There are more than 750,000 acres of public land accessible in New Jersey. Public hunting lands are administered by the Federal, State, County and Municipal governments. They include more than 352,000 acres in the state Wildlife Management Area System. There is also acreage in 27 State Parks and Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, county parks and municipal parks and holdings. Non-governmental conservation organizations may also be open to hunting as well. Hunters are required to check with the appropriate organization regarding land use policies before venturing onto these specific lands.
Beginning in 2016 there are two segments to the bear season. Segment A which is in October. The first three days are specifically for archery only. The final three days for both archery as well as muzzleloading rifle hunters. Segment B is for firearms only. It is held at the same time as the Six-day Firearm Deer Season.
There are five bear hunting zones open to hunting. Only hunters with the required permits for each specific zone are able to participate. Participants are required to have a Black Bear Hunting Permit for the zone(s) that they will be hunting in. As well as a valid New Jersey hunting license. Permits are valid for the entire season and the bag limit is two bears (since 2016). Permits are available at licence agents or online.
The legal hunting hours for deer are a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. There is no firearm deer hunting on Sunday. Limited Sunday bowhunting allowed. Only one antlerless permit, per zone, may be purchased in each permit season. If a hunter purchases an antlerless permit for more than one zone in a season, the Antlered Buck Permit is valid for a one time use in only one of the corresponding zones for that season.
Properly licensed hunters are still limited to one antlered buck per season. This is regardless of the number of antlerless permits purchased. For permits, zones and segments, check the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.
In 1977 wild turkeys were reintroduced throughout the state as a restoration attempt. By 1981 the population had grown enough to support a spring hunting season. In December of 1997, a limited fall season was initiated. This restoration project was one of the greatest wildlife success stories in the history of the state. Now, there is an annual harvest of 3,000 birds. Spring turkey permits are awarded via a lottery followed by over-the-counter sales. The lottery application period is January 25 – February 22. There is no lottery for the fall season.
Youth turkey hunters aged 10 to 16 with a Youth License can obtain a “Y” permit. This allows them to hunt in any hunting period in the applicable zone that they obtain a permit for during the spring Season. Youth hunters aged 10 to under 14 must be under the supervision of a licensed adult. The adult must be at least 21 years of age. The adult must hold a regular license but does not necessarily need to have a turkey permit. This regulation will apply until the youth takes a turkey. After that the youth is subject to the same hunting period and zone restrictions as an adult.
Waterfowl and Migratory Birds
There is a huge volume of wetlands and coastlines in New Jersey. This means an abundance of waterfowl and migratory birds in New Jersey. To hunt crows one must obtain a New Jersey hunting license. For woodcock, rail, snipe, coots or moorehens one must obtain a New Jersey hunting license. This also requires a Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification.
For ducks, geese and/or brant, a New Jersey hunting license, HIP certification, Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp and New Jersey Waterfowl Stamp are all required. For waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older, both federal and state stamps are required. The Federal stamps are available at U.S. post offices and online. State stamps are available from license agents or purchased and printed from the license website.
There is an abundance of rabbit, squirrel, ruffed grouse, pheasants, quail, coyote, fox, raccoon, fox, opossum, mink, otter and beaver. For more information on seasons and zones, check the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife website.