Small Game Season Opens Saturday, November 12 in New Jersey

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The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters that the 2011-12 small game firearm seasons for pheasant, chukar, bobwhite quail (see below), ruffed grouse (south of Route 70) and woodcock (south of Route 70) open at 8:00 AM on Saturday, November 12. Small game seasons for several other species have already opened.

Hunters should review current regulations, season exceptions and bag limits in the 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Digest (specifically page 65) for information regarding the specific season(s) they wish to hunt. A summary of small game hunting season information can also be accessed at www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2011/smgame_summary11-12.pdf (pdf, 80kb).

A current and valid hunting license (bow and arrow, firearm or all-around sportsman) is required to pursue any small game species. Properly licensed hunters may hunt small game with shotgun, muzzleloader or bow and arrow (including crossbow). Firearm hunting is prohibited November 11 on state Wildlife Management Areas designated as Pheasant and Quail Stamp Areas to allow for stocking (except in tidal marshes open to an on-going waterfowl season).

SMALL GAME SEASON INFORMATION AND UPDATES

  • Small game species such as coyote, eastern gray squirrel, gray fox, opossum, rabbits, raccoon, red fox and woodchuck remain at healthy population levels throughout New Jersey, and should provide excellent hunting opportunities for Garden State sportsmen and sportswomen.
  • The firearm / bow and arrow hunting season for coyote and foxes has been extended from President's Day to March 15. See page 62 of the 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Digest for further details, or access information online at: www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2011/dighnt56-69.pdf (pdf, 1.7mb).
  • The Rockport Game Farm sustained severe damage from the significant snow storm on October 29. Although this event will affect the number of pheasants that will be stocked on State Wildlife Management Areas, there will be no reduction in the number of Wildlife Management Areas stocked nor will there be a reduction in the number of pheasants stocked on Saturdays, up to and including Thanksgiving. However, the Division may not be able to stock as many weekdays or as many pheasants on weekdays as in previous years. The Division of Fish and Wildlife will keep hunters and the media informed through listserv messages and updates posted on its website at www.njfishandwildlife.com.

    The 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Digest contains a listing of the stocked WMAs and the dates for stocking on page 64, which can also be accessed at: www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2011/dighnt56-69.pdf (pdf, 1.7mb). (See www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2011/rockportdamage.htm for information about the "Refuge" status conferred on approximately 380 acres of the Rockport Wildlife Management Area, effective immediately, closing those acres to hunting.)

  • Northern bobwhite quail are native to the southern half of New Jersey. In recent years, quail populations have declined throughout their range including New Jersey. As part of a comprehensive effort to reverse this decline the bobwhite quail season is closed statewide except for the Peaslee and Greenwood Wildlife Management Areas where the Division of Fish and Wildlife will purchase and stock 11,000 birds in total. Quail may also be pursued at properly licensed semi-wild and commercial shooting preserves.

    Quail are an integral part of New Jersey's natural landscape and their decline should be of concern to everyone. Therefore, as part of an ongoing educational effort the Division of Fish and Wildlife has recently announced the release of the updated Bobwhite Basics brochure. Originally published in May 2003, the updated version is a handy reference tool on Habitat Basics, Nesting, Brood Habitat, Fall/Winter Activities, Foods, Management and Bobwhite Facts.

    A hard copy of the brochure can be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped ($0.44) #10 envelope to NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bobwhite Basics Brochure, PO Box 418, Port Republic, NJ 08241-0418.

    For a pdf version, visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/bobwhitebasics.pdf (pdf, 1.0mb) on the division's website.