Turtles

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BackWoodsHunter
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Turtles

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:12 am

Just wondering if anyone has any use for turtles or what you do with them? Thought I saw someone on the BBO site awhile back shooting snapping turtles with the bow is that something you eat? I heard you had to catch em live and hold em for like 24hrs or so and they crap all their inner contents out then kill em and eat em so they taste better. I'd be curious to try something like that anyone got a turtle butchering tutorial? :lol:


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magicman54494
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby magicman54494 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:30 am

my grandparents used to make chowder out of them. I ate some but to be honest I really don't remember what it tasted like anymore. I watched grandpa cut one up. He just cut the head off and the shell apart (cut the bottom off) and cut up the meat. In Wis we have a season so make sure of the regs. before taking any. Snappers have a nasty bite so be careful!
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby WiBowhuntress » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:33 am

Snapper...tastes like chicken! At least the way I have had it prepared it does!
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby huntinnurse » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:08 am

I do have a tutorial. It is in the BBO cookbook that never came out!!! :cry: :cry:
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby dan » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:24 am

huntinnurse wrote:I do have a tutorial. It is in the BBO cookbook that never came out!!! :cry: :cry:

Thank your buddy Jarrod for that...

step 1
Assemble materials and tools.
Well, you're going to need at least 1 turtle. You can catch turtles (at least in many states) by rod-and-reel fishing (same rig/bait/techniques as catfishing), with float lines (baited hook on a line, tied to a float, tied to a tree/dock), with traps, or even noodling (although I'll just stick to one of the others, and not risk my fingers).

You'll also need:

1 sharp knife (such as a short (4-6") fillet knife
1 piece of stout wire for each turtle (I used 14 ga electric fence wire (had it around), it worked for a 5 and a 7 lb turtle)
1 pr wire clippers
1 very heavy knife or a hand axe (I would recommend a hand axe)
1 stout stick that can survive the turtle's bite (for snappers)

Helpful:
Gloves (leather work gloves or fishing gloves, for grip and protection)
Pliers
Kitchen shears/heavy-duty scissors
serrated knife/small saw (for cutting through bone/tough shell bits)

Here, I have two turtles, and some of the tools (I took these pictures as I went along, before I knew just what I would/wouldn't need for sure).

A lot of people recommend putting the turtles in a big barrel (55 gal), with clean water, for 7 days. Replace the water ever couple days or so. This is to purify their system (so when you accidentally puncture the bladder/bum pouch, it doesn't stink up the room or risk possibly tainting the meat). This is optional.
Image

step 2Pre-cleaning preparations
First of all, you remove the turtle's head in this step.

With a snapper, you can usually get them to bite onto that stick you should have, then they'll hold on pretty hardcore. Pull the neck out as far as possible, and then, cut the head off, leaving as much neck as possible. If it won't snap onto the stick, then just wait for it to poke it's head out enough.

The key is to cut off the head cleanly, in one chop. A hand-axe would help greatly, especially if you positioned the turtle's neck over a board. Minimize the animal's suffering. One thing my dad always taught me when we were fishing, was that you never mock your catch, and if you're going to kill it, you should do it as painlessly as possible for the animal. Do turtles feel pain? I don't know. But it'll be better for you (less gore, less mess) and the turtle (suddenly over, no bleeding in the face or whatever).

Now, take the pliers, and hold the wire with them. Poke the pointed end that you clipped into the wire through the turtle's tail, or (if a soft-shell), it's shell at the very tail-end. Wrap the other end around a tree branch, and leave it for a while, so it will bleed out. Small turtles= less bleeding, I would assume. So, no set time. I bled mine until the blood stopped dripping and started clotting on the neck.
Image

step 3Clip, dip, and scrub.
Because a turtle has both nasty claws and terrifying reflexes long after death, it's a good idea to remove the claws after bleeding out. Use the wire clippers. These are some gnarly toes.

Next, fill a big pot with water, and bring it to a boil. Dip the turtle in there, and then scrub the turtle with a hard brush. My turtles were too big to fit, so I dipped them halfway (holding the bleeding-out hook was handy), and then pulled them out, then dipped the other half. You can figure something out, I'm sure. Check out the pictures for some more details of the process. It's pretty self-explanatory.

A skin might come off of a soft shell turtle. Maybe these twe were mutants.

You might be thinking, "Why boil it?"

Well, that's because this is a turtle. It's spent it's life wallowing in rotting fish parts, decayed plant matter, all sorts of aquatic critter poop, and it's been pretty unconcerned. Maybe you shouldn't have asked questions. Just scrub. Rinse well afterwards.
Image

step 4remove the meat
Start by laying the turtle on its back.

Note: While cutting-try not to open the organ sack. Try not to stab anything that looks like a little water balloon. Chances are, no matter what it is, when your knife pokes it, one of the foulest mixtures of liquid will pour out. Just avoid stabbing at the turtle in general.

Cut around, and remove the bottom plate. A serrated knife/saw comes in handy at times here.

Then, cut the back legs and tail off the top shell in 1 piece. Cut the front legs and the neck off.

Throw away the carcass (the shell and guts). You can look in the stomach to see if you can find your bait and hook. Here, I found the hook, with the whole liver still on it, in both stomachs, unharmed in each of them! (Both meaning both turtles, not two stomachs in one turtle).

You can either skin it, or cook it with the skin on (in a soup, maybe?).

Once you've skinned it (sorry, no more pictures), if it's an old granddaddy snapper (12 + pounds or so), parboil the meat first, to tenderize it. After that (or if it was a younger turtle), you can roast/fry it just like chicken. Or make the ever-popular turtle soup.
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby dan » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:27 am

Clear turtle soup.
2 pounds turtle meat cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 med onions minced
2 stalks celery, minced
1 med carrot, peeled and minced
1 Cup canned tomatoes
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1 sprigs parsley
1 beef soup bone, cracked
2 quarts water or 1 pint turtle broth and 1 1/2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup sherry
6 slices lemon
If using fresh turtle parboil, save broth, then proceed as follows.
Place all ingredients except sherry and lemon in a heavy kettle, cover, and simmer 1 hour until meat is tender. Lift out 1 cup turtle meat, cut into 1/4 inch cubes, and reserve. Simmer remaining mixture, covered 2 hours longer; check pot occasionally and add more water if necessary. Strain liquid through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth; skim off fat, measure broth, and if less than 1 1/2 quarts, add enough boiling water to round out measure; if more than 1 1/2 quarts, boil rapidly to reduce. Add reserved turtle meat and sherry, simmer 2-3 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and float lemon slice on top.
For a Home-style soup--Simmer all ingredients except sherry and lemon in a covered kettle for 3 hours until turtle is tender. Stir in sherry and serve. Omit lemon.
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Sam Ubl
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby Sam Ubl » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:32 am

From what I've gathered from the WDNR site, July 15th is opening day for snappers. The size DOES matter. Turtles shell, measured from head to toe (SHELL, not actual head and toe), must be BETWEEN 12 and 16 inches in length - nothing smaller, nothing larger.

I have tons in my backyard as a canal runs through it. . . Game on in July, then it's turtle jerky and smoked snapper. . . We'll see how that goes, I just want to say I did it and ate it. :?
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby BackWoodsHunter » Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:16 am

I'd definitely be interested in seeing how that goes for you Sam please post when all is said and done. Thanks for the step by step and the recipe Dan I hope to give this a try this summer!!! Will definitely report as I'm sure it won't go smoothly
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby lungbuster » Wed May 05, 2010 5:45 am

Just remember because there is a size limit, it is NOT legal to bowfish for snappers......be sure you read the regs. ;)
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Re: Turtles

Unread postby Indianahunter » Sun May 09, 2010 5:46 am

There are some guys here in Indiana that put out a video for catching turtles by walking through the creeks and reaching up in the banks feeling for them and pulling them out, it was crazy to watch, no spank you for me! However I have had turtle soup and it is quite good. My dad cleans them a little different but it does work. He cuts the head off, inserts a garden hose in the neck and puts a hose clamps on them. Turns on the water and the legs and everything pop out of the shell swell up, and separates the skin from the meat then just cuts the shell off, makes a tiny slit in the skin and comes off like doll clothing.
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