Oklahoma Game Wardens

Poachers Receive Massive Fines for Killing Alligator Snapping Turtle

Two poachers in Oklahoma were slapped with heavy fines for killing a nearly 80-year-old, endangered alligator snapping turtle.

Most poaching cases involve deer or other big game animals, but the Oklahoma Game Wardens recently dealt with a case involving an endangered alligator snapping turtle.

On April 13, Marshall County Warden Billy Bob Walker received a tip on a poached alligator snapping turtle. He and two other wardens collaborated to find a vehicle matching the suspect's description in Tishomingo.

Wardens found the dead turtle in the backyard after questioning the vehicle's driver. Apparently the poacher had caught the turtle in the Tishomingo Management Unit. The suspect then admitted to catching it using an illegal throw line.

The 78-pound turtle was estimated to be between 75-80 years old. The suspect was taken to jail because he had active warrants out for his arrest.

However, wardens also got a tip on a second suspect. This one was allegedly camping in the area at the time. The authorities found and questioned this suspect, who later admitted to whe was the one who killed the turtle by shooting it in the head with a 9mm handgun.

Because alligator snapping turtles are an endangered species, the punishment for the crime is steep. Both of the poachers received $989 citations, and both will face restitution fines of $5,000 each.