For more information contact:
Daniel Ferrigno at 609-259-8692
According to the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife, an estimated 12,182 white-tailed deer were harvested during New Jersey’s 1997 Fall Bow Season. The total exceeds the 1996 harvest of 11,527 and meets the Division’s original projected harvest estimate of 11,200 to 12,380 deer.
“The fall bow season not only provides recreation to approximately 50,000 bow hunters, but also contributes to deer population management by allowing the harvest of antlerless deer which includes adult females and young of the year,” said Division Director Bob McDowell.
Division estimates indicate that nearly half the deer taken during the fall bow season (47 percent) were antlerless.
“By harvesting a sufficient number of antlerless deer in each zone, populations are maintained in healthy conditions and at levels that minimize conflicts between deer and people. This is particularly important in areas with a high incidence of agricultural damage and deer-vehicle collisions,” McDowell said.
Overall, the Division’s deer population management objectives are designed to reduce populations on 70 percent of the state’s deer range, stabilize populations on 29 percent and allow for small increases in deer populations on only one percent. Zones where deer populations will be allowed to increase contain mostly public lands with little agriculture and minimal potential for deer-human conflicts.
The Division also noted that the fall bow season began three weeks early (on September 13) in the four suburban deer management zones of 13, 36, 42 and 49. The experimental extension to the season provided bow hunters with an additional three weeks of hunting and included the “earn-a-buck” provision which required hunters to harvest an antlerless deer before taking an antlered buck during the first three weeks of the season. In other words, during the period of September 13 through October 3, bow hunters in zones 13, 36, 42 and 49 had to earn the privilege of harvesting an antlered buck by first taking an antlerless deer. The program was designed to increase the antlerless deer harvest in suburban zones where the potential for deer-human conflicts is high. The program has been very successful based on fall bow harvest information in these four zones.
The permit bow season began on November 1 and will continue through November 29 (25 hunting days) in most zones and through December 31 in suburban deer management zones. Prospects for the remaining deer seasons are excellent.
To a large extent, deer harvests and hunting opportunities have increased as a result of the Fish and Game Council’s authorization to reduce deer populations. However, continued progress toward controlling deer herds will rely on hunters getting access to all lands where deer can be hunted.
Preliminary deer harvests by county and deer management zone follow. A detailed analysis of season results will be available in early April once harvest information has been computerized.