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Season for a Bunch of Bull(frogs)

“Frog catching is the most fun a human being can have while on this earth.” – Jase Robertson.

Maybe it’s because I have rural Nebraska roots. Maybe it’s because I grew up exploring the Platte River bottoms and nearby sandpit lakes in Sarpy County. Maybe it’s the wild and crazy spirit that I possess. I don’t know. Whatever the case may be, I absolutely, positively enjoy bullfrog hunting in late summer at night! Froggin’, as it is commonly called, offers an unusual and exciting outdoor adventure coupled with a true outdoor challenge. Its entertainment value is high! And, guess what? Bullfrog hunting season in Nebraska kicks off this Saturday, August 15th, woo-hoo!

bullfroghunting

Bullfrog hunting is really a misnomer here in the Husker State. Yes, there is a season on bullfrogs which runs from August 15th through   October 31st. However, bullfrogs are aquatic creatures (amphibians) and you need a current, valid NE fishing permit in order to take or attempt to take them.

bullfrog

Also, did you know there is size limit, a minimum length limit on the bullfrogs you can harvest? There sure is. They have to be  4 1/2-inches long from snout to vent to be able to be kept. Additionally, there are limits on how many legal-sized bullfrogs one can have which are eight in the daily bag and sixteen in possession. The season and limits allow bullfrogs to reach maturity and reproduce at least once or twice before they are harvested.

By the way, if you’re wondering, you can catch bullfrogs by hand, hand net or hook and line day or night. Gigging and spearing them are not allowed nor is shooting them with a firearm or bow since there is a minimum length limit established on the frogs and the smaller ones need to be released alive. You can catch and immediately release all of them, if you so choose. Artificial lights may be used to capture bullfrogs, as well. Bullfrogs can be transported live or field dressed but the bullfrog body must be left intact due to that length limit.

Research has been done on bullfrogs and bullfrog harvest in Nebraska for conservation purposes and the regulations are in place to keep bullfrog populations healthy and renewable.

bullfrog2

Catching bullfrogs for their delicious legs and meat is actually a time-honored, late-summer/early fall tradition for some of us Nebraskans. The legs and meat of bullfrogs are definitely worth it! They are flavorful, tender, juicy, delicious, and no, they don’t taste like chicken! They taste like frog legs! The consistency is best described as a cross between chicken-wing meat, and flakey white fish. They have no fat on them. The biggest challenge with cooking frog legs is the same one that’s common to most seafood preparations, namely overcooking. There a several different ways to cook them. Here’s one of my favorite recipes.

WAGNER’S FRIED FROG LEGS

Sprinkle frog legs with lemon pepper, pepper and lemon juice. Dip in favorite breading or cracker crumbs/egg mixture. Chill 1 hour. Saute in butter until brown, or fry in very hot canola oil for 3 minutes. Allow 1/2 pound per person. Savor every bite!

fried-frog-legs

Getting bullfrogs for those tasty legs at the table has been made popular by the hit A & E reality TV show Duck Dynasty featuring the Robertson family of rural West Monroe, LA. Have you watched the show? Jase Robertson loves his bullfrogs!

Photo Source: A & E Television.
Photo Source: A & E Television.

Bullfrogs are found near some source of water such as a lake, pond, reservoir, river or marsh. Warm, still, shallow waters with a lot of aquatic vegetation favor bullfrogs by providing suitable habitats for growth, reproduction and escape from predators.

marsh

The North American Bullfrog is an aquatic specie that does demand extreme cunning and quietness to nab, but one that is not dangerous and doesn’t stink when handled.

BullfrogMemphisLake

An effective way to catch a bunch of bullfrogs is to shine shorelines with a flashlight or headlamp after dark, spot the frogs and then ease in close enough to catch them with a net or even by hand.  Be careful and try to approach from the blind spot of the bullfrog located in the center of the back of its head. This is not easy, but it’s a ton of fun!

bullfroggingatnight

bullfroggingatnight

Also, our NE Game and Parks Fish/Fishing Guru Daryl Bauer uses his fishing gear to hook bullfrogs. Here’s a video of Daryl talking about catching bullfrogs in the Cornhusker State with his fishing equipment.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA1L3mUA7IU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

Good froggin’!

FACT: Amphibians, such as bullfrogs, are an indicator species of a clean environment.

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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