Saturday, Sept. 27, is Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day in New Jersey. The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife will allow hunters with a valid youth license and accompanied by a non-shooting adult (age 21 or older) to hunt waterfowl statewide from half an hour before sunrise to sunset.
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day is designed to increase a young hunter's opportunity to harvest waterfowl with the help of an experienced mentor in a setting that encourages responsible, ethical and safe hunting practices. It is not created to introduce youngsters to the sport of hunting, but rather specifically intended for existing youth hunters between the ages of 10 and 15 who have successfully completed a hunter education course and obtained a youth hunting license to become acquainted with the sport of waterfowl hunting in a non-crowded, non-competitive atmosphere.
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day occurs at a time of year when many resident species are plentiful such as Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks and black ducks. Early migratory species like blue-winged and green-winged teal are also abundant. All of these species can be found in freshwater and saltwater marshes throughout the state.
No federal or state duck stamps are required for youths. In addition, a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number is not necessary, however, youths are encouraged to participate in the HIP program.
Non-toxic shot is required. Shot types include steel, bismuth, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix, tungsten-nickel-iron (HEVI-SHOT) and tungsten-iron-nickel-tin (TINT). Shot size may not exceed Size T (0.200 inch).
The bag limit is the same as the regular duck and early Canada goose seasons. For Canada geese it is 8 birds. For ducks and brant it is 6 and 3, respectively. Note that the bag limit for ducks may not include more than 4 mallards (including no more than 2 hens); 4 scoters; 3 scaup; 2 wood ducks; 2 redheads; 1 pintail; 1 canvasback; and 1 black duck. Snow goose season is closed.
Hunters should review current information in the New Jersey 2003-04 Migratory Bird Regulations pamphlet before going afield.