|This is not the full law. Consult the Division of Fish and Wildlife for further details. All persons are reminded that the statues, code and regulations are the legal authorities.|
From the N.J. Fish & Wildlife Digest, A Summary of Rules and Management Information
Vol. ? No. ? AUGUST 2011
General Hunting Regulations
No person shall hunt except as prescribed by law. See section "Permits for Hunters with Disabling Conditions", for special rules.
Persons required by law to wear corrective lenses to operate a motor vehicle (as noted on a valid driver's license) must wear corrective lenses when hunting with a bow or firearm of any kind.
*Carrying a loaded firearm or nocked arrow within 450 feet of a building or school playground without possessing written permission from the owner or lessee.
*Discharging a firearm or a bow and arrow on or across highways or roads. Discharging a firearm or a bow and arrow from a motor vehicle.
*Hunting for or shooting any wildlife by aid of a light, except when hunting raccoon, coyote or opossum while on foot.
*Hunting or shooting with the aide of a light attached to or carried in a vehicle.
*On National Wildlife Refuges, the distribution of bait and/or hunting over bait is prohibited.
*Hunting with arrows, darts or any other device propelled by any means that is used for the purpose of injecting or delivering any type of drug into an animal.
*Using electronic calling devices except when hunting for fox, raccoon, crow and coyote.
*Loaded firearms in a motor vehicle. Possesion of a loaded firearm in a vehicle is considered proof of pursuing or taking of wildlife.
*Transporting an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
*Shooting into a squirrel's nest.
*The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the following apply:
- Baiting is prohibited
- No permanent tree stands or screw-in steps are permitted
- You cannot possess a loaded firearm while on any publicly traveled roadway within the park.
Quick jump index:
A valid rifle permit must be possessed while hunting with a .22 caliber rifle.
It is unlawful to possess and use a .22 caliber rifle except while hunting woodchuck, [no rifle hunting on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)] hunting raccoon and opossum with with hounds, and dispatching trapped animals other than muskrat.
.22 caliber rifles must be loaded with short cartridges only, except when hunting woodchuck.
.22 caliber rifles need not be plugged, but must be loaded with no more than 3 shells. No 10-17 year olds may hunt with any rimfire or centerfire rifle.
.17 caliber not legal for hunting.
|Bow and Arrow|
"Bow" means any long bow, recurve bow or compound bow that is hand held and hand drawn, with no mechanical device built into it or attached to it that will enable the archer to lock the bow at a full or partial draw. All draw locking and draw holding devices are prohibited. Hand held release devices are permitted.
All bows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds at the archer's draw length, except compounds, which must have a minimum peak draw weight of 35 pounds.
All arrows used for hunting deer, bear, turkey, coyote, or woodchuck must be fitted with a well-sharpened metal head with a minimum width of 3/4 inches.
Arrows fitted with heads other than specified for deer, turkey, coyote or woodchuck, may be carried in the woods and fields during small game season or other seasons which overlap with the bow and arrow deer season.
The safety zone has changed only for bowhunters and is confirmed. For details, see Safety Zone
It is unlawful to:
* use crossbow or variation,
* use or possess a poison arrow or one with explosive tip,
* use a bow one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise during any season.
* use a bow and arrow from any vehicle, moving or stationary.
* have both a firearm and bow in possession or under control while hunting.
|Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Regulations|
The importation of any live deer or elk into New Jersey is prohibited. This ban is intended to prevent the introduction of disease into New Jersey. All testing of New Jersey's wild deer herd indicates it is healthy and there are no known cases of CWD.
New Jersey hunters who hunt in other states may bring back to New Jersey legally harvested deer and elk as long as all laws and regulations from the state of origin are satisfied. When hunting out-of-state, sportsmen and women are urged to comply with all disease control recommendations for the state in which the game is harvested.
|Dogs --Hunting and Training|
Allowing dogs to run at large is prohibited.
Persons may train dogs without firearms in daylight at any time except during any open firearm deer season.
No person shall train a raccoon or opossum hunting dog other than during the periods of September 1 to October 1, 2004 and from March 1 to May 1, 2005. Training hours shall be one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise.
It is illegal to use dogs to pursue or run black bear, or to track wounded deer.
Note: For special areas and regulations for dog training on WMAs see the section on Wildlife Management Area Regulations.
No person shall use a raptor for hunting without a falconry permit and a valid hunting license. No person under 14 years of age may hunt by means of a raptor. Hunting migratory birds with raptors on Sunday is prohibited.
Falconry permits will be issued only to persons who pass a comprehensive examination and who can provide proper facilities for housing a raptor.
Beginning falconers must be sponsored by an experienced falconer.
No person shall possess a firearm while hunting with raptors.
SEE ALSO: Smallgame - Falconry regulations (species specific).
For additional information, write to Fish and Wildlife of Fish, Game and Wildlife or call 908-735-8793.
|Firearms and Missiles|
A person may not go into the woods or fields with a firearm except during prescribed seasons.
Airguns are not legal hunting firearms.
It is unlawful to possess in the woods and fields shot larger than #4 fine shot except for hunting deer, waterfowl, woodchuck (farmers only) or coyote. Rimfire and centerfire rifles not legal hunt deer.
For hunting, shotguns must be plugged so it is not capable of holding more than three shells at one time. Rifles need not be plugged but may not be loaded with more than three rounds.
See Also: Legal Firearms
|Hunting & Tracking Education Requirements|
New Jersey requires that anyone applying to hunt, trap or track, must take a hunters eduction course or to show a course completion card of the appropriate hunter education course from NJ or another state that fulfills the NJ requirements.
New Jersey's Innovative Home Study Hunter Education Program
New Jersey's Hunter Education Program will be offered as a modified home-study. Field sessions and testing will be conducted at centralized teaching locations throughout the state.
Click here for: Course Information
Hunters must wear a cap made of daylight fluorescent orange or an outer garment containing at least 200 square inches of fluorescent orange material visible from all sides. A camo orange hat alone is not adequate.
This applies to all persons while hunting deer, bear, rabbit hare, squirrel, fox, railbirds, and all game birds including while in a tree stand.
Exceptions: this law does not apply to waterfowl, crow, spring wild turkey, coyote nor bow hunters except that a bow hunter using a deer decoy must wear hunter orange, as described above, while transporting the decoy into and out of the woods and fields.
It is unlawful to use smokeless powder in a muzzleloader while hunting in New Jersey.
Properly licensed and permitted hunters 10 years and older may hunt with a muzzleloading rifle. A valid rifle permit must be possessed while hunting with muzzleloading rifle.
It is unlawful to hunt with a muzzleloading rifle on wildlife management areas, except for deer and squirrel hunting during the special season in certain zones. For muzzleloader rifle squirrel hunting see Squirrel Info. For muzzleloader deer hunting, see Deer Regs. For rifle permit information see Permits.
|Non-Resident Game Removal|
|A non-resident licensee may remove from the state each day a daily bag limit of game. However, a non-resident may not take more than two day's bag limit from the state after one week's stay (Sunday to Saturday inclusive). This does not apply to game raised or killed at a licensed commercial preserve and legally tagged.|
|Possession of Certain Wildlife by Persons, Taxidermists & Butchers|
No person shall have in possession a deer, bear or turkey that he himself or she herself did not kill unless it has a tag bearing the name, address, telephone number, license and permit numbers of the person who killed the deer, bear or turkey. Those in the business of processing deer, bear or turkey, that is butchers, taxidermists, etc., shall keep a ledger of all of their customers. Each customers name, current address, day and evening telephone number, hunting license number, and possession seal number of any black bear, deer or turkey being processed shall be included in the ledger. The ledger shall be made available for inspection upon request during the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by any law enforcement officer or employee of Fish and Wildlife of Fish and Wildlife.
Possession of naturally shed deer antlers is legal. Parts of deer possessed, other than shed antlers, must be from lawfully harvested deer. Proof of lawful harvest (tag or seal) should be retained for verification. Road Killed deer are intended only for consumption; antler possession from these deer is not legal.
Taxidermists note: The sale of wild birds and game animals, or parts thereof, is prohibited in New Jersey. Legally-trapped furbearers may be sold. Questions should be directed to a regional Fish and Wildlife law enforcement office.
|Hunters must not hunt in unharvested crops unless first obtaining permission from the owner. Anyone causing damage to cultivated crops, orchards, fences, buildings or livestock may be arrested without warrant by the owner, occupant, lessee, or any officer of the law. Violators are liable for a fine of up to $2,000 and restitution to the property owner in addition to the loss of hunting privileges for a period of five years.|
|Public Land Hunting|
August 20, 2010: The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced that the bowhunter perimeter bill has been signed by Governor Christie and is now law. The new law changes the area for bow hunting around an occupied building to 150 feet, and will assist in providing a means of accessing and controlling deer populations.
The minimum distance from an occupied building where a bowhunter may have a nocked arrow is now reduced from 450 feet to 150 feet. Carrying a bow with a nocked arrow within 150 feet of an occupied building or 450 feet of any school playground is prohibited. Any portion of the school grounds (including fields used for sports), that could be used for play or recreation, is considered to be part of a playground.
The owner or lessee of a building-and persons specifically authorized by the owner or lessee in writing (written permission must be in possession while hunting)-may hunt within 150 feet of the building. Persons authorized to hunt within 150 feet of a building must hunt from an elevated position to shoot down toward the ground. Shooting into a safety zone is prohibited.
See the 2010 Hunting Issue of the NJ Fish and Wildlife Digest for more information regarding safety zones. Hunters should be completely familiar with safety zone regulations before taking to the field.
No person may hunt with firearms or any other weapon or carry a gun in the woods or fields or on the waters on Sunday; except on semi-wild & commercial shooting preserve lands for the purpose of shooting stocked game; and when using a .22 rifle for dispatching trapped animals.
Persons are allowed to hunt raccoon or opossum between midnight on Saturday and one hour before sunrise on Sunday during prescribed season.
NOTE: Sunday bowhunting for deer is now legal only on state wildlife management areas and private property.
Hunters and trappers are must have permission (oral or written) from the landowner or lessee prior to entering both posted lands and agricultural lands (which are not required to be posted).
Hunters must also have permission to enter posted land or agricultural land for the purpose of recovering a deer. Obtaining written permission to hunt or trap on all private land and having that document with you afield is recommended, as written permission is the only legal defense to a trespass charge.
Hunters must not hunt in unharvested crops without first obtain permission from the owner. Anyone causing damage to cultivated crops, orchards, fences, buildings or livestock may be arrested without warrant by the owner, occupant, lessee, or any officer of the law. Violators are liable for a fine of up to $2,000 and restitution to property owner in addition to the loss of hunting privileges for a period of 2 years.
To print out a courtesy card requesting/granting permission, click to view .pdf file:
Taxidermists note: the sale of wild birds and game animals or parts thereof is prohibited except as described in N.J.S.A. 23:4-27. For more specific information see NJ Regulations Possession of Nongame & Exotic Wildlife (.pdf file)
Legally trapped furbearers may be sold. Questions concerning all the above should be directed to regional Division law enforcement offices.
It is illegal to capture, kill, injure or have in possession any wild bird other than a game bird.
No one may rob a bird's nest.
The removal of the skin or feathers or mutilation of any wild bird or mammal in the woods or fields for the purpose of concealing sex or identity is illegal.
All nongame mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians are protected. Penalties for taking these species range from $250-$5,000.
There is no open season on bobcats. It is illegal to kill, attempt to kill or possess bobcats, except parts of bobcats legally take in other states may be possessed but not sold in New Jersey.
|Wildlife Damage Control|
Property owners and occupants of dwellings, or their agents designated in writing, suffering damage from squirrel, raccoon, opossum, skunk, woodchuck or weasel may control them by lawful means at any time subject to local ordinances. Farmers or their agents may also control the above species by lawful procedures when found destroying livestock, crops or poultry at any time subject to stat and local ordinances.
NOTE: persons who kill a coyote must notify a Fish and Wildlife Regional Law Enforcement Office within 24 hours.