Minnesota governor goes off on snapping turtle poachers

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is disgusted by the illegal taking of snapping turtles by 3 men associated with Ketter’s Meat Market in Frazee, Minn. But the governor is even more upset with the slap on the wrist penalty.

“A $185 fine for $3,000 worth of turtle meat that was gained illegally is a disgracefully light penalty, and I’m going to renew that in the next legislative session,” Gov. Dayton said. “It ought to be a criminal act.”

Kevin Ketter, Jordan Ketter, and Darwin Bartel of Frazee are charged with possessing snapping turtles in a closed season. On June 29, Minnesota DNR conservation officers executed a search warrant at Ketter’s Meat Market, seizing 23 live snapping turtles, 243 snapping turtle shells and nearly 3,000 pounds of turtle meat in 10-pound packages.

State law prohibits taking snapping turtles in May and June. The investigation revealed the turtles were being taken during this closed season, and were being purchased at Ketter’s Meat Market.

The live snapping turtles recovered by the DNR were released into the wild.