Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good ol' boy amuses himself wading in oeey gooey water catching snapping turtles. Good eat'in!

And in follow up to this video, in case you think it just can't be true, "Keith" posted this narrative that gives a comprehensive primer on hunting snapping turtles, complete with amusing anecdotes:

It is a sport in the South...under 6 lbs they are great fried, larger ones are put in stews.

When I was growing up, we went to the Greenville, Tn area up in the Hills. We would catch over 100 in three days in traps. After we had set all the traps, we would go catch them in the small cow ponds.

We would feel under the edges of the banks. The turtles would have a slick spot at the edge of their hole. You gently(slowly) move your hand in, feel the shell. There are 3 notches on the back of the shell, the tail ALWAYS curls to the left. You grab the tail then start pulling.

The only down side to feeling the slick spots was if there was no turtle in the hole but a muskrat or a snake instead, things get real interesting, real quick!

Some of the turtles were so large, I would have hold of the turtle's tail with both hands, dad would have one REAR leg while brother had another Rear leg. The turtle's claws are huge, they are digging in with their front claws. When you get the turtle out of the hole, you are dealing with one mad SOB!

We caught several turtles that were so large, a 4th guy would have to dig the hole out with a shovel to get them out of the pond's bank. Their heads were as large as the calf of your leg. These giant turtles would turn a wire trap inside out in minutes.

We would throw the turtles in the back of the pickup, just let them run around and do what Snapping turtles do. I swear, it looked like Turtle Gladiators trying to kill each other!

To butcher the turtles, we had a huge pot of boiling water. You poke the head with a stick, the turtle bites the stick. You slide a small piece of plywood under the head/neck and stab the turtle through the top of the head with an ice pick. The ice pick penetrates the head and anchors the head to the plywood. Then you pull on the turtles feet stretching his head/neck out, wack off the head with a a sharp ax. Next you dunk him in the boiling water, he comes out as White as Casper the Friendly Ghost. Cut around the shell, pull the bottom of the shell off, then just cut him up like a chicken.

We usually camped on a farmer's property. The farmer could not believe that we would eat the turtles, he said he just shot them with buckshot. We put on a "feed" for the farmer and his family one night in our appreciation. We fried up half a dozen small ones, those folks ate till they could not walk!

After a couple of years of going to this farm, it became an annual event. Then the locals learned to catch turtles, and our harvest went down to about 125, then one of them got bit and lost three knuckles on a finger, another guy lost a chunk out of the palm of his hand. I met These guys and they liked to play rough with each other and women...turtles got have got to play nice with those big turtles. Turtles like a slow hand. Our catch went way up after the two bad Azz's got bit.

By the way, different parts of the turtle taste different, very good eating! Many farmer's ponds have several of these snappers in them. These turtles will clean out a fish population.

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