Rockport Pheasant Farm Severely Damaged by October Snowstorm
November 2, 2011
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife reports that the Rockport Pheasant Farm in Warren County 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 Game Farm staff efforts to prepare for the storm prior to October 29.
Rockport staff and Fish and Wildlife personnel from throughout northern New Jersey are 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.
To minimize disturbance to the work of the response crews 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 can be viewed at www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2011/rockport-refuge-map.pdf and includes the parcels on either side of Rockport Road contiguous with the Game Farm buildings and pens upslope to and including the power line right of way. The order precludes hunting of any kind and will remain in effect until the pens have been repaired and as many pheasants as possible have been recaptured.
Although this event will affect the number of pheasants that will be stocked on State Wildlife Management Areas, Director Chanda is confident there will be no reduction in the number of Wildlife Management Areas stocked 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 weekdays or as many pheasants on weekdays as in previous years. The Division of Fish and Wildlife will keep hunters and the media informed as more information becomes available through listserv messages and updates posted on its website at www.njfishandwildlife.com.