MADISON - Turtle season opens statewide July 15 and runs through Nov. 30. The open season does not include those species that are listed as endangered or threatened. The ornate box turtle, Blanding's turtle and the wood turtle are protected and may not be taken at any time.
Anyone who collects or possesses native Wisconsin unprotected aquatic turtles must have one of the following licenses: Fishing, Small Game, Sports, Conservation Patron, Setline, or Set or Bank Pole. See the Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Regulations (pdf) pamphlet for more information.
Turtles may be taken by hand, dip net, hook and line, set line, set or bank poles, hooking, or hoop net trap. No other trap types are allowed. Turtles may not be taken by hook and line from trout streams during the closed trout season. The possession limit for snapping turtles and softshell turtles, is three statewide. The one exception is the Mississippi River, where the possession limit is 10 for snapping turtles and 5 for softshell turtles.
Turtles are up against tough odds, with highway mortality and loss of habitat contributing to some declining turtle populations. Three of Wisconsin turtle species are listed as either threatened or endangered species. As few as 5 percent of eggs laid survive to hatch and of those, only very few may survive to reproductive age. Natural predators of turtles and turtle eggs are many and include raccoons, skunks, fox, opossums, herons, egrets, seagulls, cranes, crows and others.
For more information on turtles in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin reptiles page of the DNR website.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rori Paloski at (608) 264-6040