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New commercial and recreational turtle harvest seasons and catch limits

New commercial and recreational turtle harvest seasons and daily catch limits start March 22.

A harvest season and catch limits will help protect Iowa’s harvestable turtle breeding populations and the survival of these sensitive species.

The harvest season for spiny softshell, smooth softshell and painted turtles is open now until May 14. It will be closed after that date and reopen again on July 16, 2017.

The commercial common snapping turtle season is open now until May 14. It will be closed after that date and reopen again on July 16, 2017. The recreational common snapping turtle season is open all year.

Daily catch limits for commercial and recreational harvest of common snapping turtles is four. Commercial and recreational turtle harvesters can catch one spiny softshell or one smooth softshell and one painted turtle each day.

Commercial turtle harvesters can possess 20 common snapping turtles, five spiny softshell or smooth softshell turtles and five painted turtles.

Turtle eggs cannot be taken from wild nests. Turtles cannot be harvested from traps set before midnight on July 15. Turtle harvesters cannot sort, cull, high-grade, or replace any turtle in their possession.

A weather-resistant gear tag with name, address and license number of the licensee must be attached above the waterline to each turtle trap set by a commercial turtle harvester. All turtle traps must be set with the top of the trap visible above the waterline and must be checked and emptied of catch at least one every 72 hours. When a turtle trap is checked, turtles can be taken into possession, up to the daily catch limit, or released immediately.

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