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Spring 2020 Hunting and Fishing FAQs


April 2, 2020
Lat Updated May 13, 2020

The Division of Fish and Wildlife is aware many concerned sportsmen and women have questions about recreational outdoor opportunities during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors are easily circulated within communities during a crisis and therefore, we want to provide an accurate answer to questions many may have. The purpose of this is to separate facts and rumors/disinformation, to promote hunting, angling, and wildlife viewing opportunities while following appropriate CDC and Executive Order guidelines.

We will update these FAQs as new information becomes available. Subscribe to one or more e-mail lists to receive updates and other important information.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Am I allowed to go fishing and turkey hunting during the Governor's Stay-At-Home Order?
Yes! Angling and hunting opportunities are considered outdoor recreation. Licensed sportsmen and women are encouraged to get outside while remembering to protect yourself and others by not congregating in groups, maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from other anglers or your hunting partners, and washing your hands well before and after any outdoor recreation.

2. Is trout season open?
This year the season opened on April 1 for catch and release trout fishing only to allow anglers to fish waters that are typically closed during the pre-season stocking period. From April 1 through midnight on April 10, 2020, when waters again closed, all trout caught needed to be released immediately unharmed to the water. Established season, size and creel limits for all other species applied. All gear restrictions for special regulation areas remained in effect. Waters reopened at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 11. At that time trout could be harvested in accordance with established regulations.

See the Updates Section on the Spring Trout Fishing Information page for current information. Subscribe to the Freshwater Fishing e-mail list to receive updates and other important information: Subscribe NOW!.

3. Are the Wildlife Management Areas still open? What about state shooting ranges?
All state Wildlife Management Areas remain open for passive recreation; including hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing and hunting. State WMA ranges are considered state facilities, which are closed in response to COVID-19.

4. Has turkey season been cancelled?
NO! Rumors have circulated that many states have cancelled their turkey seasons. At this time, all Turkey Hunting Areas and Periods will open as scheduled. Please remember to practice social distancing if you plan on pursuing turkeys with others. Over-the-counter permits are now on sale online and at license agents. However, please call your nearby license agent to see if they are operating due to concerns over COVID-19. Subscribe to the Hunting e-mail list to receive updates and other important information: Subscribe NOW!

5. How do I report my turkey harvest?
To report your turkey, log into DFW's licensing system. Click on Report a Harvest (top green box at far right of page) and continue the process. Visit the Turkey Reporting Information page for detailed instructions.

6. I haven't received my green durable stock firearm license for the turkey season. What should I do?
Please note that due to the COVID19 virus, the mailing of durable green licenses will be delayed. During this delay, please use the "Reprint License" option on the Internet Sales Site to print plain paper copies of your purchase. The ability to reprint a paper temporary firearm licenses- currently 15 days from the original date of purchase, will be extended to 30 days.

7. How do I sign up for the Saltwater Registry?
New Individual Registration: If not previously signed up, visit the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program page and click on New Individual Registration. Once you have filled out your information and click on Submit Registration your registry certificate will appear on the screen.

Renew A Registration: If previously registered click on Renew Any Registration. Simply enter the required information and click Search. You will then need to click on your registration number in the search results to get you into your registry information. Here you can edit or update your information if necessary. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Renew Registration link. This link will bring up your renewed registry certificate. You will also receive an e-mail confirmation with registration attached.

If you encounter any problems or have any questions, please use the Contact Us button. We will respond as soon as possible.

8. How do I obtain a Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP) Permit?
The SBBP is scheduled to open May 15 but may be delayed due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19 and the unavailability of tags from the manufacturer. Applications are not being accepted at this time. Information will be updated as more becomes available on the SBBP webpage. Subscribe to the Marine Fishing e-mail list to receive updates and other important information: Subscribe NOW!

9. I am a charter or party boat captain; can I take customers out fishing?
Please visit the COVID-19 Information Hub for more information on Governor Murphy's Executive Order to close all non-essential retail businesses and recreational/entertainment businesses. Information regarding what resources are available to help businesses with the impacts of COVID-19 are available on the site as well.

If you have questions about your business and status of business designation, please refer to the OEM website for guidance.

10. How can I purchase, renew, or transfer commercial marine fishing licenses that are not available online?
Commercial license and transfer applications are available on the Forms page. Completed applications, along with full payment and all supporting materials, can be mailed to the NJ Marine Fisheries Administration, PO Box 418, Port Republic, NJ 08241. Staff will process applications in the order received and return licenses by mail. If you have questions about your license application, please call the Marine Fisheries office at 609-748-2020 and leave a message. Staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

11. Are Conservation Police Officers working?
Yes. Conservation Police Officers, as well as State Park Police, are continuing with their normal patrol schedule. We encourage anyone who witnesses any fish or wildlife-related incident to call the regional fish and wildlife office nearest to you, 1-855-OGT-TIPS (to report anonymously), or the 24-hour DEP Hotline at 877-WARN-DEP (877-927-6337).

12. What other activities can I do while following the CDC recommendations?
There are many other outdoor activities to participate in. Now is a great time to get outside and hike, scout new areas, shed hunt for deer antlers, kayak, go bird watching, brush up on your wildlife photography skills, and more in areas which remain open.

Thank you for your cooperation during this time.
Please remember to display your license when in the field and practice social distancing while enjoying your favorite outdoor recreation.
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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: May 13, 2020