How Ernie Brown Jr. Became "Turtleman"
Ernie Brown, Jr. has been diving into murky Kentucky ponds in search of snapping turtles for nearly 40 years. Born and raised in Washington County, he spent his childhood exploring the woods and learning the ways of the animals that occupy them. Years ago he made Marion County his home and has lived here most of his life.
Brown caught his first caught his first snapping turtle, a 25-pounder, when he was just seven-years-old, after his father and uncle taught him the risky technique.
Since then, the legend of Turtleman has spread throughout the Blue Grass state and has afforded Ernie a career as an animal rescuer. At the age of 17, he caught his biggest turtle to date, aptly named the "Loch Ness Turtle," a monster snapper weighing close to 55 pounds.
At one time Turtleman caught an average of 300 turtles a year and had been injured more than 33 times.
Prior to devoting all of his time to rescuing and relocating wildlife, Brownworked several jobs, including cutting boards for whiskey and wine barrels, milking cows and working in construction. He currently lives off the land deep in the backwoods of Marion County.