ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
The other day we read a feature in the Wichita Eagle called Ten Reasons To Love The Heat, Really. Some of the reasons sounded like plausible tradeoffs, less ragweed, more comfort to those who suffer from psoriasis and seasonal affective disorder, better bass fishing. But it was reason number four that peaked our interest. It says receding shorelines caused by the heat are a bullfrogger's dream.
Now without wanting to downplay the problem of shrinking wetlands and with apologies to the amphibian conservation alliance, we wondered about the pastime of bullfrogging, and we've called up a man known for his frogging exploits, Willie Lyles, retired outdoors skills specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation and also a game chef.
How long have you been frogging?
Mr. WILLIE LYLES (Missouri Department of Conservation): Well, I've been frogging about, oh, probably 30 years.
SIEGEL: Thirty years. Tell us about it, what do you do when you go out frogging?
Mr. LYLES: Well, it's a strange sport. There's several methods you can use for frog hunting. I catch them by hand using a spotlight or a flashlight. Shine the light in the frog's eyes and you get as close as you can before they jump and you catch them. Now there's some people use a frog gig and they stab them. There's some that shoot them, but I think the best way is to hand catch them. That's man against beast.
SIEGEL: Now as you've said, those who don't hunt by hand are permitted in your state, in Missouri, to hunt by bow or pellet gun, .22 caliber firearms,
Mr. LYLES: Right, yeah.
SIEGEL: But also with a gig, and I gather that's what a gig is, is the spear.
Mr. LYLES: Right a spear. You just spear them. Generally I don't like to do that because when you use a spear or any other method of putting a hole in the frog, you have to clean them pretty quick because they're going to die and then they'll spoil. So I like to keep mine alive and if I decide in the meantime that maybe I don't want to clean any frogs or I'm not wanting to have a frog fry, then I just turn the frogs loose.
SIEGEL: So there is some catch and release dimension to frogging?
Mr. LYLES: Right, but if you use those other methods, it's hard, it's really hard to have catch and release.
SIEGEL: Now what led us to you was reading the claim that in an extremely hot summer, the shorelines recede a bit and that creates a bullfrogger's dream. Do you buy that wisdom?
Mr. LYLES: Yup, they will come out and sit on the bank after they've eaten bugs and gotten full, and they croak and they do their little song to lure their mates.
SIEGEL: Do you recognize that song when you hear the bullfrogs?
Mr. LYLES: Oh, yeah.
SIEGEL: Actually I think we have a recorded example of bullfrogs, I don't know what call it is, but -
(Soundbite of bullfrog croaking)
Mr. LYLES: Oh, yeah. That's music to my ears. That's a beautiful symphony.
SIEGEL: Well, Mr. Lyles, thank you very much for sharing with us the joys of frogging.
Mr. LYLES: Okay, I sure appreciate it.
(Soundbite of bullfrog croaking)
SIEGEL: Willie Lyles spoke to us from Kansas City, Missouri. He's a retired outdoor skills specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation and you can find the department's recipe for frying up some bullfrog at our Web site, NPR.org.