The NJ early archery whitetail season opened last Saturday in select deer management zones (DMZs) statewide and closes half an hour after sunset Friday, September 30.

The DMZs include 5, 7-15, 17, 19, 25, 36, 41, 42, 48, 49, 50 and 51.

The statewide season opens Saturday, October 1, and runs through Friday, October 28.

This is an Earn-a-Buck dealio wherein the first deer harvested must be either a doe, button buck, or a buck with spikes less than three inches in length before an antlered buck can be taken.

This does not apply to youth hunters who are able to take an antlered buck from the get-go.

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DMZs 9 and 13 are under the antler point restriction rule, with any buck taken having at least three antler points on one side of the rack.

Sure it’s warm, and can be downright hot, so quick care must be taken insofar as getting the deer gutted and hung in a refrigerated space to cool as quickly as possible for a few days before butchering.

Tom P.
Tom P.

This is also the prime time to get a crack at a velvet rack. Figuring 95% of the bucks have rubbed off the soft covering by now, there’s still an outside chance, slim as it may be, that one of these coveted bucks will come within range.

In DMZs 7-15, 17, 36, 41, 49, 50, and 51 the bag limit is unlimited antlerless deer and one antlered buck. Two deer may be taken at a time.

In DMZs 5, 19, 25, 42, and 48 the limit is nine antlerless deer and one antlered buck. Two deer may be taken at a time.

By all means, be liberal with the bug repellent and tick killers containing Permethrin. Our tried and true is Sawyers, but there are certainly other effective brands out there. The bloodsuckers are thick well into October, even after the first few touches of frost. For the ‘skeeters and other biting flies, it’s the Skeeter Hawk Mosquito Carabiner.

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