March 16, 2015
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is advising the public that amendments for the 2015-2016 Game Code, approved for proposal by the Fish and Game Council at their July 8, 2014 meeting, have been posted on the NJDEP website. The Game Code includes regulations governing hunting and trapping in the state; amendments may include adjustments to season dates, bag/creel limits, or the means by which game and furbearers may be taken and possessed.
The Notice of Rule Proposal was published in the March 16, 2015, NJ Register, which commenced a 60-day comment period. Written comments can be submitted via US mail or online, and oral comments may be made at the March 31, 2015 public meeting to be held at the NJ State Museum in Trenton at 6:30 p.m. Please see www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices/20150316a.html for more information and instructions for submitting comments. Comments must be submitted by May 15, 2015.
NOTE: The 2015-2016 Game Code proposed amendments DO NOT include proposed amendments to bear hunting regulations or to the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy. A comment period for the proposed changes to the bear policy will open during in summer 2015. DO NOT COMMENT ON CHANGES TO THE BEAR POLICY VIA THE GAME CODE AMENDMENT PROCESS.
The proposed amendments to the 2015-2016 Game Code include the following:
- The requirement for trappers is proposed to be amended to report an incidentally-caught bobcat.
- Wild turkey checking requirements are amended to change the reporting of a harvested turkey from live-check stations to the Automated Harvest Report System.
- Turkey Hunting Areas formerly closed to fall hunting are proposed to be opened.
- Trapping opportunities for mink, muskrat and nutria, beaver and river otter are proposed to be increased by allowing trapping on all WMAs prior to January 1.
- Amendments are proposed to allow for the reporting of coyote harvests via the Automated Harvest Report System.
- The trapping section is proposed for amendment to allow for the use of enclosed foothold traps.
- Portions of the general trapping section are proposed to be amended by requiring all live capture cable restraints to include a relaxing-type lock.
- Sections are proposed to be amended to allow the use of air guns for the dispatch of legally trapped furbearing animals.
- The prohibition of leaving any staked, anchored or floating waterfowl hunting blinds in the field overnight or for extended periods of time is being proposed.
- The Council proposes to amend the language allow for the harvest of foxes with center-fire or rim-fire rifles during the special permit season.
- Twenty-gauge shotguns are proposed to be allowed for coyote and fox hunting during the special coyote and fox season.
- A wanton waste regulation for game mammals and birds is being proposed.
- Bear hunters are proposed to be added to the regulation requiring the use hunter orange when hunting in ground blinds during the firearm deer seasons.
- Hunter tagging of all harvested deer is being proposed.
- Allowing bowhunters to kill two deer before meeting the reporting mandate in certain DMZs is being proposed.
- The movement of four DMZs into more liberal regulation sets is being proposed.
- An increase in the permit bow season for Regulation Set 4 by 31 days is being proposed.
- Portions of the Rockport Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are proposed to be added to the list of WMAs where a Pheasant and Quail Stamp is required.
- The proposal includes language that will mandate the wearing of a hunter orange hat by all those engaged in firearm hunting for small game on WMAs stocked with pheasants or quail.
A copy of the proposal can be found at www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/20150316a.pdf (PDF format) on the DEP website.
For information regarding the revision of hunting and fishing regulations in the state visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/codechange.htm.