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Today, I have to go pull down my tree stands from two properties I have hunted since the late 1970's. Last year, they were sold to a large company out of Union NJ. That company has been buying up all the surrounding land (over 800 acres) and now has all the pieces in place and will start developing it. The trees have all been marked and they are going to start soon, like in a week or so.

I had permission on two pieces, one 98 acres, the other 40 acres, and it was pretty good hunting for this area. The 800 acres is a large, contiguous block in a bigger piece of about 1500 acres, with fields on each end. The woods are mostly hardwoods, some mature, some only 75 to 80 years old.

The south side of the property, divided by a power line, began development in 1996, and they put two housing developments in there from 1997 through 2001. I had permission on both of those peices too, and lost about 220 acres in that build. To be honest, I knew the developer, and it was through him I had permission to hunt, so I always knew it would not be forever, but I had about 10 good years in there. These two pieces I'm going to today were different. I figured the guy would never sell his two properties I was hunting because he had another one adjacent to them that he hunted. Well, he sold that one too. :(

I've really been hit hard by the building trend here. I also lost two other properties in the last 3 years to housing developemnts, one was right behind my house. There was a 122 acres piece that adjoined my land that the builder allowed me and my brother only to hunt. He had been getting complaints about hunters shooting up the houses around the land (my neighbors included) and when I called to complain about buckshot hitting my house, our conversation led to my permission to hunt in exchange for posting, partolling, arresting and charging responsibilities. It was a great piece, we saw a good number of deer, and some decent bucks. The first few years I booted over 20 tresspasser off each year, but from 2000 to 2003, we had decent hunting.

Actually, my neighbors had the best hunting, and both of them killed big bucks in years past. In the early 1990's before the long guns seasons and unlimited antlerless kills, this place was a big buck factory. My neighbor to the north killed 3 bucks in 3 consecutive shotgun seasons basically in his back yard. The smallest was a 10 pointer that weighed 212 pounds, there was also an 8-pointer that weighed 217 and a 12 pointer that weighed 227, in GUN season. All the racks now sit in his workshop on the wall. None were entered in the books, he hunts for meat. My neighbor 3 houses down to the south killed 3 bucks in a 5 year span that had big racks. None exceeded 200 pounds, but one 8-point scored 142, an 11-pointer scored 151, and a 10-pointer that scored 156. None are in the books.

Since the long gun seasons were implemented and unlimited antlerless tags were allowed in zone 35, all that has gone away, and only one big buck has been killed, a shotgun kill of 133, but he was driven out of a sanctuary across the street where he lived a protected life. Now, the 122 acres is a development consisting of half million dollar homes, and the field to the south has about 90, 1/4 to 1/2 million dollar homes on it too.

Sorry about the long winded post, but I needed to vent. Watching that property for that last decade was like watching a loved one slowly die. First, the deer herd was slaughtered, and the number of big deer vanished, like a healthy man withering away to nothing. As that was happening, hordes of hunters invaded and ruined the woods, like a cancer that ate up the healthy man. When some control was finally established, it started to get better (remission), but then the entire woods was leveled, gone forever (cancer of developers returned BIG TIME).

I guess that is a typical lifecycle of a hunting property in NJ; it's good, it gets overhunted and is all the sudden not so good, then it gets developed and is gone for good. Man I can't wait to retire and move. :)
 

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DMZ 35. We went from great hunting, to something less than good hunting in about 5 or 6 years, right after they implemented long gun seasons and unlimited tags. The state finally saw what was happening and reduced the gun season to just 10 days last year, it used to go till the end of January. But man, hunters in the area did plenty of damage while they could.
 

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I feel real bad for you and have also lost 3 nice properties to developers. We in NJ are subject to the insatiable thirst for land and McMansions and it is a sad fact of living in the most populous state. The ones that really suffer are the animals and our children. Can you imagine what the state will look like in 20 years from now?? Thank God that someone had teh foresight to save some land through WMA's and State Parks.

I actually joined our town Open Space Committee to at least make a difference in my small town. The one thing that I have learned is that there are a lot of back room deals when it comes to developers and towns so you must flush these guys out into the public space at times.

Any way, hang in there and maybe you can still hunt parts of the area.
 

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[mad]I feel sorry for ya,bud. But unfortunatly I`ve been hit real hard in the last 4 years also.I`ve lost 6 properties, 4 of where I would rabbit hunt every weekend, and 2 where there was excellent deer hunting.I gave my female beagle who was 2 years old at the time to a friend who had lost his Rottie to cancer.He really appreciated it along with his young kids.And I have my "Elvis" who is 10 years old and was the best beagle me or my grandfather ever raised.I have no other places to rabbit hunt,I never thought in my lifetime this would happen.I have only one place to deer hunt where there is no pressre and THAT will be gone in about 2 or 3 years. I`ve grown to be very bitter with anything to do with this freakin state for the last 5 years.All of my memories growing up hunting with my gramps and dad all have condos,townhouses and mansions sitting right on top of them.My life revolves around hunting and fishing,and if I would continue living in this cesspool,it would be no more. This being the reason I am making a move to upstate N.Y.[in May] where there is 6 million acres in the ADKS to hunt and fish and continue my passion in life.
The only thing that I am really goin to miss, is my "Elvis".He is just too old to run those snoeshoes and I cant keep him in the townhouse that I am moving into.:(But he should be in good hands with my bro-in-law.I can`t get up there fast enough.So I wish everybody the best of luck with keeping their hunting grounds for a long time to come, but I just can`t imagine that happening in this day and age.
Just my .02.
I too had to vent. Hey Dragthor, you ought to make a room just for venting!
 

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Man, I had a $hitty day myself and I feel for you. As much as I love the life I to have had here. I have been thinking of moving. Traveling acrosse this state fishing, hunting and trapping. Went to Cherry Hill yesterday and took backroads instead of RT.295. I almost got sick. I am not a real prejudice person, good and bad in all. But, the Spainish, Indians(not native americans) and the Orientals. I can't stand it. I'm a 34 year old white american male. Union carpenter and 4 years marines. They are too building in Salem county. I fellow hunter bought a farm that we all hunted deer, rabbit, and geese. He subdivide into 4 parcels. Wiped out the field. He still has some woods, but pastured off for horse. Which he never has in 43 years of his life. I know the one propertys taxes are $23,000 per year. Can you imagine. This morning I call the carpenters union hall in Alaska. He told me to come on out and bring some more carpenters with me. I'm considering this very seriously. This is a place where I have always whated to go. The work has always be good here, but there is more to life then work. If people are living there, there will be jobs. I'm not going to wait till I retire. I will be to old to enjoy the things that makes life worth getting up for. I have in the past 2 years looked at different states. There is nothing here that looks good. We are still going to finish our book on public lands. 4 of the 5 writers are from out of state. They used to live here. One is from WV, one is from NY, one from PA and the other from NH, now! When I, go to where they live it's like heaven. When they come here, they ask why I haven't left? I'm so glad that the southeastern part of this state is mud. In a word, SICK. I feel for you and your lose. It's more then land to you. It's memories. Priceless.

Till our trails cross,

WW

PS If I continue here it will be till our interstates cross!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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