Snapping Turtle Tracking Device


As a kid, I spent a lot of time in around and on ponds all over Owasso, Oklahoma. I swam in ponds, jumped my bike into ponds, waded through knee deep “mud” in a few ponds, etc.,… Gross, I know, but I have a healthy immune system and no allergies to show for it.

I remember one day when my younger brother, a few neighborhood friends and I were fishing on a pond at the end of my street. We had our fishing poles; worms in a coffee can and a few small tackles boxes with a few lures and bobbers. Fishing with bobbers gave us the freedom to put our poles down and whittle a stick or skip rocks while we fished. It was a small pond, we mostly only caught perch and an occasionally a transplanted catfish or small mouth bass.

But this day, a few minutes into whittling and rock skipping, one of our bobbers disappeared under the water, and the pole went in after it. I don’t remember who rushed in to grab the pole, but when they did, the fishing line broke, just above the bobber. The bobber stayed under water for a few minutes before resurfacing in another part of the pond. Soon after, we saw the head of a giant snapping turtle breaking the surface of the water, next to the bobber. We caught a freaking snapping turtle, sort of… there was a great celebration, and then we all rushed home to get our bb guns.

Throughout the day, the bobber would rise to the surface while we sat with our air rifles pumped beyond recommended air pressure waiting for the turtle’s head to poke out and BLAM! We unloaded an assault of bb’s. The turtle would quickly retreat beneath the murky water only to resurface elsewhere minutes later. At which point we would race around the pond for another round of air-propelled shock and awe. It was a fun game until our hail of bb’s finally sank the plastic bobber.

We never caught the turtle. Summers later we knew he was still around because of the large bites missing from the bottom half of the fish on our stringer.

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