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Each evening as dark begins to fall, I go out and take my humming bird feeders in so that my resident raccoons do not destroy them orcarry them off. Once this is done, I normally go to the back deck on the house and watch and listen to our pond come to life.
I sat out on the deck with a pair of Leupold Yosemite 8 X 30 binoculars that we keep by the patio door for glassing game on the side of the hill across from our home, as well as waterfowl that frequents our pond and even just birds that feed on the back deck.
Up until the rainy season arrived, I could also watch my population of frogs as they sat around the edge of the pond like sentries. But, since the pond level has raised to higher levels the frogs are now sitting up in the grass making it harder to spot them.
But, I still hear them croaking around the shoreline and from time to time I see one or two sitting on the floating vegetation out in the pond. If I am really interested, I will from time to time go back into the house and bring out my compact Bushnell spotting scope to even get a closer look at the frogs. It’s not that I watch frogs with the same interest that I do my bird population, or even with the same interest that I watch my wood duck duckling.
The truth is, I have a very serious love-hate relationship with frogs as I enjoy eating them, but hate handling them to get them to the point to where they are ready to be cooked. I also enjoy hunting them, I just don’t like the hands-on experience. It may be that growing up in the bottoms and having all those toads around when I was a kid.
I do however, have a good friend who likes hunting them and whose mother is crazy about eating them. So, before the summer is over, he and his son will be over and be a good son and get his mother a mess of frog legs while the getting is good. They came over last year and had a very successful hunt that yielded a nice mess of frogs.
In Missouri, the frog season opened June 30 and will remain open until October 31. A limit of eight frogs may be taken of either the Bullfrog or Green frog variety.
As far as how you may take a limit of frogs, it’s almost endless as you may use either a fishing or hunting permit, but check the regulations to verify that.
Approved methods for hunting are .22 or smaller caliber rimfire rifle or pistol, pellet gun, bow, crossbow, atlatl, hand or handnet and you may use artificial lights.
For fishing methods, you may use atlatl, hand or handnet, gig, bow, trotline, throw line, limb line, bank line, jug line, snagging, snaring, grabbing, pole and line and you may use artificial lights.
You may NOT possess night vision or thermal imagery equipment while carrying a firearm, bow or other equipment used to take wildlife.
I have used the .22 and pellet gun, as well as archery equipment to take frogs and they all work. My friend likes to use a rod and reel with a little yarn or piece of bright colored rubber worm on a hook. By waving the yarn or rubber worm, the frog will take the bait and stuff it in its mouth and you simply set the hook.
Sometimes you miss but for the most part it is nearly 100 percent and because the frog is not spooked you can get many opportunities to hook the frog if you miss the first time. It is not my way to go about it since you have to handle the frog to unhook it.
I suppose my preferred method is a .22 and then I use an extendable ball grabber that is used in golf to retrieve that errant drive that goes in the water. At the end of the pole, I then duct tape on a small trout fishing net and I’m good to go.
I have also used a decoy grabber that works the same way. I then take the net and swing it over a bucket and turn the net over and dump the frog out into the bucket. Since my buddy doesn’t mind handling the frogs, I normally provide a fish basket that has a lid that is spring loaded that opens and then closes automatically.
You can also toss the fish basket in the water while moving to the next frog and the frogs will stay fresh without their skin drying out.
For a .22 I used to use .22 short hollow points, but they can be a little hard to come up with at times. For that matter, almost all varieties of .22 ammo can be hard to come up with. The .22s tend to work a little better if you are shooting the frog head on.
At times when you shoot a frog from behind the frog will knock towards the water or it will still be able to make a jump out into the water making it hard to find. I also like the bank behind the frog or if I’m above the frog and shooting down into the mud as I know where the bullet is going rather than worrying about a ricochet across the water.
Even though the shots tend to be very close I still like my .22 with a large scope on it, not for magnification but for allowing more light to enter the scope. The other reason I like a scope is, because a precise hit is required. It seems that any shot that doesn’t either hit the frog in the brain or in the spine may mean a lost frog.
If that happens, continue on your hunt, but return to the spot where you shot the frog as they will resurface and often come back up on shore despite being wounded.
Family friend and retired Keokuk Iowa Police Chief, Ray Eller, used to use a Crossman pump up pellet gun for his frog hunting. Ray would never shoot a frog in the head, instead Ray would aim for the sharp bony bend right in the center of the back. It was a larger target for Ray and if done correct would anchor the frogs, or as Ray used to call it, “The Old Paralyzer.”
But whatever method you choose, get out of the house and off the couch and go after a few frogs. The reward of good eating waits at the end of the hunt as well as making some memories with that youngster who has never gone after frogs before!