Pheasant and Quail Seasons Open Saturday
Actually, it’s the “Statewide Small Game Opener”, but for years, sometimes decades, there have been earlier openings for the likes of gray squirrels and cottontail rabbits. With the ruffed grouse season closed indefinitely, and bobwhite quail hunting limited to a pair of wildlife management areas (WMAs) one in lower central and the other in southern Jersey, the historical excitement of that first Saturday in November has all but vanished.
If there is one constant adrenaline-wise, it’s the stocking of ringneck pheasants and bobwhites on select WMAs. This year, the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s stocking schedule extends through December 30, with thrice-weekly releases for a lengthy portion of that stretch.
Yeah, the $40 Pheasant/Quail stamp is required in addition to the 2021 hunting license, but when one figures that 57,480 ringnecks and 11,000 bobs will be released over the course of the season, it shakes out to a good deal.
Stocking days (actually the evening prior) for ringnecks and quail are Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and while the weekend day is generally a crowded affair, especially in the morning, the afternoons, say from 2 pm until legal shooting light ends (half-hour after sunset) are pretty much blaze orange free. There are still survivors around, and if one has the services of a trained canine, it can equate to a quality experience with some birds in the bag.
Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings see about half the initial hunting pressure of a Saturday, with the afternoon shift offering prime opportunities as the fields and hedgerows will usually be devoid of other hunters.
The pheasant stocking numbers for the November 6 opener and the following Tuesday and Thursday are as follows on our Rack & Fin Radio “Dirty Dozen” WMAs in the central and southern regions.
Central: Colliers Mills- 330, 200, 200; Howardsville- 80, 50, 50; Manahawkin- 80, 50, 50; Medford- 140, 80, 80; Stafford Forge- 270, 160, 160.
South: Dix- 210, 130, 130; Nantuxent- 190, 110, 110; Millville- 570, 340, 340; Port Republic- 80, 50, 50; Glassboro- 170, 100, 100; Tuckahoe- 180, 110, 110; and Winslow- 230, 140, 140.
Bobwhites are stocked only in the Greenwood and Peaslee WMAs. The first three stocking day numbers for each are 600, 280, 280.
Weekly updates will be included in upcoming blogs.
The daily limit is two pheasants of either sex and four quail of either sex.
Oh...and a solid blaze orange hat (read: no logos) is required in addition to a blaze orange jacket or vest.
The full statewide roster of WMAs and several other stocked tracts, the and schedule, and numbers can be found on page 55 in the 2021-22 Hunting & Trapping Digest. The Pheasant/Quail Stocking Map is also available via scan on page 56.