A retriever brings back a snow goose taken by a Delaware hunter near Little Creek/DNREC photo.
Multiple opening waterfowl hunting seasons run into January
DOVER (Nov. 26, 2019) – Numerous Delaware hunting and trapping seasons open in December, including multiple waterfowl seasons that extend into or through January, coinciding with the influx of a variety of migratory waterfowl for the winter, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today. Many other hunting and trapping seasons provide opportunities to enjoy the winter outdoors as temperatures drop and provide favorable hunting and trapping conditions.
Hunting seasons opening in December:
- Beaver: Dec. 2 - March 20, 2020, private land only
- Woodcock and common snipe: Dec. 7 - Jan. 21, 2020
- Antlerless deer: Dec. 14 - 22, including all Sundays*
- Waterfowl (ducks, coots, and mergansers): Dec. 13 - Jan. 31, 2020
- Brant: Dec. 21 - Jan. 1, 2020
- Canada geese (migratory): Dec. 21 - Jan. 21, 2020
*Archery and crossbow hunters may NOT take antlered deer during the December antlerless deer season.
Trapping seasons opening in December:
- Red fox, coyote: Dec. 1 - March 10, 2020
- Muskrat, mink, otter, raccoon, opossum, nutria:
o New Castle County: Dec. 1 - March 10, 2020 (March 20 on embanked meadows)
o Kent and Sussex counties: Dec. 15 - March 15, 2020
- Beaver: Dec. 1 - March 20, 2020
Continuing hunting seasons include:
- Bobwhite quail: through Jan. 4, 2020
- Sea ducks in the special sea duck area: through Jan. 31, 2020 (See page 30 of the hunting guide for more information about the special sea duck area.)
- Tundra swan: through Jan. 31, 2020, by permit only, issued via pre-season lottery
- Snow goose: through Jan. 31, 2020, and Feb. 8, 2020
- Mourning dove: through Jan. 31, 2020
- Ring-necked pheasant (male only): through Feb. 1, 2020
- Gray squirrel: through Feb. 1, 2020
- Archery and crossbow deer: through Feb. 2, 2020, including all Sundays
- Cottontail rabbit: through Feb. 29, 2020
- Red fox (hunt): through Feb. 29, 2020
- Coyote (hunt): through Feb. 29, 2020
- Raccoon & opossum (hunt): through Feb. 29, 2020*
- Crow: through March 31, 2020 (Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays only)
- Red fox (chase) through April 30, 2020**
- Groundhog: through June 30, 2020 (open year-round)
*Raccoon and opossum may be hunted from 7 p.m. until midnight during the December and January firearm deer seasons.
**Red fox chase season closed during December antlerless season.
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife offers many hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas. Wildlife area maps and rules are available at Wildlife Area Hunting Maps.
A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) is required to hunt, and most waterfowl hunters require a Delaware waterfowl (duck) stamp. More information on hunting license and Delaware waterfowl stamp requirements is available at Delaware Licenses. Waterfowl and other migratory game bird (except crow) hunters will need a Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. To register for a LEN or HIP number, hunters can go to Delaware Hunter and Trapper Registration or call toll free 1-855-335-4868. For hunters age 16 and older, a federal migratory bird stamp is also required to hunt waterfowl.
To purchase a hunting license, either in person or online, hunters born after Jan. 1, 1967, must have a basic hunter education safety course card/number. Hunters who took a Delaware hunter safety course starting in 2008 can print their hunter safety card by going to http://de.gov/huntersafety. Hunters who took their Delaware hunter safety course before 2008 should call the Hunter Education Office at 302-735-3600, ext. 1 to obtain a hunter safety card.
Registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife are required to display a Conservation Access Pass (CAP). Hunters can opt to receive one free annual CAP with the purchase of any Delaware hunting license. To obtain a CAP, hunters will need the registration card for the vehicle to which the pass will be assigned.
Delaware hunting licenses, Delaware waterfowl stamps, and Conservation Access Passes can be purchased online at Delaware Licenses, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and from hunting license agents statewide. Federal migratory bird stamps are available at U.S. Post Offices, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges, and online at Federal duck stamps.
For more information on hunting, click 2019-2020 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide and Wildlife Area Hunting Maps. Hard copies of the guide and hunting maps are also available at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office. More information on hunting licenses, season details, and the Conservation Access Pass is also available by calling the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.