Caught A Turtle Fishing?
If your outdoors spending your leisure time fishing and your recent catch reveals itself as a soft-shelled turtle, terrapin, snapper, or other water turtle, DO NOT cut the line. Instead, use a fishing net to catch and pull the turtle into the boat or onto dry land. Avoid any reeling if possible as placing additional pressure on the hook and/or entangled line will cause further damage to the entrapped turtle. Once the turtle has been brought to land, place the turtle into a large box or open-topped, empty, ice-free cooler and call a local wildlife rehabilitator for further advice.
If you have placed the turtle in water, ensure that he/she can raise his/her head far above the water’s surface without effort to prevent any chances of drowning. Avoid placing the hooked or entangled turtle in direct sunlight as overexposure could result in overheating and dehydration. It is extremely important that the fishing line not be cut at any point. If the line is broken, the turtle may swallow your fishing tackle and the remaining free line completely, rendering removal of the life-threatening gear tricky, if not impossible. With a little care, your unexpected catch could turn into a minor irritation for the turtle.