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Deer, Bear, Small Game Hunting In December


November 28, 2018

The week of December 3-8 may be the busiest week of the year for hunters in New Jersey:

  • Six-day Firearm Deer and Black Bear hunting seasons (Segment B) open Monday 1/2 hour before sunrise
  • Permit Bow season continues in zones governed by Deer Regulation Sets #4-8
  • Permit Shotgun and Permit Muzzleloader seasons are open for antlerless deer only in zones governed by Regulation Sets #7-8
Consult the 2018-19 Hunting Digest for specific information on all seasons. Deer Regulation Sets are found on pages 38-43; the table on page 34 clarifies which firearms, bows and ammunition are legal for each deer season. Bear season information begins on page 50.

The pheasant/quail season closes on December 1 and reopens December 10; stocking resumes with birds available beginning December 15 on 24 Wildlife Management Areas. See the Small Game Information page for the stocking schedule and additional small game season information.

See the Black Bear Hunting Season page for season information. Hunters should note that if a 30 percent harvest rate of bears tagged in 2018 is reached the season will close 24 hours from the daily legal closing time of that day; announcement of a closure will be made on the Division's website, in the media and via the Hunting E-mail List.

All hunters are reminded to observe the 450-foot "Safety Zone" around buildings and playgrounds when firearm hunting; bow hunters have a 150-foot safety zone.
Safety Zone Information (pdf, 60kb)

Hunters should also remember that all DEP owned, managed or otherwise controlled lands remain closed to bear hunting during the December season segment. The closure includes, but is not limited to, state forests, parks, recreation areas and natural areas, and wildlife management areas. You may hunt bears on any private, municipal, county, or federal land open to bear hunting and for which you have permission.

Visit the Deer In New Jersey page for hunting season information, including use of the automated reporting system (AHRS). Hunters are encouraged to use the Deer Hunting Location Viewer to determine zone, unit and other information.

Pheasant and quail hunters should take advantage of stocking schedules and maps available online:

Hunters utilizing the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area should note that some fields are closed due to crop harvest schedules - see the stocking maps linked above for information.
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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: November 28, 2018