New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife Back to State of NJ Homepage Back to Fish and Game Homepage Back to DEP Homepage 

JAN. 15-FEB. 15, 1999

October 21, 1998

For more information contact:
Paul Castelli at 609-748-2047

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife reminds hunters that a Special Winter Canada Goose Season will be held from Friday, January 15 to Monday, February 15, 1999 in two areas of the state. The two hunting areas are the same as those open in 1997 and 1998.

New Jersey is home to two populations of Canada geese; resident birds that live here year-round and migrants that breed in sub-arctic regions of Canada during summer and travel south to spend winter in mid-latitude areas, including New Jersey. While the migrant goose population has rebounded substantially since the regular hunting season closure in 1995, it remains below management objectives despite two consecutive years of excellent reproduction. Resident goose populations, on the other hand, continue to grow, along with goose-related property damage. The special winter season will help to curb this expanding resident population.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which is the agency with ultimate management authority for migratory game birds, has suspended the traditional Canada goose season in key migration and wintering areas in the Atlantic Flyway since 1995 to protect the migrant Canada goose population. Even though the migrant goose population has increased since 1995, their numbers still remain below population objectives. In fact, the migrant population is still only half of that observed in 1988, a point when the migrant population was already in serious decline. The future outlook for this population is encouraging, however, as migrant geese experienced the best breeding conditions in over a decade during 1997 and then again in 1998. Despite the regular hunting season closure, special hunting seasons that target resident Canada geese are permitted, and as a result, New Jersey's only alternative to manage expanding resident goose populations is through special September and winter seasons.

After careful review of the biological information available including neckband observations, leg band recoveries and measurements of geese in the field, the two winter season areas were chosen because they primarily contain resident Canada geese with relatively low proportions of migrants. The USFWS has set criteria that individual states must meet in order to hold special winter seasons. The special hunt areas chosen are the only areas of New Jersey where the number of wintering migrant geese is relatively small and thereby meet USFWS criteria for special winter Canada goose seasons.

Special winter seasons were first held in northern New Jersey in 1995 with a harvest of 840 geese. During the 1999 winter season, an estimated harvest of about 5,300 geese is expected similar to that experienced during the last two years.

Boundaries of both hunt areas will be the same as in 1998. "Unlike the special September Canada goose season which was held statewide, the special winter season has distinct boundaries. The hunt areas are bounded by rivers and roads. Sportsmen and women are reminded to check the hunt area boundaries carefully before hunting," advised Rob Winkel, chief of the Division's Bureau of Law Enforcement.

Hunters must possess a Special Winter Canada Goose Season Permit while hunting during this season. The permit can be obtained by sending a 3" X 5" index card with the applicant's name, full mailing address, EVENING telephone number (with area code) and date of birth to:

NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife
PO Box 400
Trenton, NJ 08625-0400
Attention: Winter Goose Permits
Be sure to write "1999 Winter Canada Goose Season" on the top of the index card. Hunters not providing the required information may be denied permits. A processing fee of $2 must also accompany this information. Checks or money orders (do not send cash) should be made payable to the NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife. Applications should be postmarked by December 15, 1998. The permit is valid for both hunting areas.

The daily bag limit for this season is 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.

All migratory bird hunters, including winter Canada goose season hunters, are reminded that they must obtain a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number by calling 1-800-WETLANDS before hunting. Note that HIP numbers obtained during 1998 are valid until the end of the hunting season on March 10, 1999.

There are two separate hunt areas for this season. Hunt area descriptions are as follows:

For the north, it is that portion of New Jersey within a continuous line that runs east along the New York State boundary line to the Hudson River; then south along the New York State boundary to its intersection with Route 440 at Perth Amboy; then west on Route 440 to its intersection with Route 287; then west along Route 287 to its intersection with Route 206 in Bedminster (Exit 18); then north along Route 206 to its intersection with Route 94; then west along Route 94 to the toll bridge in Columbia; then north along the Pennsylvania State boundary in the Delaware River to the beginning point.

For the south, it is that portion of New Jersey within a continuous line that runs west from the Atlantic Ocean at Ship Bottom along Route 72 to the Garden State Parkway; then south along the Garden State Parkway to Route 9; then south along Route 9 to Route 542; then west along Route 542 to the Mullica River (at Pleasant Mills); then north (up-stream) along the Mullica River to Route 206; then south along Route 206 to Route 536; then west along Route 536 to Route 322; then west along Route 322 to Route 55; then south along Route 55 to Route 553 (Buck Rd.); then south along Route 553 to Route 40; then east along Route 40 to Route 55; then south along Route 55 to Route 552 (Sherman Ave.); then west along Route 552 to Carmel Rd; then south along Carmel Rd to Route 49; then east along Route 49 to Route 50; then east along Route 50 to Route 9; then south along Route 9 to Route 625 (Sea Isle City Blvd.); then east along Route 625 to the Atlantic Ocean; then north to the beginning point.