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Early Fall Bow Deer Season Opens in Certain Zones September 8
Statewide Season Kicks Off September 29
Youth Bow Hunt Scheduled for September 22

September 4, 2012

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds bow hunters they will soon be able to pursue their favorite pastime, as the 2012 New Jersey Fall Bow Deer Season opens on Saturday, September 8 in certain zones. After the early opener, the statewide season kicks off on Saturday, September 29 and runs through October 26. Permit bow season then starts up on October 27.

Young hunters will have their own special day again as the popular Youth Bow Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, September 22.

Bow Season Updates and Reminders

Important for hunters to remember this year is that the Automated Harvest Report System (AHRS), first used during the 2012 Winter Bow Deer Season, is now in effect for reporting deer during ALL deer hunting seasons.

The system replaces the deer check system, used since the 1970s, which required hunters to bring their deer to an official check station to legally possess the deer they harvested. Hunters will find more information about the automated harvest report system by visiting and in the 2012 NJ Hunting & Trapping Digest, now available at license agents. Please be sure to visit the Deer Hunting Location Viewer prior to going hunting to determine the zone, county, township and unit where you hunt.

The bowhunting safety zone is the minimum distance from an occupied building where a bowhunter may have a nocked arrow, and is 150 feet. Carrying a bow with a nocked arrow within 150 feet of an occupied building or 450 feet of any school playground is prohibited. Any portion of the school grounds (including fields used for sports), that could be used for play or recreation, is considered to be part of a playground

The owner or lessee of a building-and persons specifically authorized by the owner or lessee in writing (written permission must be in possession while hunting)-may hunt within 150 feet of the building. Persons authorized to hunt within 150 feet of a building must hunt from an elevated position to shoot down toward the ground. Shooting into a safety zone is prohibited.

Sunday bow hunting is allowed on Wildlife Management Areas and on private property ONLY. There are no exceptions to this rule. It is extremely important for all hunters to know the boundary lines of the property (s) they are hunting.

If you do not have private land available to you for hunting don't worry. There are more than 750,000 acres of public lands open to the New Jersey deer hunter. A current listing of lands specifically identified for deer hunting can be found at Online maps of Wildlife Management Areas are also available and can be viewed at

Extensive information regarding deer hunting in New Jersey including season dates, bag limits, and regulations can be found in the 2012 NJ Hunting and Trapping Digest or on the Fish and Wildlife Web site at: hunters should be completely familiar with the rules and regulations pertaining to the areas they wish to hunt.

Take a Kid Hunting Youth Bow Hunt

Youth bow hunters with a valid youth hunting license will have their own special day to harvest a deer on Saturday, September 22 as part of the Division of Fish and Wildlife's popular Take a Kid Hunting Program.

Youth may hunt statewide for one deer of either sex on this day. They MUST be under the direct supervision of a person who is at least 21 years old and who has a valid bow and arrow license. Direct supervision is defined as both the youth hunter and parent/guardian set up together at the same location, hunting as a unit, not hunting independently. The adult CANNOT hunt or possess a bow. The adult may grunt, call or rattle for the youth.

This hunt is an extension of the fall bow season so no special season deer permit is required. Successful youth hunters should complete all information requested on the Harvest Report Card found on page 29 of the 2012 NJ Hunting and Trapping Digest, or online (pdf, 200kb) in order to have information ready for reporting through the AHRS.

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P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: September 4, 2012