For me, as for many of us bow-hunters, summer always seems to creep along. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun, concerts, horseback riding, etc. but as an avid deer hunter, come August, I’m really feeling the itch. Recently, a friend and I were honing our bow skills by shooting carp on a local river when we got the bright idea to go after bull frogs with a bow fishing rig. After all, if you can hit a frog, you sure will be in good shape come October. I had shot frogs with my bow in the past, but that can become a costly affair when you start launching $20 arrows into tall grass. We knew the new concept was better, utilizing an arrow with a string attached, but we weren’t certain about the execution. Our concern lied with whether or not it would be possible to get the consistent accuracy required to hit the small target presented by a bullfrog with a bow fishing arrow.
When we got home, I tossed an old bow target on the lawn at 10 yards (the barbs on bow arrows prove to be a little rough on targets) to test our idea. First shot… high and left… Second shot… grouped right with the first, high and left. At this point we were feeling pretty confident that, with a little fine tuning, we were about to have an exciting evening on our hands. We got it zeroed in and I was cutting the bull every shot. Satisfied, we tossed our lights on the chargers and anxiously awaited nightfall.
Finally, 7:30 pm rolled around and we grabbed our gear, my Martin Cheetah that I had equipped with an AMS bow fishing rig earlier in the summer, a backup gig, the fish basket, and we were off. Destination- an overgrown set of ponds stuck back in an old cattle pasture. We pulled through the pasture gate around 9 o’clock and could already hear the pond alive with the unmistakable bellows of bullfrogs. We jumped out of the truck, donned our lights, and headed for the water’s edge. I was so excited to try our new frog tactic that I had to keep myself from breaking into an all out sprint.
Once at the shore, we flipped on our lights and the pond came alive with gleaming, beady eyes. We scoured the bank for our first victim. It wasn’t long before we locked in on a nice frog sitting amongst some tall grass about 3 feet off the bank. My buddy took up position behind me and lit the frog up with a spotlight as I crept down the bank to get in better position. I stopped at about 4 yards and drew back, steadied, and squeezed off the shot. Whack! The stillness of the night erupted into chaos as the frog leapt into the water. I ran toward him, almost nose-diving straight into knee deep muck and stagnant water. Clean miss… so we thought. I grabbed the string to pull the arrow in for another attempt and, to my surprise, the frog was on the line. A clean pass through! It worked! It actually worked!!! We tried to control our celebration and laughter as to not scare every frog in the county back into the depths, but failed miserably. We were pumped!
On down the bank we went. A few hours later, we found ourselves wading around in cattails up to our hips in rotten smelling foulness, but still having a ball. As we came around a point, we spotted a monster frog, the biggest of the night, perched atop a stump about five yards away. I was confident in my accuracy at that distance from earlier in the day. Rather than risk scaring him into the depths, I decided to take the shot. Drawing down on him, I let one fly, connected right above his front shoulder and picked him right off the stump. It was text book. We decided to call it a night on that one. Once the tallying was complete I had gone 12 for 15 and my buddy managed to snag a dozen with his gig. What a night! As we headed for the truck we joked that if we got pulled over on the way home the officer would surely regret it as the stench coming from our truck hit him.
It’s these simple pleasures, God’s gift to us that I hold so near and dear to my heart. Everyone might not think of this as the perfect Saturday night, but for those of us who would, no further explanation needed.
As archery season starts across the country, I wish everyone a productive and safe 2013 season, don’t forget to buckle in!
Till next time- Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!