Survival Survival Skills

Survival Skills: How to Build Your Own Frog Gig

Gigging frogs is a summer tradition in some of the swampier parts of the world, and each season, many a “gigger” answers the siren song (or croak, in this case) of the humble bullfrog and its kin. But how can we take up the art of gigging when we’re caught without our equipment in the field? Could we really make this specialized spear head from scratch during a wetland survival emergency?

The answer is yes, and here’s how.

Find a sapling tree with opposite branches. Common genera of trees that do this are maple, ash and dogwood. These trees have opposing leaves and branches, which allow them to have a natural “trident” at the end. If these types of trees are not available, then find the closest thing to them. Select a sapling that is a bit thicker than your thumb and as long as you are tall. It should have a sturdy forked end. This gives you the spearhead and spear shaft all in one piece.

Cut away any twigs and branches that do not add to the trident nature of the spear. Carve a point on each of the three trident prongs. Then carve a notch just underneath the prong points, to help keep squirming frogs on the spearhead. The easiest way to cut a prong notch is to cut an “X” into the side of the prong and then carve away the sides and bottom section of the “X”. Leave the top section of the “X” intact and this naturally creates a barb.

Add some final touches, like tying the prongs together with a bit of 550 cord should they be spread out too wide. You could also fire-harden the sharp tips to make them more durable. This is done by toasting the wood near a fire (but not close enough to melt the cord). And then do a final sharpening by carving on the prong points.

It’s time to go gigging! Take a flashlight (or torch) into a wetland area at night. Listen for the frog’s croaking and look for the shine of their eyes. Take aim and thrust. If you strike true, you’ll be rewarded with a fat croaker to turn into drumsticks. And yes, frogs do taste kinda like chicken. Give it a try if you haven’t yet.

Have you ever made your own frog gig? Do you gig for frogs as a family tradition? Let us know by leaving a comment.