The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife reminds hunters that the application period for obtaining a 1997 Special September Canada Goose Season Permit is July 1-31. This year, the season begins on Tuesday, September 2.
"Although resident Canada geese are a tremendously valuable wildlife resource, recent increases in their population have led to increased nuisance problems such as reduced water quality and lawn/crop damage in some areas of the state," said division Director Bob McDowell. "The special September season helps curb these ever- increasing resident populations without negatively impacting migrant geese whose numbers remain at critically low levels."
Unfortunately, the closing date of the September season is unknown at this time. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which is the agency with ultimate management authority for migratory game birds, currently allows New Jersey to hold this season until September 30. In February, the division submitted a proposal to extend this season until Saturday, October 4, but the USFWS is not expected to make a final decision on the closing date until mid-July.
According to Division Director Bob McDowell, New Jersey hunters may experience one of the longest September Canada goose hunting seasons in the United States. "As a result of long term, intensive scientific research and population monitoring conducted and financed through the division, we have the necessary information to support a longer hunting season than most other states. Research indicates that few migrant Canada geese are present in New Jersey before October 5th. As a result, the September season should have little impact on critically low migrating arctic populations while allowing the division to offer increased recreational hunting opportunities for resident geese and provide greater relief to farmers and other landowners experiencing crop depredation and nuisance problems."
Hunters must possess a Special September Canada Goose Season Permit while hunting during this season. The permit allows hunters to record valuable harvest information that will later be used by the division to enhance existing management strategies for resident geese.
The permit can be obtained by sending a 3"x 5" index card with the applicant's name, full mailing address, EVENING telephone number and date of birth to:
NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife
P.O. Box 400
Trenton, NJ 08625-0400
Hunters not providing the required information may be denied permits. A processing fee of $2 (checks or money orders payable to the NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife only) must also accompany this information. Please do not send cash. Applicants are encouraged to mail their applications early, as all applications must be postmarked by July 31, 1997. Hunters should receive their permits in the mail by late August.
The daily bag limit for this season will be five Canada geese per person per day. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily. All other pertinent federal and state waterfowl hunting regulations apply.