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It’s the time for hunting bullfrogs – all across Arkansas

Photo: Arkansas OutdoorsFrom the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Photos: Arkansas Outdoors

-- Frog season is coming up soon. It runs April 15 through Dec. 31 in Arkansas, and you need a fishing license, not a hunting license. The daily limit on bullfrogs is 18, and a day is measured from noon to noon. Possession limit is 36.

The method of getting a bullfrog is open to debate. You can’t shoot them with a gun, but you can use a bow and arrow.

By far the most common method is to use a gig, which is a needle-sharp pronged metal tool fastened to the end of a long pole, usually a cane or bamboo pole. You can use a long-handled net or a fishing rig with a hook. Old-timers say a strip of red flannel on the hook is good bait.

Some folks will puff out chests and tell you that real frog hunting is to grab them with bare hands. There are two drawbacks to hand grabbing of bullfrogs – it’s hard to get close enough to them, and bullfrogs tend to inhabit the same areas as cottonmouth snakes.

Other needs are a shallow draft boat, like an aluminum flat bottom, and a strong light since nearly all frog hunting is done after dark.

Photo: Arkansas OutdoorsA common practice is to use a 12-volt marine battery in the boat with alligator clips connecting it to a quartz beam or similar spotlight. Two hunters work together – one using the light and the other the gig.

Frogs tend to sit on a bank very close to the water. A quiet approach is needed with the light shining squarely on the frog. Get close enough, and it’s easy to underestimate the distance, then use a quick thrust with the gig.

Experienced frog hunters know that an open stretch of bank is much preferred to one choked with brush, fallen logs and other obstacles. They shy away from frogs sitting on logs for the simple reason that a sharp gig stuck deep into wood is a real problem to extract.

Another necessity is a container of some kind to hold the frogs brought to the boat. Burlap bags or other kinds of cloth bags, like feed bags, have long been used. A cooler with a hinged lid can work, but some frogs may not be dead when put into the cooler – and frogs have amazing jumping ability.

Best frog territories tend to be where water is quiet. Slow-moving creeks are good as are oxbow of cut-off lakes in lowlands. All along the Arkansas River is good for frogs but with a caution. Rocks on the shoreline can be hard on gigs just as logs are.

Photos: Arkansas Outdoors

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