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The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact


New Jersey Joins Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact Effective December 1 (DEP News Release, 11/27/17)

Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact Logo

On December 1, 2017, New Jersey joined the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (Compact) as a Participating State pursuant to N.J.S.A. 23:13-1.

The Compact is an agreement among nearly every state to:

(a) share wildlife violation information;
(b) ensure Compact state residents respond to and address wildlife violations received in other Compact states; and
(c) recognize and enforce the suspension or revocation of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses, permits, and privileges issued by one Compact state in all other Compact states. This means that any person whose license privileges or rights are suspended or revoked resulting from violations concerning the pursuit, possession or taking of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, shellfish and crustaceans in a Compact state may also be suspended in all other Compact states, if the conviction is a basis for suspension in that state.

The Compact is intended to prevent violators who:

(i) fail to appear in court or otherwise answer out-of-state tickets or summons; and/or
(ii) have had their license, permit, and privileges suspended or revoked in any Compact state
from hunting, fishing, or trapping in all other Compact states.

This cooperative interstate effort will enhance the Division of Fish and Wildlife's ability to protect and manage our wildlife resources.

For the purposes of the Compact, "license" means any license, permit, or other public document which conveys to the person to whom it was issued the privilege of pursuing, possessing, or taking any wildlife regulated by statute, law, regulation, ordinance, or administrative rule of a participating state. In New Jersey this definition includes but is not limited to: all-around sportsman, firearm hunting, trapping, bow and arrow, freshwater fishing, recreational crab pot, non-commercial crab dredge and shellfish licenses; various hunting and trapping permits; pheasant & quail and NJ waterfowl stamps; striped bass bonus tags; and saltwater registry certificates.

In addition, a New Jersey resident's failure to appear in court or to otherwise answer a ticket or summons issued for wildlife violations in another Compact state may also result in the imposition of penalties and fees in New Jersey, including potential suspension of all license, permit, and privileges to take wildlife in New Jersey until such time as the out-of-state violation is resolved.

If a person plans to hunt, fish, or trap in another state, and has a license or privilege suspension in New Jersey, it is their responsibility to contact the other state to verify they can legally hunt, fish, or trap there. If a person from another state has had their privileges revoked in that state, it is their responsibility to contact the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to see if they can legally hunt, fish or trap in New Jersey.

Compact Criteria:

Anyone who hunts, traps, or fishes in New Jersey will be subject to suspension or revocation of their privileges to take wildlife for convictions of one or a combination of the violations listed below, regardless of whether the violation occurred in New Jersey or another Compact state. New Jersey will also report convictions of the following violations, which occur in New Jersey, to all other Compact states.

  • Causing injury to property while taking wildlife (N.J.S.A. 23:7-3)
  • Negligent use of a weapon while taking wildlife, causing injury or death to another person (N.J.S.A. 23:9A-1)
  • Careless discharge of a weapon while taking wildlife (N.J.S.A. 23:9A-2)
  • Any two or more wildlife related convictions within five years (N.J.S.A. 23:3-22)
  • Any two or more convictions under N.J.S.A. 23:7-9 (Wildlife Management Area regulations) within 10 years, where those violations concern the preservation, protection, management, or restoration of wildlife:
    • N.J.S.A. 23:7-9.a(1) Remove or disturb any vegetation, soil, water, minerals, or other property of the State from a WMA
    • N.J.S.A. 23:7-9.a(2) Litter, dump, or discard refuse on WMA
    • N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.1 Cutting or damaging vegetation on WMA
    • N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.2(b) Operate vehicle over prohibited area on WMA
    • N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.8(a)1 Ride horse over prohibited area in WMA
    • N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.11 Build or maintain a fire on WMA
    • N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.19 Enter or remain on Higbee Beach WMA during restricted Area or Time
    • N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.20(b) Exercise dog on WMA during closed dates
  • Within 10 years, two convictions of N.J.S.A. 23:4-16.d; For the purpose of taking wildlife, possession of a loaded firearm or nocked arrow within the distance specified by statute of an occupied building.
  • Within 10 years, two convictions of N.J.S.A. 23:7-1, Trespassing for the purpose of taking wildlife.
  • Court Ordered Shellfish License suspensions as authorized by N.J.S.A. 23:2B-14.b.(2)
  • Any other license suspension ordered by a Court in connection with a conviction of a wildlife violation.

History of the Compact
The concept of a wildlife violator compact was first advanced in the early 1980s by member states in the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Law enforcement administrators and wildlife commissioners from several states began discussing the idea of a compact based on the format of the existing Drivers License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact, both of these related to motor vehicle operator licensing and enforcement.

In 1985 draft compacts were developed independently in Colorado and Nevada. Subsequently, these drafts were merged and the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact was created. During the 1989 Legislative session compact legislation was passed into law in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon. These three states formed the nucleus of the Compact.

New Jersey was the 47th state to join the Compact. With Delaware joining in 2019, only Massachusetts and Hawaii have yet to join but are now in the process of doing so.

P.L. 2016, Chapter 101 (pdf, NJ Legislature website) The Act concerning the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact and supplementing Title 23 of the Revised Statutes,
Wildlife Violator Compact Operations Manual (pdf, 200kb)

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: May 28, 2019