Crossbows Allowed for Hunting in New Jersey
In June the New Jersey Fish and Game Council voted on adopting proposed amendments to the 2009 – 2012 Game Code. The Council voted to adopt all the proposed amendments except amendment 29, which proposed boundary changes to Deer Management Zones 19 and 23. The full proposal containing the amendments can be viewed on the NJ DEP website, http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/index.htm.
The most significant amendment adopted expands the definition of "bow" by removing the prohibition on all draw locking and draw holding devices and by including crossbows in the definition. This allows the use of crossbows in any bow and arrow hunting season and other hunting seasons for all species where the use of bow and arrow is allowed. Crossbows must have a minumum draw weight of 75 pounds and a minimum stock length of 25 inches. (Note that that crossbows are NOT legal for bowfishing at this time; bowfishing is covered by the Freshwater Fish Code.)
This amendment, in addition to the recently passed law allowing Sunday bow and arrow deer hunting on Wildlife Management Areas and private property, is expected to increase participation in New Jersey bow and arrow hunting seasons. Hunters who have never purchased a New Jersey bow and arrow hunting license or have not purchased one since the implementation of the electronic licensing system must present one of the following to purchase a license: 1) a hunter education archery certificate, or 2) a prior year resident bow and arrow license (from NJ or any other state), or 3) a prior year nonresident NJ bow and arrow license. Information on hunter education requirements for bow and arrow hunting and hunter education session schedules can be obtained at www.njfishandwildlife.com/hunted.htm.
The 2009 – 2012 Game Code becomes law five days after it is published in the New Jersey Register. Hunters are advised to consult the NJ Division of Fish and Game website for updates on the Game Code publication date and effective date of the amended Code.