Deer Season Permits
Permit hunting seasons play a major role in Fish and Wildlife’s deer management program. The three permit seasons provide a means to control hunting pressure, and thereby the harvest, in each deer management zone to meet specific deer management objectives. With the additional harvest and recreational opportunity these seasons provide, an additional fee is charged for each permit.
Apprentice License Holders!
All hunting permit requirements and regulations apply to Apprentice License holders.
Farmer deer permit information is detailed in the Farmer Hunting Information section beginning on Farmer Hunting & Permit Information. Farmers purchasing non-farmer permits should also read this deer season permit section, below.
For purchasing procedures, see Permits for Hunters and Trappers, Licenses, Permits, & Stamps.
- A permit is required to hunt during the Permit Bow, Permit Muzzleloader and Permit Shotgun deer seasons.
- The zone-specific deer permit is valid only for hunting antlerless deer. To take an antlered buck during any permit season, hunters must purchase one Antlered Buck Permit. An Antlered Buck Permit is not zone-specific but is valid only when used in conjunction with a zone-specific deer permit.
- Hunters are still limited to purchasing one Antlered Buck Permit per permit season (i.e., one Antlered Buck Bow Permit, one Antlered Buck Shotgun Permit and one Antlered Buck Muzzleloader Permit). Buck permits are valid in any zone for which the hunter has a valid antlerless zone-specific permit.
- 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 where two deer at a time may be harvested during the Permit Bow, Permit Shotgun and Permit Muzzleloader seasons as per the deer regulation table on Deer Season Archery Regulations.
- Antlerless deer permits are zone-specific and are valid for the duration of the specified zone’s permit season, including when that season extends into the 2021 calendar year. Hunters are still limited to purchasing one zone-specific permit per zone per permit season. Example: If you hunt only Zone 19, you may purchase only one muzzleloader, one bow and one shotgun antlerless permit for Zone 19. If you hunt in more than one zone you may purchase one muzzleloader, one bow and one shotgun permit for each zone.
- Regardless of the number of zone-specific antlerless permits in possession, hunters are limited to taking one buck during each of the permit seasons ONLY after first purchasing a Buck Permit for that season. (See Deer Hunting Regulations, Licenses and Permits for details, Deer Hunting Regulations.)
- A resident, non-resident or youth hunting license is a prerequisite to purchase a deer permit. See License Information & Fees and Licenses, Permits, & Stamps for hunting license information.
- Muzzleloader season permits are not valid unless accompanied by both a valid Rifle Permit and a Firearm or All-around Sportsman License while hunting.
- Permits are valid only for the season and zone indicated, are non-transferable and non-refundable.
- It is illegal to use a permit for a zone, season or hunter other than those named on the permit. Deer permit violations are subject to a fine of $100–$1,000 for each offense.
- The cost per permit [both the Antlerless (zone-specific) Deer Permit or Antlered Buck Permit] is $28 for each adult and $12 for each youth permit.
Permits Available at Participating License Agents (Except Special Areas Zones)
- The following deer management zones have permit quotas that far exceed hunter demand: Zones 1–19, 21–31, 34–36, 41–43, 45–51, 55, 63, 65, 67 and 68. These permits are available on a first come, first served basis. In the unlikely event that sales reach the permit quota for a specific zone and season combination, those permit sales will end.
- Permits sales are available at license agents listed on Permit & License Agents and on Fish and Wildlife’s Internet sales site www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com.
- Hours of operation and types of payment accepted vary according to license agent. Be prepared.
- To purchase a permit at a license agent a hunter must present his or her valid, current year’s hunting license.
- A person may purchase a permit for an absent hunter only when the following conditions are met:
- The absent hunter has already completed a Child Support Certification (see Licenses, Permits, & Stamps) online or at a license agent and
- The buyer shows the absent hunter’s valid hunting license and identifying information (date of birth and Conservation ID Number or Social Security Number). License photocopies not accepted.
- The hunter is responsible to know in what zone and season he or she wants to hunt.
- Hunters are urged to review their permit before leaving the license agent.
- Once a permit fee is paid and the buyer leaves the store, there will be no returns, exchanges or refunds. No exceptions.
- Permits purchased online will now print as PDF documents. Hunters may use those afield or may purchase duplicates printed on durable material. If purchased, the duplicate durable license copy will arrive in 7–10 business days. Additional fees apply.
Special Area Deer Management Zones
- Special Areas include federal military installations, certain state and county parks and national wildlife refuges. Special Area zones include: 37, 38, 39, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 61, 64, 66, 67, 68 and 70. Some of these zones have specific qualifying criteria which hunters must meet before obtaining a permit. Certain zones are not open to the public. It is the hunters’ responsibility to arrange for property access prior to purchasing a permit.
- There is no lottery for Special Area Permits. Permits will be available for a limited time on a first-come, first-served basis. Note: Most of these Special Areas permits will be available for sale only for a limited time. It is the hunters responsibility to pay attention to all deadlines. Exceptions cannot be made.
- Refer to a specific Special Area (see Deer Hunting Season Special Areas Information) for complete details including when each permit sale will occur.
Military base deer management zones include the following: Picatinny Arsenal (Zone 54), Earle NWS (Zone 39), Lakehurst Section of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, U.S. Air Force, (Formerly Lakehurst NAES (Zone 53), FAA Tech Center (Zone 66) and Dix-McGuire section of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, U.S. Air Force, (Formerly Fort Dix) (Zone 37). All have lower quotas with a limited number of available permits. Due to heightened security, hunters must be sure to have proper security clearance and access prior to applying for or purchasing permits for military base zones.
Refer to a specific Special Area (see Deer Hunting Season Special Areas Information) for complete details including when each permit sale will occur.
Antlered Buck Permit Deadlines!
Antlerless zone-specific permits may be purchased beginning Sept. 14, 2020 through the last day of the season for that zone. Hunters are encouraged to purchase their Antlered Buck Permit and their zone-specific permit(s) for each season in the same transaction. Those who initially purchase only an antlerless zone-specific permit before the season opens should remember the following deadlines:
- Antlered Buck Permits for the Permit Bow Season must be purchased by Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m.
- Antlered Buck Permits for the Permit Muzzleloader Season must be purchased by Nov. 23 at 11:59 p.m.
- Antlered Buck Permits for the Permit Shotgun Season must be purchased by Dec. 16 at 11:59 p.m.
For hunters who do not purchase any antlerless zone-specific deer permit until after the season opens, an Antlered Buck Permit may be purchased only with the initial antlerless zone-specific permit. There will be no other chance to purchase an Antlered Buck Permit.
Bow, Muzzleloader, Shotgun and Antlered Buck Permits
Bow, muzzleloader, shotgun and antlered buck permits will be available for sale beginning at 10:00 a.m. on MONDAY, Sept. 14, 2020 and continue until each season ends. Some seasons run through Feb. 20, 2021. See deer regulation tables, Deer Season Archery Regulations.