The town of Middlefield recently began receiving calls from residents concerned about illegal activity at Lake Beseck — specifically, traps designed to catch snapping turtles.
On Thursday afternoon, at least four traps could be seen in the cove at the north end of the lake where a fisherman was busy checking the traps for the reptile with a not-so-friendly reputation.
As it turns out, it is perfectly legal to live-trap snapping turtles in Connecticut.
"No license or permit is required to do so," says Laura Saucier of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Wildlife Division.
"Snapping turtles may also be caught by a baited line and hook but a fishing license is required. We recommend the use of hoop-style net traps versus other styles of traps."
The fisherman spotted Thursday checking the traps said he only kept larger snappers and returned other turtles caught in the trap back into the lake.
According to a fact sheet available on the DEEP's website, snapping turtles are the only reptile in Connecticut that may be caught in the wild and sold in the commerical market.
Most local fisherman trap the turtles for their meat, which is used in soup.
The DEEP however warns that snapping turtles can potentially concentrate environmental contaminates and toxic chemicals such as PCBs in their flesh and pose a health risk if consumed in large quantities.