Catch a Frog With Your Bare Hands
Bullfrogs can be as jittery as your little brother after his third can of cola.
Sneaking close enough to grab a jumpy frog takes skill and a little luck. Few things are more fun than slopping around a muddy pond at night in hopes of catching America’s largest frog. A bullfrog can weigh more than half a dozen cheeseburgers and grow larger than your dad’s hand. They’re fun to catch, and best of all, they grow meaty legs that when cooked to perfection give fried chicken a run for its money.
First, a Few Rules ...
Frogging season runs from sunset on June 30 to midnight on Halloween. Bullfrogs and their smaller cousins, green frogs, are both legal to catch. If you’re 15 or younger, you don’t need a permit to harvest frogs. If you’re 16 or older, you do. You can take home eight frogs each night. The possession limit — how many you can keep in your freezer before having a frog fry — is 16.
Prepare to Get Grubby
- You don’t need fancy gear for frogging, but one item is essential: a bright flashlight. Headlamps are handier because they leave both of your paws free.
- Load your light with fresh batteries and bring extras in a zip-top bag.
- Pigs wallow in less mud than most frog hunters, so wear old clothes your parents can cut into rags when the froggin’ is done.
- Some froggers wear rubber boots. If you don’t mind wet feet, an old pair of sneakers works fine. Lace them up tight so mud doesn’t suck them off your feet.
- Spray yourself with insect repellent to keep squadrons of mosquitoes away.
- Stuff your frogs in a mesh laundry bag or an old pillowcase. Tie the bag shut to keep the croakers contained.
Bare Hands and Bright Lights
- During summer, frogs cool off at night in mud along the shore. Slowly circle the bank, sweeping your light all around. Look for white chests and glowing eyes.
- When you spot a frog, keep the light tight on its face. The hypnotized hopper won’t be able to see anything and will remain hunkered in place.
- Creep toward the frog from the front. If it startles, it’s liable to jump right toward you, offering a chance for a mad grab.
- If it doesn’t spook, move your hand s-l-o-w-l-y within striking range and ... GRAB IT! When you get your paws on a frog, hang on tight — they’re as slippery as a greased water balloon.
- After you’ve bagged eight frogs, it’s time to call it a night. Run yourself through a car wash, tiptoe up to bed, and sleep in so you can stay up late tomorrow night for another round of mud, fun, and frogs.
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Angie Daly Morfeld