Geiser: Hunt the shorelines for American bullfrogs

All ages can enjoy frog hunting. Consider taking your kids out to try frog hunting — they’ll love catching frogs as much as you do. Those of us that live west of U.S. Highway 81, can hunt bullfrogs year-round with no minimum length limit.

August is the month most folks consider bullfrog season and frog hunters that live west of Highway 81 have already been in the field to harvest American bullfrogs.

Those of us that live west of U.S. Highway 81 that passes through York, can hunt bullfrogs year-round with no minimum length limit. For those chasing bullfrogs east of U.S. Highway 81, the season will start Aug. 15 and runs through Oct 31. East of Highway 81, bullfrogs must measure four-and-one-half inches from snout to vent or be released. Legal harvest methods east of Highway 81 include taking only by hand, hand net or hook-and-line, which allows frogs that don’t meet the legal size to be released unharmed. West of Highway 81, hand, hand net, hook-and-line along with archery and gigging can be used. The daily bag limit of eight frogs and a possession limit 16 is still in place for both areas. Anyone 16 years of age or older does need a valid Nebraska fishing permit to legally take frogs. Nebraska law allows frogs to be transported alive or gutted, but the frog’s body must be left intact during transport.

Frogs can be taken both day and night with nighttime being the best time for frog hunting. As soon as it gets dark, frog hunters paddle kayaks, canoes and johnboats quietly along weeded shorelines or wade quietly along the bank, searching for frogs with flashlights, lanterns, spotlights or the preferred headlamp.

Often all you see in the narrow beam of your light is a resting frog’s eyes and the top of its head sitting or floating just above the waterline. Once spotted, hunters attempt to catch the big, green frogs with their chosen method. Captured frogs are commonly kept in wire mesh fish baskets or wet gunny sacks on the bottom of the boat, tied onto waders or carried.