Township of Chester, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Chester 9-5-2000. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals — See Ch. 62.
Nuisances — See Ch. 124.
Parks and playgrounds — See Ch. 130.

§ 131-1 Purpose; findings.

A. 
The goal of the controlled hunting program is to manage wildlife on Township-owned park preserve and open space areas without excessively conflicting with park users or park neighbors. The specific objective of the controlled hunting program is to reduce the population of white-tailed deer on Township-owned tracts, to reduce agricultural crop damage and motorist accidents with deer and to restore or improve forest health by reducing overbrowze of the forest understory. A multiyear controlled hunting program is designed to decrease the deer herd on these lands by approximately 1/2, to an average of 20 deer per square mile, in a program consistent with state regulations. The program has been amended to include the coincidental hunting of coyote to reduce nuisance complaints of damage to household property and predation on domestic pets.
[Amended 10-4-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-05]
B. 
Although the presence of hunters on parks does not present a real danger to park visitors based on hunting accident statistics, enjoyment for many park visitors is reduced by the known presence of hunters, by the sound of gunfire, by the sight of hunters and by the sight of dead deer or deer viscera. This chapter balances hunting and forest management activities with continued passive recreational uses of these parks.

§ 131-2 Hunting regulations; dispersal of permits.

[Amended 11-6-2002; 11-18-2008 by Ord. 2008-14; 6-3-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-9]
A. 
Six Township-owned properties, the Evans Preserve of approximately 100 acres, the Tiger Brook Park south tract of approximately 270 acres, the MacGregor Preserve of approximately 110 acres, the Highlands Ridge Park lands of approximately 80 acres, the Parker Road Tract of approximately 50 acres, and the Tannersbrook Preserve of approximately 75.50 acres, will be opened for hunting of white-tailed deer.
[Amended 10-4-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-05]
B. 
White-tailed deer hunting will be open on said Township properties on weekdays and on Saturdays beginning the first Monday in November and lasting through February of the following year during the hunting seasons for white-tailed deer established by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council, and as established annually by the Township Council for hunting with permit. During the Chester Township permit hunting seasons for the white-tailed deer and consistent with seasons established by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council, hunters may take coyotes found in the park preserve covered by their permit, subject to the following conditions:
[Amended 10-4-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-05]
(1) 
Coyote may only be taken if encountered before the hunter has taken the season bag limit of deer. In addition, once a hunter has reached a daily bag limit of deer, he or she must cease hunting immediately.
(2) 
A successful coyote hunter must report any coyote taken to a Fish and Wildlife Regional Law Enforcement Office within 24 hours of the harvest.
(3) 
Baiting for coyote is prohibited.
C. 
A limited number of hunting permits will be available for each property. A minimum of 25% of the permits will be available for residents of the State of New Jersey outside of the Township of Chester. A total of five permits for the Evans Preserve will be available for members of the Evans Property Hunting Club during each season in exchange for their consultation and volunteer assistance in the establishment and implementation of this controlled hunting plan.

§ 131-3 Licenses and special regulations.

[Amended 11-18-2008 by Ord. 2008-14; 6-3-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-9]
All hunters applying for a permit must possess all appropriate licenses and zone permits issued by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife for white-tailed deer hunting in the aforesaid Township properties assigned to each hunter with a Chester Township controlled hunting permit.

§ 131-4 Township permit availability.

[Amended 11-6-2002]
A single permit is valid for all four hunting seasons. Hunters may purchase Chester Township controlled hunting permits. The number of permits to be issued for each site will be established annually by the Township Council.

§ 131-5 Fees; permit purchasing.

[Amended 11-18-2008 by Ord. 2008-14; 6-3-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-9]
Each permit cost shall be established by resolution of the Township Council for residents and nonresidents of Chester Township. Permits will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Mail-in applications will be accepted but not processed until after all walk-in applicants are processed. Walk-in dates for permit sale shall be established by Township Council, specifying date, time and location. If the controlled hunting program is continued for succeeding years, permit holders from the previous season who have complied with all state and municipal hunting regulations will have first opportunity to obtain permits for the current hunting season pending receipt of payment by an established deadline.

§ 131-6 Requirements.

A. 
All state hunting regulations, licensing requirements and permit requirements are in effect on Chester Township lands open to hunting. Hunters are responsible for obtaining and learning state regulations and Chester Township park regulations. All hunters acquiring a Chester Township controlled hunting program permit shall attend a mandatory, pre-season safety awareness meeting conducted jointly by the Chester Parks Advisory Committee, the Chester Township Police Department and the Evans Hunting Club.
B. 
Hunters shall be required to park their designated vehicles in appropriate parking lots and shall display a parking placard issued by the Township of Chester in the front windshield. Hunters shall carry the required permit at all times while hunting on these lands and shall produce the permit for spot check inspection by officials of the Chester Township Police Department and/or the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Hunters shall also sign-in at the hunter's logbook at the designated parking area each time they arrive for and depart from hunting activity. When hunters take a deer on property, they shall report date of taking and size and sex information in the logbook at the conclusion of their hunting activity.
C. 
The use and/or construction of permanent tree stands are prohibited. Hunters found using a permanent tree stand will be subject to prosecution pursuant to Subsection E herein and termination of permit. Portable tree stands are allowed, but are used or left unattended at the user's risk. The permit holder's name and permit number must be on the stand in an obvious location. Screw-in tree steps must be removed at the end of the permit season or when the tree stand is moved. Deer feeders are permitted but must be removed by the final day of the hunter's permit.
D. 
Possession of a permit to hunt on Township land does not give hunters permission to cross private property. Hunters are responsible for knowing the boundaries of parklands, as well as safety zones.
E. 
Hunters in the controlled hunting program who receive summonses for hunting violations committed on Township park lands will have their hunting privileges revoked for two years and face a fine of up to $1,000. Hunting privileges will be permanently revoked for a second offense and face a fine of up to $2,000.
F. 
Nonhunting visitors are encouraged to wear blaze orange and confine visits to Sundays during the hunting season.
[Amended 11-18-2008 by Ord. 2008-14; 6-3-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-9]