ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Oh joy, oh joy, frog season has nearly arrived. Missourians can soon head out to ponds and swamps in pursuit of bullfrogs and green frogs. The season opens at sunset Saturday and continues through Oct. 31.
Keep in mind, “frogging” or “gigging” as it’s sometimes called, is an art and not a science. All the well made plans in the world do not guarantee success. The smart frogger will wait until the sun goes down and by prior scouting of ponds and marshes, will be waiting for the familiar sound of a large bullfrog croaking into the pitch black night.
In pursuit of the sumptuous delicacy, one should also expect multiple mosquito bites, chiggers, ticks, and ending up totally encrusted in mud before the hunt is over. There may also be one or possibly more near-death experiences as you step into that deep hole in the pond, you trip over a hidden log or find yourself sinking into the bottomless mud. It’s all great fun for those who enjoy multiple jolts of adrenaline.
The Department of Conversation says Missourians with a fishing permit can capture frogs by hand net, gig and throw line. They also can snag, snare, gig or use a pole and line. People who have a hunting permit can use a .22-caliber rifle, pellet gun or bow.
One safety note: if you’re frogging by hand it’s wise to make sure it’s a frog you’re about to grab and not a large snapping turtle.
Artificial lights can be used and it’s a good idea of equip yourself with one, that way your partners can spot you as you slip below the surface of an algae covered pond. Take the kids because permits aren’t required for children under 16 and adults older than 65.
The best method is to slip quietly into the water and then work your way along the bank with your light looking for a pair of eyes peering back at you. Once you have identified your quarry, it’s up to you to dispatch the critter before it jumps leaving nothing but ripples in the water. You can also search the bank by boat but that takes all the fun out of it. You probably will end up with more frog though.
The daily limit is eight frogs of both species combined and 16 is the maximum number of frogs that may be stored at a time.
The recipes for frog legs are numerous and varied from pesto, to breaded with milk and corn meal, to the exotic; Thai basil leaves, baby corn, firm green tomatoes, wax peppers or jalapenos, finely silvered, grachai (rhizome), kaffir lime leaves and bamboo shoots.
Hunting frogs is a great way to spend a hot summer night and it will leave you with some lasting memories both good and bad, depending on how long you can hold your breath following that first dip into the stagnant, mosquito infested water.