how do i get snapping turtles out of my pond? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi All. Everyone here has such helpful answers. Was wondering if anyone knew how to reduce the snapping turtle population in my small pond. Last year I saw 2 HUGE snappers mating in the shallow end. I wish my husband had been home, he could have shot them. They didn't pay any attention to me at the time. Then last summer the male was trying to get thru the field fence and we had him for supper. But I would assume the female is still in there. (Probably laying tons of eggs!) I have seen many smaller ones lately. The problem is I have to lock our geese and ducks away from there and nobody wants to swim anymore. We lost several ducks and one full grown goose last year to the turtles. (The turtle we ate weighed around 30 pounds!) I hate to have to wait for the female to decide to go thru the fence before we can get rid of her. The pond has only been fenced around for 3 years and I don't think any more turtles can migrate to it from the neighbors pond. So if I can get rid of the ones we have we might be safe for a while. If anyone has suggestions (besides dynamite!) I would appreciate your input. Thanks Judi

-- Judi Hunter (, March 30, 2000


I wish I could help .I never thought of them as being a problem , guess I was wrong .Have you talked to your conservation office, local trappers? You should also learn to shoot , even if its only a 22 .You will be glad you did if the occasion ever arises that you need to.

-- Patty Gamble (, March 30, 2000.

I leased a farm once with a pond that had snapping turtles in it. There were geese nesting and it was a horrible sight to see the mother out swimming with her brood and all of a sudden one of the babies would be dragged under the water never to reappear. I called my landlord to appeal for a solution and soon his elderly father appeared with a big grin. He had a trot line with a bunch of wicked hooks which he baited with chunks of meat and bacon and dropped into the water. He caught several big, evil-looking snapping turtles and had a great time teasing them with sticks and showing my small son and me how quick and vicious they are, warning us that they can take your fingers off.

Then he bashed in their heads, skinned their legs, collected the shells, and went away with what he said was the makings of incredily delicious-looking soup, leaving us with the entrails to dispose of. I buried them in the garden and was amazed at the godzilla-sized weeds that grew in the spot!

Based on this experience, I bet if you let the word get out you had some good soup-makings in your pond, you would find some neighbors that would be only too glad to catch your turtles for you! Or maybe even teach you how to do it yourselvs? Hopefully there is someone on here who can tell you more than I can. I know just enough about snapping turtles and operating chain saws to defer to the experts on these topics because I do not want to lose any fingers or other body parts!

-- Elizabeth Petofi (, March 30, 2000.

You are wise not to swim in the pond with large snapping turtles. My uncle caught one once in Caddo Lake that weighed 70 pounds. Brought it home and chained it with a logging chain to a tree beside a pond. It could bite through a 6" limb with one bite, and apparently bit through the chain. It was gone within a week, and few people knew where he put it.

Trot lines are one good way to catch them. Using a rifle on a sunny day is another good way to get rid of them. If you don't have any fallen trees in your pond, put some large limbs or small trees in it so that there is a good bit of it exposed a few inches above the water. They will line the limb while sunning, and you can usually get one or two at a time with a rifle. This has to be a more or less continuous process of shooting them, or you will never get rid of them. You can also get directions for making traps from the extension office. Again, using a gun to kill them in the traps is the best way. Even a relatively small turtle can take off the end of your finger.

-- Green (, March 30, 2000.

While it is possible to shoot them from the pond, it isn't safe to shoot on the water, lest the shot possibly richochet. I'd cut back the vegetation around the pond a good distance and dig some simple pit traps. Any raccoons or ather varmints you catch would be able to claw their way out. Between that and using a good trout/snag line in the water, you should do a decent job of ridding the pests. Unfortunately, the only predators of young snappers I can think of would find your other young animals tasty. If all else fails, you could probably bait a distance from the water and find an eager young hunter who would be willing to spend some time in a small stand.

-- Chris Stogdill (, March 30, 2000.

First, I strongly suspect some other critter (first guess-raccoon) did in your full grown goose, and your ducks, if they were also grown. Not a snapper's first choice, unless your fence has them fenced IN and there are no alternatives. The "trot-line" works. So does a sloping board with bait just out of the water and a leg-hold trap (or better 2) under the water. Other predators will ALMOST always approach from the land side, while the turtles will approach from the water. Learning the proper use or firearms is a very good idea for anyone beyond the sidewalks, and your husband, or any gun club should be happy to oblige. An inexpensive (I know that's relative) .22 is sufficient for most needs, but I would advise a 20 gauge shotgun, and a single shot is perhaps less expensive than the .22, especially used. Recoil is within the abilities of most, even youngsters, and you don't have to be Annie Oakley to get the fixin's for turtle soup. Along these lines, the present administration wants to disallow that avenue, and even make it unlawful for you to teach your youngsters how to shoot the turtle unless you are hovering about. Wasn't the way I grew up! You like the ability to live your own life? Support the NRA! Sorry to get political, but that's the way it truly is! Good luck!


-- Brad (, March 30, 2000.

If I were you I wouldn't tell any DNR or tree hugging authorities if I were you. You might be suprised on the amount of "rights" those turtles have over you and your family. Talk only to those you know and ask around. What about baiting a big 'ol hook with a piece of meat, like you would musky fishing or something? Just a thought!!

-- Pat (, March 30, 2000.

If you don't know of any turtle hunters in your area then just catch them yourself. Use a large and strong hook and bait it with liver. Use wire instead of fishing line and tie it to a tree or drive a stake in the ground and tie to it. When you catch the turtle, chop its head off like you were butchering a chicken. Turtle meat can be skinned and makes a delicious soup or parboiled and barbecued. Be sure and reset the hook because chances are there will be more than one or two in the pond. I would try the hook for about a week or so after you catch the last one before returning the fowl to the water. Big snappers WILL take on full grown geese. I have seen them do it.

-- Marci (, March 31, 2000.

Dupont #4, number of sticks depends on the size of the pond.

-- John (, March 31, 2000.

Marci ~ thanks for the education. I had not seen snappers take more than young waterfowl! Therein the beauty of this forum. We all frequently think we know what is what, as in my opinion that a full grown goose is not prey for snappers, an opinion I formed from my limited experience. But no matter what we "know", there is frequently someone out there who "knows more"! I love this forum - cheaper than taking a course, and with many more REAL experts to learn from! (I know, ending with a preposition - sorry!) Good luck!


-- Brad (, March 31, 2000.

Cleaning a turtle! Just one of many ways--first catch the turtle. Next-chop off his'n haid. Cut a small hole in the old tough hide by the back leg under the shell. Insert an air hose and lett'r rip! the shell will immediately separate from the body. The rest is easy! Has anybody ever heard that turtle has 7 different kinds of meat? I have heard that for years---you know what? It tastes to me like TURTLE! HAHAHA

-- hoot gibson (, March 31, 2000.

Judi, ask around about turtle trappers in your area. They are usually rather itinerant, returning to a pond once every four or five years. Your local fish and game association or shooting club probably knows of them. Odd sidelight: remember that famous picture taken at Woodstock (the original, in 1969) of the young people skinny-dipping in the pond? Two weeks later a turtle trapper took something like 300 pounds of snapping turtles out of that pond. Big ones. True story -- he lived in Vermont, and I saw a news story about him last year.

-- Cash (, April 02, 2000.

Check in redneck hangouts, local diners, etc... and ask if anyone knows a "hogger". Usually go by the nickname of Lefty or Stump. They wade around in ponds and cricks (not to be confused with a stream) and reach under tree roots and stumps and such and grab turtles (and also catfish) by the tails and throw them up on the bank, then take 'em home and eat 'em. Seriously, I used to work with a bunch of guys that did this - offer them a case of beer, and sit back and watch the show!

-- Polly (, April 03, 2000.

Always some interesting reading here! But if I was voting, Polly's response was a hoot! I'll never forget how angry my mother was that turtles got our ducks when I was little. She brought the 22 down to the pond and only shot once. Never lost another duck to snappers. Thanks for the reading. Jacki

-- Bob Ambrozaitis (, April 05, 2000.

Thank you all for the helpful answers also the email info. We will be trying many of your suggestions and will post back with our success. Thank you Judi

-- Judi Hunter (, April 07, 2000.


My husband bought a turtle trap some folks that supply fish for pond stocking. We've had it about a year. We got it after trying to stitch up a duckling's ripped belly. He didn't make it and neither did the other three.

The trap is a large styrofoam box open on top. Over the open top are two aluminum plates anchored on one side. The turtles climb onto the box to sun and slide into the box. I may not be describing it exactly, but you get the idea. Hubby emptied it last week and removed 25 turtles. Our pond is not very large. If you see a couple, you've got a bunch.

-- Mona (, June 03, 2000.

Now I'm not sure if this is legal---but, we use to take a gallon jug (with a lid on it so it floats), tied to the loop, ya put a fishing line & a hook ( we used those big triple hook ones), And ya bait it with meat--and ya throw it in the pond! When ya have a big turtle (or fish) that jug sails around that pond bouncing up & down! Now, we didn't have a boat, so my Dad use to rope the jug when it got close enough to the side of the bank to rope it! We use to tell folks we roped our turtles & fish! Not sure if that is legal--so might want to check, before ya try it! ha--(in latier years we had a rubber raft & we would chase those jugs around the pond! Sure was a lot of fun! Sonda in Ks.

-- Sonda (, June 07, 2000.

I'm from Iowa and my husband hunt's turtle in the spring. You have to have a fishing license to hunt and another license to sell. People around here pay big bucks for turtle meat. My husband puts the garden hose in their mouth and blows them up some and the shell peels right off. We have eaten 10 pounders already. Very good eating. Sherri

-- Sherri Errthum (, February 18, 2001.

I have no answer for getting rid of snappers, actually I was here to find outh how. I just wanted to say for anyone who does not know, it has been recommended that no one eat snappers anymore. Apparently, they live so long they are right full of every kind of toxin you can think of. Just FYI.

-- Lola (, April 24, 2002.

I just started fishing for snappers about two weeks ago and have had pretty good success. I, too, have baby geese and ducks on my pond and really didn't consider trapping them until I saw "Walter", a snapper I believe to be in the 50-75# range take on an adult mallard. Ever since then I have been pulling them out of my lake on a daily basis. I am using my version of a green tree rig which is basicly a stake with a bungee cord attached to it. To the bungee, I attach 100# mono leader and a small section of wire(solid not braided, the turtles were chewing through that) and a 2/0 hook. For bait I use chicken necks or cut up fish. If your pond is anything like mine the challenge will not be catching them, it will be getting them on land. I usually end up in the water for anything over 20#, and I use the line to get the business end away from my digits, and just haul them out by the tail. Just think Steve Irwin here. As for eating them I haven't tried that yet, but with a clean pond I wouldn't hesitate to do so. I saw the post warning you about treehuggers so I will mention that the info I got on cleaning turtles came from the state herptologist for Missouri, who encourages fishing for snappers and softshells. People on the side of snapping turtles have obviously never seen one in action, and by the way, I am higher on the food chain!

-- Allen Taylor (, May 04, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ