Migratory Bird Regulations

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New Jersey Migratory Bird Regulations

Major Changes for the 2019–20 Season

  • The mallard bag limit is reduced to 2 mallards with not more than 1 hen.
  • The brant season is reduced to 30 days and will only occur during part of the duck season.
  • The Regular Canada goose season is reduced to 30 days in the North and South Zones; the bag limit is reduced to 2 birds. The Regular Canada goose season in the Coastal Zone will be concurrent with the duck season with the bag limit reduced to 2 birds.
  • The pintail daily bag limit is reduced to 1 bird.

Waterfowl Stamps

Both the New Jersey Waterfowl Stamp Certification and Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp) are required for all waterfowl hunters 16 years and older and must be signed in ink. New Jersey Stamp Certifications 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 www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.

Harvest Information Program (HIP)

All hunters, including Apprentice License holders, must obtain an HIP certification before hunting ducks, geese, brant, coot, woodcock, rails, snipe or gallinules. Hunters may purchase an HIP certification from a License Agent or Online at NJ.WildlifeLicense.com. Both methods allow hunters to go hunting immediately after registering.

HIP certification should be carried in the hunter’s license holder and are valid from Sept. 1 to April 15 the following year. Information collected for HIP is confidential and used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for conducting migratory bird harvest surveys.

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


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 two ways to report bands:

  1. Online: reportband.gov
  2. 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 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.


Did you Harvest a Marked Atlantic Brant?

During winter 2018, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife initiated a multi-year collaborative Atlantic brant migration and breeding ecology study with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Canadian Wildlife Service and University of Missouri.

  • If you shoot or find dead a brant with a geolocator or backpack transmitter, contact Ted Nichols at (609) 628-3218 or e-mail ted.nichols@dep.nj.gov to return the device(s). To obtain data from a geolocator, we must have the device in hand. Geolocators are clear, plastic electronics about the size of a “fat nickel,” attached to a red and white plastic leg band with a plastic cable lock tie. Hunters who want to retain a geolocator or transmitter as a keepsake will be provided with a replica unit.
  • If you see a brant with a colored leg band: Please report the observation to U.S. Bird Banding Lab at REPORTBAND.GOV.
  • If a bird with leg band only is shot or found dead: Please report to U.S. Bird Banding Lab at REPORTBAND.GOV.

Your cooperation and interest is appreciated. For more information on this study, see

Atlantic brant instrumented with tarsal band and geolocator.


Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days

Youth hunters must possess a valid Youth Firearms License—OR be less than 16 years of age and qualified to hunt without a license under the farmer license exemption (see Licenses, Permits & Stamps)—to hunt the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.

All youth hunters must be under the direct supervision of a licensed, non-hunting adult 21 years of age or older.