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Hardshells

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by WalleyeGuy, May 8, 2005.

  1. Look at what we got here.
    Its gotta be a 30 pounder at least.
     

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  2. Fishpro

    Fishpro Northcoast Madman

    so, does Ron still have both his kneecaps after that picture was took? That things big enough to put a hurtin' on you!!:)
     
  3. Make sure you let it mud itself out in some clean water before skinning or it will taste like :eek:
    Geez I almost forgot what Ron looked like ;)
     
  4. I HEARD THAT IF YOU HOLD ITS TAIL UPSIDE DOWN LIKE THAT FOR AT LEAST 12 HRS IT WILL TAKE THE BAD TASTE OUTA IT// :D :p ;)
     
  5. I've heard about putting in clean water for a few days but have never done it before and have never had any that I thought were bad, maybe its even better if I would do that.
     
  6. I have had turtle prepared both by allowing them to clean themselves within a tub and also simply cleaning them immediately and truthfully I don't think I could tell the difference. Did you guys actually weigh that turtle? I don't want to sound contradictory but I could not tell if he was high enough in the back to push 30#. I used to get a lot of turtles and finding a 30# was a pretty rare thing. Nevertheless there is a lot of good eating in that one. I can picture the roaster full of baked turtle right now from my mother.;)
     
  7. ‘bkr43050’ Those were my thoughts exactly. None the less, nice turtle ‘WalleyeGuy’. How did you catch that one?

    TIGHTLINER’s Cleaning Method:

    I usually like to put the turtles in what I like to call “quarantine” for a good 5 – 7 days and change the water twice a day and spray them down with the hose to get all of the leaches, the muddiness, and all of the waste matter out of them. I know this sounds funny but don’t put too much water in the holding tanks, just enough to cover the top of the shell, because if not the turtles will drown themselves. Make sure that they can easily rest there nose out of the water. For me turtle cleaning is usually a two man gig (usually me and my dad), it’s a lot safer that way, when you have an extra pair of hands helping you out. A few necessities are a hatchet, a pair of pliers, and a sharp knife. I usually have somebody grab the turtle by the tail, I clamp onto the turtles top jaw with my pliers, extend its head as far forward out of its shell and proceed to chop it off with the hatchet. I think tie them up to a tree, clothesline, chain, or building, etc. whatever is the most convenient to let them bleed out for a good 10 minutes. Throw the head away in a bag or bury it, I tossed one in the yard once, wasn’t paying attention, and I heard an awful racket coming from over by the chicken coop, and one of the hens was running around with a chopped off snapping turtle head clamped onto its face. After the turtle bleeds out, I flip them over and cut off the feet (claws, toes, whatever) right at the first small bone joint. This keeps you from getting all scratched up from the claws, because it seems that no matter how long you let them bleed out they still squirm and put up a fight the entire time that you are cleaning them. Next I start to work the skin off by cutting around the perimeter of the main shell and the small under body shell, until I have all of the skin peeled off. I usually do the front legs and the neck first and then I do the back legs and about half way down the tail. Next make sure that you cut out the a.nus and the reproductive members of the males to avoid having nasty smelling stuff spill onto the meat. Then I cut off the remainder of the tail. Then I go ahead and clear out all of the guts to avoid having them spill all over the place. Next you twist off the front leg meat, by continually spinning it, until you hear the tendons and sinewy crack of the remaining joints and connecting parts. Do the same for the neck and the hind legs/back. The hind legs/back are the hardest parts to twist out. I usually like to trim all of the fatty deposits off of the meat and then wash it thoroughly before bagging it and freezing it. There is some back strap meat enclosed by some bone in the top of the shell, but its usually only a small amount and not worth the trouble.

    Picture Caption: This one was 19 pounds from two summers ago.
     

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  8. Good detailed cleaning instruction Tightliner. On a turtle the size of that one I would suggest pulling out the back meat. Like you said it is not a lot of meat but like not animals this is some of the best meat in the animal.

    I got a kick out of your chomping head story. We have a few stories of those darn things coming back to bite something or someone.;)
     
  9. Place in cage and clean water for at least 3 days.
    Remove on D-Day and get out hatchet,2 knifes,25 cal. pistol and a pair of long handle channel locks.
    Let the critter loose, take aim close to the shell at the head and pop him.
    grab it by the mouth and pull hard.
    streach out the neck and take aim for the top of its head and pop him again, he relaxes down, then to the chopping block.
    Remove head.
    Flip over the shell and grab it by the claws and remove them tallons.
    Use sharp knife and cut around the shell and plattes all the attached skin, Remove platte then start removing the meat one section at a time.
    use an old knife and hammer to cut through the edge of the shell.
    when done soak in salt water for a day then decide what to cook for supper.
     
  10. We always skip the gun and opt for a club. One sharp blow will stun him long enough to take the head off.

    If you find the right spot in the edge of the shell plate you can cut through it fairly easily with a heavy duty hunting knife if you hit just right in the joint. If you try in various spots along the narrow section where it connects you can usually find the soft area pretty easily. It is like cartilage if you hit it right. I thought I would mention it because it can save from messing up a knife.

    Anyone who has not tried turtle should give it a try. It is truly a good meat. I know the old joke that everything tastes like chicken but I won't claim that it actually is like chicken. The taste is a bit more unique but the texture of the meat is very similar to that of chicken.
     
  11. ... I (we too) simply strap them upside down on a tree and use a turtle hook that we screw into a broom handle to drag the head out and stretch the neck then cut off wit ha small hatchet and let it bleed out... We also place them in water and change it twice daily but never have had one drown itself and we used an old oil tank that we cut the top off and put a drain in the lower bottom... These things held 200 gal of oil and we put in about 100 gal of water or more depending on how many turtles we had...
     
  12. MLAROSA

    MLAROSA Loving Life

    Tightliner had it right.

    There is only a couple things we do different, and we set plenty of bank lines.

    Heres what we do different. We don't change the water twice a day, just once but still leaving them in a tank for 5-7 days.

    We also allowed them to bleed for several hours, I'm not sure exactly why though. We would cut their head off or bash it in with a hammer, hang them, and then a few hours latter we would clean them. Just the way we did it, prehaps 10 minutes is long enough.

    Finally we never left any meat. I know about the small ammount of the backstrap, but it's awful tasty. I also know how much of a pain in the ass the tail meat is, but it's awful tasty too. We would have one guy hold the kneck with pliers, while the other guy pulled the skin off the tail with pliers. Was sort of neat if done properly, as if you had a "glove" of the turtle tail.

    Turtle has got to be the best tasting meat I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. We usually pan fried it, then baked it. Sorry don't have specifics as to how to prepare it, the girls always took care of that.

    Enjoy the beast.
     
  13. Went noodling once with some old hillbillies. I say once because it just was not as productive as bank lines but it was a tone of fun. I do not care who you are, your heart will start racing when you slid your hand back under the roots of a tree. Love the meat but I have never been able to clean one very well. Thanks for the details on cleaning guys. I usually just tore into them and always left good meat behind or destroyed. I printed out a few of the post and will give them a try.
     
  14. I guess you could say my dad is a hillbilly.;) (I know that makes me one too I guess.:D) He used to do the noodling a lot in his younger years. And I have to say that it was much more productive than setting lines. It was not unusual to go for a couple of hours trip up a stream and he would have me dragging a burlap sack with 4 or 5 nice size turtles. Most were probably in the 8 to 15# range. I do remember a couple of trips when he and a buddy of his who got him started would go on longer trips and have me carrying (or dragging was more appropriate). More than one of those trips I had to plead for help dragging.

    I only helped Dad a couple of times pull out turtles that he already had pinned but he could not bring them out the direction he was reaching. Usually the problem was that he had a hand on top of them and their head was pointed toward him. Call me a wuss or whatever but I never developed the kahunas to carry on the tradition.:rolleyes: I saw him on a couple of occasions pull them out by the head which to me did not seem too bright. Once he flung a muskrat out from under the bank.:eek: And once he tossed about a 3-4' water snake up on my back. That was not very fun. I assured him he would have no bagger anymore with another incident like that.:eek:

    The streams that the noodlers target are where many would not suspect there to be many turtles. Often these streams were only 10-15' across most of the way. But these small streams makes it much easier to locate the turtles. In larger streams the banks cut under so far that it is difficult to get to the turtles. I still remember times in the larger streams where Dad and his buddy would double up on a logjam or a large undercut. They would go underwater to get inside the mess and come up for air and then hunt them from in there. They would at times be inside the logjam or under the bank for several minutes.

    When I was in college, I somewhat carried on the tradition for Dad. I just did not do it by noodling. I spent a couple of summers setting lines for them. I actually had a local restaurant that bought as much as I could get them during the one summer. I think I probably sold them around 100# of turtle meat. They made soup out of it and it was a popular menu item.