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New Jersey Bills Could Change Hunting Opportunities

The legislative session in New Jersey is turning up the heat with several debatable issues, which could lead to more hunting opportunities for some.

The New Jersey Legislature convened on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 with some hot topics on the floor including youth hunters and extended rifle use during the weekends.

What might be the most debated issue is whether or not to allow hunting with firearms on Sundays. As the law stands now, hunters can bowhunt on Sunday; however the bill - already passed through the Senate - will allow for rifle hunting on the last day of the week as well.

Advocates for the bill want it pushed through for people who work all week and need as much time to hunt on the weekend as possible. Opponents claim that this day of the week is reserved for everyone else who enjoys the outdoors in safety, without the worry or bother of firearms present. New Jersey is one of only 11 states where hunting with guns is illegal on Sunday.

The legislature is also considering a bill that would allow for apprentice youth licenses, where kids as young as 14 years of age do not have to acquire a license as long as they are hunting with a licensed adult. While supporters believe this law could ready a child for hunting, opponents say it's not a good idea for such young hunters to yield weapons without their hunter's safety education.

Another bill that has not made it to the floor quite yet is concerning the limit of licensed beaver trappers. As it stands now, there are 200 trappers legally allowed to trap the dam-building critter. Proponents for increasing that number of trappers say the beaver population is currently out of control and the ecological damages caused by beavers causes flooding. Those debating the increase want to use a pipe system to rearrange the water overflow caused by the beaver dams.

You can follow these bills and their activity throughout the legislative session here.

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New Jersey Bills Could Change Hunting Opportunities