I would advise extreme caution, wild ones with little to no human contact, are very aggressive. They are strong, and quite mean, if you know all of this already then my apologies. I would say, sad as it is to leave them alone, if you have never handled wild snappers. If you insist on doing this, always handle from behind never from the front, you will probably lose fingers like that. Don't wade in if possible, good luck, and I hope your new nickname won't be stumpy.
 

Poisoned

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Oh, I've worked with them before, but never had to go in and get them out.
Some new info about the pond just came around, and apparently it's rather deep in the middle. -_- 10 feet or so.

Any experience with catching them VIA line and bait without a hook? I doubt they'd be too willing to give up on the food without a fight. But I've never tried it.


This does sound extremely difficult and nigh impossible without some real experience. But, not many people seem willing to try. I mean.. If I could save ONE, I'd feel better about it all. They plan to start shooting them.

Seeing as we can't walk to the middle of this pond, I'm considering buying a long drag net.. And hoping the homeowner KNOWS if there is any real debris in there.
 

Yvonne G

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Wow...this sounds like a real big project, and I wish you all the luck in the world. I'd hate to see such a large turtle be killed, or any of them for that matter.

Just going by my little snapper in a cattle trough, I suggest a two man job, one with a fishing net on a long handle, and the other to toss out a dead chicken tied to a rope or fishing pole and slowly reel it in, hopefully causing the turtles to follow the chicken close enough for your partner to net it. Try not to stir up the bottom or you won't be able to see them.

Good luck with this project. Be sure to take your camera with you.

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AustinASU

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I've been catching turtles for years and to catch a snapper your going to need a hoop trap, for bait use dog food and put it inside a small wire mesh box or put it in a plastic container with lost of holes drilled in it so that they can't bite into it and your bait won't fall apart. I just caught two problematic snappers today for a friend a relocated them, caught one 20 and one 30lber all in one trap. Here's the exact traps I use. Just make sure you are up to date on trapping laws in your state, if its private land you should be okay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Turtle-Trap...620?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27e6a0a2a4

Trust me it'll be the best $50 you'll spend. Just make sure part of it is out of the water so the turtles can come up to breathe and make sure you tie it off to something sturdy....if you have to get a fence post and stake it into the ground. Also when you put the PVC poles on the side to stretch it out they are exactly 50inches long, I use 1/2 to 3/4 inch PVC. Hope this helps.
 

AustinASU

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Also snappers are not at all aggressive if they are in the water, they will not strike at you. It's when you get them out of the water that's when they get pissy, it's a common misconception that people have of this animal.
 

bouaboua

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That is some serious danger you need to consider. You are a brave man as I can see.
 

Poisoned

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Thank you Austin! I found someone local with a hoop trap (for twice as much). I'd much rather use traps, but since this property is so far away, there's no way I could get out there every day to check. But, I plan to get there in the morning and not leave until we have to when we do go, so I could set one up and try it out for the day. Apparently there are quite a few in there. Since I've never actively fished for turtles.. I really am not sure what works best besides a trap if I can't get that to work. Do you know if I'd have any luck using a seining net and dragging the pond bottom?
It's all I could think of to get to the middle of the pond where they supposedly take refuge when someone spooks them out there.

Oh, and it's in a horse pasture.. So, all of the runoff goes right in there, it's a nice turd brown color I've been told! lol so there is no visibility anyway.

I love snapping turtles. If I had the accommodations I would have one by now.
Boua - I'm a lady!
 

Poisoned

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I've actually never know them to be anything but fearful of humans when in the water. Not saying they don't get feisty sometimes, but the only time the ones I've handled have been upset, as said, is when I got them out of the water. Even restrained under the water - they wanted nothing to do with me, just wanted away. Out.. they seem to realize they're trapped.

This fellow was crossing the road. He's only a little guy about 10lbs - he probably looks bigger because I'm a 5'2"ish woman. I just love these guys. I wish I lived where I could have a pond of them.




wilson.jpg
 

AustinASU

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You can leave the traps set up for a few days, it won't hurt them one bit as long as they have a place to surface for air you will be solid. The drag net i think would only work if you heavily baited an area and then worked them into the baited area with a drag net. They will normally flee or swim away from small boats or anything moving towards them. And your right it's when the feel cornered or held down, thats when they go crazy.
 
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