About Hunting in New Jersey

Having trouble finding the info you need about the NJ hunting season? We did too.

That’s why we created this helpful guide to help you get the info you need and make it easier for people to hunt in NJ.

New Jersey is a densely populated state but it still has some great outdoor offerings. And don’t let it’s size fool you – NJ has more than 750,000 acres of public hunting land available. The Appalachian mountains run through the northern eastern part of the state and the southern part of the state has lots of farmland both of which offer good deer hunting due to the high deer population. There are some nice size lakes like Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood lake that offer good fishing. NJ also has miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean with great access to deep sea fishing.

I’ll share links to all the important hunting resources in NJ at the bottom of this page.

2021 Active Hunting Seasons in NJ

In 2021 NJ is offering the following seasons:

Big Game

  • Deer
  • Bear

Small Game

  • Coyote
  • Fox
  • Rabbit
  • Hare
  • Jackrabbi
  • Squirrel
  • Raccoon
  • Opossum

Birds

  • Turkey
  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Crow
  • Grouse
  • Ruffed
  • Partridge
  • Woodchuck
  • Woodcock

NJ Hunting Seasons Dates

In general, the first day of bow hunting in NJ starts on September 12 in a few zones and the first day of firearm hunting is November 30.

That said, hunting seasons depend on the following:

  • The sporting arm (ie weapon)
  • Animal
  • Zone (location)

Once you know what you want to hunt, with what and where you can reference the tables below to know when the seasons begin and end and what the bag limits are (what sex and how many you can harvest).

NJ Archery Deer Hunting Seasons 2021 – 2022

SeasonDatesZonesBag LimitNotes
Fall BowSept. 11–Oct. 1, 2021
7, 8, 9*, 10, 11, 12, 13*, 14, 15, 17, 36, 41, 49, 50, 51
Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
Must take 1 antlerless deer first before an antlered buck

5, 19, 25, 42, 48
9 antlerless and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
Must take 1 antlerless deer first before an antlered buck
2, 16, 27*, 28*, 29*, 31*, 35*, 47*5 antlerless and 1 antleredMust take 1 antlerless deer first before an antlered buck
6Unlimited antlerless and 1 antleredMust take 1 antlerless deer first before an antlered buck
Oct. 2–29, 202130*, 55, 63*, 652 antlerless OR 1 antlerless and 1 antlered
1, 3*, 4, 18, 22, 262 deeronly 1 may be antlerless
21, 23, 24, 34*, 43, 45, 461 deer onlymay be either sex
Permit BowOct. 30–Dec. 24, 26–31, 202110, 11, 13*, 14, 15, 36, 49, 50, 51Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
7, 8, 9*, 12, 17, 41Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
5, 19, 25, 42, 489 antlerless and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
2, 16, 27*, 28*, 29*, 31*, 35*, 47*5 antlerless and 1 antlered
6Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered
Oct. 30–Nov. 28, 202130*, 55, 63*, 652 antlerless OR 1 antlerless and 1 antlered
1, 3*, 4, 18, 22, 262 deeronly 1 may be antlerless
Oct. 30–Nov. 20, 2021
21, 23, 24, 34*, 43, 45, 46
1 deer onlycan be either sex
Winter BowJan. 1–Feb. 19, 20227, 8, 9*, 10, 11, 12, 13*, 14, 15, 17, 36, 41, 49, 50, 51Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
Jan. 1–31, 20225, 19, 25, 42, 489 antlerless and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
Jan. 1–31, 20222, 16, 27*, 28*, 29*, 31*, 35*, 47*5 antlerless and 1 antlered
6Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered
30*, 55, 63*, 652 antlerless OR 1 antlerless and 1 antlered
1, 3*, 4, 18, 22, 262 deeronly 1 may be antlerless
21, 23, 24, 34*, 43, 45, 461 deer onlycan be either sex
Jan 1-Feb 20, 20217, 8, 9*, 10, 11, 12, 13*, 14, 15, 17, 36, 41, 49, 50, 51Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered
* Any antlered deer taken in zones marked with an asterisk must have at least 3 antler points on one side of rack.

Fall and Winter, and Permit Bow: Deer MUST be tagged immediately. All harvests must be reported by 7 p.m. on day of harvest. Deer must be reported prior to pursuing additional deer, except in zones where it is legal to take two deer at a time.

Permit Bow: To harvest an antlered deer, a Buck Permit – Bow is also required. Buck Permit is valid in any zone for which hunter has a zone-specific Archery Permit or DRS Multi-Zone Permit. Only 1 buck is permitted.


NJ Firearm Deer Hunting Seasons 2021 – 2022

SeasonsDatesZonesBag LimitsNotes
Six Day Firearm
(See note 1)
Dec. 6–11, 2021All2 antlered deer
Permit Muzzleloader
(See note 2)
Nov. 22–24, 26 and Dec. 6–11, 202110, 11, 13*, 14, 15, 36, 49, 50, 51Antlerless only
Unlimited
Nov. 29–30; Dec. 13, 14, 18–24, 27–31, 2021; Jan. 1–Feb. 12, 2022
10, 11, 13*, 14, 15, 36, 49, 50, 51
Either Sex
Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered
2 deer may be taken at a time
Dec. 6–11, 2021
7, 8, 9*, 12, 17, 41
Antlerless only
Unlimited
2 deer may be taken at a time
Nov. 29–30; Dec. 13, 14, 18-24, 27–31, 2021; Jan. 1–Feb. 12, 20227, 8, 9*, 12, 17, 41Either Sex
Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered
2 deer may be taken at a time
Nov. 29–30; Dec. 13, 14, 18–24, 27–31, 2021; Jan. 1–31, 20225, 19, 25, 42, 489 antlerless deer and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
Nov. 29–30; Dec. 13, 14, 18-24, 27–31, 2021; Jan. 1–7, 20222, 16, 27*, 28*, 29*, 31*, 35*, 47*5 antlerless and 1 antlered
6, 30*, 55, 63*, 652 antlerless OR
1 antlerless and 1 antlered
Nov. 29–30; Dec. 13, 14, 18–24, 27–31, 20211, 3*, 4, 18, 22, 262 deeronly 1 may be antlerless
Nov. 29-30; Dec. 18–24, 27–31, 202121, 23, 24, 34*, 43, 45, 461 deer onlycan be either sex
Permit Shotgun
(See note 3)
Nov. 22–24, 26 and Dec. 6–11, 202110, 11, 13*, 14, 15, 36, 49, 50, 51Antlerless Only
Unlimited
Dec. 15–17, 2021; Jan. 1–Feb. 12, 202210, 11, 13*, 14, 15, 36, 49, 50, 51Either Sex
Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered
2 deer may be taken at a time
Dec. 6–11, 2021
7, 8, 9*, 12, 17, 41
Antlerless Only
Unlimited
2 deer may be taken at a time
Dec. 15–17; Jan. 1–Feb. 12, 2022
7, 8, 9*, 12, 17, 41
Either Sex
Unlimited antlerless and 1 antlered
2 deer may be taken at a time
Dec. 15–17, 2021; Jan. 1–31, 20225, 19, 25, 42, 489 antlerless and 1 antlered2 deer may be taken at a time
Dec. 15–17, 2021; Jan. 8–15, 20222, 16, 27*, 28*, 29*, 31*, 35*, 47*5 antlerless and 1 antlered
Dec. 15–17, 20216, 30*, 55, 63*, 652 deeronly 1 may be antlered
1, 3*, 4, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 34*, 43, 45, 461 deer onlycan be either sex
*Any antlered deer taken in zones marked with an asterisk must have at least 3 antler points on one side of rack.

Note 1: Only 1 buck at a time may be taken. Once harvest of first antlered deer is reported, the hunter may pursue a second antlered deer. If 2 bucks are harvested, the buck bag limit for the Permit Shotgun Season becomes ZERO. Deer MUST be tagged immediately and reported by 7 p.m. on day harvested.

Note 2: To harvest an antlered deer, a Buck Permit – Muzzleloader is also required. Buck Permit is valid in any zone for which hunter has a zone-specific Muzzleloader Permit. Only 1 buck is permitted. Deer MUST be tagged immediately and reported by 7 p.m. on day harvested. Deer harvest must be reported prior to pursuing additional deer, except in zones where it is legal to take two deer at a time.

Note 3: To harvest an antlered deer, a Buck Permit – Shotgun is also required. Buck Permit is valid in any zone for which hunter has a zone-specific Shotgun Permit. Only 1 buck is permitted, see exception below. Note: Shotgun Buck Permit becomes VOID if 2 antlered deer were harvested during Six-day Firearm Season. Deer MUST be tagged immediately and reported by 7 p.m. on day harvested. Any coyote harvested must be reported by 8 p.m. Reporting of gray fox harvests requested. Deer harvest must be reported prior to pursuing additional deer, except in zones where it is legal to take two deer at a time.

Note:

Firearm Deer season in NJ always opens the second Monday after Thanksgiving

2021 Spring Gobbler Hunting Season Dates

Youth Turkey Hunting Day (10–16 years of age) Hunting Period Y Sat., April 24 – If no turkey is harvested on this youth hunt day, Period Y permits may be used in the designated zone for balance of season until a bird is harvested.

Hunting Period A: Mon., April 26–Fri., April 30
Hunting Period B: Mon., May 3–Fri., May 7
Hunting Period C: Mon., May 10–Fri., May 14
Hunting Period D: Mon., May 17–Fri., May 21; Mon., May 24–Fri., May 28
Hunting Period E: All Saturdays, May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22

2021 Bear Hunt Update

The black bear season is closed.

On June 21, 2021, New Jersey’s Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy (CBBMP) expired, and as such, there is no black bear hunt in 2021. In accordance with the Supreme Court ruling on September 27, 2007, no black bear hunt may occur without a properly-promulgated CBBMP proposed by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council and approved by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Understanding New Jersey’s hunting season

Before you can hunt in NJ, you will need to do the following:

  1. Buy a NJ hunting license (resident vs non-resident)
  2. Buy applicable permits (turkey, bear, deer, etc)

What permits do I need to hunt deer in NJ?

SeasonHunting License NeededZone-specific Antlerless Deer Permit Needed?Antlered Buck Permit Needed?Rifle Permit Needed?
Fall/Winter BowArchery or All-Around SportsmanNoNoNo
Permit BowArchery or All-Around SportsmanYes, valid only for antlerless deerYes, required only for harvesting an antlered buckNo
Permit MuzzleloaderFirearm or All-Around SportsmanYes, valid only for antlerless deerYes, required only for harvesting an antlered buckYes
Six Day FirearmArchery, Firearm or All-Around sportsmanNoNoYes if using muzzleloader
Permit ShotgunFirearm or All-Around SportsmanYes, valid only for antlerless deerYes, required only for harvesting an antlered buckNo

NJ Hunting License Costs

Resident/Non-residentSporting ArmCost
ResidentArchery$31.50
ResidentFirearm$27.50
Non-residentArchery$135.50
Non-residentFirearm$135.50

You can also buy the ‘All around sportsmen’ license for $72.50, which includes Resident Firearm Hunting, Bow and Arrow Hunting and Fishing Licenses.


NJ Hunting Permit Costs

PermitCost
Deer Permits for bow, shotgun, muzzleloader or bucks$28
Turkey season permit$21
Rifle Permit$10.50

Where to buy: https://nj.aspirafocus.com/internetsales


NJ Hunting Lottery Application Dates

PermitApplication Date
Fall Turkey10am Sept 14,2020
Spring TurkeyJan 25-Feb 22, 2021

Permit Tip:

Some permits go on sale ‘over the counter’ if they don’t sell out.


Find a hunting guide in NJ

  • Guided Deer Hunts
  • Guided Bear Hunts
  • Guided Pheasant Hunts
  • Guided Turkey Hunts

New Jersey Hunting News

New Jersey just announced there won’t be a bear hunt in 2021.


Tips for Hunting in NJ

  • No hunting on Sunday
  • You can hunt with a crossbow during Archery season
  • Must wear orange
  • Hunting hours vary by season
  • You have to harvest a doe before you get a buck.

FAQs

Do I need a license to hunt in NJ?

Do I need to harvest a doe before I can harvest a buck?

Do I need license to fish in NJ?

How long is a NJ hunting licenses valid for? Licenses are for the calendar year and expire on December 31. Deer permits are valid into the following year if a season extends into it. Waterfowl stamps and Rifle Permits are valid for the July 1 – June 30 period.


Links & Resources

Official Hunting and Trapping Digest 2020: https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/pdf/2020/dighnt20.pdf

Where to buy NJ hunting license: https://nj.aspirafocus.com/internetsales

Review, change or check your lottery application: Go to: www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com

Map to all Deer Hunting Zones:

Map to Bear Hunting Zones

NJ Public Deer Hunting Land: https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2005/dighnt82-87.pdf

NJ Public Turkey Hunting Land: https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/pdf/hunting/turkey_huntland.pdf

Deer Harvest Report by Zone and Season: https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/pdf/2020/19-20_deer_totals.pdf