Story by Tom Pagliaroli

 

Let It Snow...Geese!

One door closes and another opens, as in tomorrow’s (Friday) closure of the snow and light goose seasons, and Saturday’s opening of the Snow Goose/Light Goose Conservation Order which extends through April 6.

This is a no-holds-barred effort to continue reducing the numbers of these over-abundant grass pullers that continue damaging nesting habitat in eastern Canada that also serves to put the squeeze on other waterfowl species. In New Jersey, they feed heavily on spartina grasses along the Delaware Bay marshlands, most notably Salem and Cumberland counties, while also wreaking havoc with farmers as they pull up and consume young winter wheat, roots and all.

Farther north in Warren County they feed heavily on waste grain and also put the bills to anything green, primarily grasses but also winter wheat where it’s been planted.

Here’s the dealio: unplugged shotguns capable of holding no more than seven shells (including chamber and magazine) are permitted, electronic callers allowed, legal shooting hours half-hour before sunrise to half-hour after sunset, and no bag limit.

Sounds great, but these are the wariest of wildfowl, and to be successful it’s necessary to scout and pattern flights of flocks and employ anywhere from 100 to 300-plus decoys. No kidding.

Besides a 2019 license, be sure to have the HIP number, federal and state duck stamps in possession in addition to the $2 NJ Light Goose Conservation Order permit. The latter can be obtained online at www.njfishandwildlife.com or by sending a $2 check or money order along with a photocopy of your 2019 hunting or all-around license showing DOB and Conservation ID number, and daytime phone number in a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Light Goose Permit, NJ Div. Fish & Wildlife, MC501-03, PO Box 420, Trenton, NJ 08625-0420.

Elenathewise

Boat Show Go: The boat show season is underway, and with the economy still in boom mode, including a robust 4% growth in powerboat sales last year (NJ ranks 6th nationwide for recreational boating activity at $6.6  billion) and all sorts of incentives being offered by manufacturers as well as the reduced 3.5% state sales tax on new and used vessels, this may well be the time to sign on the dotted line.

The monstrous Atlantic City Boat Show runs February 27-March 3 and the Atlantic City Convention Center, but today (Thursday) through Sunday it’s the smaller-but-loaded New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo being held at the easy-to-reach NJ Convention & Expo Center, 97 Sunfield Ave. in Edison. Everything from gutsy back bay center consoles to cushy cruisers to offshore tuna-chasers to luxurious and tricked-out pontoon and tri-toon boats can be seen, including jet skis and wave runners, and for sure it’s wheel ‘n deal time. In addition, there is an outstanding roster of seminars presented by The Fisherman Magazine. Show hours are: Thursday and Friday noon-8pm; Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.  Admission is $10 with no fee for youngsters 16 and under. Parking is free.

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