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Highlights of Regulation Changes

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Changes to deer regulations for the 2015–16 seasons are extensive and involve the mandatory tagging of all harvested deer; the ability to harvest two deer before registering them via the Automated Harvest Report System during bow seasons in certain deer management zones (DMZs); a change in Regulation Set for four DMZs; the expansion of the permit bow season in zones in Regulation Set 4; Regulation Set 0’s permit muzzleloader season is restructured and changes to some Special Area DMZs.

  • Hunters are once again required to tag all deer upon harvest, as with the former live check station system. See Deer Harvest Report Cards and Deer Hunting Regulations for cut-out tags and additional information.
  • DMZs in Regulation Sets 6, 7, and 8 are now included in the regulation to take two deer before reporting the harvest via the Automated Harvest Report System for all bow seasons.
  • DMZs 10, 11 and 15 are moved from Regulation Set 7 to Regulation Set 8; DMZ 17 is moved from Regulation Set 6 to Regulation Set 7.
  • The permit bow season is extended in Regulation Set 4 and will close on December 31.
  • Regulation Set 0’s permit muzzleloader season has two days moved from the week after the Six-day Firearm Season to the week before New Year’s Day.
  • DMZ 37 (Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst) is removed from antler point restriction regulations.
  • DMZ 39 (Earle Naval Weapons Station) is added to earn-a-buck regulations during the fall bow deer season.

A new Youth Division is now part of the Outstanding Deer Program! See Wildlife Programs Outstanding Deer for details.

Other Game Code amendments for the 2015–16 hunting seasons include the following:

  • The opening of the north zone ruffed grouse season is changed to the third Saturday in October; see Small Game Hunting.
  • A requirement to report incidentally-caught bobcat is added for trappers to allow Fish and Wildlife to obtain additional data on this species; see Trapping Regulations.
  • The lottery for fall turkey hunting permits is eliminated. Permits may now be purchased at license agents. See License Information.
  • The fall turkey season is expanded to turkey hunting areas (THA) 6, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16. See Fall & Spring Wild Turkey Hunting.
  • Spring and fall permit quotas are increased for THAs 14 and 22. See License Information.
  • Trappers may now use enclosed foothold traps; these traps have been extensively studied and found to be humane alternatives to the banned, steel-jaw leghold traps. They are species-specific and are designed to capture animals that possess a degree of manual dexterity, like opossums and raccoons, while excluding non-target species like domestic dogs and bobcat. See Trapping Regulations.
  • Weasel is added to cable restraint regulations. See Trapping Regulations.
  • All live-capture cable restraints are required to have relaxing-type locks. See Trapping Regulations.
  • Air guns are now allowed for the dispatch of legally trapped furbearers, excluding muskrat. See Trapping Regulations.
  • The use of 20-gauge shotguns is now allowed for coyote and fox hunting during the special permit season. See Small Game Hunting.
  • A wanton waste regulation is now in place for game mammals and birds, excluding furbearers. The species included are deer, bear, turkey, rabbit and hare, pheasant, quail, partridge, ruffed grouse and waterfowl. See General Hunting Regulations.
  • Grain weight in center-fire rifles is changed from 100 to 80 grains, and grain weight is limited to a maximum of 50 grains for rim-fire rifles when hunting woodchuck. See Small Game Hunting.
  • Bear hunters are added to the requirement to display hunter orange on or near a ground blind when hunting during the deer firearm seasons. See General Hunting Regulations.
  • Portions of the Rockport Wildlife Management Area are added to pheasant hunting; a pheasant and quail stamp is required. See Small Game Hunting.
  • A hunter orange hat is required for all firearm small game hunters on wildlife management areas stocked with pheasants or quail. See General Hunting Regulations and Small Game Hunting.

At the time of this printing, the Fishing Buddy License and Apprentice Hunting License legislation are both pending the Governor’s signature. Watch our website for further information.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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