What Do I Need to Hunt Upland Game Birds in NJ?

If you're planning to hunt upland game birds in New Jersey, it's essential to have the right permits and gear depending on the area you intend to hunt. Here's a breakdown of what you'll need:

Stocked WMAs (Wildlife Management Areas)

  • Hunting License: Yes
  • Pheasant/Quail Stamp: Yes
  • Hunter Orange: Orange Hat* required when hunting with a firearm
  • Report Harvest: No

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

  • Hunting License: Yes
  • Pheasant/Quail Stamp: Yes
  • Hunter Orange: Orange Hat* required when hunting with a firearm
  • Report Harvest: No

Semi-Wild and Commercial Preserves

  • Hunting License: Yes
  • Pheasant/Quail Stamp: No
  • Hunter Orange: Yes, except when hunting mallards
  • Report Harvest: No, but birds must be tagged.

Please note that when hunting with a firearm on any pheasant/quail-stocked WMA (Wildlife Management Area), a SOLID hunter orange hat (without camouflage/logos) is required as part of the 200 square inch hunter orange requirement.

Firearms, Bows, and Ammunition Legal for Upland Game Birds in NJ

When hunting upland game birds in New Jersey, it's important to use the appropriate firearms, bows, and ammunition to ensure both safety and compliance with regulations. Here are the legal specifications for these weapons:

Bow

  • Weapon Type: Bow (long, recurve, compound, or crossbow capable of firing a single projectile only)
  • Gauge, Caliber, or Draw Weight:
    • Long and recurve bows: 35 pounds pull at archer’s draw length
    • Compound bow: Peak weight
    • Crossbow: 75 pounds minimum draw weight
  • Projectile(s): Arrow or bolt with flu flu fletching and using blunt, field, or judo points
  • Weapon Transportation: All bows MUST be unnocked or uncocked

Shotgun

  • Weapon Type: Shotgun (single or double barrel)
  • Gauge or Caliber: Not larger than 10 gauge or smaller than .410 caliber
  • Shell Capacity: Capable of holding no more than three shells
  • Shot Size: No shot larger than #4 fine shot
  • Weapon Transportation: Shotguns MUST be cased and unloaded while in or on a vehicle, including ATVs/UTVs.

Upland Game Bird Seasons 2023–24 in New Jersey

Please note that there is no Sunday hunting except on commercial and semi-wild hunting preserves. Here are the details of the upland game bird seasons for the 2023–24 hunting season:

Bobwhite Quail (Wild) and Ruffed Grouse

  • Season: Closed statewide
  • Hunting Hours: Closed
  • Bag Limit: Stocked quail may be taken at Peaslee and Greenwood WMAs and on commercial and semi-wild hunting preserves.

Bobwhite Quail (Stocked)

  • Season: Nov. 11, 2023, at 8 a.m. – Jan. 31, 2024 (Closed Dec. 4–9 & 13, 2023)
  • Hunting Hours: Nov. 11 only: 8 a.m. – ½ hr after sunset. All other dates: Sunrise – ½ hr after sunset
  • Bag Limit: 4 quail
  • Note: May be taken only at Greenwood Forest WMA and Peaslee WMA. Pheasant & Quail Stamp required.

Chukar Partridge, Hungarian Partridge, Pheasant

  • Season: Nov. 11, 2023, at 8 a.m. – Feb. 19, 2024 (Closed Dec. 4–9 & 13, 2023)
  • Hunting Hours: Nov. 11 only: 8 a.m. – ½ hr after sunset. All other dates: Sunrise – ½ hr after sunset
  • Bag Limit: 7 partridge, 2 pheasant
  • Note: See Pheasant Stocking schedule below.

Youth Upland Bird Day (Pheasant)

  • Date: Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023
  • Hunting Hours: 7 a.m. start (Guided), 1 p.m. start (Open hunt)
  • Bag Limit: 2 pheasant
  • Note: For properly licensed Youth hunters, under the direct supervision of a licensed, non-hunting adult (21 or older). See Youth Pheasant Hunt Day Information in Take a Kid Hunting.

Youth Pheasant Days

  • Dates: Nov. 6–10, 2023
  • Hunting Hours: Sunrise–½ hr. after sunset
  • Bag Limit: 2 pheasant
  • Note: For properly licensed Youth hunters, under the direct supervision of a licensed, non-hunting adult (21 or older). See Youth Pheasant Hunt Days Information in Take a Kid Hunting.

Commercial Shooting Preserves (Pheasant/Quail/Partridge/Mallard)

  • Season: Sept. 1, 2023 – May 1, 2024
  • Hunting Hours: Sunrise–½ hr. after sunset
  • Bag Limit: No limit
  • Note: Must be tagged prior to transport off Commercial Preserve. Sunday hunting allowed.

Semi-Wild Preserves (Pheasant/Quail/Partridge)

  • Season: Nov. 11, 2023, at 8 a.m. – March 15, 2024
  • Hunting Hours: Sunrise–½ hr. after sunset
  • Bag Limit: No limit
  • Note: Must be tagged prior to transport off semi-wild area. Sunday hunting allowed.

Crow

  • Season: Aug. 14, 2023 – Dec. 2, 2023, and Dec. 11, 2023 – March 16, 2024 (Mon., Thurs., Fri. & Sat. only)
  • Hunting Hours: 8 a.m. start Nov. 11, 2023, on Stocked WMAs, Sunrise–½ hr after sunset
  • Bag Limit: No limit

Woodcock

  • See Other Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons table in Migratory Bird Regulations.
  • HIP Certificate Required ($2)

Dogs are allowed when hunting pheasant, quail, partridge, crow, and woodcock.

Note: Species restricted to those approved on Commercial/Semi-Wild license.

 

Pheasant Stocking Schedule 2023 in New Jersey

Birds are stocked the evening prior to the hunting dates listed below. A Pheasant & Quail Stamp is required in addition to the hunting license.

Northern Region

Berkshire Valley (Morris County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 820

Black River (Morris County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 2,850
  • Note: Dog training area.

Clinton (Hunterdon County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 3,340
  • Note: Dog training area.

Delaware Water Gap N.R.A. (Sussex/Warren Counties)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 5,310
  • Note: No dog training area.

Flatbrook (Sussex County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 3,490
  • Note: No dog training area.

Pequest (Warren County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 2,850
  • Note: Dog training area.

Walpack (Sussex County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 820
  • Note: No dog training area.

Whittingham (Sussex County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 2,820
  • Note: Dog training area.

Central Region

Assunpink (Monmouth County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 5,340
  • Note: Dog training area.

Colliers Mills (Ocean County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 3,330
  • Note: Dog training area.

Greenwood (Howardsville Section) (Ocean County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 820
  • Note: No dog training area.

Manahawkin (Ocean County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 820
  • Note: No dog training area.

Manasquan (Ocean County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 1,850
  • Note: Dog training area.

Medford (Burlington County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 1,360
  • Note: No dog training area.

Stafford Forge (Ocean County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 2,670
  • Note: Dog training area.

Fort Dix (Ocean County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 350
  • Note: No dog training area.

Southern Region

Dix (Cumberland County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 2,150
  • Note: No dog training area.

Glassboro (Gloucester County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 1,670
  • Note: Dog training area.

Heislerville (Cumberland County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 820
  • Note: No dog training area.

Mad Horse (Salem County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 1,510
  • Note: No dog training area.

Millville (Cumberland County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 5,670
  • Note: Dog training area.

Nantuxent (Cumberland County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 1,850
  • Note: No dog training area.

Port Republic (Atlantic County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 820
  • Note: No dog training area.

Tuckahoe (Cape May County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 1,820
  • Note: Dog training area.

Winslow (Camden County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 2,330
  • Note: No dog training area.

Statewide Totals

  • Pheasants: 57,480

Quail Stocking Schedule 2023 in New Jersey

Statewide

Greenwood (Ocean County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 5,500
  • Note: No dog training area.

Peaslee (Cumberland County)

  • Nov. 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 30
  • Dec. 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
  • Total: 5,500
  • Note: No dog training area.

Dog Training Areas

  • WMAs with dog training areas receive 20 chukar each week (Saturdays), for four weeks prior to Youth Pheasant Day for dog training purposes.

Quail and Pheasant Stocking Maps

You can find maps of the pheasant and quail stocked fields for each stocked Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in New Jersey by visiting the following website: Pheasant and Quail Stocking Maps. These maps provide information about the locations where pheasants and quails are stocked for hunting purposes in various WMAs across the state.

New Jersey Upland Bird Hunting Laws and Regulations

Pheasant and Quail Stamp Regulations Demystified

For a comprehensive understanding of the Pheasant and Quail Stamp regulations and how they impact your hunting pursuits, let's delve deeper into the intricacies of these requirements. These rules apply to individuals aged 16 and above, with specific exceptions, and are exclusively pertinent to hunting and possessing pheasant and quail within designated wildlife management areas (WMAs).

Age Requirement and Noteworthy Exceptions

The Pheasant and Quail Stamp regulations primarily target individuals aged 16 and older. Nevertheless, it is paramount to recognize the existence of exceptions within this framework. Notably, 16-year-olds who retain eligibility to use their youth firearm license may encounter distinct stipulations. Becoming acquainted with these intricacies is essential if you fall into this category.

Designated WMAs: Your Key to Compliance

To ensure unwavering compliance with these regulations, it is imperative to pinpoint the precise wildlife management areas where possessing a current Pheasant and Quail Stamp is obligatory for hunting or possessing pheasant and quail. These designated WMAs encompass a diverse array of natural habitats, each offering unique hunting opportunities and accompanied by its own set of regulations and considerations.

Areas Open for Quail Hunting

To engage in quail hunting legally, it's essential to know where this activity is permitted. While the statewide quail hunting season is closed, there are exceptions to this rule. Specifically, you can still enjoy quail hunting at Peaslee WMA and Greenwood Forest WMA, thanks to the opportunities provided by NJ Fish & Wildlife.

Dog Training Restrictions

It's crucial to be aware of restrictions regarding the release of quail for dog training purposes. Quail may not be released for dog training on the following WMAs:

  • Buckshutem
  • Dix
  • Egg Island
  • Fortescue

Ruffed Grouse Season Closure: Protecting a Vulnerable Habitat

Habitat Crisis

Ruffed grouse heavily depend on young forest habitat, and unfortunately, this type of habitat makes up only 5% of state forest lands. The scarcity of suitable habitat has led to a significant decline in grouse populations, to the point where they are no longer able to sustain a hunting season.

Protecting the Future

The closure of the grouse hunting season is a proactive measure aimed at addressing the decline in grouse populations and allowing them to recover. It underscores the importance of conservation efforts and habitat preservation to ensure the survival of this iconic game bird in the state.

Edible Portions Guide: Maximizing Your Game Harvest

Understanding Edible Portions

When it comes to harvesting game animals, it's essential to know what constitutes the edible portions. Edible portions exclude certain parts of the animal and focus on the parts suitable for consumption. These exclusions include meat from the head or neck, meat that has been damaged during the hunting process, bones, sinew, meat reasonably lost during butchering or trimming, and viscera. Additionally, meat from diseased or scavenged carcasses is not considered part of the edible portions.

To further clarify these guidelines, let's explore the edible portions for specific game animals:

Edible Portions of Rabbit

For rabbit and squirrel, the edible portions encompass:

  • Front shoulders
  • Thighs
  • Backstrap

Edible Portions of Turkey

In the case of game birds like turkey, the edible portions include:

  • Breast
  • Legs
  • Thighs

Edible Portions of Game Birds

For game birds other than turkey, the edible portions are limited to:

  • Breast

Ensuring that you focus on the edible portions not only enhances the quality of your game meat but also promotes responsible and sustainable hunting practices. For further details on the proper handling and utilization of game animals, refer to the "Wanton Waste of Game" section in the General Hunting Regulations.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.