Snapping turtle. (DNR photo)

Snapping turtle. (DNR photo)

A statehouse committee heard impassioned testimony Tuesday in a dispute over a proposed new season for hunting wild turtles in Iowa.

After action by the legislature, the DNR proposes a nearly year-long season to trap a limited number of the reptiles which conservationists say are threatened with possible extinction.

Sierra Club spokesperson, Neala Seaman, says the proposed season is too long. “The science on the turtle’s life cycle is clear. Turtles mature at slow rates. Few reach maturity. Although the turtles will be protected during nesting, significant numbers of turtles will be harvested just prior to nesting,” Seaman.

 Jim Obradovich represented the Iowa Trappers Association, and says with the proposed limits, some trappers would have to close their businesses or have their main source of income reduced.

“And what really is starting to really frustrate these groups is that when the bill was passed the direct quote from the Department of Natural Resources is, and I quote ‘we will not put anyone out of business.’ And we’ve been trying to work with them,” Obradovich says.

Governor Terry Branstad objected to an earlier proposal favored by the Sierra club to ban trapping for six months out of the year. The committee did not vote to delay the rules. An official with the Department of Natural Resources says the agency continues to take comments from interested parties.

Thanks to Joyce Russell, Iowa Public Radio.