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Upland Game Bird Survey Needs Input From Hunters

October 15, 2007

With the start of small game hunting seasons in New Jersey just around the corner, the Division of Fish and Wildlife is once again looking for hunters to cooperate in an on-going study aimed at monitoring upland game bird populations. The study, referred to as the "Upland Game Bird Hunter Log," involves hunters keeping a daily diary or "log" of their bird hunting activity and success.

NJDFW's hunting log requests information such as date and location of hunt, the number of hours hunted, the specie of interest, the number of birds flushed, and the number of birds harvested. The primary purpose of the log is to monitor the number of birds flushed per hour of hunting. Changes in the flush rate help to illustrate trends in bird populations when viewed over a long period of time. For example, New Jersey cooperates with other states by evaluating flushing rates to determine if there are regional differences in the relative abundance of ruffed grouse.

This will be the fourth year that NJDFW has conducted the Upland Game Bird Hunter Log. We extend a sincere thank you to the 87 hunters that participated in 2006-07. With only three years of data it is difficult to draw any strong conclusions about upland bird distributions and abundance, but over time, the data provided will help the Division answer questions about specie status throughout New Jersey.

Overall, the majority of active respondents in 2006-07 pursued pheasants (98%), followed by woodcock (23%), bobwhite (19%) and grouse (9%). Pheasant hunters expended an average of 9.6 days afield (2.8 hours per trip), flushed 2.5 birds per hour and harvested 1.2 birds per trip. Woodcock hunters expended an average of 3.6 days afield (2.7 hours per trip), flushed 3.0 birds per hour and harvested 0.6 birds per hour. Bobwhite hunters expended an average of 3.7 days afield (2.9 hours per trip), flushed 3.1 birds per hour and harvested 1.7 birds per hour. Grouse hunters expended an average of 5.8 days afield (3.3 hours per trip), flushed 0.9 birds per hour and harvested 0.2 birds per hour.

Two-fifths of the respondents (23 of 57) hunted more than one species. Active respondents harvested a total of 638 pheasants, 31 woodcock, 71 bobwhite and 5 grouse. The majority of hunting trips occurred in the northwestern counties of Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren (grouse, pheasant, woodcock) and in the southern county of Cumberland (bobwhite).

Hunters already enrolled in the program should expect to receive their 2007 packet prior to October 18, the beginning of the grouse and woodcock season. Other hunters interested in participating in the Upland Game Bird Hunter Log can contact the Division at 609-748-2058 or via e-mail to with "Upland Hunter Log" as the Subject.

An Upland Game Bird Hunter Log can also be downloaded from the NJDFW website at (pdf, 22kb).

Each hunter is asked to complete a log and return it to the Division at the end of their hunting season. An annual report will be sent out along with each new packet. It's a great way to partner with the Division and find out more about New Jersey's resident upland game birds.

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P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: October 15, 2007