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Culture

Frogging 101: A Staple of Traditional Ozarks Culture, Diet

Missouri Department of Conservation

The Ozarks region has some traditions that date back several generations, and one of them is "frogging," or hunting for frogs. Frogging season begins in a few days, and Jennifer Davidson spoke with Joe Jerek of the Missouri Department of Conservation to learn the basics of what he calls the "Frog Days of Summer."

"Frogging, or gigging for frogs, is a favorite pastime for a whole bunch of folks in the Show-Me State," Jerek said.

"They're tasty. Frog legs are pretty tasty. The taste and texture of frog meat--it's similar to that of freshwater fish, and we have some pretty good recipes on our website: www.mdc.mo.gov," Jerek said.

He recommends coating the legs in corn meal and deep frying them, or you can saute them in butter and seasoning.

Missouri has two frog species that are legal game:  bullfrog and green frog. Bullfrogs are larger and therefore more sought-after, he says.

Frogging can be practiced with either a fishing permit or a hunting permit. Children under the age of 16 and Missouri residents over the age of 65 are not required to have a permit. The Wildlife Code of Missouri allows those with a fishing permit to take frogs by hand, hand net, atlatl, gig, bow, trotline, throw line, limb line, bank line, jug line, snagging, snaring, grabbing or pole and line. With a hunting permit, frogs may be harvested using a .22-caliber or smaller rifle or pistol, pellet gun, atlatl, bow, crossbow, or by hand or hand net. The use of an artificial light is permitted when frogging.

The daily limit is eight frogs of both species combined. The possession limit allows you to store no more than 16 frogs at a time.

Once a frog is speared, it must be harvested.

The Wildlife Code of Missouri prohibits the release of a speared frog as "wanton waste" because the animal is not likely to recover. Any frog taken into actual possession, unless immediately released unharmed after being caught, is included in the daily limit.

The use of an artificial light is permitted when frogging in Missouri.

For more information on bullfrog and green frog regulations, visit www.mdc.gov/node/10834.