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Looking for a new hobby? A new sport? Ever considered frog hunting?

If you were a reader of the Paducah Sun 111 years ago, during the last week of May in 1906, you would have seen three separate articles on three separate days about the increasing popularity of frog hunting in the city.

Paducah, it seems, had amphibian gigging fever. Said the Sun on May 24, 1906, “Frog hunting is the latest sport which local sportsmen have adopted and several thousand frogs have been caught during the past two weeks in ponds, marshes and gravel pits in and about the city.”

The paper included tips on how to catch the frogs:

“The sport gained favor with among railroad shop employees and a patent hook was brought into use in the sport. The hooks work automatically. The frog is “shined” with a lantern and when the light has dazzled his eyes to such an extent that he cannot see the hooks, he is “pinched” and in captivity.”

Recipes for the legs:

“One of the most delicious ways of serving frogs’ legs is to fry them in butter and send them to the table in a Hollandaise sauce. Wash the legs and wipe them with a cloth. Trim of the bones of the claws with a pair of scissors…”

The perils of poaching:

“Poaching on the frog preserves of Dr. W.H. Sanders, of Arcadia, Mr. John Rehkopf and a prominent I.C. railroad shop foreman, had to face a Winchester shotgun, saw their buggy confiscated and were subjected to threatened arrest last night.”

And some tall tales:

“Mr. Bondurant returned to the city with wet clothes and a pair of wrecked frog hooks. He declared that the frog had torn the hooks to pieces, knocked him into the slough, and after accomplishing this had torn down a barbed wire fence, which ran the slough in making his get away. ‘It was the biggest frog I ever saw,’ the popular foreman declared, ‘and we are organizing a posse to go out after him.”

The frog was said to weigh 11 pounds!!

Ribbit.

For more about gigging and shining, visit us in the Local and Family History Department at the McCracken County Public Library.