Farmer Hunting & Permit Information
Farmer License Exemption
Farmers and the immediate members of their family who also reside on the farm may hunt, trap and fish on the farm without being licensed or possessing a valid rifle permit. This exemption does not apply to a tenant or employee who is not an immediate family member. All fish and wildlife laws and regulations, season dates and bag limits that apply to the hunting and fishing seasons also apply to farmers. All harvest tagging and reporting requirements apply; use self-made tags where appropriate.
- Farm – must meet qualifications under NJ Farmland Assessment Act of 1964. See www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/anr/pdf/farmlandassessmentoverview.pdf.
- Farmer Exemption – A farmer and members of the immediate family who also reside on the farm may hunt, trap, and fish on the farm without being licensed or possessing a valid rifle permit. This exemption does not apply to a tenant or employee who is not an immediate family member.
- Immediate Family – includes the spouse, mother, father, parent, child, grandchild, stepchild, stepparent, legal guardian, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandparent, great grandparent, brother, sister, stepsister, stepbrother, brother-in-law and sister-in-law of the farm owner or lessee who reside on the farm. All hunting, fishing and trapping laws must be followed.
All farmers hunting deer must have a Conservation Identification Number (CID). Farmers who already receive free farmer deer or turkey permits, and farmers who have purchased a hunting license/permit and/or freshwater fishing license since 2006 already have an assigned, permanent CID.
Register for a free CID# online at the link below. No purchase is required but you must create a profile in our online license sales site. From our homepage at NJFishandWildlife.com, click on the Licenses & Permits button to enter our License Sales Site. Follow the instructions to create a profile. Your 9-digit CID will display on screen once your profile has been completed.
Farmers must follow all the same harvest reporting regulations as for non-farmers. Occupant farmers who are exempt from the license requirement will not have tags for Fall Bow, Six-Day Firearm or Winter Bow seasons. Immediately upon harvest, make a paper tag or use the Deer Transportation Tag. When reporting your occupant farmer deer harvest, select the 'I am a farmer without tags' option. For harvest reporting information on deer, see Deer Hunting Regulations; for turkey, see Turkey Hunting. To report a deer harvest, call (855) 448-6865 or online at NJFishandWildlife.com/licensesalessite.htm.
Hunting Permits for Farmers
The occupant of a farm may allow his or her dog to run at large on land he or she occupies, except while any deer season is open.
Farmers must possess the appropriate permit to legally hunt the farm during any hunting or trapping season which requires a permit. Permits are provided free to all qualified farmers for the following seasons: Permit Bow, Permit Muzzleloader and Permit Shotgun deer seasons; the spring and fall Turkey Permit seasons. Sunday bowhunting for deer is legal only on state wildlife management areas and private property.
Farmer Application period: June 1–August 1.
New farmers must submit an application to obtain free turkey, deer permits. Applications are available on our website at dep.nj.gov/njfw/hunting/information-for-farmers/ under Farmer Certification Application for Deer and Turkey Permits. Print out both pages and use the instruction sheet to fill out the application. Applications are also available at your local county agricultural extension office.
Once approved, farmers may claim their farmer permits online (self-print on plain paper) or at any license agent. The dates when permits will become available are listed below.
Farmer Deer Permits
- Farmers may claim deer permits beginning MONDAY, Sept. 12, 2022 at 10 a.m. at any license agent or via the internet sales site.
- Approved farmers are eligible for one free antlerless bow, shotgun, and muzzleloader permit and one free Antlered Buck Permit for each of the three permit seasons. If a farmer claims their FARMER Buck Permit, they cannot purchase a regular Antlered Buck Permit. Likewise, if a farmer first purchases an Antlered Buck Permit, the farmer cannot claim a Farmer Buck Permit. The Antlered Buck Permit is valid for any zone in which the farmer has an antlerless zone-specific permit for the season.
- Two types of farmer permits—occupant and non-occupant farmer as identified below—allow the applicant to decide for which permit it is easiest to qualify. Farmers who must change the occupancy status for their deer permit should call (609) 292-1473.
- Farmers may also purchase regular deer permits in addition to the free farmer permits. If hunting elsewhere from the farm on which you reside, a valid hunting license is required. See Deer Permits.
Occupant Farmer Deer Permits
- Applicants must be the owner, lessee or members of the immediate family who reside on the farm property. Land must be at least five acres, tax assessed as farmland. Occupant permits are valid only on the farm property where the applicant resides.
Non-Occupant Farmer Deer Permits
- Applicants are not required to live on the farm property. Farmer(s) and immediate family may qualify, up to a total of five people. Must actively till at least 30 acres of land which is tax-assessed as farmland. Woodlots do not qualify.
- To apply for leased farmland, a copy of all leases authorizing the agricultural and hunting uses of the land must be attached to the application.
- Non-occupant permits are valid only on private land within the deer management zone designated on the permit and are not valid on public lands within that zone.
- An applicant who lives on a farm and actively tills at least 30 acres may apply either as an occupant or a non-occupant.
- A valid hunting license must be in possession in order to claim Non-occupant Farmer Permits.
Farmer Turkey Permits
Farmers may claim fall season turkey permits beginning MONDAY, Sept. 12, 2022 at 10 a.m. at any license agent. Farmer Turkey Permits are only for Occupant Farmers on their farm property. Farmers may claim 2023 spring season turkey permits beginning MONDAY, March 27, 2023 at 10 a.m. If you experience a problem obtaining the fall permit at a license agent, call (609) 292-1473.
Fall Turkey Season is now open in all Turkey Hunting Areas. Farmers may also purchase regular turkey permits in addition to the free farmer permits.
Wildlife Damage Management Options for Farmers
Noise Cannons: Farmers experiencing losses to deer and other wildlife can apply for a permit to use a noise cannon. Noise cannons can be an LP exploder, acetylene exploder, carbide exploder, or any other mechanical device approved by Fish and Wildlife to scare or repel birds, deer or other wildlife. Interested farmers should contact the regional Fish and Wildlife law office (contact information is listed in Law Enforcement and Telephone Directory) for information and permit application.
Damage Permits for Deer, Black Bear, Turkey, Geese
For farmer deer management options, see dep.nj.gov/wp-content/uploads/njfw/farmer-deer_brochure.pdf.
Farmers experiencing deer damage may apply for a Deer Depredation Permit which allows for the take of deer outside of the normal hunting season. See dep.nj.gov/njfw/hunting/farmer-depredation-permit-information/.
Farmers experiencing black bear damage, contact the NJ DEP Hotline toll-free at 1 (877) 927-6337 (1-877-WARNDEP).
Farmers experiencing damage from wild turkeys should contact the Wildlife Control Unit at (908) 735-8793 or write NJ Fish and Wildlife-WCU, 141 Van Syckels Rd., Hampton, NJ 08827 to arrange for an on-site inspection.
Resident geese are classified as a migratory game bird and are protected by federal law. Farmers experiencing damage to crops due to resident geese may apply for a permit to manage them by contacting the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at the following address:
USDA Wildlife Services
140-C Locust Grove Rd.
Pittstown, NJ 08867
fax: (908) 735-0821
Wildlife Damage Other Than Deer, Black Bear, Turkey, Geese
Farmers and immediate family, their lessees occupying or farming their land or their farming employees may kill squirrel, raccoon, opossum, skunk, weasel, crows, woodchuck, gray fox, red fox or coyote on farm property at any time when found destroying livestock or crops. However, they must use legal firearms, ammunition and are subject to state law and local ordinance.
For woodchuck only, shot not larger than #4 Buckshot may be used to control woodchucks causing damage.
A regional Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement office must be notified within 24 hours of killing a coyote. See Telephone Directory.