Going Froggin’

Master the art of hunting frogs and enjoy one of nature’s delights for rural waters — fresh fried frog legs.

| March/April 2018

  • You won't often find frogging on the Outdoor Channel or being talked about like big buck hunting, but the American bullfrog is one of the most accessible, and underutilized, game animals in the country.
    Photo by Getty Images/ChuckSchugPhotography
  • After you manage to capture these slimy critters, one of the challenges is to keep hold of them without them wiggling out of your grasp. Also keep in mind you might be wading through water while handling them, so a bag or basket of some sort can be a valuable tool.
    Photo by Joe McDonald
  • After you manage to capture these slimy critters, one of the challenges is to keep hold of them without them wiggling out of your grasp. Also keep in mind you might be wading through water while handling them, so a bag or basket of some sort can be a valuable tool.
    Photo by Russell A. Graves
  • Methods and tactics vary with the hunter, but a common method involves approaching frogs from head-on, shining a bright spotlight into their eyes to impede their vision, and then once in range, either gigging them or whacking them over the head and snatching them.
    Photo by Russell A. Graves
  • The American bullfrog is an abundant, underrated prey. Frog legs make fine food.
    Photo by Russell A. Graves
  • Despite how they might look crouched in the water, bullfrogs actually have a narrow body, but their long hind legs can make one heck of a tasty meal.
    Photo by Lynn Stone
  • Now we see who's the better outdoorsman.
    Illustration by Brad Anderson Illustration

Theres a man and a woman who wait until the waters have settled from the day’s last bass fishermen before they head to their favorite lake. While the fishermen sleep, they gather their gear, readying for the hunt. Under dim moonlight, they are the nocturnal predator, fighting both lily pads and mosquitoes alike as they prowl the lake vegetation with spotlights. She doesn’t bat an eye at the passing water moccasin. A beaver tail slapping the water nearby goes unnoticed; the fright outmatched by determination. The spotlight captures two pencil-eraser-sized reflections floating together among the lilies. He inches toward them slowly. Spear tip is moved into position, about 3 inches from the target. Without warning, she thrusts into the water and pulls out her prey.

Some people will never fully understand why they wade through the backwoods swamps at all hours of the night, but this is of no bother to them. The drive is fueled by one fact, something they know that many others do not: A plate full of store-bought chicken is not nearly as satisfying, and definitely not as tasty, as a basket full of deep-fried frog legs.

A plentiful bounty

I happened upon the joy of hunting frogs while in high school. Curiosity stemmed from nostalgic frog-gigging tales told by my grandfather and father alike. One story included an ex-girlfriend of my uncle’s sitting on his shoulders and holding a spotlight, as he waded through the water spearing amphibians.

The stories were always told for amusement, but they nagged my conscious in a very serious and unrelenting manner . All it took was one summer lull between turkey and duck season that felt like an eternity. A thirst for adventure and something new led me to the lakes I had fished and trapped my whole life — but this time under the darkness of night and with a spotlight in hand. After my first outing, I never spent a summer without a belly full of frog legs again.



Stories of my frogging experiences are usually met with confusion.

“You hunt frogs, here in New Jersey? Can’t you only do that in the South?”





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