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Hiking in NJ During Hunting Season

2013-2014 New Jersey Hunting Season schedules, rules, and resources.

NJ Hunting SeasonNew 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 hike in hunting areas and doesn’t want to sort through the 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 trails. 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 2013-14 Season

Six-day Firearm Deer Season, Bear Hunt - Monday Dec. 9 – Saturday Dec. 14, 2013

Small Game – Hunted all throughout the year, for info, check here.

Deer Season
2013 New Jersey Fall Bow Deer Season opened on Saturday, September 14, 2013 in certain zones. Gun season starts in late November.NJ Hunting Calendar for Hikers

Most hikers go all over the state and aren’t thinking about hunting zones so we’ve sorted through the 2013-14 Deer Regulation sets and created a summary of all possible deer days across the state.

And if you hike mostly in one particular area, look up the dates for that zone as there will be less hunting days than the summary here.

2013-2014
Sept. 14 – Oct. 25 – Fall Bow
Oct. 26 – Dec. 24; Dec. 26-31 – Permit Bow
Nov. 23 (Sat) – Youth Firearm
Nov. 25-27, 29; Dec.2-3, 9-24,26-31; Jan. 1 – Feb. 8, 2014  – Muzzleloader
Nov. 25-27, 29, Dec.4-14, 12-20; Jan. 4 – Feb. 8, 2014 – Shotgun
Dec. 9 – 14 – Six Day Firearm/Bear
Jan. 1, 2014 – Feb. 15, 2014 – Winter Bow

We’ve put the dates above into a calendar to make it easier: NJ Hunting Calendar for Hikers.


Sunday Hunting

There is no hunting on SUNDAY in New Jersey EXCEPT for certain Wildlife Management Areas and private lands. Prior to 2009, 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.

Be Visible

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.)

Some parks that are no-hunting most of the time but do close some days for hunts:

  • Baldpate Mountain – List of 2013/2014 closed dates. (Basically, hike on Sundays as the park is closed to non-hunters Wed thru Sat in Dec, Jan, and first week of Feb. But open on Dec 25th and Jan 1)
  • Wells Mills County Park – Ocean County. Trails closed as a safety precaution during Firearm Season.
  • Great Swamp NWR – closed to the public certain dates in November [in 2013: Sat Nov. 2 and Wed Nov. 6 through 9]
  • Washington Valley Park – may be closed to the public certain dates in January [in 2014: January 8, 15, 22, 29, 2014 & February 5]
  • Union County Deer Management Program – Lenape Park, the Watchung Reservation, Passaic River Park may be closed to the public certain dates in Jan/Feb [2014: Mondays from Jan. 4 to Feb. 8.; bad weather reschedules to Wed or Fri]
  • Pyramid MountainSchedule. Park & Trails Closed 2013/2014:
    12/6, 12/12, 12/13, 12/20, 1/7, 1/10, 1/14, 1/17, 1/21, 1/24, 1/31, 2/4
  • Schooley’s Mountain Country ParkSchedule. Park & Trails Closed 2013/2014:
    12/4, 12/11, 12/13, 12/18, 12/20, 1/8, 1/15, 1/17, 1/22,, 1/29, 1/31, 2/5

Parks that have hunting dates BUT ALSO close entirely for some hunt days:

  • Black River Parks (Kay Center, Willowwood, Bamboo Brook, Knight/Allen, Chester Twp.) – Park & Trails Closed 2013/14: 12/5, 12/10, 12/12, 12/19, 1/9, 1/16, 1/23, 1/30, 2/4, 2/6
  • Lewis Morris Country Park – Park & Trails Closed 2013/14:
    12/4, 12/5, 12/11, 12/12, 12/18, 1/8, 1/13, 1/15, 1/22, 1/27, 1/29, 2/5

Park that used to be no-hunting anytime but is no longer:

Hunting Season Resources for New Jersey Hikers
NJ Deer Hunting Regulation Set – List of hunting dates. Zones shown here.
NJ Black Bear Hunt Information – Monday Dec. 9 – Saturday Dec. 14, 2013
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 – 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 2013-2014 – lists parks open to hunting from NJ Parks & Forests. Assume if the State Park is not on here, there is no hunting at it.
Lands Open or Closed to Sunday Bow Hunting – List of WMAs and public lands that are still CLOSED to hunting on Sunday
Hunterdon County Hunting – List of hunting dates, parks. No Sunday bow hunting on Park Property.
Mercer County Hunting – Info, hunting area maps, closure dates.
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 2013-2014- List by state for the AT
NY Hunting Season Summary – Zone maps with 2013-14 date ranges for NY.
Safety on the trail during hunting season – article with good some tips

Blaze Orange Hiking Gear

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.

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