The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a final hunting and fishing plan for Cape May National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in New Jersey.

A draft plan was issued earlier this spring, and during the 83-day public comment period, 7 comment letters were received from the public. We are grateful to the people who provided meaningful comments on the draft, which helped in developing the final plan.

Some comments reflected an opposition to hunting and fishing in general and in particular on NWR lands. We understand and respect this viewpoint. The legislation which guides how national wildlife refuges across the country are managed not only requires us to consider allowing wildlife observation, hunting, fishing, photography, environmental education, and interpretation, but further directs us to promote these activities when compatible with refuge purposes. Not one of these recreational uses have a priority over another – they are simply different ways people choose to enjoy the refuges and to engage themselves, their families, and their friends in the outdoors.

A summary of all substantive comments, and our responses, can be found in Appendix E (Finding of No Significant Impact). No significant changes have been made between the draft and final versions of the Hunting and Fishing Plan. Two minor changes have been made: (1) Access for hunting and fishing is provided from 1 hour before sunrise until 1 hour after sunset. In the draft documents, we erred in posting various times, ranging as low as 30 minutes; and (2) Groundhog hunting will close at the end of the State groundhog Bow or Shotgun season (approximately February 15). In the draft documents, we stated that for groundhog hunting would close at the end of the State rabbit season.

We may begin to implement the Hunting and Fishing Plan for Cape May NWR upon publication of the final 2021-2022 Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations in the Federal Register. 

View the final plan.