Officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources closed shop for three men operating a meat market in Frazee. Three men were accused of buying snapping turtles out of season.
The three men are partners in operating a small meat market in Frazee, Minnesota. Their business, titled Ketter’s Meats and Locker Plant were reported for receiving several transports of snapping turtles throughout the month of June. Upon executing a search warrant, officers with the state Department of Natural Resources found half a ton of turtle meat in addition to 23 live snapping turtles and 243 shells.
While the capture is staggering for representatives of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, Captain Stacey Sharp stated that it still remains to be determined how much of the meat was obtained out of snapping turtle season.
The three men from Frazee charged with buying and owning snapping turtles and snapping turtle meat out of the lawful season are Kevin R. Ketter (54), Jordan N. Ketter (21) and Darwin D. Bartel (54).
According to official documents, the owner of business, Kevin R. Ketter admitted that he was indeed buying and owning snapping turtles in June. Although the season is open July 1st through April 30th with just May and June as pause months, poachers are fruitfully operating off-season. Throughout the season, the limit is set to three snapping turtles. Off-season, with no license in sight, poachers use nets and traps to capture the turtles and sell them to the willing.
Snapping turtles may weigh up to 35 pounds. Their natural habitat spans the state of Minnesota. Since 1984 they are labeled as a special concern species, particularly with view to commercial activity and effects on the state populations.
While the meat seized from Ketter’s business has been retained for analysis, the 23 live snapping turtles were returned to the wild.
Governor of Minnesota Mark Dayton reacted harshly to the news that three men were accused of buying snapping turtles out of season. His strong views on illegal activities concerning wildlife and snapping turtles were reflected in a suite of declaration.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, the three men could each spend up to 90 days in jail. Alternatively, the fines for such activities are set for 1,000 dollars. Governor Dayton thinks such minimal fines aren’t the way forward in dealing with illegal activities, nor in aiding conservation groups.
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