I have a Native
American friend who, for years, has "rescued" turtles from the freeways, placing
them in her large, fenced backyard. At feeding time, she steps to her back porch,
bangs a pan with a spoon and the entire backyard comes alive with healthy turtles
arriving to be fed.
A relative living in California, also with a large
backyard, became host to a wayward desert turtle who took up residence. Since
it is on the endangered species list, it sported its own tattoo number, registered
description and has been to the local vet twice.
The turtle tale continues.
We have a small, swampy lagoon area that old timers called Blue Hole, where they
played hooky from Alanreed
school, rode their horses
across the pastures and swam in the cool waters. It must have been larger and
deeper in the old days.
At the urging of our daughter-in-law, Janice,
we decided to clean the place, trim the brush and develop it into a fishing camp
for the family. A plan was agreed, the work began and, after a few months passed,
the camp was finished, complete with a new fence to keep the cattle out.
none of us knew beans about improving and stocking a pond, we used a pond consultant
(available at no charge) provided by a business that sold stock fish. Pond size,
depth, history, age, surroundings and eventual use were all logged in, a plan
suggested and the development began in earnest.
The water was cleaned
the best we could, banks leveled and secured, shade trees trimmed and parking
spaces built. We bought a stock of minnows, bass and hybrid brim as recommended.
After the fish were released, the expert asked if we had any turtles? When we
stopped to study the lake and watch, we had more turtles than you could count.
Big turtles, middle-sized turtles and many little, bitty turtles. We were told
that would not do. We had to lower the count.
We built a home-made turtle
trap. After all, a turtle can't be too smart. Ha! The only turtle casualty was
one that laughed himself to death after seeing our contraption. We ordered a manufactured
turtle trap from the fish people. It was a square aluminum cage that floated with
trap doors on top that dumped the turtles as they lay in the sun. The great turtle
Three days went by, no turtles caught. The new trap was too
shiny. I pulled it ashore, rubbed mud and moss all over the shiny places, reset
and waited. To date, we have caught 42 turtles, from large as a plastic bucket
to little bitty. All have been scattered to other dirt tanks across the ranch,
as far from the fishing lake as possible.
I have been told to place a
beautiful, well-developed female turtle inside the trap as a lure for other turtles.
So far, I have not been able to determine the sex of a turtle by looking! Do any
of you readers know the formula?
© Delbert Trew
All Trew" October
21, 2009 Column