As does Segment B of the black bear season on private, federal, county and municipal properties.

State-owned land remains off-limits to bruin hunters.

The traditional six-day firearms deer season starts Monday, December 9 and runs through Saturday, December 14. Legal hunting hours are half-hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset.

Tradition has long since gone by the wayside when it comes to the historical six-day December shotgun season. Rather, it’s all about additional license and permit sales to infuse much needed $$ into the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife coffers. During the Six Day Firearms season, one can also hunt with a bow or a muzzleloader, providing: the former also has in possession a firearms hunting license and the latter a muzzleloader permit. More money in the deer pot pie, if you will. Meanwhile, the majority of deer hunters, i.e. those hunting with a shotgun, are forced to share the woods, fields, and swamps with those who have a specific season to themselves.

Predicated on the deer management zone (DMZ) being hunted, the season limit is two antlered deer and, if the necessary permits are in possession, anterless (does, button bucks, spike bucks with antlers shorter than 3-inches) may be harvested.

Photo by Tom P
Photo by Tom P

Bear Not: With the big snowfall earlier this week, and subsequent cold temperatures, it appears as if Segment B of the black bear season will be a somewhat of a bust, as many bruins will have gone to den.

Even with next week’s forecast of temperatures in the mid-forties to low-fifties in the five Bear Management Zones encompassing all or portions of six counties, it’s a long shot (pun intended) that there will be many bruins on the prowl for last minute sustenance before the winter semi-snooze.

In Sussex County, the snow drop was between 14-16 inches, with Passaic/Warren in the 5-10 inch range and Morris/Hunterdon anywhere from 4 to 8 inches.

Still, it’s worth the effort to be out there if privy to private lands.

Not to be overlooked is the Segment B Extension that runs from Wednesday, December 18 through Saturday, December 21. Hey, if there is a decent snow melt and temperatures moderate to the mid-thirties to low-forties, expect a few bruins to be up and about sniffing for a final snack.

The mandatory bear checking stations for the Segment B 12/9-12/14 seasons include the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area (noon-7pm), Pequest Wildlife Management Area (noon-7pm) and the Green Pond Golf Course (noon-7pm). The Flat Brook check station will be open noon-7pm on Monday, December 9 and Saturday, December 14.

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