Hunting opportunities abound for the 2014–2015 season with access to more—and better managed—public open space in New Jersey. While the DEP’s Green Acres Program continues to work hard acquiring new properties, our own Fish and Wildlife staff continues to manage our wildlife management areas using approaches that maximize opportunities for wildlife and wildlife-related recreation.
Since 2011, more than 18,000 acres of newly acquired land have been added to New Jersey’s wildlife management area (WMA) inventory, bringing the total area of our 121 WMAs to 345,000 acres. Some notable recent acquisitions include the 5,027-acre Lenape Farms Tract in Atlantic County (this tract is both in Tuckahoe and Maple Lake WMAs), the new 500-acre Pleasant run WMA (former Princeton Nursery property in Burlington, Mercer and Monmouth counties), and the 646 acre Baker/Firestone addition to the Rockaway River WMA in Morris County. All of these new acquisitions are open to the public for hunting, fishing, trapping, bird watching and a host of other wildlife recreational opportunities.
In addition to acquiring land, Fish and Wildlife recently has embarked on numerous large-scale habitat management initiatives destined to increase wildlife recreational opportunities by enhancing habitat conditions for a wide variety of wildlife species, from deer and turkeys to bobcats and songbirds. In the northern part of the state, our forest management efforts have resulted in hundreds of acres of young forest habitat which benefit ruffed grouse, rabbit, woodcock and other species. These management activities also increase habitat diversity and structure which can result in a more challenging, interesting and enjoyable hunting experience. In addition to forest stewardship, habitat management on wildlife management areas in the southern and central portions of the state has focused on grassland and scrub-shrub habitats.
Our wetlands have not been overlooked. Fish and Wildlife has been successful at securing grant money dedicated to improving waterfowl and wading bird habitat for several of our freshwater impoundments. The benefits of this work should be visible over the next year and will provide unique opportunities for waterfowl hunters in New Jersey. Drive around our impoundment system on the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area in Atlantic County and you’ll quickly appreciate the potential that these impoundments offer to waterfowl and waterfowl hunters.
Fish and Wildlife’s commitment to providing opportunities for New Jersey hunters is nowhere more obvious than in our pheasant stocking program. Last year our Rockport Pheasant Farm raised more than 50,000 pheasant which were stocked on 25 wildlife management areas. We expect similar production and stocking numbers for this season and encourage hunters throughout the state to take advantage of this program which offers more stocked birds than any other similar-sized state throughout the northeast. When combined with our quail stocking efforts, hunters are offered a truly impressive upland game bird hunting experience on the properties managed by Fish and Wildlife.
We work hard to provide you with these, and other, hunting opportunities because we are committed to maximizing your enjoyment of New Jersey’s state lands and the wildlife that inhabit them.
I hope that your 2014–2015 hunting season is safe and successful!
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.