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

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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