ELSBERRY, Mo.—Frog gigging is the perfect excuse to stay out late on a warm summer night. To give both kids and parents, or mentors, the chance to discover this classic pastime, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering a free Discover Nature—Families Frog Gigging Clinic Friday, July 13. It will take place at BK Leach Memorial Conservation Area from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. It is open to youths of all ages.
All youths attending must be accompanied by an adult mentor. The mentors can get in on the gigging fun, too. MDC staff and conservation agents will teach the finer points of hunting frogs at night using the classic frog gigging tool—the forked spear.
“Many of the St. Louis region agents and I have a personal interest in frog gigging,” said Conservation Agent Kevin Eulinger, organizer of the clinic, “and I want to share our interest with young kids, who probably would not get the opportunity to learn how to frog gig anywhere else.”
The clinic will begin with classroom instruction that includes the Wildlife Code of Missouri regulations governing frog hunting, as well as how to positively identify the creatures. Participants will get an introduction on frog-gigging safety, learn about frog biology and habitat, the techniques of frog gigging, and gigging equipment. They’ll also have a chance to practice gigging before going afield.
At sunset, participants will follow MDC staff to the marshes of B.K. Leach on a guided frog gigging adventure. In addition to being a great bonding experience and an ideal way to introduce youth to the sport, the clinic will give adult mentors a chance to learn and practice frog gigging as well.
At the end of the program, MDC staff will assist the young hunters and their adult mentors in cleaning their catches. There will also be a demonstration on how to properly skin out a frog and prepare it for cooking. Finally, everyone will get to taste a sample of frog legs.
“I hope this experience helps the kids discover what a really cool part of nature frog gigging is, and will stimulate them to go on their own in the future,” Eulinger said.
MDC provides all the basics and equipment for the event. Both youth and adult mentor should bring their own knee boots, hip boots, chest waders, or wading shoes/old tennis shoes suitable for walking in water. A headlamp and bug spray is also recommended. All attendees age 16 or over who wish to participate in gigging must possess an appropriate fishing permit.
The Discover Nature—Families Frog Gigging Clinic is free but reservations are required by calling 314-223-0968. Registration is open July 2-9.
Frogging season is open in Missouri from June 30 until Oct. 31 for both bullfrogs and green frogs. The daily limit is eight frogs, with a total possession limit of 16. They may be taken with either a valid hunting or fishing permit by a variety of methods. More details about frog hunting can be found at https://goo.gl/19gnTU.
MDC’s BK Leach Memorial Conservation Area is in Lincoln County and can be reached from Elsberry by taking Highway 79 south 3 miles, then Route M east 3 miles to the main tract.