Ask Ernie

Ask Ernie

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How did you get started catching turtles?

Tyler Wilson / Arlington, Texas

My uncle Phillip taught me how to catch turtles. I caught my first snapping turtle when I was 7. I started helping neighbors and friends get rid of turtles that were causing problems on their farms.

How did you get so good at catching turtles?

Georgina Bianchi / Livero, Italy

One day I found a Rolling Stone magazine and asked ‘who are these people in this magazine? I said, ‘I want to be on the cover one day. How do you get on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine?”

Grandpa and grandma Brown said that if you find a talent and you get the people to like it and like you they’ll follow you and back you up, and then you’ll be on that Rolling Stone cover because everybody will be talking about you. So I found my talent, catching turtles and that’s what I’m doing.

I started to be known as the Turtleman and it just stuck.

How you come to have your own show on TV?

Brandon Lehor / Chicago, Illinois

The folks from of Kentucky Afield were shooting a series. They liked my bare-handed turtle-catching technique and filmed me for one of their episodes. Darn if it wasn’t posted on YouTube and the next thing you know everyone was watching it.

Animal Planet saw it and liked it and thought it make a good show. They called it “Call of the Wildman” on account of my yell. Well people did like it and it became the highest rated show on Animal Planet. I was just happy people liked it.

Where did “Live action” come from?

Timmy Cobb / Winnipeg, Canada

The same place my victory yell came from. I’ve been saying, “it’s live action” for I years and years. I can’t say exactly where it started. Finally it just fit into my character when I found the Turtleman name.

What do you do with the animals you catch?

Kaytie Gamble / Portland, Oregon

I’ve always loved animals. I’d rather see something walking than see it stuffed on a wall. That’s just the way it is. I love animals. I try to save them all I can because we’re running out of woods and places of habitat. Now the animals are adapting to the cities because there ain’t no country anymore. So I’m feeling sorry for the critters. I catch them and release them back into the wild where there aren’t so many people. If they’re injured or real young I sometimes take care of them until they are well enough to be released.