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Hunters Gearing Up for New Jersey's Six-day Firearm Deer Season

November 23, 2010

More than 60,000 hunters are finalizing plans and gearing up to head into the wilds of the Garden State for the fast approaching December 6 opening day of New Jersey's Six-Day Firearm Season for deer. The six-day, or traditional "buck" season runs this year through December 11, and is the most popular of the deer hunting seasons in New Jersey.

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 season if they purchase an antlered buck shotgun permit. However, if a hunter harvests two antlered deer, he/she forfeits the opportunity to harvest an antlered deer during the Permit Shotgun Season.

Firearm 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 any deer, hunters must complete in ink all information requested on the transportation tag and the tag should then be securely attached to the deer. Youth and farmer hunters creating a hand-written transportation tag (pdf, 25kb) must include their Conservation ID number, date, hunting season, gender of deer, number of antler points, county, township and deer management zone.

A list of deer check stations can be found beginning on page 58 of the 2010 Hunting and Trapping Issue of the Fish and Wildlife Digest, which can be viewed online at www.njfishandwildlife.com/dighnt10.htm. Hunters should call ahead to learn the hours of operation of the deer check station they plan to bring their deer to. Hunters should also be respectful when transporting deer to and from a check station, butcher or taxidermist by rinsing away excess blood, and turning the field-dressed side to face in toward their vehicle.

Hunters looking for a spot to find their antlered deer now have more than 750,000 acres of public land open to deer hunting. The mixture of Wildlife Management Areas, State Parks and Forests, National Wildlife 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. It is important though to ensure the area you want to hunt IS open to hunting before you step onto the property. A listing of public land open to deer hunting can be found on pages 88 and 89 of the 2010 Hunting and Trapping issue of the NJ Fish and Wildlife Digest and online at www.njfishandwildlife.com/huntland.htm. Hunters must have permission to hunt agricultural or private land even if the land is not posted, and should obtain permission before hunting any private property.

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. Likewise the legislative change to the safety zone, which reduced the safety zone to 150 feet for archery hunters only, applies to hunters using archery equipment during the six-day firearm season; not firearm hunters who must still comply with the 450-foot safety zone.

Sportsmen and sportswomen have always been an integral part of their communities and have stepped up in many ways. This is exemplified by their participation in the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, an organization that has enabled hunters to donate 365,000 pounds of venison to feed New Jersey families since 1997.

Hunters interested in participating in the Hunters Helping the Hungry program should be aware that during the Six-day Firearm Deer Season butchers will not be able to accept deer donations due to the volume of deer they will handle from regular customers. Deer donations will be accepted after the six-day season, but hunters should check on the availability of funds before harvesting a deer intended for donation by visiting www.huntershelpingthehungry.org.

Anyone interested in making a charitable contribution to offset the program's meat processing costs may send a check payable to: Hunters Helping the Hungry, P.O. Box 587, Lebanon, NJ 08833. A list of participating butchers can be found on page 58 of the 2010 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 Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site at www.njfishandwildlife.com/deer.htm. Hunters should also have a copy of the 2010 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.

Hunters afield for the Six-day Firearm Deer Season have no doubt heard that New Jersey's black bear hunting season will also be running concurrently. Information about the black bear hunting season can be found at www.njfishandwildlife.com/bearseas10.htm. Anyone wishing to participate in the season must have completed a bear training seminar and possess a Black Bear Hunting Area Permit.

It should be noted that while baiting is allowed for deer hunting in New Jersey, no person shall attempt to take or kill a black bear or have in their possession or control any firearm, or other weapon of any kind, while elevated in a standing tree or in a structure of any kind within 300 feet of a baited area. On national wildlife refuges and at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the distribution of bait and/or hunting over bait is prohibited.

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Last Updated: November 23, 2010