Indiana – The Snapperfest State

“Science and the law can both help us forecast the consequences of our actions, but neither can tell us how we ought to act in a moral sense.” – Dalai Lama

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”Mahatma Gandhi

Yesterday was the International Telephone Protest Against Snapperfest and this is my call.

I was cut short before I was able to suggest a new state slogan, The Snapperfest State. It would look cool on the license plates of government vehicles. I also wanted to ask her if she loves her job. Oh well! Maybe next time. Please try to enlighten at lease two people a day about this despicable TortureFest, asking them to do the same.

Thank you for contacting Governor Daniels about the event known as Snapperfest.

Snapperfest is an annual event at a private campground in Indiana at which individuals are timed on how quickly they can capture a common snapping turtle, coax the turtle to stick its head out of its shell and hold the neck without getting bit.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources investigated this matter and had a presence during the most recent Snapperfest, including undercover officers at the event. To our knowledge and from onsite observation, the abuse of the snapping turtles is not allowed at Snapperfest.

Much of the attention brought to this year’s Snapperfest was due to the wide circulation of a video on YouTube. The event organizer informed IDNR that contest rules prohibit participants from smacking turtles on the ground as seen in this video. Additionally, the individual seen on the YouTube video is forbidden from future participation in the event.

The IDNR has an interest here to the extent of ensuring that all applicable laws are followed with respect to a wild animal.

The common snapping turtle is one of three turtles considered a game species in Indiana. The other two are the smooth softshell turtle and spiny softshell turtle. All three are subject to state laws that regulate their taking from the wild. Those laws include the purchase and possession of a fishing or hunting license for anyone age 18 or older, plus a daily bag limit and possession limit. Furthermore, Indiana law prohibits the sale of all native turtle species.

Many individuals who have voiced objection to Snapperfest point to the animal cruelty laws found in Indiana Code 35-46-3. However, that law is not applicable in this instance because it provides an exemption for wild animals that are legally taken and possessed under the authority of Indiana Code 14-22.

Thank you for your active citizenship.


Shelley Reeves

Governor’s Liaison for the Department of Natural Resources


Please do not respond to this e-mail. The e-mail account is not set up to accept replies. If you wish to send another message, please submit it through the Governor’s website contact page at Thank you.

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“And those who dismiss love for our fellow creatures as mere sentimentality overlook a good and important part of our humanity. But it takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal. And it is actually within us to grant them a happy life and a long one.” – Joaquin Phoenix | EARTHLINGS (movie)