Deer Hunting Regulations

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Regulations in red are new this year. Purple text indicates an important note.

 

Legal Deer Hunting Hours: half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset

Only one antlered deer may be taken per season statewide, except during the Six-Day Firearm Season, regardless of the number of antlered buck permits in possession. To be legal, all deer harvested must be registered at an official deer check station and have a metal possession seal affixed to the deer. Note: Only one deer at a time may be taken during any permit season even if you possess both an antlered and antlerless permit, except in those zones in Regulation Sets 6 and 8 where two deer at a time may be harvested during the Permit Shotgun and Permit Muzzleloader seasons.

NOTE: Sunday bowhunting for deer is legal only on state wildlife management areas and private property.

Feral Hogs

With the ongoing presence of feral hogs in the Gloucester County area, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife may allow deer hunters in Deer Management Zone 25 to hunt feral hogs during the regular deer seasons. Check Fish and Wildlife’s Web site for details.

Key Concepts and Definitions

  • Antlered deer is defined as any deer with at least one antler measuring at least three inches in length as defined below.
  • Antler length is defined as the maximum length of a deer antler measured from the lowest outside edge of the antler burr along the outer curve to the most distant point of what is or appears to be the main antler beam. For the purposes of this definition, the antler length does not include the pedicel or portion of skull between the skull plate and base of the antler point.
  • Antler point is defined as any point at least one inch long from its tip to its base line, and the length must exceed the width at some location at least one inch down from the tip.
  • Antlerless deer is defined as any deer that does not have an antler length measuring at least three inches. For the purposes of this definition, adult male deer that have shed their antlers, button bucks and adult males with antlers less than three inches are considered antlerless deer.
  • Antlered Buck Muzzleloader Permit, Antlered Buck Shotgun Permit or Antlered Buck Bow Permit refers to the antlered buck permits available for purchase which are valid only when used in conjunction with the antlerless, zone-specific deer season permit. The antlered buck permits contain an antlered deer transportation tag and allows for the pursuit and harvest of an antlered deer only.
  • Antler Point Restriction zones include Zones 3, 9, 13, 27, 29, 35, 37, 40, 63 and 67. The harvest of antlered deer from these zones during any open season is restricted to deer with at least one antler having a minimum of three antler points as defined above. The goal of the antler point restriction strategy, as part of Quality Deer Management, is to reduce harvest pressure on the 1½ year-old antlered deer in the expectation that they will survive to produce larger antlers as older animals.

Six-day Firearm Deer Season
Dec. 6–11, 2010

 

  • Special Areas Deer Management zones include Zones 37, 38, 39, 40, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 61, 64, 66, 67, 68, and 70. They are generally small, publicly-owned properties administered by county, federal or state agencies (other than Fish and Wildlife) where deer season dates, bag limits or regulations differ from those of the surrounding deer management zone.
  • Youth Hunter status applies to the possessor of a valid Youth Hunting License (or the immediate member of a qualified occupant farmer who is at least 10 years of age) and continues until Dec. 31 of the year in which he or she turns 16 years of age. The Youth Bow Deer Hunt Day is Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010. The Youth Firearm Deer Hunt Day is Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010. The bag limit for youth hunters on this day is one deer of either sex. Antler Point Restrictions do not apply for deer taken on this day by youth hunters. See Take a Kid Hunting for details.

Licenses and Permits

  • See License, Permits and Stamps for details and for Hunter Education requirements.
  • Additional hunting licenses may not be purchased in order to harvest additional deer.
  • Although hunters may purchase multiple deer permits, they are limited to only one zone-specific ANTLERLESS permit per zone during each of the permit seasons. For example, a hunter may buy an ANTLERLESS muzzleloader permit for each of Zones 18, 21 and 24. A hunter may purchase a bow permit, a muzzleloader permit and a shotgun permit for Zone 24; however, they may not purchase two ANTLERLESS bow permits (nor two shotgun permits nor two muzzleloader permits) for Zone 24.
  • It is unlawful to use a bow and arrow for hunting deer while using a firearm license (except during the Six-day Firearm Season) and unlawful while using a shotgun or muzzleloader deer permit. A bow and arrow license and permit (when required) must be in possession using this hunting equipment.
  • The zone-specific Bow, Muzzleloader and Shotgun Permits are valid ONLY for the pursuit and harvest of ANTLERLESS deer. Hunters who want to pursue and take an antlered deer during any of these seasons must purchase an additional Antlered Buck Bow, Antlered Buck Muzzleloader or Antlered Buck Shotgun Permit. Hunters may purchase only one Antlered Buck Permit per season. An Antlered Buck Permit must be used in conjunction with zone-specific antlerless permit. The Antlered Buck Permit is not zone-specific; it is valid for use in any zone for which the a hunter already holds a zone-specific antlerless season permit, but only one buck may be harvested per season. Adult deer permits are $28; youth deer permits are $12.

IMPORTANT: Antlered Buck Permits must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. on the following dates: Oct. 30 for Permit Bow; Nov. 29 for Permit Muzzleloader and Dec. 15 for Permit Shotgun seasons, UNLESS you are buying your first zone-specific antlerless permit AND an Antlered Buck Permit at the same time after these dates.

Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits are available to help landowners and managers cope with undesirable deer densities while utilizing current deer hunting seasons by removing additional antlerless deer. See Licenses, Permits & Stamps and Farmer Regulations for more information.

Firearms, Ammunition and Sights

  • See general hunting regulations which also apply to deer hunting.
  • All firearms must be cased and unloaded while being transported in vehicles, including on all-terrain vehicles. A muzzleloader is considered unloaded when, in the case of a percussion cap rifle or shotgun, the percussion cap has been removed from the nipple; in the case of a flintlock, when the powder is removed from the pan and a boot or cover made of nonmetallic material is placed over the frizzen.
  • Hunters using or possessing any shotgun slug in the field during the deer seasons must have a shotgun with adjustable open iron or peep sights or a scope affixed to the shotgun.
  • Telescopic sights of any magnification (scope power) are permitted for deer hunting on all firearms, including muzzleloader rifles and smoothbore muzzleloader shotguns. No permits are required for telescopic sights.
  • Any sight or device that casts a beam of light upon the deer is prohibited.
  • Shotgun shells containing single spherical projectiles referred to as pumpkin balls are prohibited.
  • While deer hunting with a shotgun, it is illegal to have in possession any ammunition not authorized for deer hunting.
  • When hunting during the overlapping firearms seasons for deer and when in possession of the proper permits for the current seasons, hunters may carry the firearms legal for the current seasons. For example, when Six-day Firearm and Permit Muzzleloader seasons run concurrently, a hunter may be in possession of a shotgun and either a muzzleloading rifle or smoothbore muzzleloader.
  • Double-barreled muzzleloading rifles are not permitted during the Six-day Firearm or Permit Muzzleloader seasons.
  • Only one muzzleloading rifle or smoothbore muzzleloader may be in possession while deer hunting, but not both simultaneously.
  • Only black powder or black powder equivalents, such as Pyrodex and Triple Se7en, may be used with a muzzleloading firearm when engaged in hunting. Modern smokeless powder is strictly prohibited while hunting game with a muzzleloading firearm.
  • Special Areas Deer Management Zones may have regulations that differ from the state-wide regulations. See page 50 for details.

Baiting

Baiting is allowed for deer hunting. Hunters may hunt for deer while in a tree, on the ground or in a structure and from any height and any distance from the bait pile. Hunters should check with the landowner or administrative agency before placing bait on their hunting area as baiting is not allowed on properties such as national wildlife refuges.

Decoys and Electronic Devices

  • Persons may hunt with the aid of deer decoys statewide in those zones open for deer hunting only during the Fall Bow, Permit Bow and Winter Bow seasons. When carrying or moving deer decoys for the purpose of hunting, persons must wear a fluorescent orange hat or outer garment consisting of at least 200 square inches of fluorescent orange material, which shall be visible from all sides as currently required for firearm deer hunting.
  • It is unlawful to hunt for deer with the aid of an electronic calling device or any device that casts a beam of light upon the deer.

Bag Limits

  • For all seasons except Six-day Firearm, properly licensed and permitted hunters are limited to taking one antlered buck per season, regardless of the number of antlerless, zone-specific permits purchased, when applicable.
  • Bowhunters may take two antlered deer legally on a bow or all-around license, one antlered deer each during the Fall Bow and Winter Bow seasons. Hunters who want to pursue and harvest an antlered deer during the Permit Bow Season must purchase an Antlered Buck Bow Permit valid only when used in conjunction with the zone-specific antlerless Bow Permit. For permit purchasing deadline, see Deer Season Permits.
  • Bowhunters may now take antlered deer with their bow during the Six-day Firearm season, provided that they have a current and valid firearm license in addition to an archery license, or have an all-around sportsman license. Bow hunters who bag an antlered deer during the Six-day Firearm Season with their bow must use the transportation tag for the Six-day season from their firearm or all-around license only.
  • Firearm hunters legally may take two antlered deer during the Six-day Firearm Season on a firearm or all-around license. Hunters will receive a supplemental tag upon checking in their first Six-day Firearm Season buck, allowing the pursuit and harvest of a second buck. Hunters who want to harvest an antlered deer during the Permit Shotgun or Permit Muzzleloader seasons must purchase an Antlered Buck Shotgun or Antlered Buck Muzzleloader Permit, valid only when used in conjunction with the zone-specific antlerless Shotgun or Muzzleloader Permit. If hunters who take a second antlered deer during the Six-day Firearm Season, their Shotgun Permit Season bag limit is then restricted to antlerless deer only. For purchasing deadlines, see Deer Season Permits.
  • Remember, although two antlered bucks may be taken during the Six-day Firearm Season, when that occurs, the antlered buck bag limit for the Permit Shotgun Season is then zero. Hunters may choose: take either two antlered bucks during Six-day Firearm Season, or one antlered buck during Six-day Firearm Season and one antlered buck during Permit Shotgun Season (while possessing an Antlered Buck Permit.) The antlerless bag limit for these permit seasons will be one, two or unlimited depending on the zone and season. See Regulation Sets.
  • Note: Only one deer at a time may be taken during any permit season even if you possess both an antlered and antlerless permit, except in those zones in Regulation Sets 6 and 8 where two deer at a time may be harvested during the Permit Shotgun and Permit Muzzleloader Seasons.
  • Two deer may be taken at a time in Zones 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 25, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 56, 57, 58, 64, and 66 and 68 during the Permit Shotgun and Permit Muzzleloader seasons (in those zones open for both of those seasons) until the season concludes. See Regulation Sets.
  • Additional antlerless deer may be taken under the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). For more information, see Licenses, Permits & Stamps and Farmer Regulations.

Firearms, Bows and Ammunition Legal for Deer Hunting

Season(s)

Weapon Type

Gauge, Caliber or Draw Weight

Projectile(s)

Firearm sights;
Bow releases

Fall Bow
Permit Bow
Winter Bow

Bow: long, recurve, compound or crossbow.

35 pounds pull at archer’s draw length (long and recurve bows) or peak weight (compound bow) or 75 pounds minimum draw weight (crossbow)

Arrows must be fitted with a well-sharpened metal broadhead with a minimum width of ¾”

Hand-held release devices are permitted

Permit
Muzzleloader

Muzzleloader: rifle or smoothbore, single-barrel, single-shot. Flintlock, percussion and in-line ignitions permitted. Electronic ignitions are not legal. Double-barrel firearms prohibited.

Rifle: not less than .44 caliber

Smoothbore: not smaller than 20 gauge and not larger than 10 gauge

Must be loaded with a single projectile only

Telescopic sights
permitted

Six-day Firearm

Bow: long, recurve, compound or crossbow.

35 pounds pull at archer’s draw length (long and recurve bows) or peak weight (compound bow) or 75 pounds minimum draw weight (crossbow)

Arrows must be fitted with a well-sharpened metal broadhead with a minimum width of ¾”

NOTE: bowhunters must possess both a firearm and a bow and arrow license during this season.

Shotgun: single or double barrel, rifled bore or smoothbore

Not smaller than 20 gauge and not larger than 10 gauge, capable of holding no more than three shells

Slugs: lead, lead alloy or copper rifled slug or sabotted slug

Buck shot: sizes not smaller than #4 (0.24″) nor larger than #000 (0.36″)

Shotgun must have an adjustable open iron or peep sight or a scope affixed if hunter is hunting with or in possession of slugs

Muzzleloader: single-shot, single barrel rifle OR single or double-barrel smoothbore shotgun. Flintlock, percussion and in-line ignitions permitted. Electronic ignitions are not legal.

Muzzleloading rifle: single shot not less than .44 caliber

Smoothbore: single or double-barrel not smaller than 20 gauge and not larger than 10 gauge

Muzzleloading rifle: single projectile

Smoothbore: buck shot not smaller than #4 (0.24″) nor larger than #000 (0.36″) or a single projectile

Telescopic sights
permitted

Permit Shotgun

Shotgun: single or double barrel, rifled bore or smoothbore

Not smaller than 20 gauge and not larger than 10 gauge, capable of holding no more than three shells

Slugs: lead, lead alloy or copper rifled slug or sabot slug

Buck shot: sizes not smaller than #4 (0.24″) nor larger than #000 (0.36″)

Shotgun must have an adjustable open iron or peep sight or a scope affixed if hunter is hunting with or in possession of slugs

Muzzleloader: single or double-barrel smoothbores only (no rifles.) Flintlock, percussion and in-line ignitions permitted

Not smaller than 20 gauge and not larger than 10 gauge

Buck shot: sizes not smaller than #4 (0.24″) nor larger than #000 (0.36″) or a single projectile

Tagging Requirements—Transportation Tag

Immediately upon harvesting any deer, hunters must complete in ink all information requested on the Transportation Tag either attached to your license, the regular, zone-specific deer permit, the Antlered Buck Permit, or the supplemental tag. Be sure to use the Transportation Tag corresponding to the hunting season in which the deer was harvested.

  1. A valid transportation tag first must be detached from your license or permit then securely attached to the deer immediately after it has been killed.
  2. Youth and farmer hunters creating a hand-written transportation tag must include the following information: Conservation ID number, date, hunting season, gender of deer, number of antler points, county, township and deer management zone. See page 33 for a printed Youth/Farmer Transportation Tag.
  3. Transportation Tags from 2010 permits are valid for the entire length of the Permit Bow, Permit Muzzleloader and Permit Shotgun seasons, including January and February 2011, if the zone specified on the original permit is open for hunting during these dates.
  4. All Supplemental Deer Transportation Tags are valid on the day of issuance for taking another deer.
  5. See Mandatory Deer Check Station Requirement below.

After Harvesting a Deer—Mandatory Deer Check Requirement

Immediately upon harvesting a deer, hunters must complete in ink all required tags.

  1. All hunters are required to register harvested deer. Bring your deer to the closest official deer check station (see Deer Check Stations).
  2. Be discrete when transporting your deer to and from a check station, butcher or taxidermist; rinse away excess blood, turn the field-dressed side to face in toward your vehicle and push the tongue back into the deer’s mouth.
  3. Deer must be taken to the check station by the hunter who killed the deer on the day killed, by 8 p.m. during the regular Fall Bow Season, and by 7 p.m. during all other seasons.
  4. Transportation Tags must be surrendered to the check station operator. Check station personnel will attach a legal metal possession seal to the deer, and, if applicable, will issue a New Jersey Supplemental Transportation Tag for the harvest of another deer. It is the hunter’s responsibility to confirm that the seal is attached and locked on the deer.

Remember: Bring your hunting license and applicable deer season permit(s) to the deer check station.

After Checking Your Deer—Possession/Sale

  • Metal possession seals (affixed to deer at check stations) must be kept until all venison is consumed and as long as you keep any part or parts, including antlers. Persons with deer mounts should write their name, legal possession seal number, date of kill and season of harvest on back of the mounting plate for future reference.
  • It is illegal to sell deer meat, deer antlers or any part of a deer except deer hides. However, nonprofit organizations conducting wild game dinners for social and fundraising events may offer game or furbearer meat (the sale of which is otherwise prohibited) provided that the meat has been harvested, stored and processed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

Spotlighting

Spotlighting deer during hours of darkness from a vehicle is illegal while in possession of a weapon capable of killing deer, whether the weapon is cased, uncased or in a locked compartment. This does not apply to the regular use of headlights when traveling in a normal manner on public or private roads.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Guidance

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) affects the central nervous system of deer family species. Most scientists believe the disease is caused by an infectious protein or prion. CWD has been diagnosed in mule deer, white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer and mule deer, white-tailed deer hybrids and North American elk. Moose have been experimentally infected through oral inoculation.

There is no evidence linking CWD to disease in humans; however, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend that people do not consume meat from an apparently sick deer, elk or any animal found dead or known to be positive for CWD. Also, as a precaution in areas where CWD has been identified, hunters are advised not to eat tissues known to harbor CWD prions (lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen, pancreas, brain, and spinal cord) and to “bone out” the meat.

CWD has been diagnosed in deer and elk in 13 states and two Canadian Provinces:

Canada, Alberta2 Montana2 Utah3
Canada, Saskatchewan1 Nebraska1 Virginia3
Colorado1 New Mexico3 West Virginia3
Illinois3 New York1 Wisconsin1
Kansas2 Oklahoma2 Wyoming1*
Minnesota2 South Dakota1

1. CWD in both captive and wild deer

2. CWD in captive deer only

3. CWD in wild deer only

* captive research herd

CWD can be transmitted among adult deer, and the prions have been found in the brain, eyes, spinal cord, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes. Prions in these tissues of infected deer can potentially infect other deer if they are disposed of improperly.

To ensure you do not inadvertently spread CWD prions from the above-listed states:

  • Follow the rules of the states in which you hunt to ensure you do not spread CWD
  • Bring back to New Jersey only hides, capes and boned meat free of spinal cord, brain and associated lymph nodes
  • Bring back to New Jersey skull plates free of brain residue and disinfected by soaking in a 30 percent Clorox solution for 15 minutes
  • Do not dispose of carcasses (particularly skull, brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes) in the wild when you return to New Jersey. The remains of an eviscerated butchered deer or elk must be disposed of in the household trash where it will be delivered to an appropriate landfill.
  • Butchers must use food-waste dumpsters for appropriate disposal of larger quantities of deer remains in landfills.
  • Taxidermists must not dispose of curing salts, deer or elk carcasses or body parts in the wild where deer may find them. Taxidermists with larger quantities of animal parts must use food-waste dumpsters for appropriate disposal.
  • For the latest CWD information, visit our Web site .

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