By Mark Fike
When I was a kid growing up in the country, summer was not complete without a few hot summer nights frog hunting. Nor was it complete without having fried frog legs for supper.
To those that might think that eating frog legs is disgusting, I would offer that frog legs really are the one wild game that does closely resemble chicken in taste.
And I dare you to try it and disagree.
Frogging is fun and can be done three different ways.
The old-fashioned way to hunt frogs is to gig them. There are special gigs or spears that look like a trident and is attached on the end of a long pole. A 10 foot piece of electrical conduit pipe is perfect for this because it is lightweight, won’t break, and is inexpensive.
An older country gentleman introduced me to fishing for frogs. He told me to get a hook and a small piece of red flannel or yarn and dangle it in front of a frog with a long fishing pole. That worked like a charm, but so does any small floating popper or tiny lure. I have even had frogs go after the smallest Jitterbug lures.
Perhaps my favorite method of frog hunting in the South is to use a high-powered pellet rifle or low powered .22 rifle or pistol. Moccasins are easily dispatched with the rifle or pistol and I get a measure of security in that while frog hunting. However, you need to be sure to clean your firearm well after hunting in the damp air! Also keep in mind that bullets can ricochet and you don’t want to do this behind your subdivision unless you want some blue lights added to your party!
When stalking frogs, you can listen for them to croak or you can go look for them. Pond banks, stream banks, river banks and swamp edges are the areas where they hang out. Often they are two jumps or less from the water.
Use a bright light, preferably a tactical light, to shine in these areas while looking for them. If they are out of the water, the white or yellow underside of their chin or belly will show up first. If they are in the water, their eyes may show up in the algae or moss. Look for two tell-tale bumps in the water to give away their eyes!
Approach quietly and ease into range. Many frog hunters wade the water. If you wade, take your time and be aware of the water depths, beaver channels, stumps, or holes. Hunt with a buddy to get help if you need it.
If wading without waders, take the time when you get out of the water to check for leeches. Ponds, lakes and other warm waters often have leeches in them. Some waters are more infested than others. I have waded in many waters in my life and have had less than a dozen leeches in four decades of water time.
If using waders, still be careful to avoid filling your waders with water.
If using a boat or canoe, you will find that getting closer to the frogs can be more difficult because the boat will push water towards the frog, thus alerting them. Move slowly. However, for the most part, using a boat will keep you dry. That is a plus.
If shooting frogs, aim for the eyes. If gigging them, you can aim for the shoulders. Either way, be sure to secure them in a bag while you continue your hunt. I prefer to carry a short club to knock them out completely after I get them in hand. Frogs are hardy creatures and will come back to life on you sometimes.
Once you get your frogs home, cut off the legs at the pelvic bone, take a pair of needle nose pliers and pull the skin off the legs. Some prefer to cut off the feet so as to remove the “froggy resemblance” while they eat them.
Fry them in a pan. Most people dip them in egg, flour, salt and pepper. Any fish seasoning will work well. The meat flakes off white when done. I would count on five good pairs of legs per person as a minimum – so you’ll want to take your buddies with you to get their own legs!
PS—Don’t forget the bug spray!