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By R. Shannon Smith, Missouri Conservation Agent
For those out there who enjoy the sport of “Frogging” not to mention a good mess of frog legs, your wait is not long. Bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken, possessed and transported from sunset June 30th thru October 31st. The daily limit of bullfrogs and green frogs in the aggregate is (8).
The bullfrog is found throughout the state. Peak breeding periods are between mid-May and early July. The male bullfrog can be distinguished from the female bullfrog by its tympanum or eardrum. Adult male bullfrogs have a tympanum much larger than the eye. Adult female bullfrogs have a tympanum the same size as the eye.
The green frog is found throughout Missouri except for the northwest part of the state. The green frog breeds from late April until late August. The call of the green frog can be described as an explosive “bong” that sounds like a loose banjo string. An adult green frog is smaller than the adult bullfrog. The most identifiable characteristic of the green frog is the dorsolateral fold that extends from the tympanum down to the hump on its back.
Unless exempt, a fishing or hunting permit is required to take frogs. Even in farm ponds. A fishing permit allows a person to take frogs by hand, handnet, gig, longbow, trotline, throwline, limbline, bankline, jug line, snagging, snaring, grabbing or pole and line. Those folks holding a hunting permit may harvest frogs by means of a .22 caliber or smaller rimfire rifle or pistol, pellet gun, longbow, crossbow, hand or handnet. An artificial light may be used for taking frogs by both fishing and hunting methods.
On public areas owned, leased, or managed by the Mo. Department of Conservation, frogs may be taken only by hand, handnet, gig, longbow and hook and line. Be sure to always read area regulations prior to fishing or attempting to take frogs.
Bullfrogs reach full maturity in about four years and are about 6 inches in length from snout to vent. If you’re interested in maintaining a harvestable population of frogs at your favorite honey hole, I suggest not harvesting the 3 to 5-inch frogs and save them for the next year.