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NJ deer season opens with fall bow Oct. 2-29

From the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

-- New Jersey's regular fall bow deer hunting season kicks off statewide Oct. 2 and extends through Oct. 29. Bow hunters will benefit from another important regulation change, which comes on the heels of two changes implemented last season that significantly expanded bow hunting opportunities.

Last season, bow hunting regulations were changed to allow the use of crossbows and to permit Sunday bow deer hunting on Wildlife Management Areas and private property.

This season, the bow hunting safety zone distance was reduced from 450 feet to 150 feet through the Bowhunting Safety Zone Perimeter Bill. The safety zone distance reduction does not apply to school playgrounds, which still require a 450 feet safety zone. Any portion of the school grounds including fields used for sports that could be used for play or recreation is considered to be part of a playground.

The owner or lessee of a building and persons specifically authorized by the owner or lessee in writing (written permission must be in possession while hunting) may hunt closer than 150 feet from their building. Hunters authorized to hunt within 150 feet of a building must hunt from an elevated position to shoot down toward the ground. Shooting into a safety zone is prohibited.

Fall bow season hunters who did not take an antlered deer during the early fall bow season have their choice of taking either an antlered or antlerless deer first, unlike the early season where hunters are required to first take an antlerless deer.

The fall bow deer hunting season is immediately followed by the permit bow season, which opens Oct. 30 and runs through Nov.  27 in some deer DMZs but extends through Dec. 31 in most DMZs. Antlerless and antlered buck permits for the permit bow season can be purchased online or at license agent locations beginning Oct. 5.

More than 750,000 acres of public lands are open to the New Jersey deer hunter looking for a place to hunt. A current listing can be found at . Online maps of Wildlife Management Areas are also available and can be viewed at

Complete information and regulations for deer hunting in New Jersey can be found on the Fish and Wildlife website at and in the 2010 Hunting and Trapping Issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest available at license agent locations or online at

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