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September 27, 1999

For more information contact:
Dominic Fresco at 609-259-2120

Earlier this year, representatives from the Ocean County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs along with conservation officers from the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, posted Safety Zone signs around the wooded perimeter of the Pine Ridge and Crestwood Village Adult communities in the Whiting section of Manchester Township. The efforts were part of the Division's "Operation Good Neighbor" program, which has been in existence in Ocean County since 1997.

Ocean County's "Operation Good Neighbor" program originated in Dover Township when members of the sporting community, the Division and the municipality met to discuss how best to address hunting related issues in the town. From Dover, the program spread to Berkeley and Manchester townships.

As these towns contain tracts of land where wildlife, such as the white-tailed deer are thriving, the need was recognized to improve access to areas where hunters could harvest the deer and keep populations at stable and healthy numbers. Rather than enact strict ordinances that severely limit hunting and are difficult to enforce, the towns opted to give "Operation Good Neighbor" a try. As a result and in an effort to work with communities, areas are being posted with Safety Zone signs to alert hunters that they are approaching the state-mandated minimum distance of 450-feet from a residence, occupied building or school playground and may not possess a loaded firearm or nocked bow and arrow. In addition to sign posting, wildlife law enforcement patrols have been increased in these areas during the hunting season. Educating the public is also a priority and is carried out through contacts with various citizen groups, including presentations and literature distribution.

The Ocean County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and the Division will continue to cooperatively work toward promoting safe and responsible hunting. Violations concerning the illegal taking of wildlife should be reported to the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-222-0456.