"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres

April has been a long winter in coming--lots of cold days and many snows--and though it is here now we cannot escape completely, yet. More coolish days are in the offing although some good days lie ahead. 
Still, weather (good or bad) holds the key to another spring/summer span of reproduction for many plants and animals . . . and therein lies many interesting natural scenarios that benefit man. Many of them come in the form of food, if one learns how to harvest and use them, while others offer their aesthetic values, and all have some value. It is the overall scheme of nature.
One of the strangest bits of behavior I encounter is offered by frogs. We hunt Bull Frogs, the largest of the frog clan, from June 15 to the following April 30. These members of the frog kingdom are protected from April 30 to June 15, roughly the mating season. The protection is much needed. It would be good if we could train the raccoon population to eat more chicken.
Be that as it may, as April bows in frogs (mostly bull variety) offer an open season. The upcoming mating season makes frog vulnerable on the banks during daylight hours and in this span frogs sometime sit high and dry at the edge of water as they feed voraciously. During the rest of the year, frogs feed mostly on hot, dark nights. They feed on insects.
When frogs are feeding during daylight hours, they can be taken on almost everything from a bare hook (decorated with colorful cloth or yarn) to a small floating artificial lure that is dangled before them or spatted on the water nearby. And though it is rather a shame to take them at this time, a few braces of frog legs decorate a dinner table nicely.
Incidentally, I dredge them (backs, too) with flour or cornmeal and fry them about the way I fry fish. Most frog aficionados scrap the backs and front legs because they are sparsely-meated. I clean and fry ‘em because a small taste is a big dividend. 
One time a few years back, when we lived on White River (west of Fishers) but were building a house (on a nice pond) on 111th Street (southside of Carmel), I got home about daylight with a gunnysack of frogs. I was dead tired, so I wet the bag down good and told my wife I would skin (dress) the frogs later. 
It is legal here to take frogs with gigs, .22 rifle with bird shot, with bow and arrow the bare hands (a real art that keeps the frogs alive). Mine were alive.
When I awakened about noon I dressed the frogs, but the biggest, baddest critter (more than 14 inches long) could not be accounted for.
Later, my wife told me she had taken the big frog to our pond at the new house. The trip had been made in our Thunderbird, which was temporarily suffering an air conditioning glitch. It was a very hot day; and she had to roll up car windows or lose the big fellow.
Early on the trip between houses, the frog exited (in Houdini fashion) the shoebox in which she was transporting it and began ricocheting off the inside walls of the T-Bird like buzz bombs as my wife dodged the missiles. So she had to roll up the windows. 
Other drivers were enjoying the show immensely as my wife had to sweat it out.
I, of course, enjoyed the story, and for several years pushed the bedroom window up on hot summer nights to drift off to never-never-land as the frog “BARUMPHED” away the night.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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