Farmer Hunting & Permit Information
Farmer License Exemption
A farmer and members of the immediate family (see definition below) who also reside on the farm may hunt, trap and fish on the farm without being licensed or possessing a valid rifle permit. (See Deer Harvest Report Cards (PDF) for a cut-out Harvest Report Card.) All hunting, fishing and trapping must be conducted in the manner provided by law during the prescribed seasons. A farm is defined as an area of at least five acres and having gross income of at least $500, and tax assessed as farmland. This exemption does not apply to a tenant or employee who is not an immediate family member.
Immediate Family: For the purpose of farmers hunting and trapping, “immediate family” includes the spouse, mother, father, 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 resides thereon.
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#. A CID# is required to utilize Fish and Wildlife’s Automated Harvest Report System. Farmers who are exempt from the license requirement and hunt only during non-permit seasons still must obtain a CID# in order to report their harvested deer. Register for a free CID# online at www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com. No purchase is required but you must create a profile in the online license sales site. From our homepage at NJFishandWildlife.com, click on 'One Stop Shop' and follow the instructions to create a profile. Choose the option to ‘Print an Identification Card.’ A card will print with your 9-digit CID#.
All Farmer Deer Hunters: Before going hunting, be sure to go to Fish and Wildlife’s website (NJFishandWildlife.com/ahrs.htm) and write down the DMZ, county, township and Deer Management Unit of your hunt location prior to harvesting a deer! Record this info on your license, permit or the Deer Harvest Report Card (Deer Harvest Report Cards (PDF)) to have it accessible for when you report your deer harvest and to record your assigned Confirmation Number. When reporting a deer harvest on your farm property, farmers do not need a Harvest Number during the non-permit deer seasons. To report a deer call (855) I HUNT NJ or (855) 448-6865 or online at www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com. See Deer Hunting Regulations for additional reporting information.
The occupant of a farm may allow his or her dog to run at large on land he or she occupies, except during the firearm deer seasons.
Farmers and their lessees occupying or farming their land, members of their immediate family (see definition above), or their farming employees may kill crows, woodchuck and fox on farm property at any time when found destroying livestock or crops. However, they must use legal firearms, ammunition and other lawful procedures. See also Wildlife Damage Control, General Hunting Regulations. See also General Hunting Regulations.
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 plus the spring and fall Turkey Permit seasons and the Black Bear Season.
Sunday bowhunting for deer is legal only on state wildlife management areas and private property.
Farmers may trap fox destroying poultry, crops or property at any time, subject to state law and local ordinances. Farmers or their agents may shoot or trap coyotes by lawful procedures at any time when found destroying livestock or crops. A regional Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement office must be notified within 24 hours of killing a coyote.
Permits for Farmers
Fish and Wildlife reviews the Farmer Permit database periodically to ensure compliance.
New farmers must submit an application to obtain free turkey, deer and/or bear permits. Applications are available on our website at NJFishandWildlife.com/farmer.htm 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.
The preferred application period for farmers is June 1–August 1.
Once approved, farmers may claim their farmer permits by going to any license agent. The dates when permits will become available are listed below.
Farmer Deer Permits
- Farmers may claim deer permits beginning MONDAY, Sept. 14, 2020 at 10 a.m. at any license agent or via the internet sales site.
- Approved farmers are eligible for one free bow, shotgun and muzzleloader permit and one free Antlered Buck Permit for each of the three permit seasons. See Farmer License Exemption, above. See also Farmer Regulations, above.
- Two types of farmer permits—occupant and non-occupant farmer—allow the applicant to decide for which permit it is easiest to qualify; see below. Farmers who must change the occupancy status for their deer permit should call (609) 292-1473.
- Only a qualified farmer and members of the immediate family who reside on the farm, are eligible to apply for occupant and non-occupant farmer deer permits.
- Farmers may also apply for (or purchase at any license agent) regular deer permits in addition to the free farmer permits. See Deer Season Permits.
- Farmers are eligible for a Farmer Buck Permit which are limited to only one per person per season. 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 permit for the season.
Occupant Farmer Deer Permits
- Applicants must be the owner, lessee or members of the immediate family (see definition on this page) who actually 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 members of their immediate family (see definition on this page) 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 hunting 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.
Farmer Turkey Permits
Farmers may claim fall season turkey permits beginning MONDAY, September 14, 2020 at 10 a.m. at any license agent. Farmer Turkey Permits are only for Occupant Farmers. Fall Turkey Season is now open in all Turkey Hunting Areas. Farmers may claim 2021 spring season turkey permits beginning MONDAY, March 29, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. If you experience a problem obtaining the fall permit at a license agent, call (609) 292-1473.
Farmers may also apply for (or purchase at any license agent) regular turkey permits in addition to the free farmer permits.
Farmer Bear Permits
Only the owner or lessee of a farm, who resides thereon, or members of his immediate family 10 years of age or older who also reside thereon, may apply on forms provided for a special farmer black bear permit. See definition of “immediate family” above. Under this section a farm is an area of five acres or more, producing a gross income in excess of $500 and is tax assessed as farmland. Special farmer black bear permits will be issued only in those Black Bear Management Zones where a season is prescribed.
Farmers undergoing re-inspection this year must complete the bear permit information in the mailing that was sent. All others need not re-apply. Application forms may be obtained from Fish and Wildlife’s website or at county agricultural extension offices.
Application deadline: Sept. 1. There is no fee; all qualified applicants will be able to claim their Farmer Bear Permit at license agents or online beginning September 14, 2020. The Farmer Bear Permit will be valid for both segments. However, the bag limit remains at one bear.
Submit only one farmer application per individual during the initial application period. Application for a farmer black bear permit shall not preclude a farmer (as a holder of a valid hunting license) from applying for—and Fish and Wildlife issuing—regular black bear season permit(s).
NOTE: Special Farmer Black Bear Permits will NO LONGER be mailed to farmers.
Deer Harvest Trends in New Jersey
New Jersey deer hunters harvested 45,650 deer during the 2019–2020 seasons.
The harvest for this year’s deer season is 10.2 percent lower than the 50,861 deer taken in 2018–19. The antlerless portion of the 2019–2020 harvest was 26,798 deer, down 8.6 percent from 2018–19. The antlered portion of the 2019–2020 harvest was 18,852 deer, down 12.5 percent from 2018–19.
Go to NJFishandWildlife.com/qr/trends.htm for additional deer harvest information through the 2019–2020 hunting seasons.