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NJ Deer Season Begins September 10 in Most Zones With Fall Bow Opener

September 6, 2005

This time of year hunters are getting anxious for the crisp autumn air and the opportunity to spend some quality time outdoors in pursuit of their favorite pastime. They will not have to wait much longer as the 2005 New Jersey Fall Bow Season will open on September 10 in a majority of zones throughout the state.

Hunting Season Information

The fall bow season kicks off the New Jersey deer hunting season, which for 2005 – 2006 includes 139 potential hunting days. This year's overall deer management objective is to decrease the deer herd on 64.1 percent of available deer range, stabilize the herd on 34.5 percent of the range, and increase it on 1.4 percent of the range. Deer herds will be allowed to increase only in Zone 1, which contains mostly public land and has limited agriculture and minimal potential for deer-human conflicts.

Bow hunting has become more and more popular in recent years and bow hunters continue to contribute greatly to the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s deer management goals. During the 2004–2005 deer seasons, fall bow hunters alone harvested 13,128 deer, which was 22% of the entire season total. Bow hunters (all bow seasons) harvested 22,651 or more than 38% of all deer taken last season.

New Jersey’s liberal seasons and bag limits allow hunters unlimited outdoor recreation. The Division of Fish and Wildlife encourages hunters to get out and enjoy this time of year, and to be our partners in managing and maintaining a healthy deer herd in the Garden State.

Always respect the rights of landowners by asking for permission to hunt on private land. It is illegal to trespass on private property.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Hunters should know the basics behind this disease that has been found in 13 states and two Canadian provinces, and which affects the central nervous system of mule deer, black-tailed deer, rocky mountain elk and white-tailed deer.

Symptoms of CWD include loss of body weight (even as the animal continues to feed) and a slightly unsteady appearance, standing with legs separated wider than normal. The animal may also walk in the same short path repeatedly and some individuals may have subtle head tremors. These animals can often be found near streams or ponds. They may experience periods where they appear sleepy or unresponsive and may carry their heads down with ears lowered. Increased salivation, drinking and urination can also occur.

Hunters are asked not to shoot sick or abnormally behaving deer. If a deer displaying above symptoms is found, the animal’s location should be immediately reported by calling 908-735-6398.

Since 1998 (tests were conducted in 1998 and from 2002 to the present), the Division has been testing wild and captive white-tailed deer for CWD. As of April 2005, more than 1,900 deer have been tested in New Jersey and all tested negative for the disease. Hunters are also being asked to help stop the spread of CWD into New Jersey by donating the heads of their deer when asked by a biologist at selected deer check stations or through butcher shops throughout the state this deer season.

New Jersey residents returning from hunting in states/provinces with CWD in their deer and elk populations (Colorado, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Illinois, New Mexico, Utah, Saskatchewan and Alberta) must follow the rules of those states and provinces and bone out the meat removing the brain, spinal cord and lymph nodes that can harbor the disease. Above all, hunters must not eat these tissues in addition to the tonsils, spleen and pancreas. Skull plates should also be washed of residual brain tissue and soaked in a 30% Clorox solution for 15 minutes. Deer carcasses with meat removed must be disposed of in the trash rather than discarded in fields where deer may have contact with the remains. (See for information on CWD in NJ.)

Places to Hunt

The Wildlife Management Area system administered by the Division of Fish and Wildlife consists of almost 300,000 acres of land, nearly all of which is open to deer hunting. Add to that other federal, state, and county holdings, and more than 750,000 acres of public land is available to the deer hunter statewide. A list of the public land open to deer hunting is available on the Division’s website, as are wildlife management area maps.

For More Information

Hunters will find more information on deer and deer hunting in the Garden State on the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Web site at and in the August Hunting issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest.

Have a safe and enjoyable hunting season!

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: September 6, 2005