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Information for Farmers

Information for Farmers

Farmer Deer, Bear and Turkey Permit Application Information
To be eligible for free Farmer Permits please use the application forms linked below.

Farmer Certification for Deer and Turkey Permits (pdf, 53kb)
The application period is June 1 to August 31.

Farmer Certification for Bear Permits (pdf, 130kb)
Application should be postmarked by August 31.

Farmer Deer Season Permit Information
  Deer Harvest Report Card (pdf, 200kb) (for recording deer harvest information prior to using the Automated Harvest Report System)
Farmer Turkey Permit Instructions
Farmer Bear Season Permit Information

Deer Management and the Farmer (pdf, 14mb)
Managing Hunters On the Farm to Control Deer Damage
Farmer Wildlife Regulations
Wildlife Damage Control
Resident Geese Damage Management Permits

Farm Definition
A farm in New Jersey is defined as an area of at least 5 acres having gross farm income of at least $500, and tax assessed as farmland.

License Exemptions for Farm Families
Farmers and the immediate members of their family who also reside on the farm may hunt, trap and fish on the farm without being licensed or possessing a valid rifle permit.  This exemption does not apply to a tenant or employee who is not an immediate family member.  All fish and wildlife laws and regulations, season dates and bag limits that apply to the hunting and fishing seasons also apply on the farm.

Turkey Season Permit Information
Only the owner or lessee of a farm, who resides thereon, or the immediate members of his family, who also reside thereon, may be authorized for one farmer turkey hunting permit for the Spring Gobbler Season and one for the Fall Season.

  • Qualified farmers will receive a permit valid for the entire Spring Season (Periods A through E) and the Fall Season (N) provided the Turkey Hunting Area the farm is located in is open for both seasons.
  • The farmer bag limit is one turkey during the Spring Season and one turkey during the Fall Season.
  • A Farmer Turkey Hunting Permit can be used only by the person whose name is on it and valid only for the farm on file.
  • All mandatory turkey checking requirements apply.
  • Farmers may also apply for regular Spring and Fall Turkey Hunting Permits in addition to the Farmer Turkey Hunting Permits.

Receiving a Farmer Turkey Permit

If you have not previously submitted an application or are a new farmer, you must apply for certification. Please use the Farmer Deer/Turkey Application Form (pdf, 53kb). Please print out both pages. Use the instruction sheet to fill out the application.

Applications may also be obtained at County Agriculture Extension agents and some Fish and Wildlife offices. In order to claim your permits on time, please return applications prior to February 22.

Farmer permits become available at the time regular permits go on sale over-the-counter. Permits may be obtained at any license agent as well as online (fees apply).

For problems or questions concerning farmer permits, contact Cathy Hemingway at 609-292-1473 or

Farmer Bear Season Permit Information
Only the owner or lessee of a farm, who resides thereon, or the immediate members of his/her family, who also reside thereon, may apply for a Special Farmer Black Bear Permit. Farmer Permit Applicants must be over 10 years of age. Black Bear Farmer Permits are ONLY valid ON the FARM where the applicant(s) resides. Permits are not transferable and holders of a Farmer Bear Season Permit must adhere to all rules, regulations, season dates and one bear bag limit specified in the 2021-22 Hunting & Trapping Digest.

Please use the Farmer Bear Application Form (pdf, 130kb) to apply. Please print out both pages and consult the instruction sheet to fill out the application completely and correctly. Permits are mailed to approved applicants.

Farmer Deer Season Permit Information
There are two types of applications to obtain a free farmer deer permit: “Occupant” and “Nonoccupant”.  The farmer applicant can decide for which they qualify.  Farmers may only apply with one application.

“Occupant” Farmer Deer Permits are for the farmer and immediate family who reside on the farm.  The permit will be valid only for the farm property where the applicant resides.

“Non-occupant” Farmer Deer Permits are for a farmer who actively farms at least 30 tilled acres.  Woodlots can not be used to qualify.  A copy of all leases authorizing the agricultural and hunting uses of the land must be attached to the application.  No more than five people may receive permits for the same farm.  The permit will be valid for the entire zone applied for.
NOTE: An applicant who lives on the farm and actively tills at least 30 acres may also apply with this form. Farmer Deer Permit applications will be sent to all farmers who are currently part of our database.  The application period is June 1 to August 31.

Farmers and their families may also apply for and purchase regular deer and turkey permits in addition to the free farmer deer and turkey permits provided they hold a current hunting license.

Farmers must follow the same rules, regulations and season dates as all other hunters. These are specified in the 2021-22 Hunting & Trapping Digest. Please refer to the Digest for all season dates and regulations for specific zones.

Occupant Farmers that are hunting the land on which they reside do not need to have hunting licenses but do need to have a CID# so as to use the Automated Harvest Report System.

If you are a Non-occupant Farmer (you don’t live on the farm) then by law you must be in possession of a hunting license in addition to your hunting permit.

Managing Hunters On the Farm to Control Deer Damage
Hunters are frequently willing to pay for the privilege to hunt on private lands.  However, the landowner must be involved to ensure that the hunters are participating in the harvest of antlerless deer. The following strategies are recommended:

  • Make the harvesting of antlerless deer a condition of access.
  • Use as many of the available deer hunting days and seasons as you can.
  • Coordinate your hunting efforts with those on adjacent properties.
  • Farmers should make every effort to know what their hunters are shooting…perhaps with a daily hunt log that hunters have to fill out, perhaps with visual inspection of harvested deer to ensure the taking of females.

If these sites are not hunted, attempt to obtain access to drive deer without weapons to areas where they can be taken safely.  Landowners granting permission to hunt are protected from liability under the New Jersey Landowner’s Liability Act (NJ Statutes 2A:42A-2 et seq.).  In summary, landowners are the key to managing the deer population.  Recreational deer hunters, together with long seasons and liberal bag limits offer the means to control local deer numbers.  Landowners need only to apply the tools.

Farmers can also enroll in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) in applicable zones where antlerless bag limits are restricted.

Farmer Wildlife Regulations
The occupant of a farm may allow his dog to run at large on the land he occupies, except during the firearm deer seasons.  Farmers and their lessees occupying or farming their land, members of their immediate families, or their farming employees may kill crows, woodchuck, and fox on farm property at any time when found destroying livestock or crops.  However, they must use legal firearms, ammunition and other lawful procedures.  Farmers may use shot no larger than #4 buckshot to control woodchuck only.

Farmers may trap foxes destroying poultry, crops or property at any time, subject to state law and local ordinances.  Farmers or their agents may shoot or trap coyotes by lawful procedures at any time when found destroying livestock or crops. A regional Fish and Wildlife law enforcement office must be notified within 24 hours of killing a coyote.

Wildlife Damage Control
Property owners or their agents, and occupants of dwellings that are suffering damage from squirrel, raccoon, opossum, skunk, woodchuck or weasel may control them by lawful means at any time subject to local ordinances.

Noise Cannons: Farmers experiencing losses to deer and other wildlife can apply for a permit to use a noise cannon. Noise cannons can be an LP exploder, acetylene exploder, carbide exploder, or any other mechanical device approved by the Division to scare or repel birds, deer, or other wildlife. These permits are issued by the Bureau of Law Enforcement. Interested farmers should contact the regional law office for information and permit application.

Farmer Depredation Permits: See the Deer Depredation Permits page. Farmers experiencing black bear damage need to contact the NJ DEP Hotline toll-free at 1-877-927-6337 (1-877-WARNDEP). Farmers experiencing damage from wild turkeys should contact the Wildlife Control Unit at 908-735-8793 or write NJ Fish and Wildlife-WCU, 141 Van Syckels Rd., Hampton, NJ 08827 so that an on-site inspection can be arranged.

Resident Geese Damage Management Permits
Resident geese are classified as a migratory game bird and are protected by federal law.  Farmers, places of business, and other property owners suffering damage to property or crops due to resident geese may apply for a permit to manage them by contacting the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at the following address:

USDA Wildlife Services
140-C Locust Grove Rd.
Pittstown, NJ  08867
fax: 908-735-0821

Farmers should also consult Resident Canada Goose Control Information (pdf,85kb)

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
Last Update: September 14th, 2022