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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2011

Contact: Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Kerry Kirk Pflugh     (609) 984-1795
                                                                                         Al Ivany                      (908) 319-2456


ROCKPORT PHEASANT FARM SUFFERS SEVERE DAMAGE AS A RESULT OF
OCTOBER SNOWSTORM

(11/P130) TRENTON - The Rockport Pheasant Farm in Warren County, which is operated by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, sustained severe damage from the snow that blanketed the northern third of the state on October 29. The 35 acres of range pens where pheasants were being held were heavily damaged by the weight of the snow despite efforts by game farm staff to prepare for the storm.

Rockport staff and Fish and Wildlife personnel from throughout the state are now working to stabilize the situation by capturing escaped birds, freeing others trapped in snow collapsed pens and repairing damaged pens. The response effort is expected to continue throughout this week.

At this time, the number of pheasants that perished or escaped is not known. The number of pheasants lost to the storm damage and the impact of those losses on this year’s stocking schedule will be made public when the response effort is concluded. The game farm had approximately 55,000 birds when the storm struck.

To minimize disturbance at the site and to facilitate the capture of escaped pheasants, Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Chanda, has given “refuge” status to approximately 380 acres of the Rockport Wildlife Management Area, effective immediately.

A map of the closed portion of the WMA is posted on http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2011/rockportdamage.htm  and includes the parcels on either side of Rockport Road continuous with the game farm buildings and pens upslope to and including the power line right of way. The order precludes hunting of any kind in that area and will remain in effect until the pens have been repaired and as many pheasants as possible have been recaptured.

Although this event will reduce the number of pheasants that can be stocked at each state wildlife management area, there should be no reduction in the number of WMAs that receive pheasants statewide, 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 pheasants on weekdays as in previous years. Hunters and the media will be kept informed as more information becomes available through listserv messages and updates posted at www.njfishandwildlife.com .

For more information on the Rockport Pheasant Farm, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/rockport.htm

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Last Updated: October 21, 2011