At sunset this Saturday evening, (June 30), Missouri’s annual bullfrog and green frog season will begin, the only hunting or fishing season to start at that odd time. In Chillicothe, sunset will be 8:46 PM, but if you live more than 13.5 miles east or west of Chillicothe, you’ll need to adjust the time a smidgeon. Check out Missouri hunting regulations for details on how to do this.
Frog hunting used to be a very popular summertime outdoor activity, and when my son Brett was young, we spent many enjoyable days and nights catching frogs and cleaning them for a gourmet dinner.
We came home hot, muddy, tired and mosquito-bitten, but we had fun. All youngsters seem to have more fun when they’re getting dirty, and frog hunting was a great excuse to come home a mess. I don’t think froggin’ is quite as popular as it used to be, but there are still lots of folks that try to get enough frogs for a great dinner once or twice a summer.
“Froggin’s” popularity seems to have waned, and a major reason may be a decline in frog populations.
Back when son Brett was 8 years old (he’s 47 now) frogs were abundant wherever there was water, in creeks, rivers, and especially in ponds and lakes. You could usually find an eight frog limit in the first pond you visited, and it didn’t take much driving around to locate one full of big frogs. It’s not like that now, as frogs seem to be much harder to find.
The daily limit on frogs (only bullfrogs and green frogs are legal to hunt to eat, although some other frogs may be taken alive for bait) is still 8, with a possession limit of 16 and these limits haven’t changed for 40 years. Eight big frogs (only take the really big ones and let the little ones grow up) will give you 16 legs almost chicken-size, more than enough for a great dinner for 4 people, and frog legs are some of the best eating you’ll ever enjoy.
In addition to the quirky season opening time, frogs are also unique in that they may be taken by hunting or fishing methods, and you must possess the proper license for the method you’re using. You can hunt frogs with a .22 or smaller (smaller includes the .17’s) rimfire rifle or pistol, pellet gun, bow, crossbow, atlatl, or by hand or hand net. You may take frogs with a fishing permit by using your hands, a hand net, atlatl, gig, bow, trotline, limb line, bank line, jug line, snagging, snaring, grabbing or pole and line. While hunting or fishing for frogs, you may use an artificial light.
Only the daily limit may be possessed while you’re on the waters or banks of waters being hunted, so hunting past midnight may require a trip to remove the first day’s limit before proceeding.
Page 2 of 2 - A regulations change this year will allow froggin’ on MDC conservation areas using firearms, previously not permitted. If you’re to do some hiking, many of these CA’s have remote ponds that are so far from a parking lot that no one ever bothers to check them out. Some of these will have a good population of bullfrogs that are really big. I’ve hiked in to some of them in the past with a fishing rod (a method previously allowed) and caught some dandy frogs. It’s worth some time and effort to find an unhunted area where there are still lots of big ones.