Seems that once the New Year arrives, the majority of thought starts the slow turn to the upcoming salt and freshwater fishing and boating seasons. This mindset in motion is accelerated with the outdoor expo and boat shows that run from January into March.

Ahh, but for those who do not wish to put away the bow, smoothbore, or muzzleloader, there are still some decent hunting opportunities available, several of which extend into March.

The statewide winter archery deer season continues through January 31, with extended opportunities to February 17 in certain Deer Management Zones (DMZs) in various parts of the Garden State. What’s more, the bag limits are generous in these.

Permit muzzleloader and permit shotgun extend in numerous DMZs to January 20 and 31, and to February 10 in select DMZs, and again, the bag limits are liberal.

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Dates and limits are available on pages 34-35 in the 2023-24 Hunting & Trapping Digest.

On the upland and small game scenes, bobwhite quail (those stocked on the Greenwood and Peaslee wildlife management areas only) can be hunted through January 31, with pheasants available through February 19. Gray squirrels and cottontail rabbits are legal quarries through February 24.

Quackers? Sure! The south zone duck season is open until January 18; the coastal zone closes on January 27.

Canada geese are legal through January 29 in the north and south zones; the coastal zone is open until January 27. The special winter season for Canadas in portions of north and south Jersey runs January 30 through February 15. See pages 62-63 in the Digest for the map and particulars.

Tom P.
Tom P.

Light geese, as in greater and lesser snow and Ross’s geese are fair game through February 15.

Is the hunter becoming the hunted? Try coyotes and red and gray foxes during the special permit ($2) season that continues through March 15. Both day and night hunting are allowed, with some restrictions on the weapons/loads utilized.

Dom Troisi
Dom Troisi

During a night hunt (half-hour after sunset to half-hour before sunrise) for example, only 10 and 12-gauge shotguns are permitted, with #4 fine shot to T shot the legal ammo. Also, a call, manual or electronic, must be in possession. More information is available on page 57 of the Digest.

You can learn more about the predator hunting game on the January 6 podcast of Rack & Fin Radio on 973espn. Host Tom P. interviews veteran fox and coyote hunter Ron Jones from ACP Rednecks Pride Outdoors, manufacturer of game calls, scents and lures.

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