Frog gigging workshop in June

Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

The public is invited to attend a free workshop on the basics of frog gigging June 16, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Topics to be covered by ODNR Division of Wildlife officials include equipment, techniques, regulations and a cleaning demonstration. At dusk, groups will enter the wetlands on the public wildlife area with ODNR Division of Wildlife staff to pursue frogs. Participants are encouraged to wear old clothes and shoes, and bring waders, hip boots, or a canoe or kayak to better access frogs in the wetlands.

The workshop will begin at 7 p.m. at the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area check station, located at 19100 County Highway 115, Harpster, OH 43323. Participants should plan to stay well after dark to participate in the field portion of the workshop.

Interested parties are reminded that anyone 16 years of age or older is required to have a valid fishing license to participate. Preregistration is required by June 14, as space is limited. Please contact Jaron Beck at 419-429-8324 for more information and to register.

One of my favorite boyhood summer time activities to beat the heat and have fun was a night of chasing bullfrogs. Think about it. What could be more fun for an adolescent youth than slithering around muddy banks and getting filthy, staying up past their bedtime, playing with a flashlight and hunting frogs?

These kinds of activities usually get a 12-year-old boy in trouble. But excelling at them can mean a highly successful frog hunt. I use to love it when my older brothers would row the flat bottom boat around Grandpa’s pond as we flashed the shore for those distinctive eyes. We’d take turns trying our luck at grabbing them while the other froze them with the light.

I can remember being nervous the first time I went out and got ready to grab my first frog. As with anything, practice makes perfect and holding on to those slimy monsters can be tricky.

The neat thing about frog hunting is that it is cheap. All you need is a gig, an inexpensive, multi-pronged fork available at most sporting goods stores, nailed to an old broom handle, a flashlight and a feed sack. Some prefer a bamboo pole with a line and fishhook and a piece of red cloth as bait during the day but that isn’t near as fun as the night hunting. Others, like me, prefer the ultimate challenge of catching them by your bare hands.

Shallow, weedy ponds are the best frog gigging waters, but creeks, rivers and small reservoirs also hold good numbers of frogs. Listen at night for the distinctive “varuump” call of a bullfrog near the body of water you hope to gig. The more calls you hear, the better.

Most frog gigging takes place well after dark during summer months. Scan the banks of a pond or stream with your flashlight and look for two shimmering dots. These are the eyes of a bullfrog. Bullfrogs also have a yellowish, white chin. The best method is to partner up and go by boat but you can have success by putting on the knee boots and walking the bank.

Pay special attention to areas with weed mats, lily pads or fallen trees as bullfrogs concentrate in these areas. They also like muddy banks. After locating a bullfrog, slowly work your way toward it while your partner keeps the flashlight trained on its eyes. The bullfrog is paralyzed by the light, but will spook from noise or from the light momentarily leaving their eyes. Stealth is the most important tactic in frog hunting.

Get the gig within six inches of the frog and thrust hard. It usually helps to pin the frog against the bottom. A timid stab will simply send a wounded frog into the water not to be seen again. The neat part about just using your hands to grab the frogs is that you can let the questionable sized ones go to grow for another season.

A more challenging method is the line and hook, and some even use this method in the middle of the day. Simply line out a cane pole as if you were heading out for bluegill. Tip a small hook with a cricket, fly, worm, or even a piece of red cloth and quietly slip in close enough to dangle the hook in front of a sitting frog. The frog will snatch the bait. Set the hook and haul him in. Put the gig with the frog into the feed sack and be sure to tie off the end or they will escape and you will arrive home with no frogs at all.

Once you are home, cut off the legs and skin them. Roll them in your favorite batter and fry them up like chicken and dig in. Hmm hmm good!

Frog season is open from 6 p.m. the second Friday in June (June 9) to April 30, 2018. Only bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken. No more than 15 (singly or in combination) may be taken or possessed in any one day. You can shoot the frogs if you wish but you must use a bow and arrow.

Frog hunting has every ingredient a youngster loves; mud, darkness, those slimy frogs, and a chance to stay up late. Regain a moment of your youth and take a kid froggin this summer.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.