At the request of the United Bow Hunters of New Jersey, a “bank a doe”
provision is added to the permit bow deer season that will allow bow hunters to satisfy
the requirement for taking an antlerless deer prior to taking an antlered deer in deer
management zones 7-15, 36, 40, 41, 49, 50 and 51 during the fall bow deer season.
Participating hunters would be required to register their antlerless deer at Division
designated check stations during the fall bow season. Hunters meeting the antlerless deer
registration requirement would then be allowed to take an antlered deer first during the
permit bow season. The change could increase the harvest of antlerless deer and enhance
efforts to reduce the deer population in zones where the management goal is deer
population reduction. The change could also result in an increase in the number of
antlered deer taken during the permit bow season, because hunters would no longer have
to wait to take a buck until after taking an antlerless deer. See N.J.A.C. 7:25-5.30.
The proposal to schedule a black bear season, contingent upon approval of a
comprehensive black bear management policy by the Commissioner is likely to cause
significant public controversy among people who support and oppose the proposal based
on experience with the 2003 black bear hunting season and the 2004 season which was
approved but later cancelled by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Interested parties and
organizations can be expected to express their positions during the public comment
period and to elected and government officials. Farmers and homeowners who live in the
black bear hunting area that have experienced damage to property or loss of pets or
livestock caused by bears and those that feel threatened by the current population level of
bears may be relieved that the bear population may be reduced or controlled. The actual
impact of a black bear hunting season on the public will be minimal because the season
will again be held concurrent with the six-day firearm season and the season will be
highly regulated and controlled through the issuance of special hunting permits. The
2003 black bear season proved to be safe and effective, and did not result in a significant
influx of hunters into the bear hunting area.
Six black bear hunting zones are proposed. Four of the six black
bear hunting zones would be open for the season and would have a total quota of 10,000
permits. The season bag limit will remain at one bear and hunting provisions would be
unchanged. Permit application and permit requirements are updated and are similar to
requirements for turkey and deer. The ending date for receiving permit applications is
changed to October 30 and permit applicants who previously completed a black bear
hunting seminar may be excused from attending additional seminars.
The deer management zone boundaries for zones 1, 3, 5, 6 and 36 are modified.
The Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area and nearby lands are removed from Zone 5
and added to Zone 1 at the request of area sportsmen who contend that the deer
population in the Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area has been drastically reduced to
below the level of most of Zone 5. A review of the deer harvest data indicated that deer in
the Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area were being harvested at a much higher rate than other areas of Zone 5. The Council, therefore proposes to redefine the boundaries of
Zones 1 and 5 so that the Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area is placed into a more
conservative season and bag limit format. Hunting season lengths, bag limits and hunting
opportunity will be reduced. The developing, eastern portion of Zone 6 and southeastern
portion of Zone 3 are added to Zone 36 at the request of municipal officials who want the
deer population in this area reduced. The area was previously in a conservative season
and bag limit format, and several community based deer management programs have
been implemented or are being considered in the area. The Zone 36 season and bag limit
format provides for the longest deer seasons and highest bag limits. Hunting opportunity
and the deer harvest will be increased. See N.J.A.C. 7:25-5.29.