August 5, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Apparently frog legs must taste pretty darn good. Why else would a person be standing knee deep in smelly muck in the middle of the night chasing after the critters? Trust me, Iím not looking for a prince.

But as a non-connoisseur, this avid hunter must confess that he has never had the delicacy on his plate. Itís not that I wouldnít eat frog legs, itís simply that I have never had the occasion. My best chance came when I was visiting New Orleans when I was in college. One night we ate at the local buffet. Complete with all you can eat frog legs. Unfortunately by the time I was ready to try some, I was too full on alligator, crawdads and all the other new tastes the Bayou has to offer.

That may all change as I have earned the right to partake in my palsí annual fish fry/frog leg feast. The initiation came Friday night as we made the rounds of a number of local ponds.

It started out pretty simple. We started before dark using .22 rifles. As is typical for a hunting or fishing outing, I was immediately spoiled. I was even planning to try the first pond, just heading to the farm to grab some equipment. But as we passed the waterway just along the driveway, we noticed several bullfrogs who paid no attention to us.

After we retrieved the necessary items (a net and a couple of old potato sacks from the shed) we walked back down to the pond and the fun began.

I wish I could brag on my marksmanship, but letís just say I could have used a high-powered scope. I may have done better throwing rocks at the bullfrogs. Regardless of my weapon of choice, I was nowhere near the eight-frog limit by the time we left. That was not due to a lack of targets.

Unfortunately this first stop proved to be the hot spot as none of the other dozen or so waterways we visited that evening (and technically into the next morning) put us in any harm of going over the legal limit.

Of course there were still ample chances for me to dive into the other methods of taking the frogs.

Call me a sissy, call me whatever you want, but Iím simply not one for trudging around waste deep in some stinky old pond. Thatís why I say these things must be awfully tasty. Here I am, barely able to pull my feet out of the mud to take the next step as I try to sneak up on next weekís supper. The whole time in the back of my head Iím wondering what snake, turtle or deep sea monster is lurking underneath the muck sneaking his way towards itís next meal Ė me. Even if the creature from the Blue Lagoon never grabbed me, I did serve as a constant appetizer for the swarms of mosquitoes, which seem to find me wherever I go.

I guess my partners are just braver than me. Either that or they have had some very special spear chucking training, because these guys were deadly on the gig. Unfortunately I didnít get much practice. Once I got beyond my reluctance to get wet and dirty and lure in the sea beasts, I used up my training opportunities with a couple of terrible misses. With the big guys few and far between my partners were reluctant to pass up morsels just so they could laugh at me. Again I say they must be tasty.

After this ordeal I canít wait to try my first frog leg. Of course I have been wondering about the feast. Iíve always been of the mindset that you could deep-fat fry an old gym shoe and I would find it tasty. Combine that image with the fact that everyone says frog legs simply taste like chicken, and Iím beginning to wonder why I didnít just go to Jís Friday night and buy some chicken tenders. Then I wouldnít have had to throw out my disgustingly dirty clothes, and gone through a whole tube of bug-bite ointment between nightmares about what was lurking below.

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