New Jersey – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/26/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
Tags: , , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.

New Jersey

Is the information easy to find?

The New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife hunting regulations page is at top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

The web site for New Jersey’s hunting regulations relies very heavily on PDF files: finding when to hunt, where to hunt, and how much it will cost is somewhat difficult – if the user simply wants to dig through PDF files, the full hunting regulations PDF would be the place to start.  New users can find the answer to ‘how much will a license cost,’ but ‘when is hunting season,’ and ‘where can I hunt‘ seem to be in PDF format only.  This system is not very user friendly.  On one hand, the information is all made available, but on the other hand, the user is made to dig through PDF files to find anything really useful.  At least the Hunting and Trapping Digest is an eRegulation interactive PDF, unlike most of the files on this site.

Grade: D

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

New Jersey does not use a lottery system for deer permits.  All licenses needed for a nonresident hunter are available over the counter.

Grade: A

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Resident hunting licenses in New Jersey are $27.50 for a general permit, plus $28.00 for a deer permit and $10.50 for a rifle permit.  Archery permits are $31.50, marking the first time I’ve seen a resident archery permit cost MORE than the basic deer tag.  There is also a bonus antlered deer tag available for $28.00.   Nonresident fees in New Jersey are $135.50 each for the basic hunting tag and an archery tag, with $28.00 for a deer tag, $10.50 for the rifle permit, and $28.00 for the bonus antlered tag if desired.  It is very important to note that deer tags in New Jersey are valid for the season they are purchased, so a deer tag purchased for the 2012-2013 season is valid until the season ends, while the hunting licenses are legal for a calendar year only, so a 2012 license purchased December 30th would expire the next day at midnight.  Even stranger, the rifle permit, needed to harvest game with a rifle in New Jersey, is valid July 1st through the next June 30th.  There are no short term nonresident license available that would permit deer hunting.

Grade: C

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

The deer season information for New Jersey is an eight page long PDF file that requires a map of the zones to interpret.  While easy to find, these two essentially require being printed to interpret.  This is a very poor way of conveying information.

Grade: D

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

After viewing two pages on Wildlife Management Areas in New Jersey (Page 1 and Page 2) the only ‘hunting’ information gathered is that in order to use any of the shooting ranges:

Target Practice

Only archery, shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, muzzleloading rifle and .22 caliber rimfire rifle shooting is allowed in designated hunter training ranges. One member of the shooting party must have a current, valid New Jeresey hunting license.

The following types of ranges are available on designated WMAs statewide:

Shotgun Range: for use with clay birds and the patterning of fine shot (lead-free only shot at Assunpinkand Colliers Mills);
Archery Range: approved backstops at select ranges, no broadheads allowed;
Muzzleloading Rifle and Shotgun Slug Range: for sighting in with shotgun slugs or buckshot, .22 caliber, rimfire rifles and muzzleloaders; no other firearms allowed.

There is very little information in the Hunting Digest (Page 74-80) to cover this topic other than an expansion of the rules on the basic web page and a big self-congratulations over the success of the deer program since the mid 1960’s. Users are instructed in the index to turn to page 88 for public hunting access, however it starts on page 90 of the Hunting Digest.

Grade: D

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

As of 2005 there were no cases of Chronic Wasting Disease in New Jersey, as detailed in this report. In searching for issues regarding hunting in New Jersey, several anti-hunting articles were found, but no major issues seem to exist as of this time.  Please be aware that New Jersey shares a border with New York, and CWD is active in New York. If hunting in the area, it would be worthwhile to contact the local game office and ask some questions.

Grade: A

Summary: Final Grade C

This is a very poor way of conveying information to hunters who may wish to add New Jersey to their list of destinations.  I have always been curious about the Pine Barrens, a curiosity that has been effectively strangled by the pain of dealing with this web site.  I strongly urge New Jersey to look at Arkansas, Florida, and New Hampshire for examples of how to set up an organized hunting regulations page. In addition to the web page issues, having a hunting license that expires on December 31st, a rifle permit that expires on June 30th, and deer tags that expire at the end of the season is another unbelievable set of regulations.

States Completed: AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndiana, IowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland

MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire

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