American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog

My dad and his friend Gene were returning from a very successful night time frog-gigging trip when dad’s truck’s headlights went out. 

Looking all over the truck, they couldn’t find a fuse, but lucky for them they found a .22 caliber bullet that fit perfectly into the fuse box. The headlights came on.

After traveling approximately 20 miles and just before crossing a bridge, the bullet apparently overheated. Unlucky for them, it discharged and struck dad in the right testicle. The truck swerved and hit a tree. Dad suffered minor cuts, but did require surgery to repair the other wound. Gene suffered a broken rib and was treated and released.

Gene told everyone, “Thank God we weren’t on that bridge when he shot his intimate parts off, or we might have died.” When Mom was notified of the wreck, instead of asking about poor Dad’s wounds and where she could go see him, she asked, “Where’s the frog legs? I need to get them in the refrigerator.”

Now, it’s a good thing I was already born when this happened, or I wouldn’t have been here to try gigging frogs for myself. Back in my teenage years, every boy learned how to gig frogs. Of course, we were poor back then, so Mom was good at frying up about anything I brought home, but she dearly loved frog legs.

It was a warm summer day and my friend Frankie and I decided it was time for us to be real men and go hunt frogs. Dad let us use his frog gigs since he had not gone frog hunting for years. I guess it was hard for him to gig frogs with one testicle. Mom was very excited at the possibilities of Frankie and me getting a bunch of big bullfrogs. 

We had numerous misses trying to gig a frog that night. We said words that if our moms had heard them, they would have washed our mouths out with soap. We fell in the water and our arms and faces were scratched up by attacking limbs. Did I mention all the mosquito bites? Did I mention the snakes? Did I mention strange noises in the dark? We left the pond that night wiser in the knowledge of frog gigging, but with no frogs. I dreaded facing Mom with no frogs. She loves her frog legs. Just ask Dad.


Missouri’s frog season opens at sunset on June 30.


Male frogs have their own special mating call with two parts, “a whine” and a “chuck”. Females listen to the chuck carefully. The larger males make long, deep chucks and are more desirable to the females. The only problem with that is bats love to eat frogs, and they also listen for long, deep chucks. 


“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” 

—Henry David Thoreau 

Larry Whiteley was born and raised in Nixa. He was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in honor of his more than 40 years of communicating the great outdoors all over the world through his outdoor articles and radio shows.

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