New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife Back to State of NJ Homepage Back to Fish and Game Homepage Back to DEP Homepage 
 

DIVISION ANNOUNCES PROPOSED CHANGES
TO 1998-99 GAME CODE

May 12, 1998

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 1998-99 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 2, 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 remains 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 and deer-human conflicts in developing areas of the state, 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:

Adjust Season Dates to Correspond With the 1998-99 Calendar

Most hunting season dates will be adjusted to correspond with the 1998-99 calendar which takes 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. Small game seasons will be adjusted to remain separate from the December segments of the firearm deer hunting seasons, generally with no change in the overall length of the small game season.

Allow Youths Aged 15 & Under To Obtain Their Choice of Spring Turkey Hunting Permits

Properly licensed youths aged 15 and under who apply for a spring turkey hunting permit during the initial application period will be provided their choice of a spring turkey hunting permit separate from the spring season permit quota. These permits will also be valid for use during other additional spring turkey hunting periods provided the youth permittee is supervised by a parent or legal guardian who possesses a valid turkey hunting permit for that other turkey hunting period and the same turkey hunting area as the youth permittee. This change will ensure that youth hunters will be able to acquire a spring turkey hunting permit for the hunting area and period of their choice. Also, this change will help provide an opportunity for youth hunters and their parent(s) or guardian(s) to hunt together even if their turkey permits are for different hunting periods.

Require Non-Toxic Shot for Snipe, Rail & Gallinule Hunting

Non-toxic shot will be required for hunting snipe, rail and gallinules at all times. Lead shot will no longer be permitted for hunting snipe, rail or gallinules prior to the opening of the waterfowl season. This change will protect New Jersey's wetlands from lead contamination and further reduce the potential for lead poisoning in waterfowl and other birds as a result of lead shot ingestion.

Permit Scopes on Muzzleloader Rifles & Smoothbore Muzzleloaders

Rifle scopes will be permitted for hunting with muzzleloader rifles and smoothbore muzzleloaders. Visually impaired persons will no longer be required to obtain a Special Muzzleloader Scope Permit to hunt with a scope affixed to a muzzleloader rifle. There will be no restrictions on scope power (magnification). This change will allow all muzzleloader users a choice as to which sight system they prefer to hunt with and/or find most effective. The proposal was requested by muzzleloader hunters and will apply to all seasons where muzzleloaders are authorized.

Require Social Security Numbers on Deer & Turkey Permit Applications

Regular and farmer deer and turkey season permit applications will include the social security number of the applicant. Failure of an applicant to include his/her social security number will cause the application to be void. The addition of an individual's social security number on deer and turkey permit applications is required by law.

Validate Supplemental & Bonus Deer Transportation Tags on Date of Issuance in Most South Jersey Zones

New Jersey Supplemental Deer Transportation Tags and/or New Jersey Bonus Deer Transportation Tags will be valid for use on the date of issuance for all applicable seasons in the following zones, exclusively: 16-19, 21-31, 33- 35, 37, 39, 42, 43, 45-49, 51-53, 55, 57-59, 61-63, 65 and 66. This change is an expansion of a 1996 experimental program that allowed supplemental tags to be valid for use on the date of issuance during the Six-Day Firearm Season in various South Jersey zones. The change had no impact on the distribution and magnitude of the harvest, and this year's proposed expansion of the program is not expected to have an impact on the other deer seasons. Allowing supplemental and bonus tags to be valid for use on the date of issuance during all applicable seasons will help standardize bonus tag and supplemental tag regulations. The change does not increase season bag limits and will be evaluated after the 1998-99 deer seasons. The change was proposed at the request of South Jersey sportsmen and women.

Allow For Harvest of Antlered Deer Only During First Half of Fall Bow Season in Zones 1, 3, 21 & 23

The bag limit in Zones 1, 3, 21 and 23 will be restricted to antlered deer only during the first half of the season (October 3-16, 1998) due to a shortfall in the number of antlerless deer available and to ensure an equitable distribution of deer to the bow, muzzleloader and shotgun hunter. This change will have a minimal impact on recreational opportunity, because the season remains open.

Eliminate Bonus Deer Tags in Zones 16 & 54 During Fall Bow Season

New Jersey Bonus Deer Transportation Tags (bonus tags) will not be available in Zones 16 and 54 due to a shortfall in the number of antlerless deer available. This change will have a minimal impact on recreational opportunity, since the season will remain open and the standard bag limit of two deer of either-sex will apply.

Expand Bonus Deer Tag Program to Permit Muzzleloader & Winter Bow Seasons in Zones 2, 5-15, 17, 19, 22, 25, 27-29, 33, 35, 36, 39, 41, 42, 46-51, 63 & 66

The New Jersey Bonus Deer Transportation Tag Program (bonus tag), previously available for the Fall Bow and Permit Bow seasons in specific zones, will be expanded to the Permit Muzzleloader and Winter Bow seasons in zones 2, 5-15, 17, 19, 22, 25, 27-29, 33, 35, 36, 39, 41, 42, 46-51, 63 and 66. This change will allow for the proper harvest of antlerless deer, additional recreational opportunity and standardization of regulations.

Add Bonus Deer Tags in Zones 26, 30, 31 & 34 During Fall Bow, Permit Bow, Permit Muzzleloader & Winter Bow Season

Bonus tags will now be available for the Fall Bow, Permit Bow, Permit Muzzleloader and Winter Bow seasons in zones: 26, 30, 31 and 34 for the purpose of achieving the antlerless harvest objective.

Eliminate "Hunters Choice" Provision from Zones 13 & 36 During Six-Day Firearm Season

The "Hunters Choice" provision, formerly applicable to zones 13 and 36, will be deleted from the Six-Day Firearm Season. The provision had permitted antlerless deer as well as antlered deer to be taken during the Six-Day Firearm Season in Zones 13 and 36. The standard bag limit for the season, which is two deer with antler at least three inches long, will now apply to these two zones. Antlerless deer will no longer be part of the bag for the Six-Day Season and the special bonus tag provision, previously applicable to the Six-Day Season in these zones, would not apply. This change is needed to compliment the proposal to extend the Permit Shotgun Season in zones 13 and 36 to include the entire Six-Day Firearm Season. Also, the standard Six-Day Firearm Season bag limit now provided will conform with that of adjacent zones, eliminating the possibility of hunters reporting antlerless deer taken illegally elsewhere during the Six-Day Firearm Season as zone 13 or 36 Six-Day Firearm Season deer. The change will have a minimal impact on the antlerless deer harvest, since the Permit Shotgun Season will run concurrent with the Six-Day Firearm Season in zones 13 and 36.

Increase Permit Muzzleloader Season Length in Zones 21 & 43

At the request of area sportsmen and women, the season duration will be increased from 10 to 16 days in Zones 21 and 43 to standardize the season length. The change will increase recreational opportunity for a reduced number of permit holders.

Change Zone Boundaries

Deer management Zone 44 will be combined with Zone 30 and the revised zone will be designated as Zone 30. Approximately 21.3 square miles of deer range will be added to Zone 30.

Zone 32 will be combined with 45 and the revised zone will be designated as Zone 45. Approximately 23 square miles of deer range will be added to Zone 45.

Zones 44 and 32 will be eliminated. The purpose of these changes is to combine small zones with similar characteristics (land use, land ownership, habitat and deer), provide increased hunting flexibility and enhance management of the deer resource.

Deer management Zone 20 will be eliminated and the deer range will be combined with zones 19, 21, 23 and 24. The square miles of deer range that will be added to applicable zones follows: 42.6 to Zone 19; 26.3 to Zone 21; 26.8 to Zone 23; and 6.7 to Zone 24. Transfer of agricultural land to Zone 19 will provide a more liberal deer seasons format including a longer Permit Shotgun Season and bonus deer tags. The remaining portions of Zone 20, which are generally forested and characteristic of the Pine Barrens, will be added to adjacent zones 21, 23 and 24 that have a more conservative deer management strategy. Hunting opportunity will be expanded in the area added to Zone 19. There will be little impact on hunting opportunity for the balance of the zone which will be added to zones 21, 23 and 24, since these zones have similar seasons formats as existed previously for Zone 20. The change was made at the request of area farmers.

Reduce Permit Shotgun Season Length & Bag Limits in Zones 3, 16, 22 & 54

The season length will be reduced from: 2 days to 1 day in Zone 54; 3 days to 1 day in Zone 3; and 7 days to 3 days in zones 16 and 22. The deer of either sex bag limit will be decreased from: 3 deer to 2 deer in zones 16 and 22; and from 2 deer to 1 deer in zones 3 and 54. The reductions in season length and bag limit are being made due to a shortfall in the number of antlerless deer available and may result in reduced recreational opportunity.

Increase Permit Shotgun Season Length (22 Zones) & Bag Limits (12 Zones)

The season length will be increased from: 3 days to 7 days in zones 2, 30 and 31; 7 days to 16 days in zones 15 and 48; 9 days to 10 days in Zone 66; 16 days to 22 days in zones 25, 35, 47 and 63; 16 days to 27 days in Zone 11; 22 days to 23 days in Zone 5; 22 days to 27 days in zones 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14; 22 days to 31 days in zones 41 and 50; and 25 days to 31 days in zones 13 and 36.

The deer-of-either-sex bag limit will be increased from: 2 deer to 3 deer in zones 2, 30 and 31; 3 deer to 4 deer in zones 15 and 48; and, 4 deer to 5 deer in zones 11, 25, 35, 47 and 63. The daily bag limit will be increased from 1 deer to 2 deer in zones 41 and 50 until the season limit is reached. These increases in season length and bag limits are necessary to meet the antlerless deer harvest objective and population management objectives. The changes will also increase recreational opportunity.

Restrict the Permit Shotgun Season Harvest to Antlerless Deer-Only Prior To and During the Six-Day Firearm Season

Only antlerless deer may be taken on regular and farmer shotgun permits on November 23, 24 and 25 and December 7-12, 1998 in zones 13, 36, 41 and 50; on December 8-12, 1998 in zones 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14; and on December 12, 1998 in Zone 5 (the bag limit was previously restricted to antlerless deer on the November season dates in zones 13 and 36 only). This change will be made to restrict the permit shotgun season harvest to the antlerless segment of the deer population prior to and during the Six-Day Firearm Season, and to provide for the equitable distribution of the antlered buck harvest among firearm deer hunters. Properly licensed hunters may still harvest two antlered bucks on a regular license.

Allow Farmer & Regular Permit Shotgun Holders in Zones 13, 36, 39, 41, 50, 56, 59, 64 and 66 to Use Photocopy of Permit to Tag Second Deer Only

During the Permit Shotgun Season in zones 13, 36, 39, 41, 50, 56, 59, 64 and 66, where the daily bag limit is two deer, farmer and regular permit holders will use a photocopy of their permit "Deer Transportation Tag" to tag their second deer. All other tagging requirements and provisions will apply. Successful hunters will be provided with New Jersey Supplemental Deer Transportation Tags at official deer checking stations until the bag limit is reached or the season concludes. Use of the photocopy of the deer transportation tag will be limited to the second deer only and the permit holder. This change will provide for the proper tagging of deer and will reduce administrative costs associated with preparation and mailing of "Second Deer Tags."

Eliminate Bonus Deer Tags in Zone 16 and Close Zones 18, 21 & 55 During Permit Bow Season

Bonus tags will be eliminated from Zone 16 during the Permit Bow Season. The season will be closed for zones 18, 21 and 55. These changes are being made due to a shortfall in the number of antlerless deer available in the applicable zones. Loss of bonus tags in Zone 16 should not have a significant impact on recreational days afield, since the season remains open. Closing the season in zones 18, 21 and 55 will reduce recreational opportunity.

Add Bonus Deer Tags for Zones 26, 30, 31 & 34 During Permit Bow Season

Bonus deer tags will be added for zones 26, 30, 31 and 34. This change will increase recreational opportunity and achievement of the antlerless harvest objectives for each zone.


The previous proposals and all amendments to the 1998-99 Game Code will be published in the May 18 New Jersey Register, followed by a 30-day public comment period. Consult this publication for specific information on season dates, permit quotas, special area hunting regulations, zone boundary changes and other details.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please be aware that copies of the proposed 1998-99 Game 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-sized, self-addressed, stamped envelope (for 64-cents) to: Game Code, NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, P.O. Box 400, Trenton, NJ 08625-0400. Written comments may be submitted no later than June 17, to Director Bob McDowell at the above address.

1998-1999 PROPOSED HUNTING SEASON DATES

SMALL GAME SEASON DATES

Ruffed Grouse & Gray Squirrel: Oct. 3 - Dec. 5 and Dec. 14 - Feb.15, 1999 (Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions)

Muzzleloader Squirrel: Oct. 3 - Nov. 6 and Jan. 18 - Feb. 15, 1999

Pheasant: Nov. 7 - Dec. 5 and Dec. 14 - Jan. 2, 1999 (Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions)
Dec. 14 - Feb. 15, 1999 (Within designated areas only; Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions)

Cottontail Rabbit, Bobwhite, Quail, Chukar: Nov. 7 - Dec.5 and Dec.14 - Feb. 15, 1999 (Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions)

Woodchuck: March 6 - Sept. 24, 1999

Spring Wild Turkey:

Segment A: Monday, April 26, 1999 - Friday, April 30, 1999
Segment B: Monday, May 3, 1999 - Friday, May 7, 1999
Segment C: Monday May 10, 1999 - Friday, May 14, 1999
Segment D: Monday, May 17, 1999 - Friday, May 21, 1999 and Monday, May 24, 1999 - Friday, May 28, 1999
Segment E: Saturday, May 1; Saturday, May 8; Saturday, May 15; and Saturday, May 22, 1999

Crow: August 3, 1998 - Mar. 13, 1999 (M-TH-FRI-SAT ONLY)(Dec. Shotgun Either-Sex Season exceptions)

Fox: Bow Only Oct. 3 - Nov. 6; Shotgun/Bow Nov. 7 - Feb. 15, 1999

Raccoon/Opossum: Oct. 1, 1998 - Mar. 1, 1999

Coyote: Jan. 30, 1999 - Feb. 15, 1999