Story by Tom P

With the statewide archery deer season commencing Saturday, it’s a very good thing that temperatures are finally beginning to cool and the dropping of white, red and pin oak acorns, hickory and beech nuts accelerates. And…the leaf drop gets going, opening alleys for the fatal delivery of mechanical and fixed broadheads.

Actually, the “bow” season opened September 9th in close to 30 Deer Management Zones (DMZs) around the Garden State (DMZs 50 and 51 in the immediate 105.7 The Hawk listening area), but an antlerless deer had to be harvested and registered before a buck could be taken.

This Saturday through October 27th, it’s wide open, doe or buck, and then the Permit Bow season kicks in (a later blog on this).

It’s looking very good for this October bow bender, and no doubt the regular archery season harvest could match, if not surpass, the 2016 tally of 15,501.

If you don’t have access to private property, fret ye not: there is in excess of 750,000 acres of public land available for deer hunting. The majority is permit-free, but there are properties where a permit and/or registration is required. A hassle, yes. The flip side being there are generally monster bucks traversing such selective habitats. Ocean County bow hunters should note that the 13,000-plus acres afforded by the Natural Lands Trust Program offer superlative deer hunting opportunities, no permit required, just a request to call the office (732-506-9090) with a few particulars so as the organization knows where you are. A list of tracts is available HERE.

Photo by Tom P

Squirrel and Rabbit Season Open: Talk about a hunting overload: besides the archery deer season, both gray squirrel and cottontail rabbit become legal quarries beginning Saturday. The seasons for both extend through December 2, then kick in again December 11, 12, 14-30 and then again from January 1-February 24 (a 2018 license required).

To be sure, there is no finer hunting available than for these two most challenging and epicurean delightful species, and the fact remains that, especially when it comes to squirrels, the resource is incredibly under-utilized, even with a generous 5 bushytail daily limit. The daily take for bunnies is 4, and unless you have the services of a beagle or other bust-brushing nosey canine, figure this maximum very generous.