View Full Version : Snapping Turtle Cleaning

October 12, 2006, 20:51
I've got it in my mind to start trapping snapping turtles next year. Traps are cheap and snappers are plentiful. In fact a while back a guy on our flowage harvested an 85 lb snapper with a 36" wide shell.

I've got two questions though:

1. Do snappers taste OK. I've had unidentified turtle meat before. It was kind of bland and chewey, like clams but OK in gumbo or soup.

2. How do you clean a turtle once you've got em?

Your input is much appreciated.

October 12, 2006, 21:10
see http://bertc.com/turtle.htm

October 12, 2006, 21:14
buy the turtle-butchering video at http://www.sunjess.com/turtles/

October 12, 2006, 21:15
I use Dawn dishwashing detergent - Johnson Paste Wax on the shell - real nice.

October 12, 2006, 21:19
Old timers have told me that snappers have 7 different and distinct meats once they have had time to clean themselves out.
When I've cleaned and cooked them (helped once and did it myself once), the meat tasted a little like chicken and had dark and white meat. The bigger the snapper, the more rubber-like it is.
We just took a pair of dikes and opened the shell like a can opener from leg to leg, pulled the critter out and dressed it like anything else....gutting, etc. :biggrin:

October 12, 2006, 21:20
Snapping turtles are good........soft shell turtles are the best!!

To clean, first you have to kill the turtle. If they get a hold of you, you will wish you had never had the turtle idea!!

We always use a bent wire....like a coathanger, straight with a hook at the end.

The idea is to push the hook in thier mouth and hook the corner of the jaw and pull the head out from the shell.........then you cut it off with a hatchet. Messy stuff.

The edible meat is around the legs and neck.....we always split the shell to access it, but you could do it without splitting.

If you need more details........just holler at some of the Louisiana members....they will know!!!:wink:

October 12, 2006, 22:35
I got a pet turtle, but he is way too small to eat.

October 13, 2006, 06:19
you will find ticks under the shell. JFYI~R

Jon Frum
October 13, 2006, 06:46
Snapping turtles are a protected species here in GA.

Otherwise I would be sniping them.

They bite the legs off the pet ducks in the lake I live on and I sure won't dangle a toe in the water.

October 13, 2006, 07:12
As though you are trying to drive the head back into the shell smack them on the end of the nose with a pair of pliars. This stuns them, then grab the jaw with the pliars and pull the head out. (Put one foot on shell to hold it as you pull) Cut off head with sharp knife. No fuss no muss. Allow to bleed out.

They'll keep on kicking for hours,so we put a nail into a board, through the shell, on each side of the tail. Skin em and cut the neck tail and legs out.

Be sure to freeze the meat before you cook it. This helps break down the tissue and makes it a lot more tender.

Oh ya and be sure to get as much of the fat off as you can, it's pretty strong tasting.

Here in Ohio we don't start trapping snappers until the blackberries have truned red. By that time the females have laid their eggs.