Giddy about frog-gigging

Gur-ump, gur-ump, gur-ump.

A big bullfrog bellows out his call from across the swampy pond. Derek Butler turns the silent, electric trolling motor to our right, and the small jon boat starts sliding toward shore.

About 50 yards from where we expect the bullfrog to be, I fire up the 5 million candlepower spotlight. A couple of quick back-and-forth scans across a small stretch of cattails reveals two glowing eyes. They look like white marbles sticking out just above the water.

Derek turns the power down on the motor, and we ever so slowly approach the frog. I hold the spotlight in my left hand and pick up a gig with my right. Shinning the bright light in the frog’s eyes keeps him statue still. I thrust the gig on a 12-foot handle at the target and find my mark. I set down the light and pull the big frog off the prongs and toss him in a basket that is starting to fill up.

We make the rounds along the shoreline of this moss-covered pond twice. When we pull out of the water at 2 a.m., my cousin and I have 17 jumbo bullfrogs. It’s a good haul for the size of the water we are on. We don’t want to exhaust the resource, which can be done easily by over-harvesting.

It takes us about a half-hour to clean the frogs. We wash and rinse the 17 sets of legs, then place them in a bowl of salt water to brine over night. The next afternoon, we pull the legs out and pat them dry.

Then we dip them in beaten eggs and toss them in Shore Lunch batter. We heat peanut oil in a cast iron fry pot to 350 degrees, drop the legs in and let them sizzle for 10 minutes.

What comes out is perfection.

Frog legs are one of nature’s delicacies. They don’t taste like chicken. They taste like frogs. The white meat is sweet and succulent. I suppose they are not for everyone, but I look forward to a mess of fresh, well-cooked frogs as much as any steak you could put in front of me.

Indiana has a long season for bullfrog and green frogs. It runs from June 15 to April 30. The daily bag limit for game frogs is 25 (in aggregate). The possession limit for game frogs is 50.

You can take frogs a number of ways: A gig or spear that has a head not more than 3 inches in width and a single row of tines, a bow and arrow, club, your bare hands, a fishing pole or a hand line.

On the fishing pole or hand line, you can’t have more than one hook or artificial lure attached. You can take frogs by these methods with a fishing or hunting license. If you want to use a firearm to shoot frogs, you can only shoot them with a .22-caliber loaded with bird shot, and you must have a hunting license.

For more information, you should refer to either the Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide or the Indiana Fishing Guide.

See you down the trail.

Brandon Butler’s outdoors columns appear in the Daily Reporter. Send comments to