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“Constant” NJ Migratory Game Bird Regulations

“Constant” NJ Migratory Game Bird Regulations

Season dates and bag limits for many species of migratory birds change on an annual basis. However, there are many migratory bird regulations that change on a less frequent basis. the following regulations remain constant for various species, as noted, year to year.

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Hunting Hours

  • Duck, goose, brant, coot, rail, moorhen, snipe: ½ hour before sunrise to sunset. For example, if sunrise is 6:30 a.m. and sunset is 5:00 p.m., hunting hours for these species are 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • September Canada Goose and the Spring Light Goose Conservation Order: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.
  • Woodcock: sunrise to sunset.
  • Crow: sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

Waterfowl Stamps

Both the New Jersey Waterfowl Stamp Certification and Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp) are required for all waterfowl hunters 16 years and older and must be signed in ink. New Jersey Stamp Certifications are available from license agents and online.

Harvest Information Program (HIP)
All hunters, including Apprentice License holders, must obtain a HIP certification before hunting ducks, geese, brant, coot, woodcock, rails, snipe or gallinules. Hunters may purchase a HIP certification from a License Agent or online. Both methods allow hunters to go hunting immediately after registering. The HIP certification should be carried in the hunter’s license holder and are valid from Sept. 1 to April 15 the following year. Information collected for HIP is confidential and used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for conducting migratory bird harvest surveys.

What Do I Need To Hunt Migratory Birds In New Jersey?

Duck, brant, goose: Hunting License, HIP Certification, NJ Stamp Certification, and Federal Stamp.
Woodcock, rail, moorhen, snipe: Hunting License and HIP Certification
Crow: Hunting License

Nontoxic Shot Regulations
In New Jersey, no person may take ducks, geese, brant, coots, rails, snipe or moorhens while possessing shot other than approved non-toxic shot which includes: steel, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix, tungsten-nickel-iron, tungsten-iron-nickel-tin, tungsten-bronze, tungsten-iron-polymer, bismuth-tin, copper-clad iron, tungsten-ironcopper-nickel, tungsten-tin-iron, corrosioninhibited copper shot, and tungsten-tinbismuth shot types. Shot size may not exceed Size T (0.200 inch) for waterfowl. For crows and woodcock, shot size may not exceed Size #4 and although lead shot is permitted, hunters are encouraged to use non-toxic shot.
Nontoxic Shot Regulations for Hunting Waterfowl and Coots (US FWS)

New Jersey State Restrictions: Migratory Game Birds
State laws and regulations may be more stringent but not more lenient than those prescribed in federal regulations (50 CFR Part 20).

  • No person may take or attempt to take rails or snipe while possessing shot other than non-toxic shot.
  • There shall be no open season for hunting any game birds or animals including migratory waterfowl:
    • In or on the shores of the Shark River in Monmouth County.
    • In that portion of the Manasquan River from the ocean inlet upstream to Route 70 bridge.
    • On Herring Island and that portion of Barnegat Bay lying between northern and southern tips of Herring Island easterly to adjacent shoreline of Mantoloking Boro, Ocean County.
    • On Parker Creek and Oceanport Creek, Monmouth County, or the shores thereof, southwest or upstream of the Conrail R.R. bridge.
    • On the non-tidal portions of Cox Hall Creek WMA in Cape May County.
    • In the waters or shoreline of Barnegat Inlet westward from the COLREGS Demarcation Line; to the north end of Broadway in Barnegat Light; then northwest to Red Buoy 14 in the channel (39.763783 N; 074.109283 W); then northeast to the westernmost section of rock jetty at Island Beach State Park.
  • It is unlawful for any person to leave the edible portions (defined as the breast meat) of migratory birds (excepting crows) to waste. Edible portions do not include meat that has been damaged by the method of taking; bones, sinew and meat reasonably lost as a result of butchering, boning, or close trimming of bones; or viscera.
  • The starting time to hunt waterfowl on opening day of pheasant season each year is 8:00 A.M on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) stocked with pheasant and quail except the tidal waters or marshes of those WMAs. The starting time to hunt waterfowl on opening day of the pheasant season conforms to the regular start time (e.g. ½ hr. before sunrise) on private land, tidal marshes, WMAs not stocked with pheasant and quail, and the tidal marsh portions of pheasant and quail stocked WMAs.
  • Waterfowl hunting on Delaware River is governed by state boundaries and restricted to respective state seasons.
  • Waterfowl Blinds
    No permanent waterfowl blinds, including pit blinds, shall be constructed, hunted from, or used in any manner on these WMAs:
    • Assunpink
    • Black River
    • Colliers Mills
    • Hainesville
    • Tuckahoe
    • Manahawkin
    • Stafford Forge
    • Whittingham
    • Beaver Swamp
    • Sedge Island
    • Salem River
    • Prospertown
    • Paulinskill

    Any blind used on these WMAs must be portable and completely removed by day’s end. Blinds remaining on WMAs are subject to confiscation and disposal by Fish and Wildlife.
  • Arrows with flu-flu type fletching are required for taking flying game birds. Arrows with edged heads are prohibited for taking flying game birds.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
Created: December 23rd, 2021