November 4, 2002
SMALL GAME SEASON PROSPECTS
The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters that the 2002 New Jersey small game season for pheasant, bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbit, red fox and coyote will open November 9. Hunters should review current regulations and season exceptions in the August issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest (specifically pages 49-52) which is available at license agents statewide and on the Division's website at www.njfishandwildlife.com.PHEASANT & QUAIL
This year, approximately 50,000 birds will be stocked on 23 wildlife management areas (WMAs) throughout the State in addition to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Stocking will begin in early November prior to the opening day of the pheasant season, November 9, and continue until December 31. Hunters should note that a Pheasant and Quail Stamp is required on designated areas (see Digest page 50) in addition to the regular firearm hunting license. The cost for the stamp is $40 which provides more than six weeks of hunting birds that are stocked three days each week on most of the 23 WMAs. This stocking regimen amounts to 17 stocking days at a cost of $2.35 per stocking day to the individual hunter. For $2.35 per day the stamp buyer gets a place to hunt that has been stocked with one of America's finest strains of game farm pheasants. In addition to this, the pheasant/quail stamp provides the opportunity to pursue 11,000 quail that are purchased and stocked on 17 days spread over two months. The quail are stocked on two South Jersey WMAs, Peaslee and Greenwood Forest, where portions of the areas are managed specifically for quail.COYOTES
Coyotes have been sighted in all of New Jersey's 21 counties in nearly 250 municipalities. Their population, estimated at less than 100 in 1975, is currently estimated at 3,000 animals.
Last year, 23 coyotes were harvested during the various hunting seasons, which included hunting with bow and arrow (3), shotgun (16) and muzzleloader (4). As shown by these harvest figures, coyotes have excellent senses of sight, smell and hearing, making them extremely wary and challenging to harvest. Hunters should note that all harvested coyotes must be reported to a Division law enforcement office within 24 hours (North: 908-735-8240; Central: 609-259-2120; South: 856-629-0555). Individuals are also encouraged to report coyote sightings by completing the form found on the Division's website.GENERAL REGULATIONS
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 shotguns or bow and arrow. Shotguns may be no larger than 10 gauge and hold no more than three shells. Shot size may be no larger than #4 fine shot. Coyote and fox hunters should check the Digest (page 49) for additional information on sporting arms and ammunition. Compound bows must have a minimum peak weight of 35 pounds. All other bows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds.HUNTING HOURS
Sportsmen and women should note that hunting hours for the above species (except coyote and fox) are sunrise to ½ hour after sunset except on opening day, November 9, when legal hours begin at 8 a.m. and continue to ½ hour past sunset. Hunting hours for coyote and fox are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset except on opening day (11/9), when legal hours are 8 a.m. to ½ hour after sunset.BAG LIMITS
Bag limits are as follows:
4 cottontail rabbits
2 pheasants (Note: the daily bag limit is two pheasants of either-sex in Pheasant Hunting Zones 1 and 3, on all wildlife management areas and on Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station. The daily bag limit is 2 male pheasants in Pheasant Hunting Zone 2. A description of Pheasant Hunting Zones can be found on page 50 of the Digest. There are exceptions for semi-wild and commercial preserves.)
SPECIAL NOTE: Woodcock hunters should note that the woodcock season is closed in the south zone on the opening day and during the first week of the small game season. The late calendar date of Thanksgiving and the limited number of season splits allowed for woodcock under federal regulations are the reasons for this change.