Hunting opportunities offered on state wildlife areas
DOVER (Aug. 28, 2015) – Delaware’s hunting seasons will start Tuesday, Sept. 1 with the opening of the archery and crossbow deer season and mourning dove and resident Canada goose seasons on private lands and state wildlife areas. Hunters can start adding teal to their bag on Friday, Sept. 11, when the Special September Teal Season opens in certain areas. The daily teal bag limit is six birds, and includes both green-winged and blue-winged teal with a possession limit of 18 birds.
General Migratory Bird Hunting Information for the 2015/16 season:
September season dates and legal hunting hours are:
- Doves: Sept. 1-26 (½ hour before sunrise to sunset)*
- Resident Canada Geese: Sept. 1-25 (½ hour before sunrise to sunset)
- Teal: Sept. 11-29 (½ hour before sunrise to sunset).
For later dates and other migratory game bird seasons, hunters should consult the 2015/16 Delaware Migratory Game Bird Season Summary, which will be available in printed form by early September.
*REMINDER: Non-toxic shot must be used for all dove hunting on state wildlife areas during the month of September.
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife offers many early-season hunting opportunities on wildlife areas throughout the state. In some locations, hunting hours may be affected by other activities taking place on the wildlife areas. A summary of hunting opportunities, procedures and rules for migratory bird hunting on state wildlife areas includes:
New Castle County
Sunflower fields have been planted at the Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area on the Guestford and Rocks tracts, where hunting spots will be drawn through a lottery held at noon at the Cedar Swamp lottery station located on Collins Beach Road. Hunting days will be opening day Tuesday, Sept. 1, Labor Day Monday, Sept. 7 and all Saturdays in September. Hunting hours are 1 to 5 p.m. All other areas of Cedar Swamp outside of zones 1 and 2 are open daily to dove hunting in accordance with all state and federal regulations from a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Augustine Wildlife Area is open throughout dove season with no special permits required; no sunflower fields were planted there this year.
Dove hunting is also permitted on the C&D Canal Conservation Area and Blackbird Reserve Wildlife Area throughout the September season with no special permits required. Hunting at the Augustine and Blackbird Reserve wildlife areas and the C&D Canal Conservation Area is permitted from a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Resident Canada Geese
Resident Canada goose hunting will be available on the C&D Canal Conservation Area and on and around Reedy Island in the Delaware River. No special permits are required. Hunting hours are a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Ten blinds on the Port Penn Tract of the Augustine Wildlife Area will be open for the early teal season. These blinds are available by permit only through lottery drawings held at the Augustine lottery station at the end of North Congress Street in Port Penn. Lotteries will be held opening day Sept. 11, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with drawings taking place 1½ hours before legal shooting time throughout the season. Status of grassed blinds will be posted at the lottery station.
Sunflowers have been planted in fields on the Davey Crockett Tract of the Little Creek Wildlife Area and the Logan Lane Tract of the Ted Harvey Wildlife Area. Permits to hunt these fields are issued through a noon lottery at the Little Creek lottery station on Route 9/Bayside Drive just south of the town of Little Creek. These areas will be open to hunting opening day Sept. 1, Labor Day Sept. 7, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in September only. Hunting hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Dove hunting is restricted to these fields only on the two tracts.
The Penuel Tract of the Milford Neck Wildlife Area also has a sunflower field, with no special permit required, and the rest of the tract also is available for dove hunting. While no fields were planted specifically for doves on the following wildlife areas, all are open in season and do not require a permit: Woodland Beach-Lighthouse Island Tract; Blackiston; Tappahanna; Little Creek-Main Tract; Norman G. Wilder; Ted Harvey-Morris and Buckaloo tracts; and Milford Neck-Coverdale, Main and Rawley’s Island tracts.
Resident Canada Geese
Resident Canada goose hunting will be available on the following wildlife areas: Blackiston; Tappahanna; Norman G. Wilder; Little Creek-Davey Crockett Tract; Ted Harvey-Morris and Buckaloo tracts; and Milford Neck-Penuel, Coverdale, Main and Rawley’s Island tracts with no special permits required. Hours are a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Woodland Beach Wildlife Area marsh, Taylor’s Gut and McKay Tract blinds will be available through a lottery held 1½ hours before legal shooting time on a daily basis at the Woodland Beach lottery station on Route 9. Ted Harvey Wildlife Area river, Roberts and Island Farm Tract blinds will be issued through the Little Creek lottery station beginning two hours before legal shooting time daily. Status of grassed blinds will be posted at the lottery station. The Little Creek-Davey Crockett Tract and Milford Neck-Penuel, Main, Rawley’s Island and Cedar Creek tracts are open without special permits.
Dove hunting will be available on the Assawoman and Nanticoke wildlife areas over oats planted in the fall and over fallow fields. At Assawoman, hunts will be on Saturdays only beginning Sept. 5. Hunting hours are 1 to 6 p.m. During the month of September, permits will be issued on a self-serve basis beginning at noon at the Assawoman Wildlife Area check station; no permits are required after September. Hunting hours after September will be a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
At the Nanticoke Wildlife Area, dove hunting will begin opening day Sept. 1 over mowed fallow fields. No permits or checkout are required and there are no limits on the number of hunters at the wildlife area.
All other wildlife areas in Sussex County are open for dove hunting from a half hour before sunrise to sunset with no permits required.
Resident Canada Geese
No resident Canada goose hunts are planned for Sussex County on state wildlife areas as no resident goose flocks are known to be present on areas accessible for hunting.
Prime Hook State Wildlife Area is open to teal hunting this year. Hunting days are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. State blinds 1 through 8 will be open. Permits are free and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis from the new tag board at the boat ramp on the Prime Hook State Wildlife Area at the end of Little Neck Road. All federal blinds are closed, and no drawings or checkout will occur. No other Sussex County state wildlife areas fall within the September teal season zones. Hunting hours are a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Hunters, review licensing and other requirements before heading afield:
A Delaware resident annual hunting license costs $25 for ages 16 through 64. A resident junior hunting license costs $5 for ages 13 through 15. To hunt waterfowl in Delaware, including teal, residents age 16 through 64 are required to purchase a state waterfowl (duck) stamp, which costs $9. Higher license prices apply to non-resident hunters, and no exemptions are made for non-residents age 65 and older on purchasing a Delaware hunting license or waterfowl stamp.
Hunters who are exempt from purchasing a license must obtain an annual, free License Exempt Number (LEN). Teal, dove and goose hunters also must obtain a Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. Both are available online or by calling 855-335-4868 toll-free.
If hunting waterfowl on a state wildlife area from a blind that was selected through a lottery, all hunters in the blind are required to carry the $20 annual blind permit, available for purchase online or where hunting licenses are sold. This permit is waived for hunters participating in Division of Fish & Wildlife-designated youth hunting days.
Delaware hunting licenses, blind permits and waterfowl stamps are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find a participating hunting license agent, to purchase a license or blind permit or to obtain a HIP or LEN number online, click Delaware Licenses and Permits. For additional information on Delaware hunting licenses, call 302-739-9918.
A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp, available for purchase online, at U.S. Post Offices and at Bombay Hook and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuges, is required for all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older; no exemptions are made for persons 65 years or older for purchasing federal stamps.
For general information on hunting in Delaware, hunters should consult the 2015-2016 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide along with wildlife area maps. Both are available online at Delaware Hunting Information. Hard copies of the guide and the hunting maps are also available at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, or by calling the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.
Hunters encouraged to check out public shooting sports ranges near New Castle, Greenwood
Hunters looking to hone their skills before fall hunting seasons open are encouraged to consider Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center and Range in New Castle and Owens Station Shooting Sports & Hunter Education Center near Greenwood, which was dedicated last September as downstate Delaware’s first and only state-owned public shooting sports range.
Ommelanden offers wingshooters a variety of training choices including trap, skeet and five-stand, as well as a 35-yard archery sighting-in range that is now crossbow compatible, a 2-D and 3-D archery course and a 25-meter and 50-meter shotgun/rifle/pistol sighting-in range. Owens Station also offers wingshooters the opportunity to practice on trap and five-stand courses. The center also features an outstanding sporting clays course. For more information, click Division of Fish & Wildlife Public Ranges.