2012-2013 New Jersey Hunting Season schedules, rules, and resources.
New Jersey hunting regulations can be confusing. Each park or area can have it’s own rules and dates, so you need to check into each park to make sure. Most do allow hunting at least some time during the season – but it may just be for certain dates or areas of the park.
We’ve provided dates and links to resources below to help sort it out… but the easiest, most general answer for the average casual hiker who doesn’t want to sort through the hunting dates: From September to February, hike only on Sundays in areas closed to bow hunting, which tend to be State Parks/Forests and County Parks.
However, there is no need to stop hiking during hunting season, just be aware if there is hunting allowed where you are going. The safest bet is to simply be visible by wearing blaze orange during the entire season.
Tips: Stay on designated hiking traills. Make noise as you hike. Avoid wearing brown/tan or white (deer colors) and have blaze orange visible from all directions.
Date Ranges for the 2012-13 Season
Monday Dec. 3 – Saturday Dec. 8, 2012: Six-day Firearm Deer Season, Bear Hunt
Small game – hunted all throughout the year, for info, check here.
The following dates are taken from the 2012-13 Deer Regulation sets across all zones, just to give a broad generalization of all possible deer days across the state.
Sept. 8 – Oct. 26 – Fall Bow
Oct. 27 -Dec. 24, 12/26-31 – Permit Bow
Nov. 17 (Sat) – Youth Firearm
Nov. 26, 27 (Mon, Tues) – Muzzleloader
Dec. 10, 11, 15–24, 26–31 – Muzzleloader
Dec. 12 – 14 (Wed – Fri), 2012 – Shotgun
Jan. 1 – Feb 9, 2013 – Muzzleloader
Jan. 5 – Feb. 9, 2013 – Shotgun
Jan. 1 – Feb. 16, 2013 – Winter Bow
Apr. 20 – May 24, 2013 – Turkey
NJ Hunting Calendar For Hikers 2012-13 – A calendar we created with the above dates to download/print.
Great Swamp NWR – closed to the public November 9 and 10, 2012 for the annual deer hunt
Washington Valley Park – closed to the public on these Wednesdays in 2013: January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 February 6
Union County Deer Management Program – on Mondays from Jan. 7 to Feb. 4. in Lenape Park, the Watchung Reservation and Passaic River Park
Again for 2012: Bow Hunting at Cheesequake State Park. This used to be a no-hunting anytime park until last year. Started Sept. 8, 2012. There is a safety zone of 120′ on either side of public trails. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Check their Parks & Forestry page to find out if the hunt is finished; in 2011 it was over in December after meeting their quota.
There is no hunting on SUNDAY in New Jersey EXCEPT for certain Wildlife Management Areas and private lands. This was a NEW change in 2009. In the past, the best option was to limit your hiking to Sundays but now if where you hike is a WMA you need to check the NJ Fish and Wildlife list to make sure your park is ok: Lands Open or Closed to Sunday Bow Hunting.
Wear bright colors or blaze/hunter orange when hiking during hunting season. A hat, vest, jacket, bright backpack etc… and if you hike with a canine companion, you can get a blaze orange dog vest for them. See the side and at the bottom of this page for blaze orange gear.
Some non-hunting park options:
(Rules can change at anytime, contact the specific park if you have questions.)
- Wells Mills County Park – Ocean County
Trails closed 12/3-12/10 as a safety precaution during Firearm Season
- Pyramid Mountain (some park closures for shotgun hunting here.)
- Hacklebarney State Park – day use area (large portion of this park is hunting only)
- Watchung Reservation (Union County) [Exceptions above]
- South Mountain Reservation
- Apshawa Preserve
- Ramapo Valley County Reservation – note that the surrounding areas of Ramapo Mountain State Forest and Ringwood State Forest allow hunting
- Harriman State Park – just over the northern NJ border, no-hunting in most of the park. **changed in 2009: hunting now allowed west of Rt. 17**
- Contact us for ones to add to this list.
|Hunting Season Resources for New Jersey Hikers|
|NJ Deer Hunting Regulation Set – List of hunting dates. Zones shown here.|
|NJ Black Bear Hunt Information – December 3-8, 2012|
|Hunting and Trapping Digest – From NJ Fish & Wildlife, has regulations, zones, season dates etc… a lot of into to weed through|
|Hunting Seasons in NY/NJ 2012 – Info from the NY-NJ Trail Conference.|
|Public Deer Hunting Land in New Jersey – List of hunting land from NJ Fish & Wildlife|
|State Parks open to hunting for 2012-2013 – lists parks open to hunting from NJ Parks & Forests. Assuming if the State Park is not on here, there is no hunting at it.|
|Lands Open or Closed to Sunday Bow Hunting – WMAs and public lands that are still CLOSED to hunting on Sunday|
|Hunterdon County Hunting – List of hunting dates, parks|
|Monmouth County Parks – areas open for hunting and zone maps (scroll down page)|
|Morris County Parks – list of hunting sites and dates; and they have a page of Info for non-hunters. Note that some parks are closed to hiking during shotgun hunting on certain weekdays.|
|Hunting Seasons on the Appalachian Trail 2012-13- List by state for the AT|
|NY Hunting Season Summary – Zone maps with 2012-13 date ranges for NY.|
|Safety on the trail during hunting season – article with good some tips|
We’ve made it easy on you and collected a selection of clothing/gear to help keep you (and your dog!) visible while hiking during hunting season.