Fish and Game Council Approves Changes to Game Code
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife announced the Fish and Game Council’s approved changes to the 2004-05 Game Code. The Fish and Game Council is responsible for adopting annual revisions to the Game Code including season dates, bag limits, permit quotas, hunting procedures and other hunting and trapping regulation changes.
A summary of significant changes to the 2004-05 Game Code follows. Hunters should refer to the August hunting issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest when available for additional information.
Daily Bag Limit For Pheasant, Chukar Partridge and Quail On Semi-wild Shooting Preserves
The daily bag limits for pheasant, chukar partridge and quail stocked on licensed Semi-wild Shooting Preserves are clarified in the 2004-05 Game Code and made consistent with Division policy. New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.A. 23:3-28 to 3-39) do not clearly specify a daily bag limit for pheasant, chukar partridge and quail stocked on licensed Semi-wild Shooting Preserves. However, the Division policy regarding daily bag limits on Semi-wild Shooting Preserves has always been to not restrict the harvest with regard to sex or daily limit as the statutes allow for Commercial Shooting Preserves. The Game Code is amended to indicate that there is no daily bag limit for pheasants, chukar partridge and quail on licensed Semi-wild Shooting Preserves. In addition regarding pheasants, birds of either sex may be taken on these preserves. The total season harvest for pheasant, chukar partridge and quail on a Semi-wild Shooting Preserve may not exceed the number scheduled for release on the Semi-wild Shooting Preserve application. The regular season bag limits for these species remain unchanged.
For the Permit Black Bear Hunting Season, the season dates are adjusted for the calendar year 2004. The 2003 season was the first season held in the state since 1970 and proved to be safe and effective with no hunting accidents reported. A total of 328 black bears were taken by 5,450 permittees. The black bear management strategy is based on biological data collected as a result of the season and will maximize the recreational and economic benefits of the state’s renewable bear resource.
In the beaver trapping section, the regular beaver permit quotas are increased from 175 permits to 186 permits and the site specific permit quota is decreased from 20 to 14. Regular beaver permit quotas are increased in beaver management Zones 2 (by 8 permits) and 25 (by 2 permits) based on field surveys, and in Zone 28 (by 1 permit) based on nuisance/damage reports. The increase in the regular permit quota will increase recreational opportunity for up to 11 individuals and will enhance efforts to manage local beaver populations. The number of site specific permits is reduced (by 6 permits) because a New Jersey State Statute (N.J.S.A. 23:4-55) limits the number of permits that may be issued annually to 200 permits total, and only six or fewer site specific permits have been issued in recent years.
Exception for Lead Shot Eliminated
The exception that allows lead shot to be used for hunting coot, snipe, rail or gallinule prior to the opening of the regular waterfowl hunting season is eliminated. Federally approved, non-toxic shot is required at all times for hunting these species. The exception was previously allowed due to the unavailability of non-toxic shot in the small sizes and gauges needed for hunting the above species. Availability of a non-toxic shot in most sizes and commonly used gauges has increased significantly so that the exception is no longer warranted.
At the request of the Jersey Falconry Club, eyass or nestling goshawks legally taken from the wild from other states in accordance with applicable state and Federal regulations may be possessed and used in the sport of falconry in New Jersey by General Class and Master Class falconers. The taking of nestling goshawks from the wild in New Jersey will continue to be prohibited. Also at the request of falconers, rules regarding falconry hunting on Sundays are clarified. The hunting of pheasants, rabbits, chukar partridge, quail, squirrels and woodchuck on Sundays with raptors is permitted during the prescribed seasons. However, the hunting of waterfowl with raptors on Sundays is prohibited since Sundays are not included in the New Jersey waterfowl season framework
Wildlife Control Options Expanded for Authorized Federal Personnel
At the request of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Unit and United States Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, regulations are modified to allow Federal Government employees to use rifles to control nuisance or problem wildlife. Using rifles of a designated caliber and type is allowed when authorized by the Division of Fish and Wildlife Director and under a State of New Jersey Depredation Control Permit, Special Wildlife Permit and/or a Federal Fish and Wildlife permit that is co-signed by the Division. Caliber and type of rifles are specified on the permit and may include .22 caliber rifles, other caliber rifles or an air rifle of .22 caliber or smaller. Use of rifles is anticipated to include controlling migratory birds and mammals causing damage to crops or posing a threat to public health or safety on areas such as airport runways or due to a special reason such as controlling predators that threaten an endangered species. This change will provide additional management tools to authorized Federal personnel that will be more effective and less of a noise disturbance to the public.
Deer hunting seasons’ duration, dates, bag limits and permit quotas are adjusted where necessary to achieve specific zone management strategies, while maximizing the recreational and economic benefits of the state’s renewable deer resource.
Summary of Deer Management Strategies: This year, a deer management strategy of population reduction is planned for 61.6 percent of the deer range in order to lessen economic losses associated with deer damage to landscape plantings or gardens, agricultural crops and deer/vehicle collisions. Zones with a strategy to decrease the deer population include: 2, 4, 7-19, 22, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, 34, 36, 38-42, 47, 49-51, 53-55, and 64-67. The deer management strategies for zones 2, 30, 34 and 66 were changed from stabilization in 2003-04 to decrease in 2004-05, because 2003-04 harvest information indicated that the deer populations are above goal levels.
A deer management strategy of deer population stabilization is planned for 36.8 percent of the deer range including zones: 3, 5, 6, 21, 23, 24, 27, 29, 35, 37, 43, 45, 46, 48, 52, 56-59, 61 and 63. Deer-human conflicts are minimal and the deer population is within the biological carrying capacity of the land in these zones (the area is able to support/sustain a healthy deer population).
Zone 1, which includes 1.6 percent of the deer range, has a population increase strategy for the current year. The strategy was changed from stabilization in 2003-04 to increase in 2004-05 in order to allow for a small population increase. The population level is below the goal level based on the past year’s deer harvest.
Permit Bow Season: At the request of sportsmen, the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week (November 22-24, 2004 and November 21-23, 2005) are reinstated as hunting days, except in Zones 7-15, 36, 41, 49, 50 and 51 (earn-a-buck zones) which will remain closed. The earn-a-buck zones will remain closed to avoid conflict with the Shotgun and Muzzleloader Permit Deer seasons, where hunters are restricted to harvesting antlerless deer.
Permit Shotgun Season: In the Permit Shotgun Deer Season section the season length is increased from one day to three days and the bag limit is increased from one deer to two deer (two antlerless or one antlered and one antlerless) for Zone 18. This change will help to achieve the deer harvest objective and increase recreational opportunity for shotgun hunters who hunt in the zone.
Special Management Areas: Many of the changes within the deer hunting seasons sections involve minor adjustments to season dates, bag limits and permit quotas on special deer management zones that were requested by the respective administrative agencies for these areas. Areas include: Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge/U.S. Department of the Interior (Zone 38); Earle Naval Weapons Station/U.S. Department of the Navy (Zones 39 and 40); Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Center/U.S. Department of the Navy (Zone 53); Picatinny Arsenal/U.S. Department of the Army (Zone 54); Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge/U.S. Department of the Interior (Zone 59); and the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center (Zone 66).