Woody's Outdoors: Frog hunters have PETA hopping mad

Larry Woody • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 11:47 PM

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has turned its busy-body attention to frog hunting – or “frog torture” as it calls it.

What got PETA’s goat was a frog-hunting fundraiser in Smithville staged by the DeKalb County Young Farmers and Ranchers, in concert with the Farm Bureau.

PETA was horrified when it discovered that frogs are gigged.

How did PETA think frogs were caught? By sitting the swamp whispering, “Here froggy, froggy?”

Here’s how it works: you walk or wade along the edge of the water shining a light in the weedy shallows where bullfrogs lurk. Their eyes reflect in the light. When you spot one, an accomplice eases up and gigs it.

The frogs’ fate is no more grim that of the cows, pigs and chickens we chow down on; contrary to what PETA would have you believe, they didn’t die peacefully in their sleep with their grandchildren gathered around.

There’s nothing wrong with frog hunting. It’s no more inhumane than any other form of hunting, and in Tennessee it is completely legal.

Thanks to the Right to Fish and Hunt Amendment that was overwhelmingly voted into the state constitution three years ago, outfits like PETA can’t bully/cajole politicians into backing its anti-hunting agendas.

Bullfrog hunting is open year-round in Tennessee except on waters within state and federal wildlife refuges and on TWRA managed lakes, where the season runs June 1-30. The bag limit is 20 frogs per person per night.

A hunting license is required to hunt bullfrogs.

PETA’s opposition to frog hunting is the latest example of the animal-rights extremists’ aim to end all forms of hunting. That’s their stated goal.

It comes at a time when getting youngsters involved in outdoors activities should be a top priority. If a kid sits on a couch all day eating junk food and playing video games, PETA is perfectly satisfied. But if he goes hunting or fishing, PETA is horrified. (Remember, this is the outfit that once posted billboards advising kids to “Drink beer, not milk.”)

As a kid, my buddies and I used to frog hunt during the summers. It was enjoyable stomping around ponds in the dark. The smell of damp, new-mow hay hung in the air, katydids and whip-poor-wills serenaded, and the “hurrrumph” base of bullfrogs echoed out of the marshes. It was a social outing, like dove hunting.

We hunted on small lakes and farm pounds around the neighborhood. We didn’t bag a lot of bullfrogs – maybe a couple of dozen on a good night – but it was more about frolic than frogs.

I’ve cleaned and eaten frog legs and they’re delicious. I still occasionally order a crispy platter at a restaurant for old times’ sake.

Contrary to old wives tales, frog legs don’t jump out of a hot skillet, although when fresh they do sometimes twitch due to a hypersensitive nervous system.

Most of us remember dissecting frogs in biology lab. I assume PETA’s against that, too, and would prefer dissecting a slice of tofu.

Personally I think society world be better off if more kids were out frog hunting at night instead of a lot of other things they’re up to – and if there were fewer meddlers like PETA trying to tell other folks what to do.

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