New Jersey Deer Firearm Season Set to Begin

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New Jersey deer hunters are counting the days until December 7, opening day of the state's most popular and eagerly awaited deer season. More than 60,000 hunters will take to the fields and forests of the Garden State during the Six-day Firearm Deer Season, which runs through Saturday, December 12.

The six-day season is the traditional statewide "buck" season when firearm hunters target antlered deer. The season bag limit is two antlered deer but the first buck must be brought to a check station before a second buck is taken. Hunters who do not harvest a buck or only harvest one buck during the six-day season have the opportunity to take one antlered deer during the Permit Shotgun Deer Season if they purchase an Antlered Buck shotgun permit.

Hunters looking for a spot to find their antlered deer can now have more than 750,000 acres of public land open to deer hunting. The mixture of Wildlife Management Areas, State Parks and Forests, Federal Refuges and an increasing number of county and municipal properties offer a wide diversity of deer habitat and plenty of opportunities for quality deer hunting experiences. A listing of public land open to deer hunting can be found at www.njfishandwildlife.com/huntland.htm.

Important Note: the legislative change amending the law to legalize deer hunting on Sundays on Wildlife Management Areas and on private property only pertains to bow and arrow hunting. This change does not include any firearm hunting for deer. There are no exceptions to this law.

Hunters must have permission to hunt agricultural or private land even if the land is not posted, and need to obtain permission before hunting any private property. Firearm deer hunters must wear a cap made of solid daylight fluorescent orange or an outer garment containing at least 200 square inches of fluorescent orange material visible from all sides at all times while engaged in hunting. A camo-orange hat alone is not adequate.

Baiting is allowed for deer hunting in New Jersey, and hunters may hunt for deer while in a tree, on the ground or in a structure, and from any height and any distance from the bait pile. Hunters should always check with landowners or administrative agencies before placing bait on their hunting area however, as baiting is not allowed on properties such as national wildlife refuges.

Checking in a deer is a mandatory requirement in New Jersey for successful hunters. Immediately upon harvesting a deer, hunters should complete (in ink) all required tags and bring their deer to the closest official deer check station. During the Six-day Firearm Season hunters must check in their deer no later than 7 p.m. on the day the deer was killed. A list of deer check stations can be found beginning on page 56 of the 2009 Hunting and Trapping Issue of the Fish and Wildlife Digest.

Everything you need to know about deer hunting in New Jersey is posted on the Fish and Wildlife Web site at www.njfishandwildlife.com/deer.ht. Hunters should also have a copy of the 2009 Hunting and Trapping Issue of the Fish and Wildlife Digest and be completely familiar with the rules and regulations pertaining to the area or areas they will be hunting.