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Migratory Bird

The complete migratory bird regulations will be published in the New Jersey 2012–13 Migratory Bird Regulations booklet available in September at license agents, Fish and Wildlife offices and on the Fish and Wildlife website at Migratory bird season dates published in the Migratory Bird Regulations booklet supersede those printed in this Digest if there are discrepancies.

Migratory Bird Seasons




Daily Bag Limit

September Canada Goose*


Sept. 1–29


Rail and moorhen


Sept. 1 – Nov. 9

Sora & Virginia rail:
25 total or aggregate;

moorhen and clapper rail: 10

Sea Duck

Special Sea Duck Area

Sept. 20 – Jan. 22, 2013

7, except no more than
4 scoters



Sept. 17 – Jan. 1


(Mon., Thurs., Fri., Sat.)


Aug. 13 – Dec. 1 and
Dec. 10 – Mar. 16

No limit


North Zone

Oct. 20 – Nov. 24


South Zone

Nov. 10 – Dec. 1 and Dec. 19 – Jan. 1

Mourning Dove, swans,
harlequin duck, king rail



No Season

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days

North Zone

Oct. 6; Nov. 3

As for regular season
for all species

South Zone

Oct. 13; Nov. 10

Coastal Zone

Oct. 27; Nov. 3

* See special regulations only for September Canada goose hunting, on right.

Special Regulations Permitted During September Canada Goose Season

At the recommendation of the Atlantic Flyway Council, the US Fish and Wildlife Service approved the use of special regulations to help curb the growth of resident population Canada geese. These special regulations are optional.

  1. Electronic calls are permitted.
  2. Shotguns capable of holding no more than seven shells (including magazine and chamber) are permitted.
  3. Hunting hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.

Remember: these special regulations apply only to the September Canada goose season. Hunters who choose to use an unplugged gun during the September Canada goose season must remember to reinstall the magazine plug before pursuing other game species.

During all other waterfowl seasons, including duck, brant, regular and winter Canada goose, and snow goose, standard regulations apply. Standard regulations include: electronic calls prohibited, shotguns may not be capable of holding more than three shot shells and hunting hours end at sunset.

Hunters: Report Banded Birds

Hunters who recover banded migratory birds are asked to report the band number to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL), Washington, D.C. Banding data plays a critical role in migratory bird harvest management. There are three ways to report bands:

  1. Online:
  2. Call Toll Free: (800) 327-BAND
  3. Write: to the address inscribed on the band.

Online reporting provides instant access to the original banding information including the species, sex, location, date and age of the bird at banding. Band reporters will be able to print a certificate of appreciation on their home computer or have a certificate mailed to them which will include information about the bird which had been banded.

When contacting the BBL, be prepared to provide: band number, date the bird was recovered, exact location of the bird’s recovery as well as nearest town, and method of recovery, e.g., shot or found dead. Hunters may keep the bands.

What Do I Need To Hunt Migratory Birds In New Jersey?

Species Hunted

Hunting License

HIP Certification

NJ Stamp Certification

Federal Stamp





Woodcock, rail, moorhen, snipe



Duck, brant, goose

Waterfowl Stamps

Both the New Jersey Waterfowl Stamp Certification and Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp are required for waterfowl hunters 16 years and older and must be signed in ink. New Jersey Stamp Certifications (the state stamp itself no longer exists) are available from license agents and from the Licenses and Permits button on Fish and Wildlife’s website. Federal stamps are available from some U.S. post offices and online at

Information For Migratory Bird Hunters

Important Reminder in Obtaining HIP Certification

Hunters, including youths, must purchase a Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification before hunting ducks, geese, brant, woodcock, rails, snipe, coot or moorhens (gallinules) in New Jersey and must always hunt with proof in possession in the license holder. HIP certifications are valid from Sept. 1 to Feb. 15 each year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will use this confidential information only to conduct migratory bird harvest surveys. Only a small, random group will be surveyed.

Hunters may purchase an HIP certification via three sales outlets:

  1. License Agents: HIP certification may be purchased at any license agent for a $2 fee. Hunters will have their HIP certification printed on their license or as a separate document.
  2. Internet Sales Site: Hunters may purchase an HIP certification for a $2 fee on Fish and Wildlife’s Internet sales site ( then self-print the HIP certifications.
  3. Telephone Sales Site: Hunters may purchase their HIP certifications using Fish and Wildlife’s telephone sales process (888) 277-2015. Hunters will receive a transaction number; record this number for immediate proof of completing an HIP certification. The actual HIP certification will be mailed to the hunter. Note: purchases made via telephone will incur an additional shipping and handling fee of $5.13.

New Jersey Waterfowlers Clinic

Every year, experienced waterfowlers throughout New Jersey join together dedicating their time and energy to present the New Jersey Waterfowlers Clinic—an all day, free seminar covering “everything you ever wanted to know” about the traditions of waterfowl hunting in New Jersey. This year is no exception!

Thirty years ago, the clinic began as an opportunity to introduce young people to the world of waterfowl hunting. However, with the growing interest among men and women, as well as children, the event has been transformed into an opportunity for anyone 10 and up to spend a fun and interesting day learning about waterfowling!

Our full-day clinic covers waterfowling from A to Z, and includes bird identification, decoys, calling, guns and ammo, boats, safety, laws and ethics, do’s and don’ts, clothing and camo, and even a demonstration by working retrievers! The value of the day is priceless. It’s a unique chance to ask any question you’ve ever had about the sport—to be answered by the most experienced waterfowlers in New Jersey. Our instructors have a combined 300 years of experience!

  • Free breakfast and lunch to all attending!
  • Date: Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012
  • Location: Tip Seaman Park, Tuckerton, NJ
  • Time: 8 a.m.3:30 p.m.

Please register in advance by calling Marty Kristiansen at (732) 842-6375 so we can plan accordingly.

We hope you’ll join us this year and share our enthusiasm for all that is waterfowling!

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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