The distinctive call of the bullfrog is as much a part of summer as the smell of fresh cut clover, gentle evening breezes and campfire cookouts. It's also the sound of one of my favorite summer pastimes, a sport I affectionately call "Froggin'."
Frogging makes a lasting impression on kids and grownups alike, and it will provide succulent treats for you to serve to family and guests. Nothing is more fun than trudging around the banks of your local pond with flashlight in one hand and gig in the other, searching for the iridescent pink reflection of frog eyes. And what would a froggin' trip be without a couple of youngsters to share in the thrill and excitement of catching the elusive and delicious American bullfrog?
Whenever the topic of froggin' comes up in conversation, many folks recall with a smile the outings they took as children. Frog hunting doesn't have to remain a memory. "Froggable" waters are plentiful in our great state, frog populations are in great condition, and the frogs are just as big as they used to be.
Opening day of frog season happens to be my birthday, and my three children and I celebrate it each year with our first frog hunt of the season. Frog season opens at sunset June 30th and closes October 31 every year.
Most froggers target bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana). Mature bullfrogs may weigh several pounds. The largest on record measured more than 8 inches from snout to vent. Bullfrogs are typically olive in color with white to yellow bellies and dark brown bars on their hind legs. They lack the ridge of skin along the back found on other species. Their light-colored belly and reflective pink eyes will help you locate them.
Bullfrogs are primarily found in farm ponds, rivers, sloughs, swamps and marshes. Healthy populations of large frogs can be found in virtually any permanent wetland, especially those without fish. In fishless wetlands, frogs are the top aquatic predators in the system. The lack of competition for food and other resources allows them to grow large and become abundant.
In Missouri, bullfrogs are most active from May through July. They are considered nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. Temperature dictates where you'll find frogs in and around water. During May and June, look in shallow water where they call, breed and lay eggs. Later, during the "dog days" of summer, they'll be on the bank,