JANUARY 15 - FEBRUARY 14, 1998

October 21, 1997

For more information contact:
Paul Castelli at 609-748-2047

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife reminds hunters that a Special Winter Canada Goose Season will be held from Thursday, January 15 to Saturday, February 14, 1998 in two areas of the state.

“New Jersey is home to two populations of Canada geese; resident birds that live here year-round and migrants that breed in sub-arctic regions of Canada during summer and travel south to spend winter in mid-latitude areas, including New Jersey,” said division Director Bob McDowell. “While the migrant goose population is currently below management objectives due to poor reproduction in the arctic and low survival rates, resident populations continue to grow along with goose related property damage. The special winter season will help curb this expanding resident population.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the agency with ultimate management authority for migratory gamebirds, has suspended the traditional Canada goose season throughout the Atlantic Flyway since 1995 to protect critically low populations of migrant Canada geese. Even though migrant goose populations have doubled since 1995, their numbers still remain below desired levels. In fact, the migrant population is still only half of that observed in 1988, a point when the migrant population was already in serious decline. The observed increase in migrant geese since 1995 is attributed to the regular season closure over the past two years and to reduced subsistence harvest by native peoples in northern Quebec. The future outlook for this population is encouraging, however, as migrant geese experienced the best breeding conditions in more than a decade during 1997. Special hunting seasons that target resident Canada geese are not affected by the season closure and as a result, New Jersey’s only alternative to manage expanding resident goose populations is through special September and winter seasons.

After careful review of the biological information available including neckband observations, legband recoveries and measurements of geese in the field, the two winter season areas were chosen because they primarily contain resident Canada geese with relatively low proportions of migrants. The USFWS has set criteria that individual states must meet in order to hold special winter seasons. The special hunt areas chosen are the only areas of New Jersey where the number of wintering migrant geese is relatively small, thus meeting USFWS criteria.

Special winter seasons were first held in northern New Jersey in 1995 with a harvest of 840 geese. The season was expanded in 1996 to include a portion of southern New Jersey and a total of 2,731 geese were harvested. In 1997, the season length was doubled from two to four weeks with a total of 5,211 geese harvested. A similar harvest is expected during the 1998 season since there are no changes in the hunting areas or season dates.

Boundaries of both hunt areas will be the same as in 1997. “Unlike the special September Canada goose season which was held statewide, the special winter season has distinct boundaries. The hunt areas are bounded by rivers and roads. Sportsmen and women are reminded to check the hunt area boundaries carefully before hunting,” advised Rob Winkel, chief of the division’s Bureau of Law Enforcement.

Hunters must possess a Special Winter Canada Goose Season Permit while hunting during this season. The permit can be obtained by sending a 3” X 5” index card with the applicant’s name, full mailing address, EVENING telephone number (with area code) and date of birth to:

NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife
P.O. Box 400
Trenton, NJ 08625-0400
Attention: Winter Goose Permits
Be sure to write “1998 Winter Canada Goose Season” on the top of the index card. Hunters not providing the required information may be denied permits. A processing fee of $2 must also accompany this information. Checks or money orders (do not send cash) should be made payable to the NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife. Applications should be postmarked by December 15, 1997. The permit is valid for both hunting areas.

The daily bag limit for this season is five Canada geese per person per day. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily. All other pertinent federal and state waterfowl hunting regulations apply.

There are two separate hunt areas for this season. Hunt area descriptions are as follows:

For the north, it is that portion of New Jersey within a continuous line that runs east along the New York State boundary line to the Hudson River; then south along the New York State boundary to its intersection with Route 440 at Perth Amboy; then west on Route 440 to its intersection with Route 287; then west along Route 287 to its intersection with Route 206 in Bedminster (Exit 18); then north along Route 206 to its intersection with Route 94; then west along Route 94 to the toll bridge in Columbia; then north along the Pennsylvania State boundary in the Delaware River to the beginning point.

For the south, it is that portion of New Jersey within a continuous line that runs west from the Atlantic Ocean at Ship Bottom along Route 72 to the Garden State Parkway; then south along the Garden State Parkway to Route 9; the south along Route 9 to Route 542; then west along Route 542 to the Mullica River (at Pleasant Mills); then north (up-stream) along the Mullica River to Route 206; then south along Route 206 to Route 536; then west along Route 536 to Route 322; then west along Route 322 to Route 55; then south along Route 55 to Route 553 (Buck Rd.); then south along Route 553 to Route 40; then east along Route 40 to Route 55; then south along Route 55 to Route 552 (Sherman Ave.); then west along Route 552 to Carmel Rd; then south along Carmel Rd to Route 49; then east along Route 49 to Route 50; then east along Route 50 to Route 9; then south along Route 9 to Route 625 (Sea Isle City Blvd.); then east along Route 625 to the Atlantic Ocean; then north to the beginning point.

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