Gig is up: It's frog-catching time
Kentucky hunting season allows rifles, forks
By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer
ALEXANDRIA - Can you hear that?
It's the sound of one less bullfrog croaking in the night.
Kentucky bullfrog hunting season commenced on Friday, as it does each year on
the third Friday in May.
According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, frog
hunting - or gigging - involves using a multi-pronged fork affixed to a pole to
spear a bullfrog. A flashlight is pointed at the frog, to temporarily blind it
before it is captured.
To successfully catch the frogs, gigging takes place after dark in shallow,
weedy ponds or even creeks, rivers and small reservoirs.
Chet Hayes, 57, said he has been frog gigging since he was about 12. Hayes, who
lives in eastern Campbell County, said the practice can be done off a boat in a
stream or lake, where frogs feed on crayfish, small birds or other frogs.
It takes a swift hand and spear to catch one, he said.
"They are very fast - they are used to being the predator."
A fishing or hunting license is required for gigging, and a hunting license is
needed in order to shoot the frogs with a rifle, said Vikki Rawe, an aquatic
educator for the state fish and wildlife department, who is based in Alexandria.
The limit for gigging is 15 per day, she said.
Rawe's son Jesse, 16, and his friends often gig in the summer. While it may seem
like a gross practice, she said, many "critters" her son catches, such as frogs,
snakes and turtles, are used for Rawe's school presentations.
They're not bad eating either, she said.
"Everyone says it tastes like chicken, but chicken doesn't compare," she said.
Hayes agreed. "It's more of a flavorful chicken."
As for the manner in which the frog is hunted, he said it's a form of husbandry,
"the same as processing beef, chicken... or fish."
Stephanie Boyles, wildlife biologist for People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA), based in Virginia, disagrees.
"We think it's a hideous practice," she said. "Frogs don't do any harm. It's
cruel and needless... it's got to be painful for (the frog)."
IF YOU GIG
Statewide bullfrog season in Kentucky opened Friday and closes Oct. 31.
Bullfrogs are the only frogs in Kentucky large enough to provide ample leg meat
Taking frogs by hand or gig requires a fishing or hunting license.
The noon-to-noon daily creel limit for bullfrogs is 15.
For information, consult the 2005 Kentucky Sport Fishing and Boating Guide or
visit the Web at fw.ky.gov.
- Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
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