According to Ted Nichols, senior biologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, coastal old-timers say that the "buck season" (the six-day firearms deer season) is the best time of the year for coastal waterfowling. There's a reason: Changes in northern climates and early freezes push large numbers of waterfowl southward on their annual migration, and the salt marshes along New Jersey's coast act like a magnet for these birds. "Bread-and-butter species are black ducks, buffleheads and Atlantic brant," says Nichols, "but there is a good mix of wigeon, greenwings, pintails and others." Absecon and the surrounding areas are genuine hot spots, and the public lands available here include Absecon, Great Bay Boulevard and Pork Island wildlife management areas (WMAs). Also, the Manahawkin WMA within the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, near Manahawkin, and the Tuckahoe WMA southwest of Somers Point are nearby management areas that New Jersey waterfowlers should check out. And always keep the tide tables handy. Contact: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (609-628-3218); Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (609-652-1665).