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Friday, March 14, 2008

Sometimes Education Hurts

This morning I saw a canoe with 2 men making their way around the shore of the lake. I knew immediately they were the turtle catchers from last year. Ok...I know someone has to catch the turtles for the turtle soup I occasionally eat in an area restaurant. And I know we have a LOT of turtles in this lake, but last year they left their lines out and left several turtles to die. Another resident had to go out in a boat, after the turtle catchers didn't return, and cut the turtles loose. I have a problem with these guys!

I called to them and whistled, but they ignored me, although I knew they had seen me. So I searched the phone book for Wildlife and Fisheries. The lady there gave me the phone number for the STATE office that handles licensing. They directed me to the website and number for reporting offenses. That number didn't connect and I was back at square-one. So I called the local police non-emergency number. The lady there called a local official (of what?) who talked to me for a bit and said he would send one of his guys...but he didn't know where our lake was located.

Finally a woman called from the local enforcement office. Once she located the lake she told me that, first of all, it is officially designated as a "Retention Pond" and second, hunting of freshwater turtles is permitted. She also said that cutting the hunters' lines is destruction of property, even to save a turtle. There is no time limit on when, or even IF, they have to retrieve their lines.

I am sitting here looking at a brochure from the wildlife festival last Saturday that says, One Person CAN Make a Difference" and I am wondering HOW???

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Laura Lou
Michigan/Florida, United States
I am a retired Middle School Science teacher from Michigan spending 4 months each winter in Florida and learning about a whole new world.
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