Frog hunting season in full-swing

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2018

While deer hunting season is still several months away, June falls in the middle of another popular hunting period – frog hunting season.

Picayune resident Jeremy Magri said he often goes frog hunting in the summer along the East Pearl River. He says Walkiah Bluff is a popular area for frogging, but he has hunted on the nearby Hobolochitto Creek as well.

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Magri says hunts usually entail two people – one to navigate the boat and hold the spotlight, and one to actually catch the frogs, but he has occasionally seen parties of several individuals. To find frogs, boats are slowly navigated down the banks of the river while a light is used to look for a frog’s eyes. When one is found, he said hunters will slowly approach until they are close enough for the person in the front of the boat to grab it.

He said hunters used to be able to use a three-pronged frog spear or a “gig” to catch frogs, but that practice has since been banned in Mississippi. Magri said now hunters have to catch frogs by hand, which he thinks makes frogging a fairer and more challenging sport.

“It’s a competition out there at the river – who can catch the biggest amount of frogs within the limit,” Magri said.

When hunting, Magri said he prefers to be the one navigating so he can avoid getting too deep into the brush like the catcher has to do. He also likes to avoid the snakes and spiders along the bank and in the undergrowth.

“There are some open banks, but a lot of the time you have to go under overhanging brush,” Magri said.

He said once a frog is caught, it is put into an ice chest until it is ready to be skinned. Since the cold temperatures slow the frog’s metabolism and put it in a deep sleep, it is much more humane to kill them after they are put on ice, instead of when they are fully awake.  He said once they have finished for the night, the catch is taken home to be eaten. Most people either fry them or grill them, but he has also eaten them smoked and covered in barbeque sauce. “During open season a lot of people do it – it’s a big thing at the river. It’s a popular sport amongst men and women in Mississippi,” Magri said.

According to an article by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the 2017-2018 frog hunting season runs from March 31 through September 30. Hunters can take up to 25 frogs per night with a valid hunting or fishing license.