Skip to Main Content Skip to Main Navigation
Join the Griffin's Guide HUNTING newsletter

Get weekly news, tips and photos from the world of hunting.
[contact-form-7 id="35884" title="GG Email"]
No Thanks!

Small Game Hunting Regulations

Brought to you by:

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

 

A current and valid hunting license (Bow and Arrow, Firearm or All-Around Sportsman) is required to pursue any small game species. See General Hunting Regulations. The use of dogs, unless specifically stated otherwise, is permitted to pursue any small game species, except wild turkey. Hunting for those species shown in the Small Game Hunting Seasons table, below, is prohibited during the statewide Six-day Firearm (deer) Season and on the Wednesday of the Permit Shotgun (deer) Season that immediately follows the Six-day Firearm Season. For exceptions, see Coyote and Fox and Semi-wild and Commercial Preserve Hunting sections below. Sunday hunting is prohibited; see Raccoon and Opossum, plus Semi-wild and Commercial Shooting Preserves for exceptions.

Season Dates and Bag Limits: The Small Game Hunting Seasons table below lists dates, hunting hours and daily bag limits for all small game species open for hunting. Hunting with firearms is prohibited on Nov. 5, 2010 on state wildlife management areas designated as Pheasant and Quail Stamp Areas (see Pheasants below) except in tidal marshes open to an on-going waterfowl season.

General Small Game Hunting Methods: Properly licensed hunters may hunt small game with shotguns or bow and arrow and limited hunting with small caliber rifles; see below. See also General Hunting Regulations.

Shotgun: Unless specifically stated otherwise, shotguns for small game hunting may be single or double barrel, rifled or smoothbore and not larger than 10-gauge or smaller than .410 caliber and capable of holding no more than three shells.

Shot: Unless specifically stated otherwise, shot size for small game hunting may be no larger than #4 fine shot.

Bow and Arrow: All bows must meet the requirements specified in General Hunting Regulations.

Muzzleloading Rifles: For limited small game rifle hunting, see below for Coyote and Fox—Special Permit Season, Raccoon and Opossum, Squirrel —Muzzleloading Rifle Season and Woodchuck for restrictions.

Wildlife Damage: Property owners or their agents, and occupants of dwellings that are suffering damage from coyote, fox, opossum, raccoon, skunk, squirrel, weasel or woodchuck may control them by lawful means at any time subject to local ordinances.

Coyote and Fox, General and Special Permit Seasons

See chart below for both general and special permit season regulations for coyote and fox. NOTE: All successful coyote hunters must report any coyote harvested to a Fish and Wildlife Regional Law Enforcement Office within 24 hours. Callers must identify themselves by name and daytime phone number.

In addition to the coyote and fox seasons described in the chart below, properly licensed persons hunting deer during the Six-day Firearm, Permit Muzzleloader or Permit Shotgun deer seasons may kill coyote or fox when the person is in possession of a valid deer transportation tag for the applicable deer season (i.e., before harvesting a deer.) All hunting must cease immediately upon harvesting the daily deer bag limit and completing the deer transportation tag(s). Incidental hunting of coyote or fox while deer hunting may resume following the issuance of a New Jersey Supplemental Deer Transportation Tag for the applicable deer season (provided the season remains open and the season bag limit of deer has not been reached.) Only applicable projectiles approved for deer hunting may be used to take coyote and fox incidental to deer hunting during the deer seasons described above. See Firearms, Bow and Ammunition chart.

In addition to the general Coyote and Fox seasons and incidental coyote or fox harvest while deer hunting, a Special Permit Coyote and Fox Season runs concurrent with the regular small game coyote and fox season. A Fish and Wildlife-issued permit is required to hunt coyote under the provisions of the Special Permit Coyote and Fox Season; as follows:

Coyote/Fox permits: $2, available at any license agent or via Fish and Wildlife’s Internet license sales site beginning December 15. A hunting license must be purchased prior to or in conjunction with the purchase of a Special Coyote and Fox Permit.

Northern Bobwhite (Quail)

Northern bobwhite (quail) are native to the southern half of New Jersey. In recent years, quail populations have declined throughout their range including New Jersey. In an effort to reverse this decline in New Jersey, two quail hunting zones were delineated north and south of Rt. 33 in 2005. The season dates and daily bag limits are more liberal north of Rt. 33, where quail are only found as a result of stocking by licensed semi-wild or commercial operations. The season dates and daily bag limits are more restrictive south of Rt. 33, where the best remaining quail habitat exists and where wild quail populations are known to occur. See Small Game Hunting Seasons chart, below, for season dates and bag limits. See exceptions below for semi-wild and commercial preserve hunting.

Pheasant

Pheasant Zones were eliminated several years ago. See Small Game Hunting Seasons chart, below, for season dates and bag limits. See exceptions below for semi-wild and commercial preserve hunting.

Pheasant and Quail Stamp Areas: Anyone aged 16 and over (except 16 year olds whose Youth License remains valid until Dec. 31 in the year they reach 16 years of age) hunting or possessing pheasant or quail on the following designated wildlife management areas shall have in possession a current and valid Pheasant and Quail Stamp (Youth Hunting licenses include pheasant and quail stamp): Assunpink, Berkshire Valley, Millville (Bevan), Black River, Clinton, Colliers Mills, Dix, Flatbrook, Glassboro, Greenwood (including Pasadena-Howardsville), Heislerville, Tuckahoe (MacNamara), Mad Horse, Manahawkin, Manasquan River, Medford, Nantuxent, Peaslee, Pequest, Port Republic, Stafford Forge, Walpack, Whittingham and Winslow. A current and valid Pheasant and Quail Stamp is also required at the Delaware River National Recreation Area.

Pheasant and Quail Stocking

Fish and Wildlife anticipates pheasant releases to be in excess of 50,000 birds, and plans to purchase 11,000 quail for release as follows:

Assunpink, Berkshire Valley, Black River, Clinton, Colliers Mills, Dix, Flatbrook, Glassboro, Millville (Bevan), Nantuxent, Pequest, Port Republic, Tuckahoe (MacNamara), Walpack and Whittingham WMAs will be stocked with pheasant for the following dates:

  • Nov. 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25 and 27
  • Dec. 4, 18, 23, 28 and 30

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Heislerville, Howardsville, Mad Horse, Manahawkin, Manasquan, Medford, Stafford Forge and Winslow WMAs will be stocked with pheasant for the following dates:

  • Nov. 6, 13, 20, 25 and 27
  • Dec. 4, 18, 23, 28 and 30

Greenwood Forest and Peaslee WMAs will be stocked with quail for the following dates:

  • Nov. 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25 and 27
  • Dec. 4, 18, 23, 28 and 30

Fish and Wildlife reminds sportsmen and sportswomen that the stocking schedule is tentative until approved by the Fish and Game Council in early October. The schedule is subject to pheasant production and may change due to emergency weather conditions.

Rabbit and Hare

The rabbit and hare hunting season will begin the last Saturday in September. The earlier opening date allows for hunting opportunity when rabbit populations are at their peak. Firearm hunting is prohibited on Nov. 5 on those wildlife management areas designated as Pheasant and Quail Stamp Areas. See Small Game Hunting Seasons chart, below, for season dates and bag limits.

Raccoon and Opossum

See Small Game Hunting Seasons chart, below, for season dates and bag limits.

Hours: Hunting may not begin until one hour after sunset on the opening day of the season. On all other days open during the season, the hours of hunting are one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise. Sunday hunting is permitted only between the hours of midnight (Saturday) and one hour before sunrise (Sunday).

Hunting methods: Portable lights are permitted. Fluorescent orange is encouraged but not required on outer clothing while hunting raccoon and opossum. A current and valid rifle permit is required when possessing a .22 caliber rifles while hunting raccoon and opossum when only .22 caliber shorts are permitted.

Dog Training: Dogs may be trained during the month of September and from March 2 to May 1, inclusive. The training hours are one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise.

Ruffed Grouse

The state’s two ruffed grouse hunting zones are delineated by Rt. 70. North of Rt. 70 the season length will begin October 21. Firearm hunting is prohibited on Nov. 5 on those wildlife management areas designated as Pheasant and Quail Stamp Areas. South of Rt. 70 the season length will begin November 6 to reduce harvest mortality of the remaining populations in the southern zone. The ruffed grouse zones are identical to those for woodcock and will provide for consistent regulations for these species that are often hunted simultaneously. See Small Game Hunting Seasons chart, below, for season dates and bag limits.

Semi-Wild and Commercial Preserve Hunting

Hunting for certain species of game birds is allowed from Nov. 6 to March 15 on semi-wild and from Sept. 1 through May 1 on commercial shooting preserve lands that are properly licensed for the taking of such species. These species of game may be hunted on Sunday only on semi-wild or commercial shooting preserve lands.

Youth hunters (in possession of a valid Youth Hunting License and accompanied by a licensed, non-shooting adult) will be permitted to hunt pheasant, quail and/or chukar partridge on licensed semi-wild preserves on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010—the Youth Pheasant Hunting Day.

All game taken on semi-wild or commercial preserves must be properly tagged before being transported off the licensed property.

A person may legally hunt on semi-wild or commercial preserves for game birds during deer seasons, but no shot larger than #4 fine may be used. There are no daily bag or seasonal limits for pheasant, quail, chukar or mallards taken on commercial preserves. There are no daily bag limits for pheasant, quail or chukar taken on semi-wild properties. Seasonal harvests on semi-wild properties may not exceed the number of birds to be stocked as indicated on the semi-wild permit application.

Squirrel, Regular Season

See Small Game Hunting Seasons chart, below.

Squirrel, Muzzleloading Rifle Season

Persons holding a current and valid firearm license and rifle permit may hunt for squirrels from sunrise to 1⁄2 hour after sunset with a muzzleloading rifle (.36 caliber or smaller loaded with a single projectile) during the periods Sept. 25 to Nov. 5; and, Jan. 1 to Feb. 21. Firearm hunting is prohibited on Nov. 12 on those wildlife management areas designated as Pheasant and Quail Stamp Areas. Hunting for squirrel in the manner described above is restricted to the areas described below:

  • Those portions of Passaic, Mercer, Hunterdon, Warren, Morris and Sussex counties lying within a continuous line beginning at the intersection of Rt. 513 and the New York State line; then south along Rt. 513 to its intersection with Rt. 511; then south along Rt. 511 to its intersection with Rt. 46; then west along Rt. 46 to its intersection with Rt. 80; then west along Rt. 80 to its intersection with Rt. 15; then north along Rt. 15 to its intersection with the Morris-Sussex County line; then south along the Morris-Sussex County line to the Warren County line; then southwest along the Morris-Warren County line to the Hunterdon County line; then southeast along the Morris-Hunterdon County line to the Somerset County line; then south along the Somerset-Hunterdon County line to its intersection with the Mercer County line; then west and south along the Hunterdon Mercer County line to its intersection with Rt. 31; then south along Rt. 31 to its intersection with Rt. 546; then west along Rt. 546 to the Delaware River; then north along the east bank of the Delaware River to the New York state line; then east along the New York state line to the point of beginning at Lakeside; and in that portion of Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties lying within a continuous line beginning at the intersection of Rt. 295 and the Delaware River; then east along Rt. 295 to its intersection with the New Jersey Turnpike; then east along the New Jersey Turnpike to its intersection with Rt. 40; then east along Rt. 40 to its intersection with Rt. 47; then north along Rt. 47 to its intersection with Rt. 536; then east along Rt. 536 to its intersection with Rt. 206; then north along Rt. 206 to its intersection with the New Jersey Turnpike; then northeast along the New Jersey Turnpike to its intersection with Rt. 571; then southeast along Rt. 571 to its intersection with the Garden State Parkway; then south along the Garden State Parkway to its intersection with Rt. 9 at Somers Point; then south along Rt. 9 to its intersection with Rt. 83; then west along Rt. 83 to its intersection with Rt. 47; then north along Rt. 47 to its intersection with Dennis Creek; then south along the west bank of Dennis Creek to its intersection with Delaware Bay; then northwest along the east shore of Delaware Bay and the Delaware River to the point of beginning.

Woodchuck

All persons in possession of a rifle (including a muzzleloading rifle) while hunting woodchuck must have a current and valid rifle permit in addition to the current hunting license. Rifle hunting (of any kind) for woodchuck is prohibited on state wildlife management areas, state parks, state forests or state recreation areas. Farmers and their agents may use shot not larger than #4 buckshot to control woodchuck causing damage. Hours of hunting are sunrise to 1⁄2 hour after sunset. See chart below for woodchuck hunting details.

 

Coyote / Fox Season

Dates

Oct. 2 – Nov. 5
Bow and Arrow Only

Nov. 6 – Feb. 21
Firearm or Bow

Jan. 1 – March 15, 2011
Special Permit Season

Hours

½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset, except 8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise

Weapon Type and Projectiles Permitted

Bow: long, recurve, compound or crossbow

See General Small Game Hunting Methods above.

Bow: long, recurve, compound or crossbow

See General Small Game Hunting Methods above.

Bow: long, recurve, compound or crossbow

See General Small Game Hunting Methods, above.

Shotgun: single or double barrel. Not smaller than 12 gauge or larger than 10 gauge, capable of holding no more than 3 shells.

Shot: sizes not smaller than #4 fine shot or larger than “T”

Shotgun and Shot Size: See General Small Game Hunting Methods, above.

Shotgun: single or double barrel. Not smaller than 12 gauge or larger than 10 gauge, capable of holding no more than 3 shells.

Shot: sizes not smaller than #4 fine shot or larger than “T” shot

Muzzleloading rifle: Only projectiles approved for deer hunting may be used for incidental coyote or fox harvest. See Notes, below and Firearms, Bows & Ammunition Legal for Deer Hunting chart. Electronic ignitions prohibited.

Muzzleloading rifle: single-shot, single barrel no less than .44 caliber. Flintlock, percussion and in-line ignitions permitted, loaded only with a single projectile, either round ball or conical bullet. Electronic ignitions prohibited.

Notes

Hunter orange not required.

Use of dogs prohibited.

Daily bag: unlimited coyote or fox

Hunter orange required when using firearm. Muzzleloading rifle may be used only incidental to deer hunting.

Use of dogs permitted except during Dec. 6–11, and Dec. 15.

Daily bag: unlimited coyote or fox

While hunting under the provisions of the Special Permit: Hunter orange is not required (but is recommended while traveling to/from hunting areas.) Hunting methods are restricted to calling and stand hunting. A predator-calling device must be in possession. Use of dogs is prohibited. Use of bait is prohibited. Portable lights are allowed.

Daily bag: unlimited coyote or fox

2010–2011 Small Game Hunting Seasons

Species (alphabetical)

Inclusive Dates

Hunting Hours

Daily Limits

Notes

Bobwhite (quail)

North of Rt. 33: Nov. 6 to Dec. 4 and Dec. 13, 14, 16–31 and Jan. 1 to Feb. 21

South of Rt. 33: Nov. 13 to Dec. 4 and Dec. 13, 14, 16–31 and Jan. 1–31

Sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

7 — North

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

4 — South

Pheasant and Quail Stamp required on designated areas.

Coyote* and Fox, General

All coyote must be reported within 24 hrs.

Bow and Arrow only:
Oct. 2 to Nov. 5

Firearm or Bow and Arrow:
Nov. 13– Feb. 21

½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

No limit

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

Open Dec. 6–11 and Dec. 15 with restrictions as specified under Small Game Hunting, Coyote and Fox.

Rifle permit required in possession when hunting with muzzleloading rifle (allowed only incidental to deer hunting).

Coyote* and Fox,
Special Permit Season

All coyote must be reported within 24 hrs.

Firearm or Bow and Arrow:
Jan. 1 to March 15 (permit required)

Permit holders may hunt day and night with certain restrictions; see Notes at right.

No limit

For complete details, see Small Game Hunting, Coyote and Fox.

Calling and standing hunting only.

Predator calling device must be in possession.

Rifle permit required in possession when hunting with muzzleloading rifle, allowed only during the daytime hunting hours.

During night hunting (½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise), only 10 or 12 gauge shotguns with #4 through “T” size shot are permitted. Coyote/fox permit required.

Grouse, Ruffed

North of Rt. 70: Oct. 21 to Dec. 4** and Dec. 13, 14, 16–31

South of Rt. 70: Nov. 6 to Dec. 4** and Dec. 13, 14, 16–31

Sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

2

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

Opossum & Raccoon

Oct. 1 to Mar. 1

1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise

No limit

Rifle permit required when hunting with rifle.

7:41 p.m. start on Oct. 1

Closed Dec. 6–11 and Dec. 15

Pheasant & Chukar

Nov. 6 to Dec. 4 and
Dec. 13, 14, 16–31 and
Jan. 1 to Feb. 21

Sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

Chukar — 7

Pheasant — 2

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

Pheasant and Quail Stamp required on designated areas.

Rabbit, Hare and Jackrabbit

Sept. 25 to Dec. 4 and
Dec. 13, 14, 16–31 and
Jan. 1 to Feb. 21

Sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

Cottontail — 4

Hare — 1

Jackrabbit — 1

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

Squirrel, Gray

Sept. 25 to Dec. 4** and Dec. 13, 14, 16–31 and Jan. 1 to Feb. 21

Sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

5

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

Squirrel, Gray:

Muzzleloading Rifle
(.36 caliber or smaller)

Sept. 25 to Nov. 6 and Jan. 1 to Feb. 21

Sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

5

Rifle permit required.

Designated areas only.

Turkey (Fall, Either-Sex)

(Period N) Oct. 25–30

½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.

1 Turkey (either sex) per permit

Permit required. Turkey Hunting Areas 1–5, 8, 9, 11, 20–22 only.

Turkey (Spring Gobbler)

(Periods A to E) Apr. 25 to May 27

½ hour before sunrise to noon

1 Male Turkey per permit

Permit required. Refer to 2011 turkey permit supplement, available in late January.

Turkey (Spring Gobbler, Youth)

(Period Y) Apr. 23 to May 27

½ hour before sunrise to noon

1 Male Turkey per permit

Permit required. Refer to 2011 turkey permit supplement, available in late January.

Woodchuck:

Bow, Rifle or Shotgun

Mar. 1 to Sept. 29, 2010

Mar. 1 to Sept. 28, 2011

Sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

No limit

Rifle permit required when hunting with rifle.

Rifle hunting prohibited on state property (see General Hunting Regulations).

Woodchuck:

Bow or Shotgun

Sept. 25 to Dec. 4** and Dec. 13, 14, 16–31 and Jan. 1 to Feb. 21

Sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

No limit

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

Woodcock

See Migratory Bird Regulations**

Sunrise to sunset

3 daily;
6 possession

HIP number required (see Migratory Birds).

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6

Youth Turkey Day

Apr. 23, 2011

½ hour before sunrise to noon

1 Male Wild Turkey

Permit required. Refer to 2011 turkey permit supplement, available in late January.

Youth Upland Bird Day

Oct. 30

8 a.m. to sunset

Pheasant — 2

Selected WMAs and licensed semi-wilds (see Take a Kid Hunting).

* All harvested coyote must be reported to a regional Division Law Enforcement Office within 24 hours. Callers must identify themselves by name and daytime phone number.

** No firearm hunting is permitted on November 5 on those WMAs designated as Pheasant and Quail Stamp Areas.

 

Woodchuck Season

Dates

Weapon Type Permitted

Gauge, Caliber or Weight

Projectile(s)

Mar. 1 to

Sept. 29, 2010

Mar. 1 to

Sept. 28, 2011

Center-fire rifle

.25 caliber or less

Hollow point, soft point or expanding lead core bullets of any weight.

Larger than .25 caliber

Hollow point, soft point or expanding lead core bullets of any weight not exceeding 100 grains in weight.

Rim-fire rifle

.25 caliber or less

Hollow point or soft point

Muzzleloading rifle: single-shot, single barrel. Flintlock, percussion and in-line ignitions permitted.

No restriction

Must be loaded with a single projectile, either round ball or conical bullet.

Bow: long, recurve, compound or crossbow

35 pounds pull at archers draw length (long and recurve bows) or peak weight (compound bow); 75 pounds pull for crossbow

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

Shotgun: single or double barrel, rifled bore or smoothbore

Not larger than 10 gauge, capable of holding no more than 3 shells

Shot – sizes not larger than #4 fine shot

Sept. 25 to
Dec. 4;

Dec. 13, 14, 16–31, 2010

and Jan. 1 to Feb. 21, 2011

Bow: long, recurve, compound or crossbow

35 pounds pull at archers draw length (long and recurve bows) or peak weight (compound bow);
75 pounds pull for crossbow

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

Shotgun: single or double barrel, rifled bore or smoothbore

Not larger than 10 gauge, capable of holding no more than 3 shells

Shot – sizes not larger than #4 fine shot

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

Return to the eregulations.com home page
Brought to you by:
Conservation Partner Advertisements: The allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC & eRegulations.com, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/eRegulations.com directly at 413-884-1001,
JF Griffin Media
J.F. Griffin Media reaches 9,000,000 sportsmen every year through our print and digital publications. We produce 30 hunting and fishing regulation guides for 15 state agencies. For advertising information, please visit: www.jfgriffin.com