wikiHow to Catch a Bullfrog

Catching a bullfrog is a challenging summertime activity in North America. Bullfrogs can make an excellent meal. It's a prey that require stealth and strategy to catch, but one that is also completely harmless. Remember to respect your quarry with careful handling.


  1. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 1
    Find a good bullfrog habitat. Bullfrogs dwell in freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. They will tend to live where there is a tree canopy, cover such as cattails, and little to no current. Bullfrogs make a distinctive low-toned bass-like call, (sounds like a low "Ru-u-umm - Ru-u-umm").
  2. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 2
    Choose your tools. Bullfrogs can be caught bare-handed. However, you may want to consider other tools:
    • A net (such as a fishing net). One with a longer pole will work best!
    • A flashlight: The brighter the better. If you're hunting at night, you can use a flashlight to "jack" your bullfrog.
    • A line and hook: Usually a fishing fly lure without a barb, the fishing lure imitates an insect. The frog eats it, and becomes easily caught.
    • A container: If you're transporting the frog, consider what to put your amphibian in. A large plastic bucket will do, but bullfrogs can jump out unless there's a lid. (Bullfrogs are stronger than other common North American frogs). A bait bucket is an excellent choice as well.
    • A frog hotel: If you are planning to have your bullfrog visit a while, be sure to have a temporary habitat that can be set up for it. An aquarium with a secure lid is ideal. Remember that a bullfrog can jump up and knock off a lid that is not secured or weighed down.
  3. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 3
    Search for bullfrogs. When approaching frog habitat, move slowly and quietly. Stop and pause occasionally, as you are likely to spot frogs more easily if you search for movement on the banks or in the river.
  4. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 4
    Stalk your bullfrog. When you find a bullfrog, continue to move quietly and slowly. Bullfrogs react strongly to movement. Also, you may stumble on a closer bullfrog. Be careful and try to approach from the blind spot in the center of the back of the head. Remember, bullfrogs will jump at the first sign of trouble!
  5. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 5
    Position yourself for the pounce. After all this slow movement, be ready to pounce to catch your bullfrog. tighten up your leg muscles and get ready to spring forward (like you've seen your cat do when attacking a pipe-cleaner). You will probably only get one chance.
    • If you are "jacking" a bullfrog, blind it. "Jacking" a bullfrog means using a strong flashlight directed at the frog's eyes (they shine the light back) at night. Blinded, the frog is easy to catch.
  6. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 6
    Use the line and hook method. If you are baiting your frog, dangle your lure in front of the bullfrog and do your best insect impression. Be patient -bullfrogs usually do not bite right away.
  7. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 7
    Grasp the bullfrog firmly but gently. After grabbing or netting your frog, handle the frog with the same pressure as a bar of soap.
  8. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 8
    Hold the bullfrog properly. Hold the bullfrog by grasping around the "upper thighs" with its legs together. This position minimizes chance of injury, while making it difficult for the critter to get away.
  9. Image titled Catch a Bullfrog Step 9
    Be kind to your web-footed friend. Now that you've caught your bullfrog, treat it humanely.
    • Bullfrogs seldom thrive in captivity, even with proper food, housing, environment, and so on. (Usually they just refuse to eat). The one possible exception is if a bullfrog is provided with a large outdoor pond.
    • If you choose to keep it for a while (a week at most), be sure to set up a safe, comfortable habitat for it, such as with a temporary terrarium. Keep it moist, cool, and out of the sun, and protected from dogs, cats, wild predators (like raccoons) and small children. If you want to return the frog, release it in the same place you caught it, (lake, stream, river, etc.) Let the frog go near the place you found it so he can thrive in a familiar habitat.


  • Frogs are likely to swim downwards when panicked, so try to scoop up with a net when hunting in the water rather than bringing it downwards.
  • Bullfrogs live longer than other North American frogs, so they tend to be more intelligent than their smaller cousins.
  • It's always easier to capture frogs on land than in the water, with or without a net.
  • Never grab a bullfrog (or any frog) by the legs. - It could cause a fracture.
  • Bullfrogs do not have particularly long memories - so if you fail, try coming back in a few hours and try again.
  • Remember, frogs have small hard to see teeth which can hurt soft or sensitive skin. It feels like a hardly noticeable pinch.
  • Leave your dog at home. Most dogs will simply scare all the wildlife away.
  • Use insect repellent when hunting. Frogs thrive where there are mosquitoes, chiggers, and black flies.
  • Bullfrogs are most active dawn and dusk. They usually seek shade in the mid-day sun.
  • Bullfrogs will scream when they are in distress (the scream sounds like a crying baby). If your bullfrog does this, release it immediately.


  • Don't wear any sunscreen or bug spray on your hands. Not only will it make your hands slippery, it will harm the frogs because they will absorb the chemicals through their skin.
  • Make sure that what you are catching is in fact a bullfrog, and not some endangered frog that resides in your state!
  • Respect property rights and posted areas while out in your hunts.
  • Be careful of sharp rocks or hidden dangers such as tree limbs, glass, or metal.
  • Snakes tend to live near frogs so be careful some snakes are venomous.
  • Be aware of any endangered or dangerous animals in your state.

Article Info

Categories: Frogs