Story by Tom Pagliaroli


Ducks in Flux

With all the attention being given to the last of the “doe days” and the upcoming winter bow deer season, what is lost in the mix, and thankfully for a coterie of the committed, is that the south and coastal zone duck and goose seasons are in play.

Predicated on location, the gunning is bordering on fast, and then fast and furious.

Ducks are the main vein game...geese get the full field and marsh hunting pressure the first weeks into the New Year.

It runs the gamut from puddler species, mainly black ducks and mallards, then teal, widgeon and gadwalls, to divers like canvasbacks, shovelers, ringnecks, goldeneyes (whistlers), redheads, buffleheads (butterballs) and scaup (bluebills and broadbills).

In the South Zone, the duck season extends through January 17, the Canada goose season through January 19. The daily duck limit is 6, the goose bag 3. Check page 68 of the 2018-19 Hunting Digest for the duck species breakdown, i.e. “no more than two black ducks”, etc.

The daily Canada goose limit is three.

The Coastal Zone season runs through January 26. Duck limits are the same, but the daily bag for Canada geese is five.

Snow geese, although showing on an increasing basis, are best left for the middle of January through the February 15 closure, and then again from the February 16- April 6 “Conservation Order” season. More about this in a later blog.

Right now, the limit on snows is 25 birds.

Pheasants And Quail Forever: And the gamebird bonanzas continue.

For this Saturday and next Tuesday (12/18), the respective numbers of pheasants released on the Wildlife Management Areas in The Hawk listening area will be: Manasquan (70, 70); Assunpink (210, 210); Colliers Mills (130, 130); Howardsville (30, 30); Stafford Forge (100, 100), Manahawkin (30, 30) and Medford (50,50).

The Greenwood Forest and Peaslee tracts will each receive 260 bobwhite quail for Saturday and 400 for Tuesday.

Togflamation: To describe the blackfish (tog) bite as being on fire would be an understatement. “Inferno” is more like it, but with the bottom water temperatures slipping daily to the 40-degree “no munch” zone, it behooves those who enjoy the bull dog pull and the ultimate sweet white meat fillets to hop on a party or charter boat while the tog still have the feed bags affixed.

Top Hawk listening area charter boats include the Robin Ann (Barnegat Light): 609-879-5269 and the Mary M IV: 609-618-1962.

Party boats are the Jamaica II (Point Pleasant): 732-618-1241, and The Capt. Cal II (Belmar): 732-997-2020.

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