37-pound turtle wins Harkey’s Taxidermy Cooter Contest

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90 snapping turtles were weighed during the competition

Robbie Grigg took first place in the Harkey’s Taxidermy Cooter Contest, which ran from June 1 to July 9. Grigg’s winning cooter weighed 37 pounds. 

Noah Thas finished second with a 36-pound snapping turtle, followed by Bryson Neal in third place with a 30 pounder. 

Jamie Harkey, owner/operator of Harkey’s Taxidermy in Vale, N.C. said they decided to hold the contest to reintroduce the sport of turtle hunting to the area.

“Turtle hunting is a dying sport. Our goal was to get people excited about turtle hunting, learn the sport and enjoy something that most people have forgotten about,” she said.

And Harkey said the turtles that were killed will not go to waste. The meat from them is too delicious, she said.

“Turtle meat is excellent if prepared right. We plan to cook a big washpot of turtle stew and invite the community free of charge to partake,” said Harkey.

One team scored 21 turtles

A total of 90 turtles were weighed in during the contest. Team Kasey/Hunter caught the most, with 21.

Aside from the biggest turtle prize, a drawing was also held at the end of the contest. Nolan Locklear won a Stevens .410 shotgun and Dustin Johnson won a knife and turtle-skin sheath.

Harkey was happy with the participation level of the contest, and said they hope to run it again next year. It’s a sport, she said, that anyone can get involved in and have success in.

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Team Kasey/Hunter caught 21 turtles during the contest.

“Turtle hunting is definitely a sport that does not get a lot of recognition. It is a sport that doesn’t require a fancy Sitka suit or expensive equipment. Anyone can do it and a few people are really skilled in it,” she said.

Seeing all the turtles and the excitement of participants was just one part of holding the contest.

“A lot of people got out and enjoyed it. And because of this contest, we were able to meet new people and hear lots of old stories about turtle hunting and the old ways,” Harkey said.

Next up for Harkey’s Taxidermy is the Fall Predator Contest. It will be held Oct. 17 through Feb. 28. Click here for more information.

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About Brian Cope 2235 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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