PROPOSED CHANGES TO 1997-98 GAME CODE, INCLUDING SEASON DATES
For more information contact:
Fred Carlson at 609-292-6685
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife recently announced proposed changes to the 1997-98 New Jersey Game Code. The code describes procedures, dates, locations and harvest limits on the hunting or possession of game birds, mammals, and fur-bearing animals in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Fish and Game Council will hold a public hearing regarding the code on June 3, at 8 p.m. in the Mercer County Community College Communications Building, Room 110, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor.
“New Jerseyans are encouraged to review and comment on the proposed amendments and take an active role in shaping the future of wildlife management in the Garden State,” said Fish and Game Council Chairman Charles Suk.
The New Jersey Fish and Game Council is responsible for approving seasons, bag limits and other regulations for hunted species each year and is comprised of representatives from various conservation sporting groups, the farm community, Endangered and Nongame Species Committee and the general public.
Many of the current proposals deal with managing New Jersey’s white-tailed deer population. Balancing the needs of deer with those of humans has always been one of the division’s top priorities.
Annual deer management objectives have been met in most areas. In those zones where significant agricultural damage continues, the division will continue to apply a management strategy to reduce the deer population and continue to monitor complaints of deer damage statewide to ensure a proper balance between deer and farming efforts.
“The Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife’s deer management objectives are to maintain a healthy herd, keep populations at levels that are compatible with agricultural practices and other land uses, and maximize the recreational benefits derived from the deer resource,” said division Director Bob McDowell. “In an effort to reduce agricultural damage in areas of Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon, Mercer, Atlantic, Salem, Somerset and Warren counties, deer populations are being reduced. However, lack of hunter access to land which harbors unnecessarily high deer populations continues to be a problem for both landowners and the division.”
Highlights of game code amendments follow. If approved, revisions would:
Standardize State Sunrise/Sunset Times
Establish an official annual sunrise/sunset table to provide a daily statewide sunrise and sunset time to which the courts can reference and identify legal daily hunting and trapping hours.
Adjust Small Game Season Dates
Adjust small game seasons to correspond to changes in the deer hunting season, in order to prevent use conflict, with generally no change in the overall length of the small game season. Most hunting season dates would be adjusted to correspond with the 1997-98 calendar and take into account both anticipated differences in hunting activity according to the day of the week and the effects of the regulatory activities of neighboring states.
Establish a Conservative Pheasant Hunting Season on Cumberland & Salem County WMAs
The pheasant hunting season for all State Wildlife Management Areas in Cumberland County (west of the Cohansey River) and all State Wildlife Management Areas in Salem County (except Mad Horse), would be limited to male pheasant only, the duration of which would be November 8 to December 6, 1997 and December 15, 1997 to January 3, 1998. This change provides a more conservative hunting season (i.e., no extended season and a harvest of male pheasants only) for the WMA’s involved, which will help ensure the perpetuation of wild native pheasant populations on these areas.
Allow Licensed Youngsters to Hunt on the Saturday before Opening Day of Small Game Season on Semi-Wild Preserves
Properly licensed youngsters between the ages of 10 and 15 inclusive, would be permitted to hunt pheasant, quail or chukar on November 1, 1997 on properly licensed semi-wild preserves. This change will offer young hunters, some who may be hunting for the first time, an opportunity to hunt on the Saturday prior to the regular opening of the Small Game Season.
Adjust Spring Wild Turkey Season Dates & Permit Quotas
The 1998 Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season dates would be adjusted to conform to the 1998 calendar with no change in the season duration. The 1998 Spring Wild Turkey Season permit weekly quotas would be increased as follows: 120 to 150 permits in Area 1; 140 to 180 permits in Area 2; 120 to 160 permits in Area 4; 160 to 200 permits in Area 5; 200 to 270 permits in Area 6; 200 to 270 in Area 7; 160 to 200 permits in Area 8; 105 to 150 permits in Area 9; 80 to 100 permits in Area 10; 105 to 150 permits in Area 11; 90 to 140 permits in Area 12; 175 to 220 permits in Area 20; 50 to 80 permits in Area 21; and 30 to 80 permits in Area 22. The statewide total increase in 1998 Spring Turkey Hunting Season permits would be 3,075. These changes will increase the recreational opportunity for turkey hunters with no detriment to the population.
Eliminate 1998 Fall Turkey Hunting Season in Areas 6 & 7
Turkey Hunting Areas 6 and 7 would be deleted from the 1998 Fall Turkey Hunting Season, resulting in an overall decrease of 400 permits. This change is necessary because the anticipated 1998 fall turkey population level in these two areas will not support the additional harvest of a fall season.
Prohibit Hunters With Revoked Licenses from Obtaining Turkey Permits
Persons who have their hunting licenses revoked by law or by court action would be prohibited from making application for or otherwise procuring a special turkey permit. This change will clarify the regulation which prohibits persons who have their hunting privileges revoked from obtaining special turkey permits.
Add 12 Beaver Trapping Zones & Adjust Permit Quotas
Twelve additional beaver trapping zones would be added to bring the total number to 30. The new zones are identified as Zones 19 through 30 of which Zones 19, 20, 26 and 27 each have a permit quota of one special permit. The special beaver permit quotas are decreased as follows: 4 to 3 for Zone 5, 18 to 16 for Zone 6, 1 to 0 for Zones 13 and 14, and 4 to 3 for Zone 16 in order to meet zone harvest objectives. The special beaver permit quotas are increased from 4 to 5 permits for Zones 7 and 9 in order to meet zone harvest objectives. The total number of special permits for the season would remain at 85.
Add 12 Otter Trapping Zones & Adjust Permit Quotas
Twelve additional otter trapping zones would be added to bring the total number to 30, all of which are identical to the beaver trapping zones. The new zones are identified as Zones 19-30 of which Zones 19, 20, 26 and 27 each have a quota of one special otter permit, and Zone 30 has a quota of 5 special otter permits. The total permit quota has been increased from 97 to 106 permits. These changes are necessary to meet otter harvest objectives. A boundary description of each new beaver and otter trapping zone would be added to the list of beaver and otter trapping zone descriptions.
Allow Legally Trapped Animals to be Dispatched With a .22 Rifle on Sunday
The use of a .22 rifle and .22 short cartridges would be permitted for use on Sundays for killing legally trapped animals. This proposal is in conformity with a recent change in statutory law.
Require Migratory Bird Hunters to Enroll in
Harvest Information Program
Effective September 1, 1998 all licensed hunters engaged in hunting migratory game birds would be required to comply with the rules of the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program. Hunters must supply their names, addresses, and migratory bird harvest information, as well as possess evidence of participation in the program, including a code number on their person while hunting migratory birds. This change is in conformity and compliance with federal regulations, the purpose of which is to collect nationwide migratory bird harvest information from licensed hunters for use in managing migratory bird species.
Establish Over-the-Counter Sale of Coyote Permits
Coyote hunting permits would be available for issuance to properly licensed hunters on selected dates following the regular permit issuance process. This change will provide additional opportunity for persons wishing to obtain a permit.
Require Wildlife Possessed by Non-Harvesters to be
Labeled with Hunters’ Identification
All wild animals or parts thereof, in possession of persons who did not kill the animals, would have to be tagged or labeled to identify the owner. All persons in the business of processing wild animals such as taxidermists and butchers would have to keep a ledger of their customers including name, address, telephone number and hunting, fishing or trapping license number. Accurate record keeping of game birds and animals possessed has been required in several statutes enumerated in Title 23. The proposed language in the 1997-98 Game Code clarifies the procedure and specifies the information required.
Establish Muzzleloader Ammunition Restrictions
All muzzleloader firearms used in hunting would have to be loaded with granular black powder or other granular powder suitable for use in a muzzleloading firearm. The possession or use of black powder, or a black powder alternative, that is formed into cakes or pellets would be prohibited. The possession and use of handgun, rifle or shotshell ammunition primers while muzzleloader deer hunting would be prohibited. The possession or use of a sabot while hunting with a muzzleloader would be prohibited. These changes help to maintain the traditional aspects of muzzleloader hunting and limit the range of missiles used in muzzleloader firearms by restricting the use of certain components.
Allow Authorized Division Staff/Agents to Possess/Carry/Use
Firearms & Animal Immobilization Equipment
Personnel or agents of the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife as authorized by the Director would be allowed to possess, carry or use at any time: (1) animal immobilization rifles, pistols or similar devices for the purpose of chemically immobilizing wild animals; (2) rifles and shotguns for the purpose of dispatching sick, injured or dangerous animals or for non-lethal use for the purpose of frightening, hazing or aversive conditioning of nuisance or depredating wildlife; (3) hand held pistol-like devices which launch pyrotechnic missiles for the purpose of frightening, hazing or aversive conditioning of nuisance or depredating wildlife, and any other instrument or device approved by the Division for the capture, marking or killing of wildlife for scientific, enforcement or public safety purposes. The proposed amendments also allow authorized personnel to possess and use devices which project, release or emit vaporized or aerosol sprays for the purpose of repelling wildlife or for the aversive conditioning of wildlife. This action applies to all species of non-domesticated animals whether native to this state or exotic, regardless of any season or other restriction in statute, rule or code. This change clarifies and further defines the firearms, immobilization equipment and other devices or equipment which may be used by authorized personnel or agents of the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife and the purposes for such use. These proposed amendments are essential to ensuring the Division’s ability to provide the responses or actions necessary to address matters of public safety related to wildlife and people/wildlife conflicts in general, in a safe and efficient manner, as well as any research or law enforcement activities which require the use of these devices.
Increase the Fall Bow Season in Zones 13, 36, 42 & 49
The Fall Bow Season would be increased from four to seven weeks (September 13 - October 31, 1997) in Deer Management Zones 13, 36, 42 and 49. In these areas, hunters must take an antlerless deer before taking an antlered deer during the first three weeks of the season (September 13 - October 3, 1997). This change is made on an experimental basis in order to increase the antlerless deer harvest on huntable areas of these more urbanized and developed zones. The change will also increase recreational opportunity for bow hunters.
Re-instate a 2 Deer of Either Sex Fall Bow Season
Bag Limit in Zones 1, 3, 21 and 24
The standard bag limit of two deer of either sex would be reinstated for the Fall Bow Season in Deer Management Zones 1, 3, 21 and 24. A sufficient number of antlerless deer will be available for this season. The change will increase recreational opportunity for bow hunters.
Single/Multiple Bonus Deer Permit & Transportation Tag Changes
For the Fall Bow Season
Single, New Jersey Bonus Deer Permit and Transportation Tags would be deleted from the Fall Bow Season in order to simplify the regulations. Multiple, New Jersey Bonus Deer Permit and Transportation Tags would remain available in designated zones in order to achieve antlerless harvest objectives. Multiple bonus tags would be added to Zones 2, 17, 48, 54 and 66; single tags would be eliminated from Zones 17, 20, 31, 34, 48 65 and 66; and multiple bonus tags would be eliminated for Zone 26.
Increase Permit Muzzleloader Season Bag Limit in Zone 66
The bag limit for the Permit Muzzleloader Season would be increased from 3 to 4 deer of either sex in Zone 66, exclusively, in order to be consistent with the concurrent Permit Shotgun Season and in order to achieve the antlerless harvest objective.
Open Zone 67 to the Permit Muzzleloader Season
At the request of the State Park Service, Zone 67, which includes those portions of High Point State Park located north and east of Deckertown Turnpike, designated as open to hunting and lying within Sussex County, would be added to the zones open for the Permit Muzzleloader Season. The main objectives of this program are to reduce deer numbers to a level the winter habitat can support and to reduce the impact of deer on vegetation, particularly forest regeneration. Additionally, the program will provide recreational opportunity to muzzleloader deer hunters and further examine the muzzleloader season as a management tool. The bag limit would be two deer of either sex, however, if an antlerless deer is taken first, a bonus tag will be issued which will be valid for the taking of one additional deer of either sex in Zone 67, exclusively. The duration of the season in Zone 67 would be November 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25 and 26, 1997. On November 24, 25 and 26, hunters would be limited to using traditional muzzleloaders for the purpose of providing recreational opportunity to the traditional muzzleloader hunter.
Require Mandatory Attendance at
Hunter Orientation Classes for Specific Zones
For special management zones that require mandatory hunter orientation as a condition of access, failure to attend the designated session would result in invalidation of the permit (bow, muzzleloader or shotgun) for the zone. This change is made to provide a mechanism for invalidating a permit for individuals that fail to comply with mandatory orientation requirements.
Prohibit Hunters With Revoked Licenses From Obtaining Special Season Permits
Persons who have their hunting licenses revoked by law or court action would be prohibited from applying for, or otherwise procuring, a special season permit (muzzleloader, shotgun or bow). This change is made to clarify and broaden the regulation which prohibits persons who have their hunting privileges revoked from obtaining special deer season permits.
Reduce the Permit Muzzleloader Season in Zones 21 & 43
The duration of the permit muzzleloader season in Zones 21 and 43 would be reduced from 16 to 10 days (December 1, 2, 15, 16, 20, 22, 23, 24, 26 and 27,1997). This change is made in order to evenly distribute the available antlerless deer harvest quota among the bow, muzzleloader and shotgun hunter groups.
Adjust Quotas, Bag Limits & Duration of Permit Deer Seasons
Permit Muzzleloader, Permit Shotgun and Permit Bow Season quotas, bag limits and season lengths would be adjusted according to zone management strategies and antlerless harvest objectives for the purposes of adjusting and maintaining the deer population at levels compatible with the available habitat, land use and human population.
Increase Permit Shotgun Season Bag Limits in 19 Zones
The Permit Shotgun Season bag limit would be standardized by season length and increased as follows for the purpose of achieving the antlerless deer harvest objectives: 1 to 2 deer (either sex) in Zones 3, 30 and 44; 2 to 3 deer (either sex) in Zones: 16, 22, and 48; 3 to 4 deer (either sex) in Zone 59; 4 to 5 deer (either sex) in Zones: 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 41, 42, 49, 50 and 51. These changes will also provide increased recreational opportunity for the shotgun deer hunter.
Allow for the Taking of 2 Deer Per Permit Per Day
During the Permit Shotgun Season in Zones 13 & 36
Zones 13 and 36 would be added to the zones where two deer may be taken per permit per day during the Permit Shotgun Season until the season bag limit is reached. This change is made in order to achieve the antlerless deer harvest objective in these zones.
Increase Permit Shotgun Season Length in 23 Zones
The Permit Shotgun Season length would be increased from 1 to 3 days in Zones: 3, 30 and 44; 3 to 7 days in Zone 16; 15 to 16 days in Zones: 11, 25, 35, 47 and 63; from 15 to 22 days in Zones: 5, 7, 8, 9,10, 12, 14, 41, 42, 49, 50 and 51; and 18 to 25 days in Zones: 13 and 36 for the purpose of achieving the antlerless deer harvest objective for each zone. The change will also increase recreational hunting opportunity for shotgun hunters.
Decrease Permit Shotgun Season Length in 3 Zones
The Permit Shotgun Season length would be decreased as follows for the purpose of reducing the antlerless deer harvest: 7 to 3 days in Zone 26; and 11 to 7 days in Zones: 27 and 28. These changes will allow for an adequate number of season permits to be available to satisfy demand. The small decrease in recreational opportunity will be offset by increases in Permit Shotgun Season bag limits and season lengths in other management zones.
Adjust Deer Management Zone Boundaries in 6 Zones
Minor zone boundary adjustments would be made as follows: five square miles of deer range from Zone 24 will be transferred to Zone 22, and seven square miles of Zone 47 will be transferred to Zone 46 for the purpose of including areas of similar land use, habitat and deer populations in the proper zone. These changes were also requested by area residents and sportsmen/women. A section of common boundary between Zones 23 and 26, will be changed from a roadway to the Mullica River for the purpose of enhancing management of deer separated by the Mullica River. The change transfers 0.7 square miles of deer range from Zone 26 to Zone 23. These changes will enhance efforts to manage the deer resource and will have little impact on recreational hunting opportunity.
Multiple Bonus Deer Permit & Transportation Tag Changes
For the Permit Bow Season
Multiple bonus tags would replace single bonus tags during the Permit Bow Season in Zones: 39, 40, 59 and 61 and multiple bonus tags would be added to Zones: 2, 5 - 17, 19, 22, 25, 27 - 29, 33, 35, 36, 41, 42, 46 - 51, 54, 63 and 66 for the purpose of achieving the antlerless harvest objective in each zone. Additional recreational opportunity for bow hunters will also be provided.
Open Zone 21 for the Permit Bow Season
Zone 21 would be open for the Permit Bow Season for the purpose of providing for the equitable distribution of the antlerless deer harvest to include bow hunters.
Authorize Division Director to Add 4 January Days
to Permit Shotgun Season in Zone 38
January 13, 14, 15 and 16, 1998 would be authorized by the Director as additional Permit Shotgun Season deer hunting days, if the anticipated harvest is not achieved on December 2, 3, 4, and 5, 1997 in Zone 38. These dates are provided for planning and clarification purposes and to accomplish harvest objectives.
The previous proposals will also be published in the May 19 New Jersey Register, followed by a 30-day public comment period.
Copies of the proposed 1997-98 code will be available for review at the division’s main and regional offices. In addition, interested individuals may obtain a copy of the proposed amendments by sending a business-size, self-addressed, stamped envelope (for 64-cents) to:
NJ Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife
Trenton, NJ 08625-0400
Written comments may be submitted no later than June 18, to Director Bob McDowell at the above address.
PROPOSED HUNTING SEASON DATES
1997 - 1998
SMALL GAME SEASON DATES
|Ruffed Grouse & Gray Squirrel||Oct. 4 - Dec. 6||Dec. 15 - Feb. 16, 1998 (Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions)|
|Muzzleloader Squirrel||Oct. 4 - Nov. 7 & Jan. 19 - Feb. 16, 1998|
|Pheasant||Nov. 8 - Dec. 6||Dec. 15 - Jan. 3, 1998 (Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions) Dec. 15 - Feb. 16, 1998 (Within designated areas only |
|Quail, Chukar, Cottontail Rabbit||Nov. 8 - Dec. 6||Dec. 15 - Feb. 16, 1998 (Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions)|
|Woodchuck||March 7 - Sept. 25, 1998|
|Crow||Aug. 4 - Mar. 14, 1998 (Mon., Thu., Fri., Sat. ONLY)||(Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions)|
|Fox||Bow Only - Oct. 4 - Nov. 7||Shotgun/Bow - Nov. 8 - Feb. 16, 1998|
|Raccoon/Opossum||Oct. 1 - Mar. 1, 1998|
|Coyote||Jan. 31, 1998 - Feb. 16, 1998|
PROPOSED SPRING WILD TURKEY SEASON DATES
|Segment A||Monday, April 20 - Friday, April 24, 1998|
|Segment B||Monday, April 27 - Friday, May 1, 1998|
|Segment C||Monday, May 2 - Friday, May 8, 1998|
|Segment D||Monday, May 11 - Friday, May 15 and Monday, May 18 - Friday, May 22, 1998|
|Segment E||Saturdays, April 25, May 2, 9, & 16, 1998|
PROPOSED 1997 - 1998 DEER SEASONS
PROPOSED FALL BOW SEASON DATES
|Suburban zones (13, 36, 42 & 49||Sept. 13 - Oct. 31, 1997||Bag limit 2 deer, either sex (NOTE: An antlerless deer must be harvested before taking an antlered buck through Oct. 3)|
|Statewide||Oct. 4 - Oct. 31, 1997||Bag limit 2 deer, either sex|
PROPOSED PERMIT BOW SEASON DATES (By zone)
|25-day zones||Nov. 1 - Nov. 29, 1997||Bag limit 2 deer, either sex|
|51-day zones||Nov. 1 - Dec. 31, 1997||Bag limit 2 deer, either sex|
PROPOSED SIX-DAY FIREARM SEASON (Statewide)
|Dec. 8 - 13, 1997 ||Bag limit 2 antlered deer|
PROPOSED MUZZLELOADER SEASON ( By zone)
|Dec. 1, 2, 15, 16, 22-24, 26, 27, 29-31, 1997 and Jan. 1-3, 1998||Bag limit 2 deer, either sex, per permit. Only 1 antlered buck/hunter on Dec. 1 & 2.|
PROPOSED PERMIT SHOTGUN SEASON (By zone)
|1 day zones||Dec. 17, 1997||Bag limit 1 deer, either sex, per permit|
|3 day zones||Dec. 17, 18 & 19, 1997||Bag limit 2 deer, either sex, per permit|
|7 day zones||Dec. 17, 18 & 19, 1997 and Jan. 16, 17, 23 & 24, 1998||Bag limit 3 deer, either sex, per permit|
|16 day zones||Dec. 17, 18 & 19, 1997 and Jan. 10, 12-17, 19-24, 1998||Bag limit 4 deer, either sex, per permit|
|22 day zones||Dec. 17, 18 & 19, 1997 and Jan. 10, 12-17, 19-24, 26-31, 1998||Bag limit 5 deer, either sex, per permit|
|25 day zones||Nov. 24, 25 & 26 (antlerless only) and Dec. 17, 18 & 19, 1997 and Jan. 10, 12-17, 19-24, 26-31, 1998||Bag limit 5 deer, either sex, per permit, HOWEVER, only antlerless deer may be taken on Nov. 24, 25 & 26|
PROPOSED WINTER BOW SEASON (Statewide)
NOTE: Season dates vary for special areas.
|Jan. 1 - 31, 1998||Bag limit 2 deer, either sex|
The above season dates are tentative. The public may submit written comments no later than June 18 to Director Bob McDowell at:
NJ Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife
Trenton, NJ 08625-0400