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About hunting in New Jersey
Stretched along the Atlantic Coast, and directly bordering New York City, New Jersey offers ample hunting opportunities to both the state residents and the inhabitants of the Big Apple. This includes ample public land hunting opportunities, including national wildlife refuges, parks, and forests, such as the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area, created on the land that the Federal Government purchased to build a dam, but then abandoned the project. Being one of the original English colonies, it’s not surprising that hunting in New Jersey borrows a lot from the Great Britain heritage. This refers not only to “hunting” in the original English sense, meaning riding after hounds that follow a fox (or coyote) track, but also to released pheasant shooting. As the numbers of native wild quail, pheasant, and currently ruffed grouse have dropped beyond the levels where a hunting season would be sustainable, released birds and managed preserves are an option for upland bird hunting enthusiasts. But the biggest attraction of New Jersey for bird hunters is waterfowl. The coastline is broken into numerous bays and bayous, which attract numerous ducks and geese. Big game hunting opportunities are not as abundant. Black bear hunting has been made impossible in New Jersey starting in 2021, but due to overpopulation of bruins and increasing numbers of human-bear conflicts this is not likely to continue for long. The state, however, has a strong herd of white-tailed deer, with deer tags available to both residents and non-residents. Beginning hunters, both resident and non-resident, may take advantage of the so-called “Apprentice License”, which allows you to hunt without first completing the hunting safety course, if accompanied by a mentor. This is convenient for a guided hunt, especially if the hunter is in the early stages in their career. Those traveling to New Jersey to hunt should be aware of the state’s strict gun laws, according to which hunters need to apply for a special permit to use any kind of weapons, including not only shotguns, but also muzzleloading rifles and even bows and arrows for deer hunting.
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