Hunting in New Jersey

Hunting in New Jersey, while not everyone’s favorite, may strike you right through the heart. This small state on the East Coast is teeming with opportunities that attract outdoor enthusiasts.

Like Delaware, this compact state is a treasure trove of hunting opportunities, and with less population density, it’s all about more game for your gain.

Whether it’s elusive whitetail deer, cunning wild turkey, or an array of waterfowl, hunting in New Jersey is like embarking on a thrilling wildlife safari.

Curious about what’s more when hunting in New Jersey? Well, let’s explore the possibilities in New Jersey hunting.

New Jersey Hunting Seasons

New Jersey, the Garden State, is a hunter’s paradise with surprisingly lenient and extended hunting seasons.

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife masterfully manages these seasons to ensure a bountiful hunting experience for hunters and boost conservation funding.

Here’s the rundown of the hunting seasons in the state:

Deer HuntingArchery: Mid-September to late November
Archery-Extended: Early January to mid-February
Muzzleloader: Late November to late December
Firearms: Late November to mid-February
Wild Turkey HuntingFall Season: Late October to early November
Spring Season: Late April to late May
Waterfowl HuntingDuck: Mid-October to mid-February
Goose: Mid to late November; Mid-December to late January
Small Game HuntingPheasant & Partridge: Mid-November to late February
Rabbit & Squirrel: Late September to late February
Predator HuntingCoyote: Early October to late March
Please remember that specific dates may change annually and vary by zone. Always check the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s website before heading afield.

New Jersey has some exciting hunts that local sportspeople can’t resist. Here’s the scoop on why some hunts are like a bag of chips – you just can’t stop at one.

Whitetail Deer Hunting

This is like the Super Bowl of hunting in New Jersey! Deer hunting, particularly bow hunting, is wildly popular.

Why? Aside from the fact that this species is hella pretty and elusive, it’s mainly because whitetail deer are both plentiful and challenging. Meaning the state has enough deer for everyone.

Now, let’s talk about regulations. They may sound as dreading as doing your taxes, but in fact, they’re designed to keep the deer population healthy, and the hunting fair-play.

In New Jersey, deer hunters must always carry a valid license and a deer permit when in the field. Meanwhile, hunting hours are half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.

Wild Turkey Hunting

Like in every US state, turkey hunting is yet another star of the show. These elusive birds are everywhere in the state, opening tons of possibilities for turkey hunters.

But you must know they’re clever, cautious, and have incredible eyesight. If you’re not prepared with the proper and mastered skill and wit to hunt these feathered strategists, these delicious meats might slip out of your finger.

Now let’s talk shop – the regulations. In the Garden State, you will need a hunting license and a turkey permit. Check the dates for permit applications – you don’t want to miss the opening act.

Bag limits vary, but typically it’s one bearded turkey in the spring and either-sex turkeys in the fall. As always, for the finer details, do check the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife website to keep everything above board.

Waterfowl Hunting

Waterfowl hunting in New Jersey is an incredible mix of tranquility, anticipation, and heart-pounding action. You’ve got the beauty of the marsh, the challenge of the hunt, and the satisfaction of a successful retrieve.

New Jersey’s coastal location and numerous inland waterways make it a hotspot for waterfowl. Ducks, geese, and other water birds stop here during their migrations, so there’s always a fresh cast for our natural performance.

To hunt waterfowl in New Jersey, you’ll need a valid hunting license and federal duck stamps. You should also be certified by HIP (Harvest Information Program) – don’t worry, this one’s free!

Top New Jersey Hunting Locations

New Jersey is more than just a turnpike and the shore – it’s a hunting haven that will get your heart pumping and your spirits soaring.

Let’s embark on a journey through the top hunting locations in Garden State.

Wharton State Forest

Wharton State Forest is the largest single tract of land within the New Jersey State Park System, and boy, does it deliver on the hunting front! It’s a hotspot for deer, turkey, and small game hunting.

Its vast and varied landscape also provides a unique backdrop for your hunting exploits. But remember, it’s a popular spot, so the early hunter gets the deer (or turkey or squirrel)!

As for regulations, you’ll need a New Jersey hunting license, and using motor vehicles off established roads is not permitted, so it’ll be just you, the whispering pines, and your quarry.

Pequest Wildlife Management Area

Nestled in the rural hills of Warren County, Pequest Wildlife Management Area is a real feast for the senses – and the hunting opportunities are pretty fabulous too!

It’s the pheasant stocking program that really puts Pequest on the map. Think of it like a farm-to-table experience – but for hunting. On site, the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center raises and releases these beautiful birds, providing a reliable and exciting hunting opportunity.

And while you’re there, why not make a day of it? Besides hunting, Pequest offers excellent fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Natural Resource Education Center offers some cool exhibits and programs that will enrich your understanding of the local wildlife and ecosystems.

Black River Wildlife Management Area

Black River is like a “choose your own adventure” book regarding hunting. It features a mix of swamps, fields, and forests, offering an excellent backdrop for hunting deer, turkey, and small game. The diversity of the landscape means that no two hunts are quite the same.

Whitetail deer are the lead actors here, with a robust population that keeps hunters returning season after season. But turkey hunting is also top-notch, with the wary birds offering a fun and challenging hunt.

Aside from hunting, the area also offers other activities, such as hiking and bird watching, perfect for those days you want to enjoy nature’s beauty without hunting gear.

New Jersey Hunting Regulations

It may now sound about as exciting as watching paint dry, but these rules are key to keeping our hunting adventures safe, legal, and sustainable.

Hunting License and Permits

New Jersey offers different licenses based on age, residency, and even if you’re a farmer. They’ve also got special licenses for disabled hunters.

And remember, certain species like deer and turkey require additional permits or stamps.

License Types

All-Around Sportsman$72.25N/AN/A
Firearm HuntingRegular: $27.50
Senior: $15.50
Regular: $135.50$12.50
Bow & Arrow HuntingRegular: $31.50
Senior: $12.50
Regular: $135.50$12.50

Permit Types

Bow Permit$28.00
Shotgun Permit$28.00
Muzzleloader Permit$28.00
Rifle Permit$10.50
Turkey Permit$21.00
Pheasant and Quail Stamp$40.00
Waterfowl Stamp$5.00
Federal Duck Stamp$25.00

Hunter Education

In New Jersey, the hunter education program is like the basic training camp for hunters. It equips you with the knowledge and skills to hunt safely and responsibly, whether you’re a rookie or a veteran looking for a refresher.

As per the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife rules, anyone who has never had a hunting license must complete a Hunter Education Program to qualify for a hunting license.

The program comprises three parts: an online study material or workbook, a field session, and a written exam. It’s kind of like preparing for a big game. You’ve got to study the online material or workbook, the field sessions, and then pass the written exam.

Once you complete these steps and receive your certificate, you can purchase a hunting license.

Remember, even if you’ve had a hunting license in another state but never had a New Jersey hunting license, you’ll still need to complete the Hunter Education Program.

Hunter Orange Requirement

The hunter-orange requirement is all about visibility and safety. Think of it as a vibrant shield, helping every hunter enjoy their adventure and return home safely.

Hunters and anyone accompanying them must wear a solid daylight fluorescent orange cap. An outer garment that contains at least 200 square inches of fluorescent orange material is also an option.

It must be visible from all sides when hunting during the firearm and permit seasons for deer, bear, small game, and predators.


Hunting in New Jersey might not be every hunter’s cup of tea, but it has its own quirks and rich hunting opportunities for hunters. With its diverse game and long seasons, the Garden State is like a never-ending hunting party waiting just for you.

Remember, always keep in mind the most environmentally sustainable animals to hunt when hunting in small states like New Jersey.