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Deer, Bear, Small Game Hunting In December


November 29, 2017

The week of December 4-9 may be the busiest week of the year for hunters in New Jersey: the concurrent Six-day Firearm Deer and Black Bear hunting seasons (Segment B) open Monday 1/2 hour before sunrise; the Permit Bow season continues in zones governed by Deer Regulation Sets #4-8, and the Permit Shotgun and Permit Muzzleloader seasons are open for antlerless deer only in zones governed by Regulation Sets #7-8. Some migratory bird seasons continue.

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife recommends hunters consult the 2017-18 Hunting Digest ( for specific information on all seasons. Deer Regulation Sets are found on pages 38-40; the table on page 34 clarifies which firearms, bows and ammunition are legal for each deer season. Bear season information begins on page 51.

The pheasant/quail season closes on December 2 and reopens December 11; stocking resumes with birds available beginning December 16 on 23 Wildlife Management Areas. See the Small Game Information page for the stocking schedule.

Seasons for raccoon, opossum and skunk are closed December 4-9 and 13. Also, all upland small game hunting (including coyote/fox) is closed during December 4-9, but deer hunters may harvest coyote or fox if encountered before taking a deer.

All hunters are reminded to observe the 450-foot "Safety Zone" around buildings and playgrounds when firearm hunting; bow hunters have a 150-foot zone.

For Black Bear Hunting Season information visit Hunters should note that if a 30 percent harvest rate of bears tagged in 2017 is reached the season will close 24 hours from the daily legal closing time of that day; announcement of a closure will be made on the Division's website, in the media and via the Hunting E-mail List.

For Deer Hunting Season information, including use of the automated reporting system (AHRS), visit

For pheasant and quail hunting information, including stocking schedules and maps of stocked areas, visit Pheasant hunters should note that the Pheasant Allocation Formula is now in full effect. Hunters should take advantage of the Pheasant Stocking Maps to focus their hunting effort.

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

Last Updated: November 29, 2017