Bull frog season opened July 1st in Kansas and that stirs up lots of fond memories. It seems bull frogs and frog hunting were a part of my summer for many years. When I was in grade school, there was a big drainage ditch across the road from the neighbor kids’ house. The three of them had a BB gun and there was never a shortage of frogs in the ditch. When we weren’t shooting at frogs in the ditch, we were behind the barn shooting their big boar hog in the butt (and elsewhere.) Anyway, each time we finally managed to kill a frog, we’d cut the thing open with our pocket knives and retrieve the BB’s.(how’s that for recycling?)
After we moved away from there, lots of my friends were city kids so my outdoor adventures consisted of me shooting blackbirds out of trees along the creek with mom’s old fold-up .410, catching crawdads under the bridge using forked sticks as spears and learning how to trap muskrats.
We moved one more time before I graduated from high school, and there all my buddies were country kids once again that trapped and hunted rabbits, deer and bull frogs. There was a farm a few miles away with two ponds, one on each side of the road, and they both teemed with bull frogs. Back then the hot humid summer nights didn’t bother me at all, and that was the best frog hunting weather. By then we were all in high school and one of us always had some beater of a car, so we’d don warn-out jeans and old sneakers (which was our usual attire anyway,) fill the trunk with flashlights, feed sacks and frog spears and head for the ponds after dark. I can only figure the farmer only let our motley crew on his property hoping we’d all drown in the pond and never bother him again. Anyway, we would split up to cover both ponds at once, slowly wading around the edge knee-deep in the water until a frog was spotted ahead. Putting the flashlight beam in its eyes dazzled the frog until we could spear it and add it to the feed sack hanging around our waist.
I remember vividly returning home after one particular frog hunt at those ponds. The night was hot and steamy and the four of us went to work butchering frogs in our driveway under the security light by the barn, using an empty hay wagon for a table. Sacks were emptied and squirming bull frogs went everywhere. I also vividly remember mom hollering out her upstairs bedroom window for us to be quiet; I don’t know what her problem was, it was only 2 in the morning!
Frog meat is white and sweet, and half the fun of frog hunting is watching the legs twitch and quiver as they fry in the oil. One night one of the guy’s girl friend was there as we fried up a mess of legs. The experience was all new to her, so while she was out of the room, we propped up a big pair of the legs on the edge of the skillet as if they had climbed out. As I recall that was the last time she ever hung-out with us.
Just a few years ago, I took my dad, who was then nearly 80 frog hunting. We went just out of town to some of the McPherson Valley Wetland ponds. It was a slow night for harvesting frogs, but we got enough to have a “small mess” to fry. The legs still twitched and quivered as they fried, and they still tasted just as sweet as I remembered them. Thankfully, some things never change! Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]
Photo credit: Chris Luczkow