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May 11, 2004

New Jersey 2003-04 Deer Season Results

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife reports that sportsmen and women had another outstanding deer season harvesting 69,456 deer between September 6, 2003 and February 14, 2004. The harvest for this year's season is the fourth highest in the history of the program, and an increase of 10 percent from the 63,031 deer taken during the 2002-2003 season.

New Jersey's deer herd is now healthy and thriving but at one time that was not so. By the early 1900's habitat destruction and market hunting had nearly caused their extinction in the Garden State. Only the advent of professional scientifically based wildlife management, along with the support of conservation minded sportsmen and women saved this species (and many others). Nowadays deer can be found on all suitable range throughout New Jersey. In fact, deer have rebounded so successfully that some farmers, landowners and municipalities experience significant nuisance and damage problems and crop loss. These problems typically occur where excessive development has made hunting prohibitive, or where access to huntable lands is not allowed. In these cases the Division of Fish and Wildlife works firsthand with the Fish and Game Council to encourage landowners and municipalities to open areas to hunting, and if opening more land is not feasible, to work with the Division's Community Based Deer Management Program to achieved desired results.

Sportsmen and women benefit from New Jersey's abundant deer herds as they are afforded essentially endless hunting opportunities. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any state in the U.S. that offers as many opportunities to hunters than New Jersey. Hunters in turn provide a great service to the people of New Jersey by acting as the main population control on deer, at no cost to the taxpayer. Without the hunter, New Jersey's deer herd would grow dramatically, as would the number of conflicts between people and deer. In addition, the purchase of licenses and stamps by Garden State sportsmen and women directly support the conservation programs of the Division of Fish and Wildlife which include but are not limited to; wildlife management, education, law enforcement, fish hatchery operation and open space protection.

This year, the Division of Fish and Wildlife together with the Fish and Game Council, sought to reduce the deer population on approximately 55-percent of the state's deer range. As such, regulations were liberalized in 17 additional Deer Management Zones. Deer season totals are as follows:

Fall Bow - 13,420; Permit Bow - 9,858; Youth Day - 888; Six-day Firearm - 12,322; Permit Muzzleloader - 11,236; Permit Shotgun - 20,541; and Winter Bow - 1,191. The 2003 yield consisted of 23,307 antlered and 46,149 antlerless deer. The top five deer producing counties were Hunterdon (11,893), Sussex (6,625), Warren (6,380), Burlington (6,013) and Monmouth (5,320).

For more information on this year's harvest, see the 2003-04 Seasons Totals by Zone Chart (10kb in PDF format, - requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. For information on New Jersey's deer herd and past seasons' totals, see the White-tailed Deer Information page.

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