Not too hot for froggin’

It might be too hot for golf, and it could be too hot to fish, but it’s never too hot for froggin’. The Kansas bullfrog season opened July 1 and runs through Oct. 31, and if ever there was a summer outdoor activity designed to beat the heat, it’s catching bullfrogs.

Bullfrogs are common statewide, and with more than 100,000 farm ponds, there’s bound to be a great place to catch frogs near you. Be sure to get permission on private land, but there are also many state fishing and community lakes that may provide great frogging.

Once you’ve located a good waterhole, and you can do that by listening for the bellowing croaks during the evenings, you need some basic gear. A burlap sack or fish basket to hold your frogs, old tennis shoes for wading, a quick pair of hands, and a flashlight or headlamp. That’s it, you’re ready to catch frogs. Of course there are other methods for catching, including hook and line, dip net, gig, bow and crossbow (a line must attach bow to arrow and the arrow must have a barbed head). You’ll also need a fishing license, unless exempt by law.

While frogs can be caught during the day, most frogging is done at night when they’re easier to find and it’s cooler. Stealth is required because whichever method you select, you must get close. Frogs’ eyes shine in a flashlight beam and the light seems to freeze them in place. However, your approach still needs to be slow and careful. Heavy footfalls on shore or ripples in the water will send the frog hopping, light or no light.

The ultimate challenge is to catch the frog by hand, which requires a low, quiet approach from behind, then a lightning snatch, aiming to grab the frog mid-body, just in front of the rear legs. It’s good fun, especially for kids; staying up past bedtime, wading in the shallows and getting really muddy on a warm summer night, and catching giant bullfrogs – a 12-year-old’s dream come true!

The daily limit of bullfrogs is eight and the possession limit is 24. Frog legs are wonderful table fare, usually prepared dipped in batter and deep-fat fried. Eating them is the next best thing to catching them.