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Author Topic: A Summer Frog Hunt - by Charlie Lamb  (Read 318 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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A Summer Frog Hunt - by Charlie Lamb
« on: May 07, 2003, 05:02:00 PM »
A Summer Frog Hunt

by Charlie Lamb

 There may be easier ways to come up with a mess of frog legs. I wouldn’t know. The only way I’ve ever done it is with a bow and arrow. It’s the only way I’ve ever wanted to do it.

 

 I’m pretty sure the first thing I ever took with a bow was a frog. No, I’m sure of it. On my grand father’s farm there was a small pond, which was loaded with frogs. I spent many hours in my youth stalking it’s banks shooting arrow after carefully crafted arrow at the little buggers. It was and still is a natural for bowhunters of all ages. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment. Just a hand full of arrows, a bow, and a frog or two. Simple!

  It used to be that you kind of earned your wings as a bowhunter. You started out small and worked your way up to the bigger stuff.  Hell, I’ve met guys in bear hunting camps who’d never shot anything and they wanted to start on bear. I guess I think that is wrong. I guess I think they should be given a good shaking.

  Anyway, I never quite got over hunting the small stuff. It beats the devil out of shooting targets and there’s almost always something to shoot at.

  My son and I joined a couple of deer hunting buddies of mine one summer to stalk bullfrogs and look over the local deer situation. Really though, none of us needed an ulterior motive to go after frogs. It’s just that the area we were going to has an outstanding  deer herd with a few genuine mega bucks. How could anyone resist poking around for deer sign a little.

  Since this was an overnight trip the first order of business on arrival was to make camp. We chose a sight on the shore of an ox bow lake in the area. An ox bow is a body of water which at one time was where the water of a river flowed between the mainland and an island. The ends filled in leaving a small lake. These ox bow lakes are common all along the Mississippi river providing habitat for a variety of game.

  It wasn’t long before we had a snug camp established. We were anxious to get to the frogs so we strung our bows and headed for the nearby swamp. The deep croaking of several large frogs greeted us as we topped the levee and waded waist deep grass to the waters edge. I’d have been overcome with excitement had it not been for the four foot snake I glimpsed sliding into the coffee colored water. “Oh good, snakes!” Hey, I’m not afraid of anything, but snakes give me the willies! This was going to affect spotting frogs.

  Luckily my son Theo hadn’t seen the reptile. Frogs are hard enough to hit without a ten year old wrapped around your neck. As it turned out he didn’t like the idea a wading around in the murky waters of the slough. This worked out fine though. We were able to use the shoreline cover to approach our quarry. Our other companions, Jim and Danny Simmons had already taken to the water and were finding plenty of frogs to shoot at. I was watching as Jim swung his sixty five pound bamboo longbow up and flexed it into it’s long working arc. He touched anchor and released the rubber blunt tipped shaft. There was a loud and resounding splat, a splash, and the momentary twitching of the arrow. He‘d made a perfect shot at fifteen yards. That’s some good shooting and was the beginning of the makings for a frog leg lunch. As Theo and I were moving away I saw Jim grinning and sliding the croaker onto his stringer.

 

  The swamp turned out to be a great spot for the green hoppers. They were everywhere. The son and I spotted our first as we rounded a patch of cattails. He was a big guy and I directed Theo to knock an arrow in his little longbow and try the shot. I guess he thought he could just walk up and shoot the critter because he took two quick steps forward, flailing the tall grasses aside with his bow. I cringed and  the frog left. One lesson learned for the boy. Ten or fifteen yards along the bank we found another. The boy  showed much more care approaching this one, but his shooting went out the window. I don’t even think he aimed. He just winged it in the direction of the frog. His arrow struck just inches above the resting amphibian. It never even flinched. I cautioned him to take his time and use the form I had been teaching him for years. He wasn’t listening and the second arrow stuck in the mud beside the first. At least he was consistent. The frog still held and with another warning to watch his form I watched him nock his third arrow. This time he was paying much better attention to my words. He WANTED that bullfrog. Holding with grim determination he released a perfect arrow. The tiny broadhead I had made for him took the frog dead center and it died without a quiver. There was a moment of silence between the two of us. Then the grinning and congratulations started. I patted him on the butt and sent him over to retrieve his first frog of the day.

  I was itching to collect a frog of my own so I took the lead. It wasn’t long before we found another dinner guest hunkered along the edge of the water. It was time for a little instruction and a good chance to show boat for my son. As we eased in on the croaker I saw him gathering his legs under his plump green body. I pointed this out to Theo and let him know that to try and get closer would only result in the croaker taking to the water. My new Black Widow came up and back like butter and the fifteen foot shot was in the bag.

  By the way. You can use just about any arrow on frogs that you have plenty of.  They’ll all do the job. I’ve found that a rubber blunt not only does a fine job of dispatching these  green targets but is also less likely to get lost in the muck and mire. So far I’ve never seen a real need for a bow reel for shooting frogs. I guess there might be a situation where it would be handy but I can’t think of it. I save that for carp and gar.

  The morning went well and by the time the heat of the day had clamped down on the swamp we had enough frogs for a meal for the four of us. The boy  finished up with five frogs on his stringer and I accounted for another six. My sons shooting had improved steadily after the first rush of excitement and a good talking to. I didn’t do that bad either. There was one shot in particular that I was proud of.

  We had gathered at the trucks for the ride back to camp and were sharing our experiences when Danny spotted a monster bullfrog sitting on the bank a good thirty five yards from us. Danny was all for circling the oxbow and sneaking on the frog but I really just wanted to get to camp and eat. I told him to just go ahead and shoot it from where we were. He grinned that evil grin of his, bent at the waist in a courtly bow and with a flourish said, ”be my guest Robin Hood.“  The challenge had been hurled full and hard in my face. I had no choice but to try the shot. Everyone turned to watch as I readied an arrow on the string. The shot looked impossible so there was really no need to get real serious about it. I drew the bow to anchor, held momentarily and released. The cedar shaft flashed across the slough and with a loud “plop” pinned that frog to the bank. With my own evil grin I turned to Danny bowed at the waist and said “Sir, I have killed yon frog, now you may retrieve it. Danny muttered something unmentionable and trudged off to get the game. He’s a good sport.

  Later, back in camp, we all agreed. It doesn’t get much better than this. There were cold drinks and hot frog legs sizzling in the frying pan. Throw in some good companions and you’ve about got it all.

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