DNR rulemaking: Taking turtles

What is this rule about?

This rule is about regulations on taking turtles.

Where do I send my comments?

Submit comments by 4:30 p.m. May 20, 2024, to the Office of Administrative Hearings at [email protected] or 600 North Robert Street, P.O. Box 64620, St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0620.

What will this rulemaking do?

Match existing rules to changes made by the 2021 and 2023 legislature. These rule changes do the following:

  • Prohibit the taking of turtles by using firearms and ammunition; bow and arrow or crossbow, or spears, harpoons, or any other implements that impale turtles.
  • Add a minimum size and possession limitation for Western painted turtles (Chrysemys picta).
  • Prohibit possession of spiny softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) and other turtle species not specified in the statute without an aquatic farm or private fish hatchery license with a turtle endorsement.
  • Prohibit commercial harvest of Western painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), and spiny softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) in Minnesota. People will still be allowed to raise turtles for commercial purposes under an aquaculture license with a turtle endorsement.
  • Require anglers to have both an angling license and a newly required recreational turtle license to harvest turtles. Traps will not be allowed for turtle harvest. Individuals under 16 do not need a recreational turtle license and may still collect turtles for turtle races.

The DNR is using the good cause exemption rulemaking procedure to make this rule change.

Who might be affected by this rulemaking?

  • Minnesota Herpetological Society
  • Individuals engaged in taking of turtles

Where can I get more information?


DNR contact:
Lacy Levine
Ecological and Water Resources Division
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020
(651) 259-5265,
[email protected]

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