How can you not love the Turtleman?
The new season of Animal Planet’s Call of the Wildman premiered Sunday night, and it’s more of the best of the Turtleman, a.k.a. Ernie Brown, Jr. Once again, he is in nasty-looking ponds, rubbing various camouflaging scents over his body, and doing whatever it takes to rid people of their problem pests—without hurting them, if at all possible.
Turtleman has a lot of experience, having caught his first snapping turtle—a whopping 25-pounder, no less—at the age of seven. Building on the teachings of his father and uncle, Turtleman has made critter catching a career for almost 40 years in Kentucky. He is a legend in the state, and caught the “Loch Ness Turtle,” weighing in at almost 55 pounds, at age 17. Each year, he catches approximately 300 turtles—over 12,000 turtles thus far in his continuing career—and has been injured 33 times to date.
Turtleman is assisted by Neal James, a native Kentuckian and expert on the banjo. He is something of a personal assistant to the Turtleman, taking calls from businesses and homeowners in need of the Turtleman’s services and setting up appointments for them to meet. The best friends take care of business, with Turtleman doing the catching and Neal doing the bagging.
Additionally, Lolly, Turtleman’s faithful dog, is a big part of the Call of the Wildman team. Lolly was a stray, and after a three-day effort to catch the scared dog, Turtleman was able to get her out of a winter ice storm and to his home deep in the Kentucky wilderness, where he lives off the land. He thinks she is a border collie-Australian cattle dog mix, but that is just his best guess. Without Lolly, the team just wouldn’t be the same.
A First for the Turtleman
So, the team is back, and producing signature "live action" for fans of the show. For the season premiere, Turtleman finds himself deep in a mine shaft going after, of all things, a beaver—who Turtleman named, “Justin Beaver.”
“He slapped me like it was a bad date,” Turtleman said after the beaver gave him a few smacks across the face with his tail.
“I’ve seen Turtleman catch a lot of things in a lot of unusual places, but to catch a beaver in a coal mine? That tops it all,” Neal said, amazed.
Turtleman and Neal also headed over to a tornado-destroyed community, to help the turtles trapped in a pond contaminated with oil following the storm. Lolly got oil on her just walking around the pond—imagine the turtles trying to live in it? But, Turtleman to the rescue! They were afraid at first that they may have been too late, but “Flint,” as Turtleman named him—he names all of his catches, as regular viewers will know—was the first rescue, followed by “Triple Threat” (a three-legged turtle). They cleaned the turtles up using mayonnaise—yes, rubbed them down with mayo, and the oil came right off—and relocated them in an oil-free pond.
Stay tuned for more brand-new live action next week on Call of the Wildman on Animal Planet, airing Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
Image: Wikimedia Commons