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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I just completed my archery and firearms education course this year and purchased the necessary documents for archery hunting, but have yet to purchase the documents for firearm hunting. In any case, I'm from Jersey City and am aware that Zone 36 is worthless as far as deer hunting goes. I'm looking for public hunting land close to home, preferably less than an hour's drive, for deer hunting. I've taken trips down to Allamuchy, Clinton, Ringwood, Wawayanda, and Ramapo. With the exception of Clinton, most of them looked more like places for people to go hiking, rather than areas to hunt. The issue with Clinton is that it's a little too far from where I live and, from what I've heard, it gets a good deal of pressure throughout the season. Any area that is less than an hour away from Jersey City and has more deer than hunters would be great. Also, since I'm a complete novice, any general hunting advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a million guys!
 

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Welcome to the club. Not too many people are going to give away there exact hot spots but you are already on the right track. Clinton is not far from Jersey city 45 to 50 mins tops? I don't know why everyone is under the assumption that public land during bow season gets pounded so hard. I was out at Clinton 2 weeks ago sighting my shotgun and flintlock in. I decided to drive through the wma on the way home. Yep, a whole 2 trucks parked hunting a few thousand acres. This was during the week. You have the whole place to yourself and plenty of places there to get away from the next guy. I hunted a very large public piece this past Saturday for the evening hunt. Again, only myself and my buddy hunting it. Not one guy there and I had a big bodied 6pt stroll by me without a care in the world as I was looking for a tree to climb. Do not be discouraged by public land. It is not what everyone makes it out to be. I don't know if it's a different story in south jersey but Up here during bow season the wmas are very under pressured. Obviously gun season and small game season will change things but the deer are still there. I've bumped some pretty nice bucks at Clinton during small game season after the orange army has pounded the place. You are also over looking many smaller wma's and or smaller pieces. Think outside the box. Tons of land to hunt an hour away from jersey city. So much that your biggest problem is going to be deciding where to go!
 

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You might also consider asking around your friends and neighbors - you never know what people you know (or people those people know) who have private property. I've gotten two places to hunt through friends who I had no idea had property, let alone who would let me hunt it, until they knew I was getting into hunting. I now have a place for turkey, goose, groundhog, and fox (not huge places mind you - but enough to have fun and actually harvest some game).

Also, while it is very hard, cold-knocking on doors of farmers might help. I drove around a couple areas with lots of farms and touched base with about dozen folks. Never did get permission from those folks, but I hear people have been successful doing it - you just have to be prepared to knock on lots of doors and talk to lots of people and maybe even offer to help with some farm work as trade.

I will tell you I did get permission by actually "cold-emailing" the owners of an undeveloped piece of property - I offered to clean up their property of trash and they asked me to post it for them - got permission that way. It's now my prime deer spot right now. I'm seeing deer more times than not in the half-dozen times i've been out there already this season :)

So, you just never know! You might run into extremely nice and awesome owners like I did. Can't hurt to ask; worse that can happen is they say "no."
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mallard1100, I didn't realize Clinton was so close by. Also, I'm relieved to hear that hunting on public land isn't as bad as people make it out to be. There are a million things going through my head at the moment, in terms of where to set up a stand, how to properly scout an area, how to navigate the unfamiliar terrain in the wee hours of the morning, and so on. On top of all that, I didn't want to have to worry about bumping into a ton of other hunters. So, thanks for that. I got a kick out of your signature by the way, haha [hihi]
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, an uncle of mine also suggested I try the same "cold-knocking" technique, going from orchard to orchard asking for permission to hunt the land. I'm trying my best to be independent of others at the moment, which is why I'm so bent on finding a nice piece of public land to hunt. But, at the end of the day, it makes sense to try and reach out to others because, like you said, you just never know what you might end up with. I think what I'll end up doing is I'll hunt public land and simultaneously keep an eye out for opportunities to hunt private property (with permission). Thanks for the input mazzgolf [up]
 

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Welcome to the order of hunters! Hunting is really the oldest profession, the second oldest is of those meat eaters that can't hunt. The questions you ask are asked by most hunters in NJ, Where to hunt. My advice is you should be asking EVERYONE you know if they have access to private property. In NJ public land is great but a lot of work and a good place to get your stuff stolen if you want to leave it out in the woods. Even private land things get clipped.
Now be patient and learn by asking every hunter how they go about things. READ every publication you can get your hands on. Study the property you hunt and learn the Deer movements. Practice Practice Practice. You ARE going to mess up and get busted! Don't let it get you down, it's a game to us his life depends on it. Some of my best stories are of me doing something idiotic up in a treestand, they show up when you get bored and are not paying attention. Don't move around a lot, Don't make noise and for GOD SAKE Don't STINK!

And remember: MEAT EATERS RULE!
 

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two bits of important advice. buy a quality harness and use it when climbing any tree. never go in to the woods without toilet paper hahaha. if you don't follow those two pieces of advice there's a real good chance you'll be changing your underwear.
 

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two bits of important advice. buy a quality harness and use it when climbing any tree. never go in to the woods without toilet paper hahaha. if you don't follow those two pieces of advice there's a real good chance you'll be changing your underwear.
I learned the toilet paper the hard way...got to my parking spot at 4 am with nothing open, luckily I had a paper towel. First time s***ing in the woods haha.
 
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