When wind is still, go gig ’em for real

During the late spring and early summer, there are some nights that turn warm. There are times, however, when the winds continue to blow, but there are also some hot, still, humid nights. These are the times when the very best bullfrog catching takes place. Another thing to note is the moon’s phase. Dark nights are far superior times for going frogging. Yes, it is possible to catch frogs during adverse conditions contrary as those aforementioned, but it is much more productive to have all of nature’s ducks in a row.Bullfrogs, leopard frogs and yellow throats are all excellent table fare. The bullfrogs grow larger than the others, but my choice for the table are the latter two species.Keep in mind when going after frogs that other critters enjoy them, also. Several species of fish as well as water snakes are frog eaters. Alligators are also big time predators of frogs. When hunting frogs, the fish and alligators will abandon their search whenever you are present, but sometimes the snakes don’t retreat. Only the cottonmouth water moccasin is poisonous and should be avoided.

One time a couple years back, I was hand catching marsh frogs from the bow of an airboat. The frogs were plentiful and it was a reach and catch and then catch again night. There were frog eyes and silver throats all around. I had caught a good number of the tasty amphibians when I grabbed for a frog. At that same time a big black snake with a cotton-colored mouth grabbed for him, too. Fortunately I was quicker than the snake on that occasion. He missed both the frog and my hand. It’s normally easy to see the area around where your quarry is perched. For some reason I was not paying close enough attention, and it could have been a bad situation. The moral to that story is if you are out where slithering creatures live and feed, remain alert.

There are a number of types of areas where the frogs will be available and catchable. The marsh areas that I mentioned earlier are great frogging areas. Most of the marsh frogs are the yellow throats. The drawback to catching them is the need for a boat. Since they tend to prefer the places with lots of lily pads and waterborne mosses, an airboat would be right at home there. Airboat frog hunters do their catching by hand grabbing. The mechanical grabbers and gigs require handles. These are not good to have in an airboat since they may get into the propeller.

Rice canals, bayous and, in some cases, riverbanks will offer some great frog hunting. The types of places may be fogged either by walking or by boat. The better way of being successful on the canals is for two hunters to walk on opposite sides. They can then shine the frogs eyes for each other across the canal. For this type frogging I recommend using a grabber gig with a handle long enough to reach them. Usually one 7 or 8 feet long will work.

On the bayous and some rivers, the grabber gig will do fine. The longer handle will allow for reaching the frogs that are in places that the boat can’t get into. Most of the frogs on these banks will be either bullfrogs or leopard frogs. These are the larger varieties of our local frogs.

Then there are the private ponds and small lakes that seem to be bullfrog meccas. These ponds may be in town or in the suburbs, but that matters not. What’s good about them is that the grass is usually mowed right up to the water line. This makes for much easier frog catching. For these kinds of places, the grabber gig or even a long handle fish landing net will do the trick.

As a project at the Hampshire-Fannett High School, the students were to study frogs. What’s unique is that they were required to catch their own frogs. My granddaughter, Emily Halfin, who is a junior and being raised in an outdoor oriented family, relayed the news to her younger 14 year old brother, Brant. He immediately not only volunteered but also insisted that he was more than willing to help her with the project.

The bullfrogs were bellowing in a pond behind their house and the night was perfect for them to head out. They immediately spotted some big frogs, but they would jump before the pair could get to them. Their dad, Doug, suggested that they use a long handle net and that they use a less powerful light. The strong Q-beam would cause the frogs to close their eyes and jump in to the pond. Yes, they saw plenty of snakes as well as frogs, but when they returned home you could tell by their smiles that success was theirs.

Be sure to check the regulations for frogging and don’t trespass on other’s land without permission. Froggers that are under 17 years of age are not required to possess a hunting license when frogging. All others are required to have a hunting license.

There are still a lot of folks who enjoy getting into the grass roots and, yes, mud and water of the outdoors. It’s our heritage. Go frogging and be involved.

Tune in to KSET 1300 at 6 p.m. on Thursdays for Billy Halfin Outdoors and listen to The updates daily at 7:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.