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March 31, 2000

For more information contact:
Bob Lund at 609-292-6685 or 908-735-7040

The New Jersey Fish and Game Council and the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife have announced the Council's proposed changes to the 2000-2001 Game Code. The Fish and Game Council is responsible for adopting annual revisions to the game code which describes procedures, dates, locations and harvest limits regarding the hunting, trapping and possession of game birds, game mammals and furbearers in the state.

The Fish and Game Council will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed changes on June 6 beginning at 7 p.m. in the National Guard Armory, 151 Eggerts Crossing Road, Lawrenceville, Mercer County.

"The public is encouraged to review and comment on the proposed amendments and participate in the conservation and management of New Jersey's wildlife resources," said Fish and Game Council Chairman John Bradway.

This year, similar to 1999, many of the proposals will continue to address the management of the state's white-tailed deer population. Code changes adopted last year were successful in addressing deer population concerns raised by the agricultural community. Last year's adjustments to the code contributed to a successful 1999 deer harvest within the state's major agricultural zones and resulted in an overall statewide record harvest of 75,442 deer (an increase of more than 15,000 deer over the previous year's harvest). This was accomplished with the cooperation of the agricultural community, landowners and the sporting public. In the upcoming 2000-2001 Game Code, the Division and Council will continue their efforts to address the problem of deer overpopulation with the goal of reducing deer numbers on more than 77% of the state.

Proposed changes include opening the Fall Bow Season in early September for antlerless deer only, allowing muzzleloader hunters to harvest antlerless deer during the Six-Day Firearm season and the implementation of a "Quality Deer Hunting Program" in selected deer management zones.

The Fish and Game Council also proposed the reopening of a hunting season for black bear. NOTE: BEAR HUNT CANCELLED In proposing the season, which would be the first to be held since 1970, Bradway stated that "the black bear population, now estimated at more than 1,000, is at an all-time high. Damage complaints have increased from a total of 285 in 1995 to 1,659 in 1999. Though the majority of past complaints could be classified in the nuisance category, bears are now entering homes, killing pets and livestock and chasing children. The number and seriousness of bear incidents and complaints has now risen to the degree that the Council and Division are obligated to take further measures to reduce conflicts and potentially life-threatening situations."

The expansion of the spring gobbler season to offer general and private land permits has also been proposed by the Council. This change will provide hunters who have access to private land increased opportunity to obtain a permit. Currently, due to quota limits, much private land supporting turkey populations receives little hunting pressure. Private land permits would be restricted to those private lands properly posted.

Highlights of game code amendments follow. If approved, revisions would:

The previous proposals and all amendments to the 2000-2001 Game Code will be published in the May 15 New Jersey Register, followed by a 30-day public comment period. Consult this publication for specific information on season dates, permit quotas, special area hunting regulations, zone boundary changes and other details.

Copies of the proposed 2000-2001 Game Code will be available for review at the Division's main and regional offices after May 15. In addition, interested individuals may obtain a copy of the proposed amendments by sending a business-sized, self-addressed, stamped envelope (for 66 cents) to: Game Code, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 400, Trenton, NJ 08625-0400. Written comments may be submitted no later than June 16, to Director Bob McDowell at the above address.

Tentative Small Game Season Dates

Ruffed Grouse & Gray Squirrel: Sept.30-Dec.2 and Dec. 11-Feb.19, 2001

Muzzleloader Squirrel : Sept.30-Nov.10 and Jan.15-Feb.19, 2001

Pheasant: Nov.11-Dec.2 and Dec.11-Jan.6, 2001
Dec.11-Feb.19, 2001 (designated areas only)

Bobwhite, Quail, Chukar, Cottontail rabbit: Nov.11-Dec.2 and Dec.11-Feb.19, 2001

Woodchuck: March 3 - Sept. 26, 2001

Crow: August 3, 2000 - March 10, 2001 (Mon.-Thurs.-Fri-Sat. only)

Fox, Coyote : Bow only - Sept. 30 - Nov. 10
Shotgun/Bow: Nov. 11- Feb.19, 2001

Raccoon/Opossum: Oct. 2, 2000-March 1, 2001

Tentative Black Bear Season Dates*

Bow, Shotgun, Muzzleloader: September 16-23
Bow only: September 30 -October 27
Shotgun, Muzzleloader: December 4 - 9

*Conclude season at the end of either of the first or second segments if the harvest objective has been achieved.

Tentative Deer Season Dates

Fall Bow
Regular - September 30 - October 27
Some Zones - September 9 - October 27 (antlerless deer only Sept. 9-29)

Extended Bow (permits by zone)
Most Zones: October 28 - November 25
Suburban Zones (13, 36, 42 & 49): October 28 - December 30

Muzzleloader (permits by zone)
Regular: November 27, 28, and December 11, 12, 16, 18 -23, 26 -30, 2000 and January 1-5, 2001
Some Zones: November 27, 28 and December 4 - 6, 11, 12, 16, 18 -23, 26 - 30, 2000 and January 1 -5, 2001 (antlerless deer only December 4 - 6, 2000)

Six-Day Firearm (statewide):
December 4 - 9

Shotgun Permit (permits by zone)
1 Day Zones - December 13
3 Day Zones - December 13, 14, 15
7 Day Zones - Dec. 13, 14, 15, 2000 and Jan. 12, 13, 19, 20, 2001
22 Day Zones - Dec. 13, 14, 15, 2000 and Jan. 6 -27, 2001
31 Day Zones - Nov. 20, 21, 22 and Dec. 4 -9, 13, 14, 15, 2000 and Jan. 6 - 27, 2001*

Winter Bow (statewide)
January 1 - 31, 2001

Notes: Consult regulations for bag limits and season dates by zone.
Special management area season dates vary.
* Only antlerless deer may be taken prior to and during the Six-Day Firearm Season.

Tentative Wild Turkey Season Dates*

General Segment A: Monday, April 23 - Friday, April 27
General Segment B: Monday, April 30 - Friday, May 4
General Segment C: Monday, May 7 - Friday, May 11
General Segment D: Monday, May 14 - Friday, May 18 and Monday, May 21 - Friday, May 25
General Segment E: Saturday, April 28; Saturday, May 5; Saturday, May 12; and Saturday May 19

Private Segment J: Monday, April 23-Saturday, April 28
Private Segment K: Monday, April 30-Saturday, May 5
Private Segment L: Monday, May 7-Saturday, May 12: Monday, May 14 - Saturday, May 19 and Monday, May 21-Friday, May 25

* General permits may be used on both public and private land. Private permits may be used only on properly posted private land.