You goin’ froggin’? Season opens at sunset Thursday, June 30.

As far back as I can remember Dad took us kids froggin’ as soon as season opened.

There are lots of legal ways to take bullfrogs, but we only did it one way – by hand with a gas lantern. That way, you can cull – release smaller frogs unharmed – and you can wait until morning to clean your frogs. If you gigged frogs, you would have to clean them when you got home in the middle of the night.

Dad helped train Adrian and Davis to catch frogs. Adrian brought several of her friends, one at a time. Casey Collins was the best at catching frogs.

Dad, his dad, and Uncle Cleo frogged for money during the Depression. Dad was the catcher and went every night. Uncle Cleo farmed after his night off and Grandpa ran the blacksmith shop. Knowing Grandpa, he probably stayed up after froggin’ all night and sharpened plow shares and such.

They heard that other people were catching frogs and making money. They went one night, caught some frogs, dressed them, put them in a nail keg, packed  the legs in salt and shipped them by train to M.C. Pecktin Seafood Company in St. Louis to see what would happen. Back came a check for $33 when a grown man was getting 50 cents a day if he could find work. After that, they frogged every night except Sunday.

In the winter, they hunted every night, except Sunday, for coons, possums and skunks. The fur brought them some welcome money.

So, as a kid, I thought I knew that Dad wanted furbearing animals. When our dog treed a skunk up by the hayfield, I killed the skunk and carried it home. I don’t remember if Dad skinned it, but he didn’t skin me, thank goodness. Anyway, I soon found myself in the tub getting bathed repeatedly to try to get rid of the smell. Didn’t do that again.

One bitter cold winter day when I helped Dad drive the cow herd under the bridge onto the St. Clair County side of our farm, the cows all walked across the ice without incident. I was following them when the 8-inch thick or so ice suddenly broke under my tremendous weight and I found myself almost waist deep in the icy water. Dad quickly got me out and made me run the almost quarter mile to the house. He told me he was going to spank me if I didn’t run. He told me later wouldn’t have. He just didn’t want me to get frostbit. My clothes froze stiff long before we got to the house.

I don’t think we will have that problem if Davis and I go froggin’ later this week. He wants to go to a new place he found and I’m a little concerned about the mud. Don’t have that problem in our creek. In recent years, we haven’t had much of a problem with frogs either. Gone. KL