Picture supplied by Fish and Wildlife Service Website. http://www.fws.gov/hunting/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hunting opportunities offered on state wildlife areas for all game seasons with early start
DOVER (Aug. 29, 2016) – Delaware’s 2016/17 hunting seasons will start Thursday, Sept. 1 with the opening of the archery and crossbow deer season and the 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. 9, when the Special September Teal Season opens in certain areas indicated in the2016-2017 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide. The daily teal bag limit is six birds, and includes both green-winged and blue-winged teal, with a possession limit of 18 birds.
September season dates and legal hunting hours except for certain wildlife areas are:
Doves*: Sept. 1-Oct. 1 (½ hour before sunrise to sunset)
Resident Canada Geese: Sept. 1-24 (½ hour before sunrise to sunset)
Teal: Sept. 9-27 (½ hour before sunrise to sunset).
For later dove seasons and other migratory game bird seasons, hunters should consult the 2016-2017 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide.
*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 Wildlife Areas
Sunflower fields have been planted at the Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area on the Guestford and Rocks tracts. Hunting spots for these tracts 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 Thursday, Sept. 1, Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5, all Saturdays in September, and the first Saturday in October. 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 from a half hour before sunrise to sunset 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. Dove 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.
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. 9, 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. Hunting hours are a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Kent County Wildlife Areas
Sunflowers have been planted in fields on the Davey Crockett Tract of the Little Creek Wildlife Area and the Logan Lane and Buckaloo tracts 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 Thursday, Sept. 1, Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in September and Saturday, Oct. 1 only. Hunting hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Dove hunting is restricted to the planted fields only on the three tracts.
The McKay Tract of the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area also has a sunflower field, which will be open to permit-only dove hunting with a lottery at the Cedar Swamp check station at noon on opening day Thursday, Sept. 1, again on Labor Day Monday (Sept. 5), and all Saturdays in September and the first Saturday in October. Hunting hours are 1 to 5 p.m.
Sunflower fields open for dove hunting throughout the season without a special permit are: the Smith Tract of the Blackiston Wildlife area, the Haines Tract of the Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area and the Penuel Tract of the Milford Neck Wildlife Area. Hunting hours are a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Resident Canada Geese
Resident Canada goose hunting will be available on the following wildlife areas with no special permits required: 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. Hunting hours are a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Select blinds will be open at the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area through a lottery held daily 1½ hours before legal hunting time at the Woodland Beach check station on Route 9. Ted Harvey Wildlife Area river blinds and Roberts and Island Farm Tract blinds will be issued daily 2 hours before legal hunting time at the Little Creek lottery station. Status of grassed blinds will be posted at the lottery stations. The Little Creek-Davey Crockett Tract and Milford Neck-Penuel, Main, Rawley’s Island and Cedar Creek tracts are open for hunting without special permits. Hunting hours are a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Sussex County Wildlife Areas
Dove hunting will be available on the Assawoman and Nanticoke wildlife areas over sunflower fields. At Assawoman, hunts will be on Saturdays only Sept. 3-Oct. 1. 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 Thursday, Sept. 1 over sunflower fields. No permits or checkout are required, with no limits on the number of hunters at the wildlife area. Hunting hours are a half hour before sunrise to sunset.
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 1-5 and blind sites 6-8 will be open. Permits are free and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis from the tag board at the boat ramp on 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 requirement 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 desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, 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 2016-2017 Delaware Hunting & 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, or by calling the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.
Hunters encouraged to check out Division of Fish & Wildlife public shooting sports ranges near New Castle, Greenwood
Hunters looking to hone their skills before fall hunting seasons open are encouraged to consider a trip to Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center and Range near New Castle and Owens Station Shooting Sports & Hunter Education Center near Greenwood. Ommelanden offers wingshooters a variety of training choices, including trap, skeet and five-stand, 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 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.