There are certain things in life that bring you back to your childhood. It could be the smell of chalk, the theme song from a Saturday morning cartoon show, or even the taste of a certain candy. It is different for everyone and some people have many. For me, though, the biggest thing that instantly transports me back to my childhood is hearing the harsh croak of a large summer bullfrog.
When I was around 10 years old, my brother, cousins, and I would put on headlamps and arm ourselves with bee guns, spotlights, and my uncle’s old rusty spear and then head out to the marshy pond behind my grandfather’s house to hunt. bullfrogs We spent all night wading through the mud and wading chest deep in green water trying to stick a spear into a pair of croaking glowing eyes. At dawn, we would walk back to my grandfather’s house, covered in mud and bug bites, to clean our catch of bullfrogs that Grandpa would prepare for breakfast. He would fry the legs in a huge cast-iron skillet and serve them to us with a side of biscuits and gravy that we would devour before passing out all afternoon to get a good rest for another acting session that night.
It was so much fun and one of my favorite childhood memories. But when I got older I learned that not everyone had a childhood like mine. Many people have never experienced the pure, unadulterated fun of frogs and if you are one of them, I must say you have no idea what you are missing.
A story of eating frogs
Long before we realized how slow and easy to catch chickens are, frogs were the white meat of choice for much of society. Historical records show that frogs were in almost everyone’s pantry as early as 100 AD. The peoples of ancient southern China listed frog farming as livestock, and Aztec scrolls have been found with hieroglyphics of people who also harpooned and ate frogs. during the 16the century, monks had frogs officially considered fish so they could eat them on days when they were not allowed to eat red meat, and religiously practicing peasants quickly followed suit. This made frog legs a delicacy to be eaten only on special occasions.
Eventually, though, as we humans became more “evolved,” a certain stigma began to creep in when it came to eating frogs. Like the carp, this had nothing to do with the quality or taste of the animal’s meat, but rather with the environments where the creatures were found. Frogs generally live in slag-covered, muddy, and generally unattractive types of water, such as swamps, mudflats, and weedy lakes and ponds, so they are considered unsightly creatures. This, combined with the horrendous croaking they make, has driven away generations of carnivores who found the animals that live in swamps far less attractive than the animals that roamed clean, unspoiled grasslands and mountains.
So eating frogs fell out of favor in many places around the world, however that doesn’t mean it’s not done yet. Countries like Vietnam, Korea, Italy, and of course France all regularly put the frog on the menu. In US states like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, primetime frog season is expected just as early as the opening of deer or duck season. Although you don’t have to live in these countries or states to get into a good frog concert. Most states have open seasons for swamp jumpers and very liberal limits. So all it takes to start stocking your freezer this summer with plenty of frogs is a quick check on local regulations, and then making sure you’re prepared for a swamp hunt.
Frog Concert Equipment
The equipment needed for frog performances is simple. While you may get lucky during the day, frogs are more active at night, making them easier to find and catch. First and foremost on your equipment list should be a good headlamp and a powerful spotlight. Not only will these help you find your aquatic prey, but they will also help keep you from falling into a hole and breaking your leg, saving you not only money on hospital bills, but in the main territory of The frogs will also prevent you from being eaten by any of the areas other more dangerous inhabitants.
A frog concert is not entirely necessary for a successful frog hunt. Many frog hunters prefer to use nets or even catch frogs by hand and store them alive in a basket or cooler. However, I prefer to use a gig because it kills frogs quickly and efficiently and saves you from having to dispatch a dozen live little critters later in the evening. If you like that, then a quick hit to the head or a shot from a pellet gun between the eyes will work just fine, but that’s always been too brutal for my liking. You can purchase a concert frog at almost any outdoor retail store or even find them online.
Apart from the light and the concert, it is also a good idea to have a good pair of boots or tall boots for the frog concert. Small amphibians can be hard to find and can lead you to some sketchy places, so you’ll be able to stay there longer and be much more efficient if you stay warm and dry all night.
Where and how to hunt frogs
While there are more than 100 different species of frogs in North America, the small size of the animals means that there is only one species worth targeting when foraging: the bullfrog. These large amphibians are the largest true frogs in North America, often reaching sizes 6 to 8 inches in length with some specimens weighing up to a pound.
Bullfrogs are primarily nocturnal and have a native range from northern Newfoundland to western Kansas. Additionally, bullfrogs have been introduced to western states including Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and even California. In many of these states, the big thugs are considered invasive, and many Fish and Game departments encourage people to hunt and eat them. This wide range is a beautiful thing if you’re looking to get into frog acting, as long as you know where to find them and how to hunt them.
Bullfrogs inhabit warm-water swamps, lakes, ponds, and rivers and typically spend most of the day in mud or hide in thick undergrowth waiting for nightfall so they can come out and feed. With the setting of the sun, the bullfrogs begin to move in search of insects and small crustaceans to eat and find a mate. Their constant nocturnal surface activity and iconic booming croak make their locations an absolute treat, making nighttime the perfect time to target bullfrogs with a concert.
Gigging frogs is very similar to bow fishing. It consists of going out into a water looking like a frog and listening for a squawk or scanning the surface of the water with a spotlight until you see the glowing eyes of your prey so you can get closer. This can be done on foot or from a boat, but in either case, you have to be stealthy. One misstep or mistimed revving of a boat engine, and the frog will disappear below the surface. Once the bullfrog is fully in the light and you are within range of the spear, hit hard and fast. Aim for the back of the frog’s head with the giant, ideally sticking it right into the back of the neck. This will dispatch the frog quickly, allowing you to lift it out of the water and prepare it for the pan.
The Other Other White Meat
Although the hind legs are the most coveted, there is much more meat in a frog than you think. Large bullfrogs can be cleaned whole, which allows you to get not only the meat from the hind leg, but also the meat from the saddle and ribs like a squirrel. Cleaning them this way is a fairly simple process. Simply cut off the back legs just above the joint with a sharp knife and then make a small cut on the back of the frog’s neck just behind the head. Using a pair of pliers, grab the skin of the frog at the base of the cut, and then peel the skin past the legs as if you were removing a pair of pants. Once this is done take a pair of hunting shears and gut the frog then cut off the front legs and head and voila.
There are many ways to cook frog. The meat is light and very similar to a chicken wing with a slightly fishy touch. As such, you can substitute frog in almost any of your favorite game bird or fish recipes. They can be grilled, baked, or roasted, but my favorite method of cooking frogs is toss them in a little flour with a little salt and pepper and brown them in a pan with a little hot oil.
Frog performance will always have a special place in my heart because of the importance it had in my life as a hunter. Bullfrogs were the first animals I went hunting and the first game meat I brought home from the fields and shared with my family. It introduced me to an aspect of the outdoors that I had not yet experienced and opened the door to the world of hunting.
I can only hope that when I am too old to hunt and spend most of my time sitting on the porch listening to the night, I will hear the distant squawk of a bullfrog and remember those long nights splashing in the water. dark with my family, a flashlight and a frog concert.