Rules for Hunting Coyotes in New Jersey

There are a few complicated rules for hunting coyotes in New Jersey. While the population is small, there are three coyote hunting seasons available. Each season has a specific firearm or archery weapon restrictions. Please make sure you check for updates before starting any season you will be hunting.

Hunting coyote in New Jersey
The rules for hunting coyotes in New Jersey.

New Jersey has three coyote hunting seasons: bow-only, general, and special permit. A hunting license is required for all seasons, and a $2 permit is required for the special permit season. There are no bag limits, but all coyotes taken must be reported by 8 p.m. following harvest.

Related: Read the laws for hunting fox in New Jersey.

The rules for hunting coyotes in New Jersey.

Purchase a New Jersey hunting license here.

Bow-only season for coyote hunting in New Jersey.

The Bow-only season in New Jersey runs from October 2nd to November 5th.

Legal hunting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 after sunset.

Your bow is restricted to 35 lbs. pull/peak wt. or crossbow (75 lbs pull wt.) using well-sharpened broadheads (min. 3/4” width).

You may hunt with an electronic predator caller and use a decoy. Bait (not permitted on National Wildlife Refuge) must be a min. 300’ when in a tree stand/ground blind.

Related: The secret calls your successful buddies use.

Bow or shotgun coyote hunting season in New Jersey.

The Bow or Shotgun season in New Jersey runs from November 6th to March 15th.

Legal hunting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. Exception: On November 6th, hunting cannot begin until 8 a.m.

The bow restrictions are the same as Bow-only season. Your shotgun is restricted to 10-20 ga. using shot size up to #4 fine shot.

You may use an electronic caller and a decoy, but you must wear a SOLID Hunter Orange hat (no camo/logos) as part of the 200 sq.inch hunter orange requirement when hunting on certain WMAs.

Related: In new Jersey, you are hunting the eastern coyote. Learn how to hunt the big dawgs here.

Hunting coyotes in New Jersey during special permit season.

The Special Permit Season runs from January 1st to March 15th. There are different rules for day vs. night hunting activities.

Day hunting.

Legal hunting hours for day are 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

The bow restrictions are the same as Bow-only season. Your shotgun is restricted to 10-20 ga. using BB to #3 buckshot only. You may use a rifle (a rifle permit is required).

For day rifle hunting with a muzzle loader or single barrel smoothbore, 44 cal. minimum.

When using a centerfire rifle (.17-.25 cal) using hollow or soft point bullets (80 grain max).

When using rimfire (.17-.22) using hollow or soft point bullets (50 grain max).

Night hunting.

Legal hours for night hunting are 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

Only shotguns may be used. 10-12 ga using shot size #4 fine to ”T” only.

Other special permit regulations.

Hunter orange is optional unless hunting in certain stocked WMAs, baiting and the use of dogs are prohibited. You must possess a manual or electronic call.

Hunting with a firearm capable of of firing more than 3 rounds without reloading, is prohibited. Silencers and suppressors are prohibited. Smart rifles or guns are specifically prohibited.

Check electronic caller prices here.

Using thermal and IR Scopes when coyote hunting in New Jersey.

Both devices are legal when hunting on private lands.

Starting with a simple scope mounted light is inexpensive—but truly an exciting way to hunt foxes. Read this article to choose the right color of light for night hunting predators.

Infrared scopes have their value in terms of better target identification compared to thermal, but they cost a lot more. Beginners should consider the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro, but read this article before buying one.

A thermal riflescope is a major purchase. You must wait until you have determined you are addicted to coyote or predator hunting before buying one. For new hunters, I recommend the ATN Thor 4 (good for up to 150 yards). Please check out my article on ATN Thor 4 scope before buying one.

Night vision equipment is available on Amazon. Check prices here.

Related: Read this article to track down a wounded coyote to also help you locate a wounded fox.

Related: Need more property to hunt on? Learn how to ask for permission here.

Can you kill a coyote on your property in New Jersey?

Farmers and immediate family, their lessees occupying or farming their land or their farming employees may kill squirrel, raccoon, opossum, skunk, weasel, crows, woodchuck, gray fox, red fox or coyote on farm property at any time when found destroying livestock or crops. However, they must use legal firearms, ammunition and are subject to state law and local ordinance.

Do you need a special permit for coyote hunting in New Jersey?

  1. Woodchuck hunting with a small caliber rifle;
  2. Using a .22 caliber rifle and .22 short ammunition to hunt raccoon and opossum, or to dispatch legally captured
    furbearers other than muskrat;
  3. Waterfowl hunting;
  4. Hunting rabbit and squirrel with an air gun; and
  5. Hunting coyote and fox under the Special Permit provisions.
    During the Firearm or Bow Season, firearm hunters:
  6. May hunt only between 1⁄2 hour before sunrise to 1⁄2 hour after sunset;
  7. May only use a shotgun not larger than 10 gauge using shot size up to #4 fine;
  8. Must wear a cap of fluorescent Hunter’s orange or some outer garment containing at least 200 square inches of
    fluorescent Hunter’s orange material visible from all sides; and,
  9. May use hounds to chase coyote and fox (except during the Six‐day Firearm Deer Season or the following
    Wednesday of the Shotgun Permit Deer Season).
    If Any of the above describes your manner of hunting coyote and fox from January 1‐March 15, then you do not need a Special Permit.

Provisions of the Special Coyote / Fox Permit allow hunters pursuing coyote and fox to:
Hunt without the fluorescent hunter’s orange requirement when using with a firearm;

Use shot sizes larger than #4 fine shot during daylight hours (“BB” to #3 Buck);

Use a muzzleloading rifle (.44 caliber or larger) during daylight after the Permit Muzzleloader Deer Season expires;

Use center‐fire rifle (.25 caliber or smaller using 80 grain ammunition) and rim‐fire rifle (.22 caliber or smaller using 50 grain ammunition) during daylight hours;

Hunt during evening hours with 10‐12 gauge shotgun only using shot sizes as small as #4 fine to “T” shot;

Hunt by calling and stand hunting only (so use of dogs is prohibited); and,

Use portable lights at night. If the above provisions describe your manner of hunting coyote and fox from January 1‐March 15, then you need a Special Permit.

Note: Federally‐owned properties (Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and, National Wildlife Refuges) may prohibit the use of center‐fire or rim‐fire rifles. The State Park Service Code (NJAC 7:2) prohibits the use of any rifle, including a muzzleloading rifle, for hunting coyote and fox on all State Parks, Forests and Recreation Areas. Hunters should always check with the landowner before hunting coyote/fox

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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