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Pheasant Season Opener Update: Return of the "Rockport Rockets"

November 8, 2007

2007 Pheasant Distribution Schedule (pdf, 9kb)

The NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) reminds hunters that the 2007-08 small game season, including pheasants, opens at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 10. Bob Carr, Superintendent of DFW’s Rockport Pheasant Farm, reports that this year 60,000 pheasants are ready for stocking on 25 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) statewide. The birds are the result of fourteen hatches staggered through the spring and early summer. The pheasants have been raised to stocking age in 34 acres of outdoor pens under the protection of a thick cover of sorghum. This year’s production of 60,000 birds will be a record for the farm.

Rockport pheasantThe birds raised at the Rockport facility are a special strain of pheasant developed by game farm personnel who select breeding individuals to get the best combination of strong flying and overall attractive appearance. The birds are a blend of the English Ring-necked Pheasant, the Korean Green Pheasant, the Mongolian Pheasant, and Black Necked Pheasant. Because the Rockport pheasants have been bred to select for the best traits of each breed, they hold well for bird dogs, have a heart-stopping explosive flight and sport a remarkably handsome appearance. Among those who hunt them, their rapid flight has earned them the well-deserved name of “Rockport Rockets”.

Birds are currently being stocked for the pheasant season opener on November 10. DFW has scheduled 15 stockings for the statewide WMAs. The last stocking will be for the Saturday before New Years’ Day, December 29. These stockings provide almost two months of opportunity for the upland hunter.

Information on the WMAs and stocking dates can be found in the NJ Fish and Wildlife Digest, August 2007 Hunting Season Edition (page 60) and on DFW’s Web site at (pdf, 9kb).

To hunt for pheasants on the stocked WMAs, the hunter must have a pheasant stamp in possession in addition to the regular firearm-hunting license. The cost for the pheasant stamp is $40. For this fee the hunter receives almost 2 months of hunting, with birds being stocked three days each week on the WMAs. This program is a true bargain. For about $2.50 per stocking day, the stamp buyer gets a place to hunt that has been stocked with one of America's finest strains of game farm pheasant.

If crowding is a concern, you can hunt after lunchtime (by then most hunters have gone) or on off days (when birds are not stocked). DFW surveys show that opening time hunters on stocking days take only 50% of the birds that were stocked for that day. As a result birds remain available to provide interesting hunting to afternoon hunters and those hunting non-stocking days. So take advantage of this quality hunting experience at a bargain price. Purchase a pheasant stamp this season and enjoy one of New Jersey’s unique hunting experiences.

As a reminder, DFW also is looking for hunters to cooperate in an on-going study aimed at monitoring upland game bird populations. The study, referred to as the "Upland Game Bird Hunter Log," involves hunters keeping a daily diary or "log" of their bird hunting activity and success.

Participants enter information such as date and location of hunt, the number of hours hunted, the specie of interest, the number of birds flushed, and the number of birds harvested. The primary purpose of the log is to monitor the number of birds flushed per hour of hunting. Changes in the flush rate help to illustrate trends in bird populations when viewed over a long period of time.

This will be the fourth year that DFW has conducted the Upland Game Bird Hunter Log. To learn more and become involved, visit DFW’s web page and go to

Hunters should review current regulations, season exceptions and bag limits in the August issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest (specifically pages 59-62), available at license agents statewide and on the Division's Web site at

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P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: November 8, 2007