There’s a great story by Tim White in the current edition of Tennessee Wildlife Magazine about frog hunting. Reading it brought back some fond froggy memories.
Growing up in the country, there were numerous ponds and lakes within walking distance, and warm summer nights would throb with bass-singing bullfrogs along the marshy banks.
Hunting them required a certain amount of skill. One hunter would shine a light on the frog while another eased within striking distance with a pronged gig. The gigger had to be fast and accurate – he got only one chance.
Froggers also had to keep a lookout for snakes. The swampy banks were teeming with them – they liked to dine on frogs too – and there’s nothing like having a big, ugly water moccasin slither between your feet to liven things up.
A summer night is an enchanting time to be outdoors in the countryside. The smell of new-mown hay drifts in the air, along with the trill of whip-poor-wills, the hooting of owls and the mournful call of a distant train whistle.
Being out on a star-sprinkled night with your boyhood buddies gives you a chance to contemplate the mysteries of the cosmos, as well as the mystery of Mary Jane Wattenbarger in Algebra class.
On a good night we might bring home a couple dozen bullfrogs. Actually we brought home only their legs, which are delicious fried. I haven’t frog-hunted in a half-century, but I still enjoy a platter of fried legs when I find them on a restaurant menu.
Contrary to legend, frog legs don’t jump out of a hot skillet, although when fresh, the muscles sometimes twitch.
Frog hunting made the news a couple of years ago when PETA mounted a publicity-stunt protest over a frog hunt in DeKalb County. The hunt was organized by a civic club for youngsters in the community.
PETA said it was cruel to hunt frogs. Of course, PETA considers it cruel to hunt anything. It believes we should subsist on leaves and sprouts. Sometimes I think PETA has confused humans with hamsters.
Anyway, PETA managed to ignite a frog furor and as far as I know, no other hunts were scheduled.
That’s unfortunate. I’d much prefer youngsters be out at night hunting frogs, getting some fresh air and exercise, than hanging out on a street corner, lounging in front of a TV, or turning into an iPad zombie (I think that’s what those gadgets are called). I’ve never heard of a kid getting in trouble while frog hunting.
As for PETA, judging from the malnourished appearance of some of its models, they ought to dig into a big platter of crispy fried frogs legs. Maybe it would improve their disposition and stop their incessant croaking.
Tennessee Wildlife Magazine subscription: Speaking of the Tennessee Wildlife Magazine, subscriptions are available through the Tennessee Wildlife Agency. The magazine is mailed free to holders of a Sportsman License or Lifetime License.
A one-year subscription costs $10, and includes the TWRA calendar. It’s a great gift for every hunter, fisherman, conservationist or wildlife enthusiast.