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
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
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
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.