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New Jersey

Hunting

Small Game Hunting

Coyote, Fox Seasons 2021–22

Sunday Hunting Prohibited. See General Hunting Regulations.

Regular Season (Hunting license required; no permit needed.)

Season

Weapon

Bag Limit/Reporting

Oct. 2–Nov 5, 2021

½ hr. before sunrise–½ hr. after sunset

Bow Only

35 lbs. pull/peak wt. or crossbow (75 lbs. pull wt.) using well-sharpened broadheads (min. 3/4" width).

No daily or seasonal bag limit

Harvest Reporting of Coyote is REQUIRED by 8 p.m. following harvest.

Reporting of Gray Fox is also requested.

Nov. 6–Mar. 15, 2022

½ hr. before sunrise–½ hr. after sunset (except 8 a.m. start on Nov. 6)

Bow

(see details above)

or

Shotgun

10–20 ga. using shot size up to #4 fine shot.

Hunter Orange*: Required when shotgun hunting.

Method: On the ground, elevated, or in man-made structure

Manner: Running with hounds, stalking or stand and call.

Predator call: Manual or electronic; use optional

Dogs: Allowed (except Dec. 6–11 & 15)

Decoys: Allowed (No live decoys)

Bait: Min. 300' when in tree stand/ground blind. Baiting not allowed on National Wildlife Refuges

Special Permit Season - Daytime and limited shotgun-only night hours (Hunting License AND $2 Permit Required)

Season

Weapon

Bag Limit/Reporting

Jan. 1–Mar. 15, 2022 (Day)

½ hr. before sunrise–½ hr. after sunset

Bow

(see Bow Only, above)

or

Shotgun

10–20 ga. using BB to #3 buckshot ONLY.

or

Rifle

(Rifle Permit Required).

ML rifle or single-barrel smoothbore, .44 cal. minimum.

Centerfire rifle (.17–.25 cal.) using hollow or soft point bullets (max. 80 grain).

Rimfire (.17–.22 cal.) using hollow or soft point bullets (max. 50 grain).

No daily or seasonal limit

Harvest Reporting of Coyote is REQUIRED by 8 p.m. following harvest.

Reporting of Gray Fox is also requested.

Jan. 1–Mar. 15, 2022 (Night)

Hunting with aid of light allowed.

½ hr. after sunset–½ hr. before sunrise

Shotgun Only

10–12 ga. using shot size #4 fine to 'T' ONLY.

Hunter Orange*: Optional under Special Permit Provisions

Method: On the ground, elevated, or in man-made structure

Manner: Standing and calling only

Predator call: Must possess manual or electronic call

Dogs: Prohibited

Decoys: Allowed (No live decoys)

Bait: Use Prohibited while hunting with a Special Permit.

Firearms, Bows and Ammo for Small Game Hunting

Hunters may NOT possess both a firearm and bow & arrow while hunting any game bird or animal. See General Hunting Regulations.

Weapon Specifications

Species

License, Permit, Stamp Required

Air gun

.177 to .22 caliber

Having a non-ignited compressed gas expulsion with a minimum muzzle velocity of 600 fps

Using wadcutter, domed or pointed or hollow point pellets ONLY

Spherical BBs NOT permitted

Rabbit, squirrel, hare, jackrabbit, opossum, raccoon

Dispatching trapped furbearers other than muskrat

  • Valid Firearm Hunting License or meet Farmer License Exemption. Valid Trapping License when required.

Modern Rifle - Centerfire

.25 caliber or smaller

Using max. 80 grain hollow or soft point bullets

Coyote, Fox (Special Permit Season, daylight hrs. only)

  • Valid Firearm Hunting License (excluding Apprentice Licenses) or meet Farmer License Exemption.
  • Valid Rifle Permit.
  • Special Coyote/Fox Permit required to hunt coyote and fox with this weapon.

.25 caliber or smaller

Using hollow point, soft point bullets or expanding lead core bullets (any grain weight)

Larger than .25 caliber

Using max. 80 grain hollow or soft point bullets

Woodchuck

Rifle use for woodchuck prohibited on all state WMAs, state parks, forests and recreation areas

Modern Rifle - Rimfire

.22 caliber or smaller

Using max. 50 grain hollow or soft point bullets

Coyote, Fox (Special Permit Season, daylight hrs. only)

  • Valid Firearm Hunting License (excluding Apprentice Licenses) or meet Farmer License Exemption. Valid Trapping License when required.
  • Valid Rifle Permit.
  • Special Coyote/Fox Permit required to hunt coyote and fox with this weapon.

Any caliber

Using max. 50 grain hollow or soft point bullets

Woodchuck

Rifle use for woodchuck prohibited on all state WMAs, state parks, forests and recreation areas

.22 caliber

Using .22 short ammo

Opossum, raccoon

Dispatching trapped furbearers except muskrat.

Muzzleloading Rifle

.36 caliber or smaller

Single-barrel, single-shot rifle firing a single projectile

Gray Squirrel

(See Squirrel ML Rifle Season Zones call-out box on p. 60)

  • Valid Firearm Hunting License (excluding Apprentice Licenses) or meet Farmer License Exemption.
  • Valid Rifle Permit.
  • Special Coyote/Fox Permit required to hunt coyote and fox with this weapon.

.44 caliber or larger

Single-barrel, single-shot rifle or smoothbore firing a single (round ball or conical) projectile

Coyote, Fox (Special Permit Season, daylight hrs. only)

Any caliber single-barrel, single-shot rifle firing a single (round ball or conical) projectile

Woodchuck

Rifle use for woodchuck prohibited on all state WMAs, state parks, forests and recreation areas

Shotgun (Including smoothbore muzzleloaders)

Not larger than 10 gauge

Using shot size not larger than #4 fine

All small game

  • Valid Firearm Hunting License or meet Farmer License Exemption.
  • Pheasant & Quail Stamp on select WMAs.*
  • HIP Certificate (required for woodcock).

10–20 gauge

Using shot size not smaller than "BB" or larger than #3 Buck Pellets must be lead or a tungsten-nickel-iron hybrid

Coyote, Fox (Special Permit Season, daylight hrs. only)

  • Valid Firearm Hunting License (excluding Apprentice Licenses) or meet Farmer License Exemption.
  • Valid Rifle Permit to hunt with any type of muzzleloader.
  • Special Coyote/Fox Permit required to hunt coyote and fox with shot size larger than #4 fine and when shotgun nighttime hunting for coyote or fox.

10 or 12 gauge

Using shot size not smaller than #4 fine or larger than "T"

Coyote/Fox (Special Permit Season, nighttime hrs. only)

Bow & Arrow

Minimum 35 lbs. draw weight (longbow, recurve) or 35 lbs. peak weight (compound) or 75 lbs. draw weight (crossbow)

Using arrow/bolt with:

  • Standard fletching
  • Well-sharpened metal edge head (min. width 3/4")

Coyote, fox, hare, rabbit, squirrel, woodchuck and non-flying game birds

  • Valid Archery Hunting License or meet Farmer License Exemption
  • Pheasant & Quail Stamp on Stocked WMAs when hunting for these species

Using arrow/bolt with:

  • Flu-flu fletching
  • Blunt, field or judo point

Game birds in flight

Small Game Mammal Seasons 2021–22

No Sunday hunting except for opossum and raccoon; see below. See General Hunting Regulations.

A SOLID hunter orange hat (no camouflage/logos) is required as part of the 200 sq. inch hunter orange requirement when hunting small game with a firearm on any pheasant/quail stocked WMA (see Upland Game Birds).

Season

Weapon Type

Bag Limits

Manner & Method

Gray Squirrel — Muzzleloading

Sept. 25–Nov. 5, 2021;
Jan. 1–Feb. 26, 2022

Sunrise–½ hr. after sunset

Muzzleloading Rifle

Not larger than .36 caliber

(Designated zones only - see map, Small Game Hunting.)

Daily bag limit of 5

No season limit.

Hunter Orange: Required.

Rifle Permit: Required.

Dogs: Allowed.

Sunday Hunting: Prohibited.

Restricted: To designated areas only (see map Small Game Hunting).

Gray Squirrel, Hare, Jackrabbit, Rabbit

Sept. 25, 2021–Feb. 26, 2022

8 a.m. start on Nov. 6, 2021

Closed Dec. 6–11 & 15, 2021

Sunrise–½ hr after sunset

Air Gun, Bow, or Shotgun

5 squirrel, 1 hare or jackrabbit, and 4 cottontail.

No season limit.

Hunter Orange: Required when hunting with firearm.

Dogs: Allowed.

Sunday Hunting: Prohibited.

Opossum and Raccoon (Night Hunting)

Oct. 1, 2021–Mar. 1, 2022;

7:41 p.m. start Oct. 1, 2021

Closed Dec. 6–11 & 15, 2021

1 hr. after sunset–1 hr. before sunrise

Air Gun, .22 cal. rifle, or Shotgun

No daily or seasonal bag limits

Hunter Orange: Encouraged, but not required.

Dogs: Allowed.

Sunday Hunting: 12:01 a.m. to 1 hr. before sunrise only.

Portable Lights: Allowed.

Woodchuck

Mar. 1, 2021–Feb. 26, 2022

8 a.m. start Nov. 6, 2021

Closed Dec. 6–11 & 15, 2021

Mar. 1, 2022–Feb. 25, 2023

8 a.m. start Nov. 12, 2022

Closed Dec. 5–9 & 14, 2022

Sunrise–½ hr. after sunset

Bow or Shotgun

No daily or seasonal bag limits

Hunter Orange: Encouraged with shotgun, but not required.

Dogs: Allowed.

Sunday Hunting: Prohibited

Mar. 1–Sept. 29, 2021

Mar. 1–Sept. 28, 2022

Sunrise–½ hr. before sunset

Modern or Muzzleloading Rifle

(Valid Rifle Permit required)

No daily or seasonal bag limits.

Hunter Orange: Encouraged, but not required.

Dogs: Allowed.

Sunday Hunting: Prohibited

Rifle use for woodchuck prohibited on all State WMAs, Parks and Forests & Recreation Areas.

Small Game Hunting

What You Need

Hunting Licenses

A valid Bow & Arrow or Firearm Hunting License is required for all hunters, except farmers and family members hunting the property they live on. See Licenses table on Licenses, Permits & Fees for license types, requirements and information on how to obtain.

  • Adult licenses are valid through December 31. Youth licenses are valid through December 31 in the year the youth turns 16.
  • The license must be visibly displayed on outer clothing while hunting and cannot be covered by a pack or harness. Farmers must visibly display applicable permit(s).
  • A Rifle Permit when hunting with any type of rifle, modern or black powder.
  • A Coyote/Fox Special Permit Season Permit to hunt these species at specific times and under certain circumstances. (See Small Game Hunting)

Weapons and Ammunition

Small game animals and upland game birds may be taken during the open seasons by licensed hunters with shotgun or bow & arrow. See Firearms, Bows & Ammo for Small Game table, Small Game Hunting.

  • Air guns may also be used to harvest gray squirrel, hare and rabbit.
  • Certain types of rifles may also be used at certain times or locations to harvest coyote, fox, gray squirrel, opossum, raccoon and woodchuck, and may not be loaded with more than 3 rounds.
  • Shotguns may not be larger than 10 gauge using shot size not larger than #4 fine shot and not capable of firing more than three rounds without reloading.

Public Hunting Lands

There are a variety of public lands on which to hunt — municipal, county, state and federal. It is the hunter’s responsibility for contacting the applicable landowner to clarify areas open for hunting prior to arriving on-site.

Most wildlife management areas, and select state parks, forests, and recreation areas are open to licensed hunters without requiring written permission. Some areas within specific properties may be closed.

A list of state WMAs with regulations and a link to PDF maps can be found at NJFishandWildlife.com/wmaland.htm.

A list of state park and forest lands open for hunting with links to hunting maps can be found at https://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/sps_hunting_maps.html. Hunters may be required to obtain a special permit for some species on certain properties.

The National Wildlife Refuge System is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. There are five national wildlife refuges in New Jersey. Hunting opportunities may be limited to select wildlife species and may vary by refuge. Links to refuges in our state can be found at https://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/ByState.cfm?state=NJ. Click on the refuge you are interested in to see specific regulations and requirements.

Commercial shooting preserves provide hunters interested in pursuing game birds with another option. Depending on their specific license, hunters may pursue species such as mallards, partridge (chukar and/or Hungarian), pheasant and quail on a fee basis.

Small Game Sunday Hunting

Small game hunting on Sunday is prohibited, except:

  • On properly licensed semi-wild and commercial shooting preserves, and only for those species covered by their license.
  • When opossum or raccoon hunting on Sunday mornings only between midnight and 1 hour before sunrise.

Wanton Waste

It is unlawful for any hunter that kills or wounds any gray squirrel, hare, or rabbit, chukar or Hungarian partridge, pheasant, quail or woodcock to not make a reasonable attempt to retrieve the animal and take it into possession. See Wanton Waste of Game.

Upland Game

See Small Game Mammal Seasons table and Upland Game Bird Hunting Seasons table on Upland Game Birds for season dates, hunting hours, bag limits and hunting methods. See below for species with a closed season or canine predator hunting during the special permit season.

Bobcat (Closed)

The season for hunting bobcat is closed statewide. If you see a live bobcat or capture an image on your trail camera, please complete and submit a brief sighting report form at NJFishandWildlife.com/ensp/rprtform.htm. If you find one dead on the road, please call (877) 927-6337 to report the carcass location.

Bobwhite Quail (Closed)

The season for hunting wild bobwhite quail is closed statewide. Pen-raised quail may only be hunted at Greenwood Forest and Peaslee WMA and on properly licensed commercial and semi-wild shooting preserves.

No person may release bobwhite quail for dog training purposes on Buckshutem, Dix, Egg Island, Fortescue, Millville (Bevans), Nantuxent or New Sweden WMAs (all in Cumberland County), or on Stafford Forge WMA in Ocean County.

If you encounter a bobwhite or capture an image on your trail camera, please complete and submit a brief sighting report form at NJFishandWildlife.com/pdf/gamebird_rptform.pdf. A report can also be filed with the eBird app.

Ruffed Grouse (Closed)

The season for hunting ruffed grouse is closed statewide. If you encounter a grouse or capture an image on your trail camera, please complete and submit a brief sighting report (see bobwhite quail, above). You may also file a report with the app eBird.

Coyote and Fox Hunting

See Coyote, Fox Seasons table for dates, hunting methods and permitted weapons. The general hunting season begins when the fall bow deer season opens statewide and runs through March 15. The Special Permit Season overlaps the general coyote and fox season from January 1 through March 15. All harvested coyotes must be reported, and Fish and Wildlife would appreciate reports of gray fox as well via that Automated Harvest Report System. Red fox cannot be reported via the AHRS at this time. To report a harvest:

  • By phone, call (855) 448-6865 or by mobile device or computer, go to www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com by 8 p.m. of the harvest date.
  • If unable to access the Automated Harvest Reporting System by the designated time, the coyote shall be reported immediately by telephone to the nearest Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement office listed on Law Enforcement. You must continue to attempt accessing the Automated Harvest Report System until you report that coyote harvest.

Special Permit Coyote and Fox Season

A separate $2 permit is required and may be purchased at license agents or online at www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com beginning when the 2022 license year sales start, on December 1st. A valid hunting license is required to purchase a special permit. The special permit season is for stand hunting and calling in predators.

You do not need to purchase a special permit to hunt coyote and fox if you are only bowhunting or wish to chase these animals with hounds. However, the special permit does allow the hunter to use weapon types not available to the traditional small game hunter. The special permit allows predator hunters to:

  • Use larger shot sizes (“BB” to #3 Buck) in 10–20 gauge shotguns during daylight.
  • Hunt at night with 10–12 gauge shotgun using #4 fine to “T” shot.
  • Use certain small caliber modern rifles or a muzzleloading rifle during daylight (use requires a valid Rifle Permit).
  • Hunt for canines without wearing Hunter Orange.

When hunting under the provisions of the special permit, you must also have a manual or electronic predator call. Baiting and using dogs is prohibited under the permit provisions.

Coyote and Fox, Incidental Harvest by Turkey or Deer Hunters

Turkey hunters may take the opportunity to harvest coyote only (fox harvest is prohibited) during any turkey season; however, the hunter may not:

  • Have any type of coyote call in their possession.
  • Have any coyote decoys.
  • Take any action intended to attract a coyote.

Deer hunters may, during any firearm deer season, take the opportunity to harvest coyote or fox with weapons and ammunition normally restricted to hunting deer, unless:

  • You are hunting from a tree stand or other structure within 300 feet of a baited area. (Also applies to bowhunters.)
  • You have taken the season bag limit of deer.

Regardless of whether you are hunting canines, deer or turkey – all coyote harvests must be reported by 8 p.m. via the Automated Harvest Report System (AHRS) either:

Harvest Reporting Tip: Be prepared to provide the harvest location details which are identical to those for reporting a deer harvest (DMZ, county and township). The required harvest reporting information for coyote and fox may change after this Digest is printed. Please check our website for the most up-to-date information.

Although not required, please also report any harvest of GRAY fox by 8 p.m. via the ARHS (see above). Red fox cannot be reported at this time.

Squirrel Muzzleloading Rifle Season Areas

For a complete description of the squirrel hunting areas, go to NJFishandWildlife.com/hunt.