The NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife will resume its ringneck pheasant and bobwhite quail stocking schedule starting this Saturday after a two-week break for the six-day firearm and the antlerless deer seasons.

While the latter will continue through the New Year in certain statewide DMZs, the majority of the deer hunting is finished for the year. As such, the Division’s Bureau of wildlife management worker crews are back to dosing the 23 WMAs (and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is Sussex/Warren counties) with pheasants, and the two tracts, the Greenwood Forest WMA and Peaslea WMA, with bobs.

There are five release dates remaining that will conclude Thursday, December 30. That’s not many, the corollary being there’s a near exponential loss, at least on the pheasant end, of hunters pursuing birds, especially during the mid-week stocking days.

TSM Tom P.
TSM Tom P.
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Less crowding, better hunting, and the final couple of weeks to get your money’s worth from the $40 Pheasant/Quail stamp.

Not quite the same scenario when it comes to the quail, though. Sure, uplander numbers are down compared to November, but not to the degree of those after ringnecks. Something about the diminutive bobwhite keeps the orange out there to the very end...plus the fact that there are only two tracts where they can be hunted.

Still, the experience is much better this late in the season.

TSM Tom P.
TSM Tom P.
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We noticed the drop in interest in bird hunting after the firearm deer week and the antlerless days way back in the late Eighties when the move was made to northern Cape May County. Hunting the MacNamara (Tuckahoe) WMA after the deer hunters vacated the woods and fields and the pheasant releases resumed, we discovered easily less than half the hunters, even on a Saturday. Over the years, the trend was similar on the likes of the Port Republic, Stafford Forge, Nantuxent, and Winslow WMAs among others.

As one Seaville hunting acquaintance succinctly put it, “November is for pheasants and quail, December is for deer, and then it’s ducks in January.”

TSM Tom P.
TSM Tom P.
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Yeah, the Millville tract still gets its pressure because of its number of fields and the amount of pheasants stocked. Ditto the Assunpink and Colliers Mills WMAs in the central part of

the state. But again, you’ll have far more elbow room with plenty of ringnecks to go around. Things even out, so to speak.

TSM Tom P.
TSM Tom P.
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Following are the numbers of pheasants being released for Saturday, Dec. 18, and Tuesday, Dec. 21 on the Rack & Fin Radio “Lucky 13” tracts.

Colliers Mills (130, 130), Howardsville (50, 50), Manahawkin (50, 50), Dix (130, 130), Medford (80, 80), Stafford Forge (160, 160), Glassboro (100, 100), Nantuxent (110, 110), Mad Horse (90, 90), Port Republic (50, 50), Millville (340, 340), Tuckahoe (110, 110) and Winslow (140, 140).

The Greenwood and Peaslee WMAs will receive 260 quail each for Dec. 18 and 400 each for Dec. 21.

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