Woodchuck Hunting

steve_everyman

New Member
Apr 2, 2018
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Northfield
Hey I was wondering if anyone knew anywhere good for woodchuck hunting and maybe some tips. I've hunted before, but never any varmints. I know some people ask farmers to hunt on their land since a ton congregate there. Not sure they'd be happy to let a complete stranger with a gun wander around though. I've never seen any in the woods either and I take a hike for a few hours every weekend. Any tips?
 

bobpbx

Piney
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Oct 25, 2002
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Pines; Bamber area
Now that you mention it, I rarely see them in the pines, even along dirt roads. Even along the numerous fields planted to support deer and game birds, I don't recall seeing them. Odd. Maybe it's just me.
 

Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
There has been a family on my land for quite some time, they are generally very shy but one year there were some babies that let me walk right up to them. They don't do any harm to me, I don't have a garden and the neighbors are all far away. I have seen them while driving around the pines also, they are definitely here. It might just be you Bob. :)

Sorry no idea of where you can hunt them. Do you eat them?

chuck1.jpg
 
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RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
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I hunt them all over the southern part of the State and all I can say is, they don't live deep in the woods, pine barrens or otherwise. They are an edge species. In the pines you have to find a good food source (farm) near hedgerows or woods lines.

I have a friend who has a construction yard that holds a lot of them. They burrow under his sheds, trailers and material stockpiles and he would love to see them all gone. I used to use my old 640K Chuckster in .22 WMRF to be somewhat neighbor friendly but it didn't drop all of them where they stood. He encouraged me to go ahead and use my centerfire .22-250 and that is far more effective and can easily reach out to 300 yards.

My favorite spot is a farm that is along the edge of a 120 acre alternating soybean/corn field. It is infested with groundhogs and the owner literally begs us to come down. They have established burrows in the middle of the fields and have caused problems for the mechanical harvesters in the fall.

Start knocking on doors and do some networking. Join the NJ Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs too and get their hunter's liability insurance policy. It comes with their $35 per year membership and you get an insurance certificate. I make copies and carry them in my truck. It puts many landowners' minds at ease and opens a lot of doors for us for all types of hunting.

Good luck !
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
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Coastal NJ
Any tips?
Some suggestions, but not knowing where you are coming from, they may be a bit far. State WMA's are a good place to start. A few I have hunted have them; Assunpink, Colliers Mills, Greenwood, Peaslee, Higbee, Bevans. Concentrate on the fields managed for upland birds. You might also contact a regional F&W field office.
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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My favorite spot is a farm that is along the edge of a 120 acre alternating soybean/corn field. It is infested with groundhogs and the owner literally begs us to come down. They have established burrows in the middle of the fields and have caused problems for the mechanical harvesters in the fall.
Is that the place you and I discussed before where all the action is in the center of the field?
 

RednekF350

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Feb 20, 2004
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Some suggestions, but not knowing where you are coming from, they may be a bit far. State WMA's are a good place to start. A few I have hunted have them; Assunpink, Colliers Mills, Greenwood, Peaslee, Higbee, Bevans. Concentrate on the fields managed for upland birds. You might also contact a regional F&W field office.
Important reminders for those who may be interested in pursuing groundhogs in NJ:

-Rifles cannot be used for groundhog hunting in State Forests, Parks or Wildlife Management Areas.
-Centerfire rifles less than .25 caliber may use any bullet weight. Rifles in calibers greater than .25 cannot use bullet weights greater than 80 grains.

The weapon rules are on page 58 of the current regulations. Search the document for woodchuck and you will find all of the other subtle nuances in the rules.
http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/pdf/2017/dighnt17.pdf
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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millville nj
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I can vouch for Bevans,their all over down here but always near fields.You don't encounter them back in the woods but always on the edge.
All those rules and regs are he main reason I don't hunt anymore. Gotta be a rocket scientist in this state to kill a groundhog or anything else legally.Thats what happens when you pay people to make laws.They have to do their job so it quickly becomes over burdensome to the point of stupidity.
 

GermanG

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Apr 2, 2005
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Little Egg Harbor
I've been peppered with shot twice while hunting. One time was while duck hunting and the other while small game hunting. Considering how small our state is, and with our open space getting continually getting smaller, I'm very glad we do not have unrestricted rifle use. In states with plenty of wide-open space it presents little problem, but that isn't a description of NJ.
 
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RednekF350

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Feb 20, 2004
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I've been peppered with shot twice while hunting. One time was while duck hunting and the other while small game hunting. Considering how small our state is, and with our open space getting continually getting smaller, I'm very glad we do not have unrestricted rifle use. In states with plenty of wide-open space it presents little problem, but that isn't a description of NJ.
The NJ laws with regard to rifle use have always been somewhat contradictory and a little surprising German. When I was a kid in the 1960's, NJ was a no rifle State. The first thing that crept in was .22 shorts for dispatching trapped animals and coon hunting with dogs. Then came the muzzleloaders. Although we can't use a centerfire rifle for deer in this State, an inline muzzle capable of 200 yd shots is fine. My slug gun is also a 200 yard gun and it is deemed a "shotgun".

What really gets me is that I could use a .243 with a 100 grain bullet for groundhogs, which is a very capable deer round but I can't use it for deer. Even more amazing is when they started allowing centerfire for coyotes and fox.
I would love to be able to use my .35 Rem lever gun or my '06 for deer in this State. Who knows ?
 

RednekF350

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Gawd! I hope that never happens.
As I said Bob, there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to our evolving hunting rifle laws. I like where we are at now vs when I was a kid.

Another strange rule came out of nowhere a few years ago when they legalized air rifle for small game. The minimum allowable velocity is 600 f.p.s. So, if you get a really good .22 cal. air rifle, you are now in the same ballistic realm with a conventional 22. But yet, I can't shoot a squirrel with a .22

The rules:
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/airgun_info.htm
 

steve_everyman

New Member
Apr 2, 2018
2
1
3
Northfield
There has been a family on my land for quite some time, they are generally very shy but one year there were some babies that let me walk right up to them. They don't do any harm to me, I don't have a garden and the neighbors are all far away. I have seen them while driving around the pines also, they are definitely here. It might just be you Bob. :)

Sorry no idea of where you can hunt them. Do you eat them?

View attachment 10583
Yeah I have a few cousins who hunt them and I've had it before.

I hunt them all over the southern part of the State and all I can say is, they don't live deep in the woods, pine barrens or otherwise. They are an edge species. In the pines you have to find a good food source (farm) near hedgerows or woods lines.

I have a friend who has a construction yard that holds a lot of them. They burrow under his sheds, trailers and material stockpiles and he would love to see them all gone. I used to use my old 640K Chuckster in .22 WMRF to be somewhat neighbor friendly but it didn't drop all of them where they stood. He encouraged me to go ahead and use my centerfire .22-250 and that is far more effective and can easily reach out to 300 yards.

My favorite spot is a farm that is along the edge of a 120 acre alternating soybean/corn field. It is infested with groundhogs and the owner literally begs us to come down. They have established burrows in the middle of the fields and have caused problems for the mechanical harvesters in the fall.

Start knocking on doors and do some networking. Join the NJ Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs too and get their hunter's liability insurance policy. It comes with their $35 per year membership and you get an insurance certificate. I make copies and carry them in my truck. It puts many landowners' minds at ease and opens a lot of doors for us for all types of hunting.

Good luck !
Thanks I'll definitely look into it. My father knows a few people who own farms so I might already have an in there.


Thanks everyone for the tips.
 
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GermanG

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Apr 2, 2005
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I think where the current laws do make a degree of sense is that chuck hunting is done on open ground, typically farmland in the case of centerfire rifles, where you are far less likely to put a bullet into someone else. Deer hunting, however, can occur in any habitat we have, including heavy brush, hence the laws as they stand. Perhaps a law allowing rifle use from tree stands only might be a compromise, making the situation safer. I believe some land managers have that stipulation on bow hunts designed to reduce local deer populations. That brings to mind another inconsistency: I can't shoot deer with my .30-30 from a tree looking down, but I can shoot my .36 Pennsylvania rifle up into the trees at squirrels! (not that I'm complaining:))
 
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RednekF350

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I can't shoot deer with my .30-30 from a tree looking down, but I can shoot my .36 Pennsylvania rifle up into the trees at squirrels! (not that I'm complaining:))
The small caliber muzzleloader rifle for squirrel was another surprising rule change German. I remember it when it came out. A few friends of mine went out and bought .36's and still go out occasionally.
I just wish I could use a conventional .22 :(
 
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46er

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Mar 24, 2004
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My slug gun is also a 200 yard gun and it is deemed a "shotgun".
The only 'logic', if you want to call it that, is a shotgun does not have a rifled barrel. Makes it simple for the Goobermint; no rifling, it can't be a rifle. However there are rifled shotgun barrels or slugs that will take care of the spin and they are legal for Chucks. :worms: :rolleyes: :confused:
 

RednekF350

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Feb 20, 2004
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The only 'logic', if you want to call it that, is a shotgun does not have a rifled barrel. Makes it simple for the Goobermint; no rifling, it can't be a rifle. However there are rifled shotgun barrels or slugs that will take care of the spin and they are legal for Chucks. :worms: :rolleyes: :confused:
The Savage 220 bolt that I use for deer is rifled. It is essentially a rifle that shoots a 260 gr. bullet that happens to be seated in a shotgun shell. It is legal for all of the shotgun deer seasons in NJ.
 
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Zach McGarvey

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Feb 11, 2018
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It does seem, that most of our gun laws are written by people who have never seen a gun, in a misguided attempt to fix our violent society.

I'm a leftist, but an unconventional one, it seems.

I believe crime is caused by poverty and mental instability. Address these, and you will see a decrease in gun violence. I don't mind my tax dollars funding programs that seek to alleviate those issues. Anything else is simply a distraction. I have always had a gun in my house and it has never called upon me to commit a crime. Its being there has never made me think to shoot someone just because I'm pissed. The fact that I own a gun, or the size of its magazine, does not do anything to make me more likely to be a criminal. The problem is that government works for the wealthy, and the wealthy would rather see us debate gun technicalities, than institute a redistributive tax system, that would actually alleviate the true roots of violence.

The hunting firearm restrictions seem to be built on the same web of confused cause and effect.