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I love to eat frog legs, but for a frog to wind up on a plate, it had to be killed somewhere along the line. This brings us to frogging, gigging frogs, frog hunting, and everything there is to know about the practice in the United States.
In the United States, frogs are allowed to be gigged, hunted, or “frogged” in many States. Generally, a license is required, bag and possession limits apply, as well as weapon and species restrictions. It is the hunter’s responsibility to understand regulations specific to the land on which they hunt.
This article will go into detail about general rules and regulations, as well as hunting limits per state, frog hunting season dates and more. We will also discuss ethics and good practices. And before you get upset for our including ethics in this article, we agree with hunters that are opposed to killing unless the kill will be eaten, and believe some ways of hunting frogs are more suitable than others.
No matter the content of this article, it is up to hunters to find up-to-date regulations and understand those that apply to the land they will be hunting on. The complete text of the laws and up-to-date regulations may be obtained by contacting your State Department of Wildlife.
General Frog Hunting Rules in The USA
As a general rule, frogs are allowed to be gigged, hunted, or “frogged” in many States with a valid license, while respecting bag and possession limits, as well as weapon and species restrictions. It is the hunter’s responsibility to understand regulations specific to the land on which they hunt.
- Hunting Licence: Some states or counties may require a licence to go frogging. Different licences are generally required for commercial purposes.
- Bag Limits: Some states may limit the amount of frogs you can catch within a certain amount of hours, generally 12 midnight to 12 midnight.
- Possession Limits: Some states may limit the amount of frogs you can have in your possession.
- Size Limits: Some states impose a minimum frog size for hunting. Frogs are generally measured from snout (nose tip) to vent (end of body) or hind toes.
- Land: Refuges and state recreation lands may have stricter regulations than national forests, national grasslands, or BLM lands. Permission is generally needed for hunting on private land.
- Types of Frogs: Only certain types of frogs can be hunted depending on the State. Some states allow more but, as a general rule, most states allow hunting:
Your specific State Wildlife Department is the best place to get up-to-date information and resources for hunting, fishing, and land-use regulations (CTNF).
How Many Frogs May Be Hunted Per State
Generally, frog bag limits or how many frogs may be hunted varies per state and is generally set between 24 hour periods from 12 midnight to 12 midnight. For example, in Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma, the daily bag limit is 15 Bullfrogs.
- Species: Type of frog that can be hunted.
- Dates: Generally range from one year into the next, for example, Indiana’s start date is June 15th, 2021 and so the end date is April 30th 2022
- Daily Bag Limits: In some cases, daily bag limits apply to any species in aggregate or in combination (c) or individually (i), alive (a) or dead (d).
- NA: We did not find the information.
|Frog Species||State||Dates||Daily Bag Limit||Possession Limit|
|Indiana||June 15, April 30||25 (c)||50|
|Louisiana||June 1, Aug. 15||NA||50 (c)|
|American Bullfrog||Illinois||June 15, October 15||8||16|
|American Bullfrog||Minnesota||March 16, March 31||NA||NA|
|Various Species||New York||June 15, Sept. 30||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Various Species||Texas||All Year||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|S. Leopard Frog|
|American Bullfrog||Michigan||Last Sat. May, Nov. 15||10 (c)||10 (c)|
|American Bullfrog||Kentucky||12pm May 21, 12am Oct. 31||15||30|
|American Bullfrog||Arizona||Jan 1, Dec 31||Unlimited (d)||Unlimited (d)|
|Specific Species||Florida||All Year||None||None|
|American Bullfrog||Georgia||All Year||None||None|
|American Bullfrog||Oklahoma||All Year||15||NA|
The information in this article may not be current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked. Please check official sources and contact your State Department of Wildlife. Some contact information is listed at the end of this article.
State-Specific Frog Hunting Rules
Each state has its own rules and regulations with regards to how many frogs may be hunted. Here is some more information on frogging rules per State.
Louisiana: Frogging in The Salvator Wildlife Management Area
In Louisiana, frogging is permitted in the Salvador WMA from June 1st at 12am through official sunrise Aug. 15. Bullfrogs over 5 inches and Pig Frogs over 3 inches may be taken at night with a daily limit of 50 frogs per vessel in aggregate. Firearms are prohibited at night.
Source: Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (PDF)
Salvador WMA GPS Coordinates: 29.801054980823153, -90.30847248612365
Indiana: Frog Hunting With Specific Weapons
In Indiana, frogs may be hunted using a long bow and arrow, club, 1 hook hand line or artificial lure, gig or spear 3 in. wide or less with 1 row of tines, by hand, using a .22-caliber firearm birdshot loaded only, or an air rifle that fires a lead pellet (.177 diameter min) at least 500 ft per sec.
Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources (PDF)
Illinois: Bullfrogs Only
In Illinois, bullfrogs may be hunted using a hook and line, gig, pitch-fork, spear, bow and arrow, by hand or using a landing net between June 15 and October 15 with a daily harvest limit of 8 and a possession limit of 16. A sport fishing licence is required.
Site specific regulations may apply. See the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website for more information.
Source: Illinois Department of Natural Resources (PDF)
Minnesota: Frogs May be Used For Bait
In Minnesota, a person may possess frogs up to 6 inches long without limit if the frogs are used for bait. According to MN Stat § 97C.601 (2015) “A person may not take or possess frogs without an angling license if the person is required to have an angling license to take fish.”
According to Minnesota Rules CHAPTER 6256 Department of Natural Resources, Frogs and Turtles (2009), “Frogs may only be taken between sunrise and sunset, except as otherwise permitted” and Northern Leopard Frogs and Bullfrogs must be more than 6 inches long “when taken or possessed for purposes other than bait.”
You may also be required to keep a record of all frogs captured, their weight and information of people they were sold to if they were captured for reasons other than bait.
Sources: 2015 Minnesota Statutes Chapters 97 – 102 — GAME AND FISH Chapter 97C — FISHING Section 97C.601 — FROGS (source), Minnesota Rules CHAPTER 6256 Department of Natural Resources, Frogs and Turtles (2009) (source).
Virginia: 15 Bullfrogs Per Day
In Virginia, it is possible to hunt bullfrogs by gigging, with a bow and arrow, by firearms no larger than .22 caliber rimfire from private waters. Taking bullfrogs with a gig, .22 caliber rimfire, or bow and arrow requires a hunting license.
Source: Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (PDF)
New York: Wide Range of Species
In New York, you can hunt a variety of frogs including Bullfrogs, Green Frogs, Mink Frogs, Northern Leopard Frogs and Pickerel Frogs with a valid hunting licence from June 15 to September 30th with a spear, club, hook, gun, bow, crossbow or by hand. There are no daily, season or size limits.
Source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (PDF)
Arizona: No Closed Seasons
A fishing or combination license is required to hunt bullfrogs in Arizona. Bullfrogs may be taken day or night by bow and arrow, crossbow, pneumatic weapon, slingshot, minnow trap, crayfish net, hand, or with any handheld, non-motorized implement that does not discharge a projectile.
Exceptions apply. See sources below for more information.
Texas: No Closed Seasons
In Texas, a hunting license is required for frog hunting. There are no closed seasons, bag limits or possession limits. Frogs may be hunted at any time by lawful means or methods on private property. There may be restrictions on public land, for certain species and requirements for hunting at night.
Source: Texas Parks And Wildlife (PDF)
Michigan: Many Frogs Are Protected
In Michigan, it is legal to hunt bullfrogs by spear, hand, hook and line, hand net or trap where not otherwise prohibited by law. A fishing license is required. Frogs taken for personal take shall not be bought, sold or offered for sale. No size limit is applicable.
A number of frogs including Pickerel Frogs, Mink Frogs, and Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs are protected in Michigan and require special licences, reasons and authorisations to possess from the wild.
Source: FO 224.21 Regs on take of Reptiles & Amphibians (PDF)
Florida: Various Frog Species Can Be Hunted in Florida
According to Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const., 379.363, in Florida, frogs may be hunted “by gigs, clubs, blow guns, hook and line, air guns, firearms or manually throughout the year,” and only by firearm during daylight hours.
There are a number of frogs you are not allowed to take out of the wild without permits including Florida Bog Frogs, Gopher Frogs, and Pine Barrens Tree Frogs. There are other exceptions and Florida may have county-specific regulations.
For more precise information see the Rules Relating to Amphibians on the Florida Department of State Administrative Code & Florida Administrative Register (source) and check with your County Department of Fishing and Game.
Georgia: No Closed Season or Daily Limits
In Georgia, frogs, including bullfrogs, may be hunted at any time of year except for species on Georgia’s Protected Species List. There are no limits or restrictions on the number of frogs that can be caught.
Source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources (PDF).
Kentucky: 15 Bullfrogs Per Day Noon to Noon
According to the Kentucky Dpt. of Fish & Wildlife Resources, the daily limit (12pm to 12pm) for bullfrog hunting is 15 and the possession limit is 30. “If bullfrogs are taken by gun or bow and arrow, a hunting license is required. If taken by pole and line, a fishing license is required.”
In Kentucky, “if frogs are taken by gig or by hand, either a hunting or fishing license is valid.” And “it is illegal to possess a gig on a stream or lake, or in a boat, from Nov. 1, 2021 through Jan. 31, 2022.”
Source: Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources (source)
California: Unlimited For Bullfrogs And Certain Leopard Frogs
In California, Bullfrogs, Southern Leopard Frogs and Rio Grande Leopard Frogs may be taken under the authority of a sportfishing license. “Amphibians may be taken only by hand, hand-held dip net, or hook and line, except bullfrogs may also be taken by lights, spears, gigs, grabs, paddles, bow and arrow, or fishing tackle.”
“No amphibians may be taken from ecological reserves designated by the commission in Section 630 or from state parks, or national parks or monuments.” And “It is unlawful to use any method or means of collecting that involves breaking apart of rocks, granite flakes, logs, or other shelters in or under which amphibians may be found.”
Code of Regulations Title 14 – Natural Resources (Division 1 to Division 16) Division 1 – Fish and Game Commission-Department of Fish and Game (14 CA Adc T. 14, Div. 1, Refs & Annos to Subdivision 4) Subdivision 1 – Fish, Amphibians and Reptiles (Foreword 1-19-74 to Chapter 9) Chapter 2 – Statewide Regulations for Fishing and Frogging in Inland Waters (Article 1 to Article 4) Article 4 – Species Regulations (§ 5.00 to § 5.95) § 5.05 – Amphibians (source).
Oklahoma: 15 Bullfrogs Per Day
In Oklahoma, 15 bullfrogs per day may be hunted with hook and line, gig, spear, bow and arrow or other methods, except firearms, under a resident or nonresident fishing license. Bullfrogs taken with a firearm require a hunting license. Wichita Mountains WR is closed to bullfrog harvest.
Source: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (PDF)
Washington: No Northern Leopard Frogs
In Washington it is illegal to hunt, possess, maliciously harass, or kill endangered species or possess or intentionally destroy nests or eggs of endangered species including Northern Leopard Frogs. Bullfrogs may only be taken by angling, hand dip netting, gigging, and bow and arrow.
Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (PDF)
Nevada: Wasting Edible Game is Unlawful
In Nevada, NRS 501.105, 501.181, 502.010, 503.290 states “A person may take bullfrogs […] by any method specified in NRS 503.290 or NAC 503.580, other than by a hook and line, without obtaining a license or permit issued by the Department.”
Nevada Rev Stat § 503.290 states: “Frogs may be taken by spear, bow and arrow, hook and line or by other methods authorized by the Commission’s regulation” (2019), and 503.580 states “[…] bullfrogs […] may be taken with hands or gig. No firearm or airgun may be used in taking bullfrogs.”
No information was found on limits on frogging in Nevada, however, it is unlawful to waste any edible portion of game through carelessness, neglect or to use protected species of wildlife or game amphibians for bait in Nevada.
Source: Nevada Department of Wildlife (PDF)
Chose The Most Ethical Ways to Hunt Frogs
Ethics depend on the individual, are generally reflected by politics in State laws, and may evolve over time and through generations. Some frogs are endangered, others are invasive, but overall, frogs are one of the world’s most rapidly disappearing groups of animals. And no animal deserves to die an agonizing death (CTNF).
As a a general rule, frog hunters can be respectful by only taking as many frogs as they need for meat, choosing larger invasive species (5 inches or more), hunting during the day by hand or with a net instead of a gun or gig where authorized (all while respecting location-specific laws).
Keep an open mind while you consider these few ways to respectfully enjoy nature and frog legs.
Hunt Invasive or Large Species in Priority
Most states restrict which frog species may be hunted, some have minimum size requirements, but other states like Florida and New York allow the hunting of many frog species that are not protected. However, only certain frogs actually provide enough meat to make a meal.
Bullfrogs are generally a large, predatory and invasive species that can wreak havoc on native species. Bullfrogs and Pig Frogs also provide more meat than most other frog species. So hunt Bullfrogs or Pig Frogs instead of Green Frogs, or Leopard Frogs wherever you can to get the most out of your hunting trip and to help respect natural ecosystems.
Hunt The Large Frogs, Leave The Small Ones
Frog legs are generally the only part of the frog that can be consumed, and since frogs are already a fairly small animal, killing frogs for their legs can be quiet wasteful practice overall. Therefore, when hunting for frogs, prioritize the largest frogs over the medium or smaller ones.
For example, New York authorises hunting Spring Peeper which are tiny tree frogs that have no consumable meat. There is no logical reason to hunt these frogs since they cannot be eaten. You will get more meat and may be helping the ecosystem by eliminating large predators instead.
Even if your state does not limit sizes, try to catch frogs that are over 5 or 6 inches long for more meat and a generally more respectful frog hunting practice.
Hunt During The Day
Hunting at night has a number of risks not only for the hunter, but also the frogs, the flora and fauna. Hunters generally try to decide which frogs to strike by looking at their eyes to determine the species and size. There are high risks of striking the wrong frog species, the wrong animals, or even hitting a fellow crew member.
Frogs can see in the dark, but we cannot. Hunters may trample and kill wildlife, fauna, flora and risk destroying their hunting grounds.
It is best to hunt frogs during the day to enjoy a better aim and to make it easier to respect nature.
Freeze Frogs if Your State Authorises It
Research has shown that frogs feel pain and that one of the most ethical ways of killing them is by freezing. Frogs slow down and become lethargic when temperatures are below 32°F (0°C) and die frozen after 30 to 45 minutes in temperatures below 23°F (-5°C).
Catch frogs by hand and place them into a cooler that remains at least below 32°F (0°C) to make them inactive and help prepare them to be deep frozen. Upon your return home, you can transfer the frogs into a deep freezer and they will be killed after about 30 to 45 minutes.
Hunting frogs by hand (if allowed in your state) can be an extremely fun and rewarding experience. If you have ever gone noodling for catfish, you probably understand exactly what we mean.
However, be sure to check with your State Wildlife Department before freezing frogs while hunting since it may not be authorised in some states.
Catch Frogs by Hand or With a Net Where Possible
Stabbing frogs with a gig, which is similar to a pitchfork, can be considered a brutal way to kill them engendering a prolonged agonizing death. Although it is a long-standing traditional way of hunting frogs in some states, it is best to avoid this practice if your state allows other methods to hunt frogs.
Try to prioritize catching them by hand, with a landing net or with a line and hook if these methods are authorised in your jurisdiction.
Do Not Shoot Frogs
Shooting frogs is generally not very precise or efficient and is considered unlawful in some States. Shooting a frog may cause it to fly into another area from where it was located making it difficult to find it. Shooting frogs can therefore be wasteful if done incorrectly.
Frogs are not large game, and if you miss your target, you risk losing your hunt and permanently injuring the frog that will probably die an agonizing death. Therefore, shooting to hunt frogs increases the risk of losing or wasting the meat, which is generally considered wasteful and disrespectful among most hunters.
Do Not Use Frogs as Bait
Some states consider using frogs as bait as unlawful, others authorize it. As a fisherperson myself, I cannot fathom using a live or dead frog as bait. It would be a pretty gruesome experience tossing a frog around on a fishing line.
Use a fake frog lure to catch bass instead of live or dead frogs.
Do Not Hold Gigging Contests
We already covered why hunting frogs with a gig should be avoided, but some schools still hold frog gigging contests, encouraging students to kill frogs at mass scale. It is uncertain whether the frogs in these contests are actually consumed after being hunted (CTNF).
Practice ethical, safe, respectful hunting while caring for nature and taking only what you really need.
Who to Call For More Info on Frogging in Your State
No matter the contents of this article, it is up to hunters to find and understand the regulations specific to the land they will be hunting on. The complete text of the laws and up-to-date regulations may be obtained by contacting your State Department of Wildlife or by checking their website.
Refuges and state recreation lands may have stricter regulations than national forests, national grasslands, BLM lands, or private property. Your specific State Wildlife Department is the best place to get up-to-date information and resources for hunting, fishing, and land-use regulations.
Here is a non-exhaustive list where you can get information about frogging in your State:
|Indiana||Indiana Department of Natural Resources||1 800 457 8283|
|Louisiana||Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries||1 800 256 2749|
|Illinois||Department of Natural Resources||1 217 782 6302|
|Minnesota||Minnesota Department of Natural Resource||651 296 6157|
|Virginia||Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources||1 804 367 1000|
|New York||NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation||518 408 5850|
|Texas||Texas Parks And Wildlife||512 389 4999|
|California||California Department of Fish and Wildlife||559 243 4017|
|Michigan||Michigan Department of Natural Resources||517 284 9453|
|Kentucky||Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources||800 858 1549|
|Arizona||Arizona Game & Fish Department||602 942 3000|
|California||California Department of Fish and Wildlife||1 916 445 0411|
|Washington||Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife||360 902 2200|
|Georgia||Georgia Department of Natural Resources||1 800 366 2661|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation||1 405 521 3851|
|Nevada||Nevada Department of Wildlife||1 775 289 1655|
Some information in this table may have changed since it was created.
Further Reading Related to Hunting Frogs
We have a number of resources on our site that can help you respectfully manage frogs on your property:
- Can You Use Live Frogs As Bait?
- What do Frogs Legs Taste Like?
- Can You Eat Toads?
- How to Get Rid of Frogs
- How to Safely Relocate Frogs
- How to Safely Catch Frogs
- How to Keep Frogs Away From Your Property
- How to Deal With Toads in Window Wells
- Find a Lost Frog in Your Home
Questions Related to Frog Hunting
What is Frog Gigging? Generally, frog gigging consists of hunting frogs with a gig which is like a pitch fork or a multi-pronged spear. Frog gigging may also be referred to as “frogging” and generally takes place at night with flashlights. Gigging may be unlawful in some states that do not allow using gigs to hunt frogs.
Is Frog Hunting Illegal? Frog hunting is legal in many states throughout the US including Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and New York. However, frog hunting is generally only allowed for certain species, may require a licence, and may be subject to rules and regulations regarding daily limits and authorized hunting arms.
What’s The Real Term for Frog Hunting? Frog hunting is referred to as frogging or frog gigging depending on the hunting technique that is used, as well as local customs. Referring to frog hunting as frogging or frog gigging is generally widely accepted as correct.
What Does Doing Frogging Mean? Frogging generally refers to hunting or gigging frogs which consists in hunting them to consume their legs. However, frogging may also simply mean searching for frogs in the wild. Frogging may also refer to a cross-stitch technique, an ornamental braid or fastening.
What Are My State Frog Hunting Rules And Bag Limits? Generally, all states have different frog hunting laws, rules, regulations, bag, hunting dates and possession limits. Some states have no hunting limits, others limit bag possession to 20 frogs. Check your local Wildlife, Hunting and Fishing Department for laws specific to your state and or county.
Is Frogging Allowed in Canada? Hunting for Bullfrogs (frogging) is allowed in Ontario Canada with a licence in any part of the province except the area described in section 38 of Ontario Regulation 665/98 from July 21 to October 15th and with daily bag limits of 10, and possession limits of 10.
Sources are listed in each section pertaining to state information. Further sources in this article include:
Ontario.ca: Bullfrog Hunting Laws
Guénette, Sarah & Giroux, Marie-Chantal & Vachon, Pascal. (2013). Pain Perception and Anaesthesia in Research Frogs. Experimental animals / Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 62. 87-92. 10.1538/expanim.62.87.
Shine, Richard & Amiel, Joshua & Munn, Adam & Stewart, Mathew & Vyssotski, Alexei & Lesku, John. (2015). Is ” cooling then freezing ” a humane way to kill amphibians and reptiles?. Biology Open. 4. 10.1242/bio.012179.