As a young teenager, I recall five childhood buddies, along with myself, gathering at a family farm for a night of gigging frogs. Being the young boys we were, we decided to cook dinner on one of the banks of the many ponds spread throughout the farm. For a solid hour, my buddies and I waded the pond banks mud, trying to get enough frogs to prepare a feast for our dinner. After we met our required amount of frogs and spent another hour cleaning them, we finally had the fire going and fresh frog legs sizzling in the hot oil of a cast iron skillet. Not only did our young and rebellious group of friends cook dinner, but we also decided to sleep out underneath the stars on that warm summer night.
I traded in my frog gig for a bow and arrow in my mid-twenties, as competitive bow shooting with my friends was my peak interest. However, that night of gigging frogs many summers ago sparked a lifelong passion for spending summer nights in quest of bullfrogs and green frogs that always ends in delicious fried frog legs.
Bow Hunting Frog Equipment
The first time I ever shot at a summer bullfrog with a bow was in my early twenties with a compound bow and a few old aluminum arrows that I didn't care if I lost. After a few misses, well, several misses, I successfully shot frogs from ten to fifteen yards at a consistent rate.
Today, I have upgraded the quality of my equipment yet have kept the traditional archery values by using the Cajun Bowfishing Fish Stick Recurve Fishing Bow.
The Cajun Fish Stick bow was designed to use while bowfishing for larger fish such as carp or suckers. However, the design of shooting an arrow with an attached line is perfect for bow hunting summer bullfrogs as well. Hunting frogs with a good friend a few years back, I watched as he showed off his archery skills by using a homemade recurve bow to shoot giant bullfrogs from his farm ponds. After watching his skills, I made it a personal goal to use a recurve bow on my next frog hunting outing.
When hunting bullfrogs on a warm summer night, a quality light is vital to find frogs yet prevent them from seeing you. I prefer the Optical Dynamics OD40 light to help locate frogs before making the shot. When hunting with a recurve bow, it is best to have a partner use the light due to the lack of time to shoot before the frog jumps into the water. Only having a few seconds to shoot is why the Cajun Fish Stick recurve bow is ideal for bowhunting frogs.
Another vital piece of equipment to successfully bow hunt frogs is a user-friendly arrow rest such as the TruGlo EZ-Rest Bowfishing Arrow Rest. The EZ-Rest features a full-containment design to hold the arrow in place no matter the bow's angle. An arrow rest that keeps the arrow in place is a game changer. Again, the shooter has seconds to draw, aim, and shoot when a frog is located. The quicker the shot, the more frogs, will be taken.
How To Hunt Frogs
Frogs are most active during the summer months of June, July, and August. Being mostly night-active is why most frog hunters began hunting during late evenings, after dark, or throughout the night hours. A few minutes before the last light and after dark are the ideal times for frogs to be on the move. In my home state of Missouri, the frog season begins June 30th and runs through the end of October. Check your local regulations for season dates and guidelines.
The American Bullfrog and the Green Frog are the two most common frogs hunted during the summer and can best be found around farm ponds. When hunting frogs, the hunter must creep around the edges of the pond banks, scanning with a bright direct-beam light to locate frogs. When a frog is located, the light must be kept directly in its eyes to prevent it from spooking and jumping in the water.
After a frog has been spotted, the hunter and whoever is helping shine the light creep until they reach a comfortable shooting range. When using my Cajun Fish Stick recurve bow, I prefer to be ten to twelve yards if possible before stopping. Once we stop within range, I quietly get drawn, aim, and shoot as quickly as possible. Once a frog has been hit, I reel the line attached to the arrow while reeling the frog simultaneously. The daily bag limit for frogs in my home state is eight, so we try to hunt until our limit has been reached, then go directly into cleaning and processing until all the legs have been removed. The legs can then be cooked the same evening or frozen and cooked later.
Creating fond memories and carrying on traditions are both hallmarks of life that many hold near and dear to their heart. Even though times change and technologies advance, there is always a bit of tradition found if one looks hard enough. As with new and improved recurve bows, they may be perfected upon, yet a tradition of use goes back many decades. The same goes for frog hunting, this sport is not a new idea, yet it is enjoyable and addictive once you have tried it.