Blanding’s Bowl is a seven-year tradition in Lake County that involves Lake County (Gary, the turtle techs, and wildlife techs), Northern Illinois University researchers, and the Wildlife Epidemiology Lab. It is a week where we keep score while doing our normal work to see who has the best technique (and luck) at catching Blanding’s.

Every person gets to place 11 traps in any location we work. Anything caught in a trap earns that person points.  After checking traps, every person is allowed to look for hand captures until 1 pm. Normally, each vet or vet student works with one or more techs to form a team. Then each team checks their traps together so they can quickly work up every turtle and spend more time looking for hand captures. Vets also get a 10% tax for every turtle they work up!

Unfortunately, the pandemic made this year look a little different. Fortunately, this is a great game to play while social distancing! Everyone checked their traps alone or paired together only with people we live with, and no vets from the Epi Lab or wildlife techs were able to join us. We also decided to shorten the game from the normal 1 week to only 3 days.

In total, the 10 of us put out 110 traps. Sam and I were SO busy!! We didn’t get a chance to film as much as we would’ve liked, but thankfully our great team got some footage. Check out the vlog below to see some clips and the “shelfies” that prove our points!


Spoiler alert!

No mammals or birds were caught in any traps.

1st Place: Kathryn

2nd Place: Gary

3rd Place: Sam