After a break for the muzzleloader and six day firearm deer seasons, the Division of Fish & Wildlife will once again be releasing ringneck pheasants and bobwhite quail on select wildlife management areas (WMA).

For quail, the two tracts are the Greenwood Forest WMA and the Peaslee WMA. Other than this pair of properties, the bobwhite season remains closed statewide.

New Years Eve will be the final day the pheasants and quail will be liberated (actually, they are released the evening prior to the listed “stocking day”) and the November/December figures will come in at 52,440 ringnecks and 11,000 bobs.  While the overwhelming majority of uplanders call it quits after the final stocking day, there is a fair percentage of birds that do holdover and provide quality (read: uncrowded) hunting opportunities until the January 31 (bobwhite) and February 17 (ringneck) season closures, especially if one has the services of a trained bird dog.

Remember that if planning to hunt after the New Year, a 2020 license and Pheasant/Quail Stamp will be required. Unlike state and federal waterfowl stamps that extend into the next year, the Pheasant/Quail Stamp expires 11:59 on December 31.

Despite being pen-raised, the birds are amazingly adaptive and hardy. About the only things that spells certain demise are ice storms that sheath the seeds and buds, and deep snow that makes scratching for sustenance nigh impossible. Sure, red-tail hawks, owls and foxes pick off their shares, but we’ve encountered pheasants in March and quail in February.

As this is the final blog for ‘19, listed below are the WMAs in the 105.7 The Hawk listening area, stocking dates and numbers of birds (in parenthesis).

Pheasants

Saturday Dec. 21, Tuesday Dec. 24, Sat. Dec 28 and Tuesday Dec.31:

Assunpink (250, 350, 300, 250); Colliers Mills (150, 220, 180, 150); Howardsville (40, 50, 50, 40); Manahawkin (30, 40, 40, 30); Manasquan (90, 120, 100, 90); Medford (60, 90, 80, 60); Port Republic (30, 40, 40, 30); and Stafford Forge (110, 160, 140, 110).

The daily limit remains two of either sex.

Photo by Tom P

Quail

Saturday Dec. 21, Tuesday Dec.24, Saturday Dec. 28 and Tuesday Dec. 31:

Greenwood Forest (400, 400, 280, 400); Peaslee (400, 400, 280, 400)

The daily limit remains at four of either sex.

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