Frog Hunting: The True Story

The warmer months of the summer usually bring a pause in the hunting seasons, but it is also the time that the bullfrogs hop out onto the banks of their ponds and sit all night, overlooking their domain.
Ryan Stephens came over on Sunday night and we loaded my canoe for a less glamorous type of hunt. Not much was needed. We packed a spotlight, headlight, paddles, bucket, and .22 caliber pellet rifle.
The frogs were loud when we reached the pond and we knew that there was much work to be done if we were going to catch enough frogs for a cookout. Frog legs sound like they would be small and not filling but these bullfrog legs are larger than any chicken wing.
As we slid the canoe into the pond, I said, “The frogs don’t know it yet, but the wrath of the Lord is coming down on them tonight. Little did we know what would happen to us. Ryan and I silently paddled into open water and I clicked on the flashlight. The light came across our first bullfrog that stood as tall and still as a yard statue. I held the light against the barrel as Ryan paddled us closer. A bullfrog will not move if the light is in his eyes and I waited until we were at point blank range before I pulled the trigger. Dirt flew up behind the frog and it looked like he had a third eye in the top of his head. The frog didn’t even flinch. I came closer to grab the frog and it jumped into the water. This happened once more before Ryan and I had to change the strategy. A .22 rifle has the stopping power to kill frogs on the spot but the pellet rifle was no match. The frogs were certainly not bullet proof, they were just too tough to notice that they were taking hits. We did not have a gig with us and in total refusal to concede, we decided to hunt by hand.
The next frog was spotted and we went into position. Ryan paddled us closer while I leaned out over the bow. My feet were in my seat and my chest over the bow. I held the light in one hand and kept the light on the bullfrog. They look even bigger when catching them by hand and when in range, my hand sprung out and caught the frog, pinning him down against the ground until I had a good grip. Ryan was ready in the back loading the gun and when I held the frog over the side of the canoe, Ryan rested the barrel on my hand and shot the frog to prevent an escape. I always checked to make sure my fingers were clear before he fired the gun.
We caught many frogs like this and it became very effective. This was the best way I know to do it because otherwise these frogs are very hard to subdue. Catching them is easier when the frogs are on solid ground. One bullfrog was suspended in the open water on weeds and I used both hands. He tried to dive to escape but I stayed with him and caught him. We had a bucket full of frogs and it seemed that more were coming out when we heard a dog growling. “Lights out!” Ryan said and our boat went dark. The dog kept growing and then started barking. Lights came on at 3 houses and we saw flashlights.
A neighbor was awaken when he saw our searchlight beaming through the window and the other by his dog. Both came and asked what we were doing. We answered that we were catching frogs and knowing who was on the lake, they let us continue.
Ryan and I figured that we had caused enough trouble and so we paddled our canoe out and were back home by 11pm with a dozen bullfrogs. But the story was not over. We may have only caught a few frogs, but the next time I heard about the story, the report was that we filled a 5 gallon bucket full of frogs.
Not only that, but we also found out that we were out on the pond at 2 a.m. that night. Later in the week, I learned that warning shots were fired, and lastly, I heard that we hosted a frog leg cookout for the Lions club.
Rumors are usually seen as a bad thing but in this case, it was like a fishing tale growing out of proportion.
Ryan and I enjoyed hearing more through the week about our frog hunt but were confused that of all the things we have caught and killed, that bullfrogs are the ones to get the excitement.

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