Summary of Proposed Amendments to the Game Code Published as Part of the Readoption of the Fish and Wildlife Rules
A proposal for the Readoption of the Fish and Wildlife Rules containing proposed amendments to the Game Code was published in the February 20, 2007 edition of the New Jersey Register. Public comment on the Readoption is being accepted until April 21, 2007. Written comment should be sent to
Gary J. Brower, Esq.
Please note that a public hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 13, 2007, at the State Museum in Trenton at 6:30 p.m. The complete Fish and Wildlife Rule readoption document may be viewed on-line at www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/022007a.pdf (pdf format).
The following is a summary of proposed amendments to the Game Code which are published as part of the Readoption of the Fish and Wildlife Rules.
Calendar year adjustments are made for seasons and season dates to remove dates for the 2005-2006 season, and add the corresponding dates with calendar adjustments for 2011 and 2012.
Changes are proposed to application procedures for all permit seasons. As a result of the Division's conversion of the permitting process from a paper system to an Electronic Licensing System (ELS), sportsmen and women, as well as farmers, will need to follow a new application process to obtain hunting and trapping season permits. The new system, available at participating license agents and on the Division's Web site, will allow quick and easy access to hunters and anglers for hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses and permits, and grant the Division access to real time data for biological analysis and law enforcement efforts. Definitions for terminology involving ELS were added.
Amendments are proposed to make corrections for omissions of counties in the descriptions of several Turkey Hunting Areas. No changes in actual zone boundaries are proposed. A special youth turkey hunting program is designed to ensure all applicants 10 to 16 years of age will receive their first choice permit request in the first lottery for the spring seasons. This first spring turkey permit is designated as Period Y. The introduction of the ELS enables a separate application period for spring and fall turkey seasons. Hunters no longer have to apply for fall season permits several months in advance during the spring turkey application period.
The late check-in date for beaver and otter pelts is extended from seven to 20 days to allow trappers sufficient time to properly flesh and stretch the pelts prior to check in. Corrections are proposed to the zone descriptions of several Beaver and Otter Zones, although no changes in actual zone boundaries were made.
Kestrels are proposed to be removed from birds allowed to be possessed by apprentice falconers. This amendment is made at the request of the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee and the staff of the Division's Endangered and Nongame Species Program based upon surveys which indicate that kestrel populations are declining.
The specific season dates for raccoon and Virginia opossum are proposed for amendment from actual dates to a definition of the time period so that annual date changes are no longer necessary.
At the request of the Division of Parks and Forestry, language was added to woodchuck hunting to make legal firearms on their properties consistent with those used on Wildlife Management Areas.
The language in sections regarding red fox, gray fox, and coyote hunting is clarified for hunting hours, use of dogs, and provisions of the special permit and issuance of special permits, in order to avoid confusion resulting from the overlap of the special season and regular season.
Antler Point Restrictions have been removed from Deer Management Zone 6. Due to a significant zone boundary change in 2005, the majority of the habitat remaining in this zone does not support large antler growth.
The Earn-A-Buck (EAB) regulation is proposed to be reduced in Deer Management Zones 7-15, 36, 41, 49, 50, and 51. A reduction in deer densities in these zones has been achieved through increased season lengths for the past seven years. Mandating hunters to take an antlerless deer before they are allowed to take an antlered deer is no longer necessary to meet management objectives. Existing regulations in these zones will still effect a reduction in deer densities but at a more moderate level. The Bank-A-Doe provision will therefore be eliminated.
In Deer Management Zones 7-15, 36, 41, 49, 50, and 51, the early antlerless-only harvest days of the permit muzzleloader and permit shotgun seasons are proposed to be moved from the week of Thanksgiving to the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday following Thanksgiving in order to provide for a contiguous bow season, lessen the confusion of alternating bow and gun seasons, and to make enforcement easier. The permit bow season is added to the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the place of the aforementioned eliminated gun hunting days in order to make the bow season contiguous.
Minor changes to several deer management zone boundary descriptions are proposed for clarification purposes only.
The season end dates for the permit muzzleloader season are corrected for Deer Management Zones 5, 17, 19, 25, 42, and 48, as dates for the 2006-07 season onward were in error.
The number of antlered deer tags on the basic licenses and permits is proposed to be reduced. Under the proposed amendments, bowhunters will be allowed to harvest one buck during the Winter Bow and Fall Bow season. Buck transportation tags for these two seasons will be provided on bow and all around licenses. Firearm hunters will be allowed to harvest one buck during the Six-day Firearm Season, using the buck tag provided on the firearm or all around license. The bag limit for the Bow Permit season, Shotgun Permit season, and Muzzleloader Permit season is proposed to be amended to allow the taking of antlerless deer only. A new Bonus Buck permit is proposed, which, when purchased in addition to the antlerless permit, would allow the hunter to harvest an antlered buck during the permit seasons. Only hunters who have already obtained an antlerless permit for the Bow Permit, Muzzleloader Permit or Shotgun Permit seasons will be allowed to purchase these buck permits. Shotgun or muzzleloader hunters may opt to use this buck tag on the bonus permit to take a second buck during the Six-day Firearm season. The necessary changes to tagging procedures to reflect these proposed changes are proposed in all seasons.
Minor changes to several Special Areas in the form of permit quota and season date changes have been added to the at the request of the administering agencies in order to better manage deer populations on their respective properties. These include Deer Management Zones 40, 53, 54, and 64 which consist of three military installations and one state park. Zone 40 proposed amendments will allow the Permit Shotgun season to follow the existing format of the Permit Muzzleloader season; in Zone 53, the Fall Bow season will open three weeks earlier, in September and the bag limit will change from two deer to unlimited antlerless deer; Zone 54 has requested a permit quota increase for Permit Muzzleloader (25 to 50), and Permit Shotgun (25 to 50); Zone 64 has changed the Permit Shotgun season to coincide with the Six-day Firearm season, and has added the Six-day Firearm and Winter Bow seasons.
A new Deer Management Zone (Zone 68) is created in Burlington County. The change in regulations will provide a longer season and larger bag limits during wetland restoration on this property co-managed by the NJ Conservation Foundation and the NJ Division of Parks and Forestry. This change is made at the request of the administering agency. Zone 68 hunting dates, zone description, and permit quotas have been added.
At the request of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, several changes were made to deer hunting seasons and zone designations for the following National Wildlife Refuges in order to reduce their administrative burden, due to a federal reduction in funding resulting in personnel cuts. Supawna Meadows Refuge (Zone 59) is incorporated into the surrounding Zone 63; Supawna Meadows continues to be open to bow hunting only during all deer bow seasons and is closed to all deer firearm hunting. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge divides its Zone 58 into north and south sections (Zones 58N and 58S), and makes changes to season structures in Zones 57, 58N, and 58S. No changes are made to Zone 56. In Zone 57, Fall Bow is eliminated; Permit Bow adds 29 days and follows the surrounding zone's (Zone 42) season structure; Permit Muzzleloader adds 6 days; Permit Shotgun loses two days and follows Zone 42's season structure. Zone 58's existing permit quotas are divided between Zone 58N and 58S; Zone 58N has the same season structure as the surrounding zone (Zone 51) for Permit Bow (adds 26 days), Permit Muzzleloader (adds 9 days), and Permit Shotgun (loses 13 days). Zone 58S has the same season structure as the surrounding zone (Zone 22) for Permit Bow (adds 29 days), Permit Muzzleloader (remains the same), and Permit Shotgun (loses 18 days).
Legislatively created classifications of indigenous animals, exotic animals, potentially dangerous indigenous animals, and potentially dangerous exotic animals are added to the Special Wildlife Management Permit section to allow for control of these animals as necessary under a permit issued by the Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.