Changes were approved last week for hunting this fall and proposed for fishing in 2018-2019.

The Fish and Game Council on Tuesday approved all 39 amendments to the 2017-18 Game Code and voted to proceed with proposed changes to the 2018-19 Fish Code.

Among the changes are an extension of the youth pheasant hunt from one to six days, a prohibition of the use of drones during hunting, and the initiation of an apprentice license for firearms and bow hunting.

Anglers would not keep brook trout next year, only catch and release them, and the Black River would be removed from in-season closures. There are many new wild trout regulations, too many of them to be listed here.

The muskellunge size limit would be changed from 36 inches to 40 inches statewide, and in Lake Hopatcong, Echo Lake Reservoir, Greenwood Lake and Monksville Resevoir the muskie size limit would increase to 44 inches.

The information will be publicized in the coming months and the Fish Code will be published in the New Jersey State Register, probably in September.

Fish and Game Council Chairman Dave Burke reported the Division of Fish and Wildlife will fill 11 vacancies, including the post of  Marine Fisheries administrator.

The state’s new budget year will start on July 1, and most funding of the Division Fish and Wildlife’s comes from hunters and anglers who purchase licenses, stamps and permits.

But there are federal funds, derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, shooting, boating, and angling industries on firearms, bows, ammunition and sport fishing tackle, some boat engines and small engine fuel.

The feds said last week the division’s share of the federal funds is $7,664,947 through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, and $3,494,429 through the Dingell-Johnson…