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Fish and Game Council Meeting - March 12

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Here's a list of all the minutes of all meetings.

I just read the minutes from last month's meeting. There are a lot of interesting tidbits coming out of these meetings.

Here's a bunch of them - I think you'll find many/all of these worth knowing about:

1. This not so great:



In regard to the public trust doctrine, our United States Supreme Court has handed down  multiple decisions on ownership of wildlife. We can cater to an arrangement of interest that  benefit all people not just hunting and fishing. We must look at all stakeholders and be  reminded of our objective as we look at non‐lethal controls of wildlife.


So, forget catering first and foremost to all the people paying for all their licenses and permits - now have to cater to the dog-walkers, bird-watchers, dirt bike riders too. Which means, IMO, be prepared for New York City-style vasectomy programs being proposed in the future. :whatever:


2. As we already knew, the chukar stocking at the end of the season received lots of complaints:


Councilman Link reported on sportsmen and women hunting chukars and that
they are not very happy, saying there is a bag limit of 7 but they are lucky to get 1 or 2. 


Assistant Director Golden also received a lot of complaints along with some good reviews
and appreciates Councilman Link sending the message that we did not have to do it,
but we did it to try to make the end of the year good in the absence of having
other pheasants to stock.


... received a few complaints about the chukars and how they fly so low, hunters are nervous about their dogs. 


... did get a few complaints as well from hunters, but they did appreciate the extra effort. 



3. Texas has newly confirmed CWD - if anyone plans on going down there soon for a hunting trip - do some research as to what this might mean for you. Tennessee is also now on the list of CWD affected states - their first case is confirmed.


Texas has confirmed  CWD in six counties with six different deer (3 mule deer and 3 white‐tailed deer). 


Tennessee has now joined the states with CWD; they first reported it in December and it’s on its southwestern border adjacent to Mississippi. It is in adjacent states so no surprise they have it now as well.


4. This is a very interesting idea. Some one is floating the idea of a depredation permit season for hunters to participate in. Sounds interesting to me - but I wonder if all depredation rules would still be in effect, mainly, you can't keep the meat. Gonna keep an eye out for more on this in the future - this has piqued my interest:


Councilman Brodhecker wanted to go over an idea he had for depredation permits, not for 
discussion right now but to think about for the future. He spoke about the idea of a 
depredation “season” that sportsman can buy a permit for farm land specific, like a
zone that would help farmers who don't have the time to target the isolated population
of deer that are hard to manage.


5. There is talk about a future combined fresh- and saltwater license. I don't know what this means - our salt water licenses are free - I hope they won't start charging extra for this combined fishing license. This is the first I've heard of this "all-waters" fishing license:


Councilman Robinson reported that he attended the Somerset County meeting and discussed 
the all‐waters fishing license, to combine fresh and salt water.


6. People don't know they can throw their deer carcasses out in the trash :) 



...asked if the Division could, in the next Digest, have a nice concise article on how to dispose deer carcasses curbside in ordinary trash, which is legal throughout the state which most hunters don’t realize and dump them everywhere.



7. Division is in the black, which is good. 1M surplus:



 fiscal year 2019 numbers look good with $23.3 million revenue resources, expenditures are $22.3 million with almost 1‐million‐dollar surplus



8. But they are discussing license fee increases. 



 Next year 2020 looks OK, but some of the things to think about are that there has not been a license increase since 2000



9. CWD is putting the fear of God into people.


The more we learn we find out that it’s highly transmittable. Prions can only be destroyed 
by extreme heat around 1800 degrees F, or by an alkaline digester. It remains in the soil for an undeterminable amount of time. They are seeing some evidence that it can be transmitted or absorbed through plants. This is some pretty bad stuff and is very important that we keep this out of New Jersey. The incubation period can last in an animal for years before it becomes symptomatic. We have a few proposals for changes to our Game Code that are just for discussion right now including banning the importation of all members of the deer family, banning the possession of urine‐based lures, giving the Director the authority to limit APR and to change bag limits, seasons and or restrictions in the event of the discovery of CWD within the New Jersey or within 20 miles of the New Jersey border, banning the importation of semen from these animals, banning the importation of whole carcasses of any member of the deer family from any state by hunters, and change disease containment  area to disease surveillance area as well as relaxing wonton waste regulations. 


10. Simplify the regulations!!!?? Make it cheaper to buy multiple permits??? The fact they are just talking about it warms my heart.



There was also a discussion on simplifying the rules and regulations in the Digest so they are easier to understand at a glance rather than flipping back and forth through different pages. Selling deer permits for a bundled permit price is just a conversation right now, but it would allow hunters to get more permits at one time and pay a lower price than if they got them all separately.



11. License revenue is down across the board - well, except horseback riding permits :nerd:


permit sales are not up, they are down, however everything is down. The 
permit sales just haven’t decreased as much as the licenses sales. Some comparisons on 2018 
and 2019 sales, deer season are still going on; some deer permits will still be sold so the 
number might be even smaller. Deer permit sales are down 1.8% and hunting licenses are down 3.6%. We are losing people buying hunting licenses, but we still have a good number buying permits. Fishing licenses are also down, license and trout stamp sales combined are down 5% , if you break it down then the fishing and buddy fishing license is down 5.82%, with trout stamps down 3.49%. Pheasant and quail stamp sales are down 5.2%. Deer and spring turkey permits are both down under 2%. Except for our wildlife management use area permits, horseback  riding and boat ramp permit, those have increased 12.5%, however looking at the number it’s only a few hundred more boat permits and 20 or so more horseback permits. We did increase with the apprentice licenses, they were up 40%.


12. This is for @Bonefreak :) 


We are at the end of the process of an internal update of Wildlife Management Area regulations which we have been working on for over a year and a half. There is a meeting tomorrow to start the process for putting 2020 farm leases out for renewal; right now they have been under 5‐year leases and we are looking to expand the lease. Assistant Director Golden added that part of the new lease is to put in a requirement for winter cover and looking into prohibiting neonicotinoid coated seed, which is still being discussed. These are two major changes/additions to the lease that we didn’t have in the past. 


13. As we always like to tell people, gun-owners and hunters are law-abiding citizens - even though we completely disagree with the things our liberal government forces upon us (this is about the bear hunt moratorium on public lands (that we paid for, by the way)):



 The sportsmen were very compliant with the Governor’s and Commissioner’s orders. We had no complaints of individuals driving bear off of State property onto private property and didn’t have to address any complaints with individuals not abiding by the orders on department‐controlled property.



14. If you report strangely-acting deer, they will try to test it! So if you see something strange, report it. Lots of testing, but no CWD found yet.



We tested quite a few symptomatic wild deer this year for CWD and we think those numbers went up due to the Division getting the word out more for the public to look and report to us, but all the tests came back negative, thankfully.



15. Deer harvest numbers are up - probably will exceed last year.



overall year‐to‐date we’re up almost 4% from last year at almost 41,000 with 5 ½ weeks to go and would expect to exceed last year’s harvest. 



16. Gonna have covered ranges throughout the state. Which is nice. Prayers to the engineer who died.



We were hoping to have most of our ranges covered with the new shooting benches installed in the fall, but our engineer passed away, so we had a little set back but are back on track. We should have all the ranges completed this calendar year. The Central and Southern regions are hung up because of Pinelands issues but are close to working through them so we should see some on the ground work in a couple of months. 



17.  Millville Range sounds nice. I should get down there and check it out one day.


we are at full operation at Millville range. It’s the only range we are allowing centerfire rifles up to .30 caliber. We redid the archery range and it’s been getting a lot of use. There are some volunteers there engaging with the public to encourage the public to clean up after themselves. It’s made a huge difference and it’s clean


18. Yay! White Buffalo to the rescue in Princeton! :whatever:


Princeton the application was received on October 29, 2018. The Twp. Resolution was passed 
on October 22, 2018. They are applying to allow Princeton to hire White Buffalo to cull deer using silenced bolt‐action .223 centerfire and .22 rim‐fire rifles on seven private semi‐municipal and one county property. The Division is again not recommending the approval of .22 rim‐fire rifles. Permission to use suppressors has been granted by the Mercer Co. Prosecutors Office on December 3, 2018. Use of alternative methods will begin upon the approval of the permit through March 31, 2019. Operations will begin in the late afternoon with most of operations taking place after sun down. Shooting will take place on the locations of baited sites either elevated tree stands or the back of pickup truck mobile units. No chemical control fertility measures will be administered this year. 


Princeton continues to contract a group of hunters that have successfully manage the deer herd at Duke Farms. Based on a significant number of deer accidents caused by an overabundance of deer, it’s recommended that the Fish and Game Council approve the Princeton application.


Councilman Robinson asked if in the past have they ever requested anything like Bernards 
where they allow people to hunt on private property to extend the permit season to regular 
hunters who [are] not on this permit. Jodi responded that no they haven’t because that would interfere with the work that they are doing with trying to bait those deer off those properties. 


19. Oh, and before you leave, I just want you to know that you all are hateful monsters!!


Barbara Sachau, Whitehouse Station, NJ stated the lack of compassion has her in shock. We are here to live in harmony with animals. They were here way before us and we are all animals. You hide and keep information from us and are sneaky. 


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