Pheasants Galore in Store
Story by Tom Pagliaroli
The beyond-eagerly anticipated ringneck pheasant season commences at 8 am Saturday, and stocking of 23 select wildlife management areas (WMAs) in the northern, central and southern sections of the Garden State, as well as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Sussex and Warren counties) and Fort Dix (Ocean County) is underway.
Bobwhite quail are liberated on the Peaslee wildlife management area (Cumberland County) and the Greenwood Forest wildlife management area (Ocean County).
Both schedules include thrice weekly releases for gunning every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through Saturday, December 29.
Those who eschew crowds and hunt the “off days” Monday, Wednesday and Friday will enjoy a quality (read: no crowds) hunting experience, especially if they enjoy the employ of a trained bird dog.
When all is said and done, it’s expected that 45,080 ringnecks and 11,000 bobs will have been released. The birds are in excellent condition and certainly rival those released on the high dollar private hunting preserves.
For pheasants, those WMAs in the 105.7 The Hawk listening area will be receiving the following numbers of birds for Saturday and next Tuesday and Thursday: Assunpink- 500, 250 and 250; Colliers Mills- 310, 160 and 160; Howardsville- 80, 40 and 40; Manasquan- 180, 90 and 90; Manahawkin- (70, 40 and 40; Medford- 130, 70 and 70; and Stafford Forge- 180, 90 and 90.
For quail, both Peaslee and Greenwood Forest will each be dosed with 600, 280 and 260.
Besides a hunting license, a $40 Pheasant & Quail Stamp must be in possession. After Saturday, legal hunting hours are sunrise to half-hour after sunset. The daily limit is two pheasants of either sex, Four is the max bag for quail.
Surf Stripers Showing: It took a while, but it’s safe to say that the autumn run of stripers along the beaches is underway. From Seaside down through Ship Bottom and stretching southward to Holgate, there are bass in the suds inhaling wads of fresh and salted clams, and fresh and salted bunker chunks.
Expect the assault on plugs, poppers, metals and teasers to commence any day.
Boat anglers are scoring on much bigger fish, more than a few in the 30 to 50 pound range, and these are being caught on metals, bunker spoons, mojos, live-lined bunker, and bunker on the snag ‘n drop.
It’s shaping to be decent mid-to-late November striper-wise, but weather is always a factor as it affects the movement of bait. Plenty of bait, plenty of bass. No bait, no bass.
Ditto for the hordes of chopper-to-gator blues that are appearing as you read this. However, the blues usually vamoose by Thanksgiving, with stripers the dominant player, predicated on bait and water temperature, into December.
The daily striper limit is one at 28-inches to under 43-inches, and one 43-inches or greater. If you possess the Striped Bass Bonus Tag, you are allowed a bass from 24-inches to under 28-inches.
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