Did you know that Ohio’s frog hunting season is one thing?
Did you know there was a frog hunting season? It opened on June 11 with a limit of 15 frogs and doesn’t require much in terms of preparation other than a fishing license, permission from a landowner on private land, a burlap bag to hold your catch, a flashlight and something to catch the frogs. , usually a 3-branched trident (like Neptune’s) on a pole of different lengths. It’s not much to enjoy one of Ohio’s more unusual sports, a sport that can also produce excitement and great food.
Bullfrogs now exist, according to the Division of Wildlife, in all counties across the state, so there will likely be some within a short drive, but things have changed since I started hunting for these tasty amphibians. Back then, the prices for raccoons were high enough that a single skin could be worth $ 30 or more, so everyone was hunting them and their numbers were low. Raccoons love to forage along farmland drainage ditches and tiny streams, probing the bottom of these shallow waters with their sensitive fingers for frogs, crayfish, minnows and other pieces.
These days, the little masked bandits are not worth much and their populations have exploded, so the drainage ditches and tiny streams have indeed few frogs. But they’re out there, and you’ll find them in bigger streams, large and small river banks, good-sized farm ponds, and lakes of all sizes. Wading with a flashlight and a trident spear is a good way to look for them in moving water, and an old pair of tennis shoes makes good wading gear. You will descend to the middle of the stream if it is shallow enough, lighting up both banks, and when you see a good sized bull get quietly within range, punch and add your prey to the bag.
It’s a simple endeavor, which I’ve enjoyed since I was 10, a journey through a silent world with twinkling stars above, farm dogs barking in the distance, cows roaring nearby, and perhaps the rustle of a wood duck which goes away pressing it broods towards safer places. In the lakes, I always wandered around in a small, sturdy, short, wide and stable canoe with oats that gave me great maneuverability. I prefer a super long spear for this type of frog, usually a bamboo pole of about 15 feet with the trident attached to its end. Such a lance will penetrate well into cattails to pick up half-hidden “Boomers” or reach a shore far enough to pick up frogs that are half-submerged and awaiting a meal.
I quickly learned that it is not really necessary to hunt them at night. Every now and then I found a farm pond with a good supply of mature bulls and hunted with the long perch any time of the day. This is a bit more difficult then as they are not hypnotized by your flashlight and watch out for any signs of movement on the shore that could mean a predator is stalking their way. So the technique involves moving very slowly without jerky movements, just step by step until you are within striking range.
One last way to look for them is with a fly rod, and it can be fun, indeed! I used this platform for the frogs floating well off and pitched for them with a small low fly popper. I drop it near a client, blow it up and gurgle in front of it. I had them load 10ft or more to grab the popper and put it in their mouths. Then the fight starts on the water and ends on land until I can get my hands on the madly hopping creature. On any frog trip I always let the little frogs, both year olds, grow up for the next year, and whenever I find a pond or swamp with lots of big bull frog tadpoles, I always ask for permission. fish a few dozen, and place them in places likely to increase the population. This is just common sense.
End result of any trip? Frogs are quick and easy to skin, so when I’m hunting with friends, we skin the back legs and front legs too, if it’s a big frog, then sprinkle them with flour and fry them golden brown. Added to an iced drink and a fierce appetite after the night’s activities, the next hour can be memorable.
Dick Martin is a retired biology professor who has been writing outdoor columns for over 30 years. You can reach him at [email protected]