- Cut off head, and hang by tail to bleed out.
- Cut off claws.
- Dip turtle in boiling water and scrub with stiff brush.
- Cut around bottom shell, and lift shell off.
- Cut meat away from top shell.
- Skin the four legs, neck and tail.
- Cook as desired
If baiting with meat, suspend it on a wire, or heavy cord, from the top of the trap well toward the back. When the snapper goes through the opening in search of the meat, he's there to stay until you lift the trap.
If the sight of blood doesn't make you squeamish, bait your trap this way. Get some fresh blood from a local slaughter house and place in a jar. Puncture cap with several small holes and hang inverted from the top of the trap. The current will take the blood downstream. With their keen sense of smell, the turtle will soon locate the source of "food" and head for your trap. Small, inexpensive, cans of sardines are used similarly. With several small holes punched in the can, suspend it, with holes down, from the top of the trap. The "fishy" odor coming from the can is said to bring the snappers on the double.
There is still another type of trap which is said to be very effective in taking turtles. Although bulky and difficult to transport, it seems ideal for farm ponds and other small impoundments. Unlike the trap mentioned previously this one floats. It can be any size, but a four foot square top is adequate. Fasten together the four pieces of wood (small posts, two by fours, or similar material) for the top. Fasten chicken wire to all four sides. Wire together at the bottom, making it about two feet deep. Around the inside of the wooden pieces place large nails or spikes every four or five inches. These will keep the turtles from climbing out once they have crawled over the top. This trap is baited like the other type, by suspending bloody meat form inside. (Diagrams of all methods described here accompany this page.)
BEFORE YOU can enjoy your turtle meat, there is one job to be done--cleaning and cutting up the critter. To the experienced, this is a simple task but to the uninitiated it is somewhat of a chore. Some helpful hints may be in order.
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To kill the turtle place a stout stick in front of his snout. He will grab this and hang on for dear life. Pull his neck out as far as it will extend and, using a sharp hand ax or heavy knife, sever the head as closely as possible. The neck meat is delicious so don't waste it. With the head off hang the turtle by the tail and allow it to "bleed out" for several hours.
The next step is to chop off the claws. Even with its head off a turtle has strong reflexes, and the sharp claws could inflect serious cuts. Now, place the snapper in a large container of boiling water and with a stiff brush, scrub well.
Place the turtle on its back and, using a heavy, sharp knife, start cutting the body from the top shell. When the carcass has been removed, sever the legs and neck and discard the remainder. If you have done a good job, there will be little meat left on the top shell. Now skin out the neck and legs and your job is done.
If your turtle is one of those huge old granddaddies (12 pounds or more), better parboil it for half an hour or so before frying or roasting. If smaller, just wash, drain and fry like you would chicken. While this may seem like a lot of work, we guarantee you'll say it's about the best eating you ever had.