I gotta be honest, I've never even thought of taking a turtle in Minnesota. I didn't even know there were regulations about them until I started reading this year's Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook.

I always scan what's new for 2024 to make sure I'm not violating any regulations. There's a section that refers to "New Statewide Regulations." In it, there are new regulations for the taking of turtles. What does that even mean? Do you eat turtles?

New Regulations For 2024 Involve Turtle Harvest License

Here's what the actual wordage is in the handbook:

  • Turtle harvest regulations: Both a recreational turtle license and an angling license are required to harvest turtles. Traps are no longer allowed to take turtles.

Wait a minute, you could trap turtles up until now?

How do you take a turtle?

The regulations allow for you to use traditional angling gear like dip nets or a hook and line. You can't use commercial gear, firearms, bows, explosives, drugs, poisons, or other harmful lake substances.

What kind of turtles can you take in Minnesota?

MPR News YouTube
MPR News YouTube

You can take western-painted turtles that are between 4 and 5 1/2" in length. You can possess 3 of them.

Photo by J Yeo on Unsplash
Photo by J Yeo on Unsplash

You can also take snapping turtles, but they have to be at least 12" in shell length. You can possess 3 of those. The season is from July 1 through April 30 the following year.

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Kids are allowed to take, possess, sell, and rent racing turtles. Really.

I've heard of a turtle race, but I've never been to one. I didn't know they were regulated, but I guess it makes sense now that I think of it.

The regulations state that Minnesota residents younger than 18 may take, possess, and rent or sell up to 25 turtles for use in a non-profit turtle race. Each turtle has to be at least 4" in length.

Read More: Minnesota Is The Very Last State To Have This Law

How much does a turtle license cost?

You have to be a resident of Minnesota to purchase a turtle license. They cost $25. It's important to note that you must also have a residential angling license if you are over 16.

Can you eat turtles?

Meateater did a story on how to catch, clean, and eat snapping turtles. I think I'll pass on that one.

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Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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