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Safety & Hunting Opportunities

What is a SAFETY ZONE?

  • The firearm SAFETY ZONE is the area within 450 feet of a building or school playground, even if not occupied. For bowhunters, the SAFETY ZONE around buildings is 150 feet but remains 450 feet from a school playground. See Safety Zone, General Hunting Regulations.
  • The SAFETY ZONE is the place where you, the hunter, cannot carry a loaded firearm or nocked arrow unless you have written permission in hand.
  • The SAFETY ZONE was established by legislation in 1946 as an area to place some physical distance, a buffer, between hunters and homeowners.
  • The SAFETY ZONE could be land where there is suitable wildlife ­habitat for adaptable species, like the white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbit and Canada goose.
  • The SAFETY ZONE is not a magic shield and cannot stop a misdirected projectile from entering the area around a home.


What can you do to heighten your SAFETY ZONE awareness?

  1. Post SAFETY ZONE signs.
  2. Talk with landowners.
  3. Scout hunting property annually to be aware of new construction or other changes.
  4. Hunt SMART and remind your hunting partners to Hunt SMART.
  5. Know the law. Know the land.

SafetyZoneart_red.tifRemember, failure to hunt safely and responsibly is inexcusable. Always be a responsible hunter. Always be aware of your surroundings, the target and what may lie beyond the target. The principles of good conduct learned at your hunter education course are called into practice every time you hunt.

Take special care hunting on “high visibility” property, habitat where our adaptable wildlife species—especially white-tailed deer—are ­flourishing. Here, hunter conduct will be watched closely; the image we portray can have a great impact on the tolerance for our sport. Hunting these Special Areas carries added responsibility for you, as a hunter, to ­exercise restraint and make superior judgment decisions. 37299.png

­­Safety Zone Awareness: Protecting Your Hunting Privilege

New Jersey hunters enjoy many types of hunting, numerous days afield and generous bag limits. But development and other human encroachment on the forests and fields of the Garden State has changed both wildlife habitat and land suitable for hunting, such that SAFETY ZONE awareness is even more critical for hunters.

Hunting Opportunities On New Jersey’s National Wildlife Refuges

2013–14 Hunting Seasons

Hunting on national wildlife refuges is not permitted unless specifically opened as listed below. No Sunday hunting on national wildlife refuges.

Cape May NWR

24 Kimbles Beach Rd., Cape May Court House, NJ 08210 (609) 463-0994;

No refuge permit is required. Special hunting conditions apply. Contact refuge office for information.

Great Swamp NWR

241 Pleasant Plains Rd., Basking Ridge, NJ 07920-9615

(973) 425-1222 ext. 158;

In addition to required state licenses and permits, hunters must obtain a Refuge permit for $26 ($13 for holders of a Senior Golden Age or Golden Access Passport and youths with a valid 2013 New Jersey youth hunting license).

Edwin B. Forsythe NWR

800 Great Creek Rd., Oceanville, NJ 08231-0072; (609) 652-1665;

Information can be obtained at the refuge, at ­dispensers, at the headquarters, on the refuge website, or through the mail.

Supawna Meadows NWR

c/o Cape May NWR, 24 Kimbles Beach Rd., Cape May Court House, NJ 08210, (609) 463-0994;

Special hunting conditions apply. Contact refuge manager for information.

Wallkill River NWR

1547 County Rt. 565, Sussex, NJ 07461-4013; (973) 702-7266;

Note: the refuge is closed to bear hunting in 2013.

In addition to required state licenses and permits, hunters must obtain a refuge permit. There is a $20 fee for a refuge permit except youths are free, seniors with a Golden Age passport are $10. Special hunting conditions apply. 37304.png

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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