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.
What is a SAFETY ZONE?
- The SAFETY ZONE is the area within 450 feet of a building or school playground, even if not occupied. For bowhunters, note that at press time, pending legislation to reduce the safety zone awaits action by the governor. See Safety Zone.
- 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?
- Post SAFETY ZONE signs.
- Talk with landowners.
- Hunt SMART and remind your hunting partners to Hunt SMART.
- Know the law.
Remember, failure to hunt safely and responsibly is inexcusable. You must always be a responsible hunter, aware of your surroundings, the target and what may lie beyond the target. The principles of hunter education do not disappear at the completion of a course, but 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. So hunting these special areas carries added responsibility for you, as a hunter, to exercise restraint and make superior judgment decisions.