Take of turtles: harvest seasons


Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is regulated under three categories: live personal use, recreational harvest and commercial harvest. Under DGIF regulation section 4VAC15-360-10, the recreational harvest of snapping turtles has no seasonal limitations. We have anecdotal evidence from department law enforcement that commercial harvesters are capturing snapping turtles in the month of May and holding turtles until the commercial harvest season begins on 1 June. The purpose of a commercial harvest season is to protect nesting female snapping turtles, which peak nesting season occurs during the month of May.

Staff is considering the following to address this issue:

  • Define a recreational harvest season for snapping turtles between June 1 and September 30 with a bag limit of 5 per day. The maximum possession limit of snapping turtles for live personal-use shall be 5 individuals and can only be taken by hand.

(posted 2/11/2014)

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