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Delaware Hunting Licensing and Permits Information

Quick Reference for Licensed Hunters

Resident Licensing Requirements

Age Group: 12 and Under

  • License Exempt Number: Required
  • Junior Hunting License: Not needed unless turning 13 during the season
  • Adult Hunting License: Not applicable
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • HIP #: Mandatory
  • Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit: Required

Age Group: 13 through 15

  • License Exempt Number: Not required
  • Junior Hunting License: Mandatory
  • Adult Hunting License: Not needed unless turning 16 during the season
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • HIP #: Mandatory
  • Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit: Required

Age Group: 16 through 64

  • License Exempt Number: Not required
  • Junior Hunting License: Not applicable
  • Adult Hunting License: Required
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: Mandatory
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: Mandatory
  • HIP #: Mandatory
  • Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit: Required

Age Group: 65 and Over

  • License Exempt Number: Required
  • Junior Hunting License: Not applicable
  • Adult Hunting License: Not needed
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: Mandatory
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • HIP #: Mandatory
  • Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit: Required

Non-Resident Licensing Requirements

Age Group: 12 and Under

  • License Exempt Number: Required
  • Junior Hunting License: Not needed unless turning 13 during the season
  • Adult Hunting License: Not applicable
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • HIP #: Mandatory
  • Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit: Required

Age Group: 13 through 15

  • License Exempt Number: Not required
  • Junior Hunting License: Mandatory
  • Adult Hunting License: Not needed unless turning 16 during the season
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: Not required
  • HIP #: Mandatory
  • Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit: Required

Age Group: 16 through 64

  • License Exempt Number: Not required
  • Junior Hunting License: Not applicable
  • Adult Hunting License: Required
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: Mandatory
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: Mandatory
  • HIP #: Mandatory
  • Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit: Required

Age Group: 65 and Over

  • License Exempt Number: Not required
  • Junior Hunting License: Not applicable
  • Adult Hunting License: Required
  • Federal Waterfowl Stamp: Mandatory
  • State Waterfowl Stamp: Mandatory
  • HIP #: Mandatory
  • Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit: Required

Note for License Exempt Hunters/Trappers

  • Additional details are available under the section titled LICENSE EXEMPT HUNTERS/TRAPPERS.

Special Exemption

  • Youth Hunters and Supervising Adults: A deer stand and waterfowl blind permit is not required during special youth and non-ambulatory deer and waterfowl seasons.

SOCIAL SECURITY REQUIREMENT FOR DELAWARE HUNTING LICENSES

Under Federal Welfare Reform Legislation, specifically Title 42 of the US Code, Section 666(a)(13), the Delaware Division of Child Support Services is empowered to collect Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from individuals who acquire recreational hunting and fishing licenses. This mandate serves to ensure compliance with child support enforcement efforts. Additional details regarding this requirement can be obtained through the Delaware government's official portal for hunting licenses at Delaware Hunting License Information.

DUPLICATE HUNTING LICENSE PROCESS IN DELAWARE

Individuals needing a duplicate hunting license in Delaware can print one without charge by accessing their Digital DNREC Account, available at the Digital DNREC Portal. For those without a Digital DNREC account or requiring additional assistance, the Recreational Licensing Office can be contacted directly by phone at (302) 739-9918. Alternatively, inquiries can be sent via email to dfwreclic@delaware.gov for further guidance on obtaining a duplicate license.

AUTOMATION OF DELAWARE'S RECREATIONAL LICENSING

Delaware offers a fully automated recreational licensing system, enabling sportsmen to purchase and print their licenses anytime, utilizing a compatible computer and printer via the Digital DNREC website. The state also collaborates with more than 40 Licensing Agents for in-person license purchases, including the Dover Fish and Wildlife office located at 89 Kings Highway. For a comprehensive list of all Licensing Agents or additional assistance, individuals can either visit the website or contact the office at 302-739-9918.

HUNTER EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS FOR DELAWARE HUNTING LICENSE

Delaware mandates hunters born on or after January 1, 1967, to have verified completion of hunter education before obtaining a hunting license. During the online purchase through Digital DNREC, you may need to upload your Hunter education card for verification unless it is already confirmed by the Hunter Education Program. Delaware Hunter Education graduates provide their Hunter Safety Number for immediate verification, while others may require up to 5 business days.

For urgent license needs without verified hunter education, visit one of the authorized Licensing Agents, whose directory is available at License Agents. Present your hunter education card to the agent for on-the-spot verification for the current season.

To ensure a smooth process in future transactions, upload your Hunter Education card to your Digital DNREC profile, where it will be permanently verified and recorded by the Hunter Education Program, saving time on subsequent license purchases.

DELAWARE GOES DIGITAL: HUNTING LICENSES AND DUCK STAMPS

In Delaware, a new law has been enacted that now permits hunters and trappers to carry their licenses and Delaware waterfowl (duck) stamps in digital form. One can choose to have them either on a mobile device or as a traditional paper copy. Despite this advancement, Delaware deer hunters must still have a paper copy of their Deer Harvest Report Card. Following a deer harvest, it is mandatory to fill out the card in ink before transporting the deer from the harvest location.

It's essential for hunters aged 16 and above to be aware that the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the Federal Duck Stamp, does not have a digital alternative. This stamp must be physically possessed, signed in ink, and carried while hunting waterfowl and other migratory birds.

SPECIAL LICENSES AND PERMITS: DELAWARE'S DNREC REGULATIONS

In Delaware, DNREC's Dover office at 89 Kings Highway is the sole issuer of specific permits and licenses required for various wildlife-related activities, including:

  • Commercial trading of raw furs
  • Conducting dog field trials
  • Out-of-state game shipment
  • Commercial game breeding
  • Shooting preserve operations
  • Wildlife possession or collection for scientific study
  • Possession of live wild or protected animals
  • Off-season training of retrievers (exclusively for this category)

DELAWARE LICENSE EXEMPT HUNTERS AND TRAPPERS: OBTAINING LEN

LICENSE EXEMPT NUMBER (LEN) REQUIREMENT

Any hunter or trapper in Delaware who is exempt from purchasing a license must obtain an annual License Exempt Number (LEN) at no cost. Separate LENs are needed for both hunting and trapping if an individual participates in both activities.

CONTRIBUTION TO CONSERVATION

License-exempt individuals may purchase a hunting or trapping license voluntarily to support wildlife conservation and habitat management efforts. Should a license-exempt person buy a license, they are not required to obtain a LEN.

USE OF LEN

The LEN system allows the inclusion of license-exempt hunters and trappers in-game harvest surveys and policy-making processes. It is to be used as your license number for game registration, obtaining a HIP number, or purchasing additional tags or permits. Eligible deer hunters receive five free deer tags but must still adhere to the Deer Harvest Report Card requirements.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

License-exempt hunters who do not buy a license but use motor vehicles in State Wildlife Areas must purchase a Conservation Access Pass. They must also acquire a State Wildlife Area Waterfowl Blind and Deer Stand Permit unless on designated days. A Delaware Waterfowl Stamp is compulsory for Maryland residents hunting snow geese, and all those 16+ must purchase a federal waterfowl stamp. A free HIP number is required for hunting migratory birds, with a separate permit for the snow geese Conservation Order.

OBTAINING LEN AND OTHER ITEMS

LEN and other related items can be acquired via Digital DNREC or at any licensed hunting locations listed at License Agents. For LEN eligibility and assistance, contact the recreational licensing office at 302-739-9918 or visit DNREC's License Exemptions page.

CRITERIA FOR LICENSE EXEMPTION

DELAWARE RESIDENTS:

  • Youth Under 13: Can hunt under supervision without a license.
  • Senior 65 or Older: Can hunt or trap with proof of age and residency.
  • Property Owner: Can hunt or trap on their farm (20+ acres) without a license.
  • Organized Fox Hunt: Can participate unarmed without a license.

NON-RESIDENTS:

  • Snow Goose Hunter: Can hunt without a license under reciprocal conditions and must purchase a DE waterfowl stamp.
  • Youth Under 13: Can hunt under supervision without a license.
  • Farm Occupant: Can hunt or trap on the farm they reside on (20+ acres) without a license.
  • Property Owner: Can hunt or trap on their farm with permission without a license.
  • Organized Fox Hunt: Can participate without a license.

MILITARY EXEMPTIONS:

  • Military Hospital Inpatient: Can hunt or trap with commanding officer's certification.
  • Veterans with a Disability: Can hunt or trap with appropriate certification.
  • One-time Military Veteran: Residents on recent active duty can hunt without purchasing a license for 12 months post-service.

Military members and veterans meeting exemption criteria should apply online at DNREC's License Exemptions page or call 302-739-9918. Military licenses are processed exclusively via the Dover office.

For system issues or eligibility questions, call the recreational licensing office at 302-739-9918 during business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.

ACCESSIBLE HUNTING IN DELAWARE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR HUNTERS WITH DISABILITIES

Delaware offers numerous hunting possibilities for those with disabilities. For details regarding accessible deer stands and waterfowl blind locations on public lands, refer to the Public Lands Hunting & Trapping page.

CERTIFICATION CARD FOR HUNTERS WITH DISABILITIES

To access the tailored facilities and hunting opportunities within State Wildlife Areas and State Parks, hunters with disabilities must obtain a State of Delaware Certified Hunter with Disabilities Card. Contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9912 for certification information.

HUNT FROM A VEHICLE PERMIT

A specific permit allowing approved non-ambulatory hunters to hunt designated game from their vehicles can be secured through the Division. This provides an opportunity for those unable to hunt by traditional means due to mobility restrictions.

HUNTER REGISTRATION SYSTEM FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED

Hearing-impaired hunters can manage their hunting requirements online, registering harvested deer, procuring HIP numbers, enrolling for the Snow Goose Conservation Order, and submitting reports on hunting activity during the Conservation Order, all via Digital DNREC.

NON-RESIDENT MILITARY PERSONNEL LICENSING IN DELAWARE

U.S. armed forces members stationed in Delaware are considered state residents for hunting, trapping, and fishing license purposes. To apply, they must present a statement from their commanding officer confirming their station in the state.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Eligible service members should apply for their resident license online at Delaware's DNREC website or by calling 302-739-9918, as this specific license cannot be obtained through State Licensing Agents.

DELAWARE HUNTING GUIDE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

Individuals compensated to provide hunting guide services in Delaware must obtain a Delaware Guide License. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have no wildlife or fisheries statute or regulation convictions in the past three years.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS AND INFORMATION

Licensed guides must submit an annual report within seven days of season close, providing details like each hunter's full information, hunting license numbers, harvests, and locations. These records must be maintained for three years and are subject to inspection.

The Delaware Guide License serves as both a guide and hunting license; thus, a separate hunting license is not required for the guide.

EXEMPTIONS FOR NON-RESIDENT SNOW GOOSE GUIDES

Non-residents guiding for snow geese are exempt from the guide license if:

  • They hold a valid guide license from another jurisdiction that reciprocates the exemption for Delaware guides.
  • They acquire a free License exemption number, purchase a Delaware migratory waterfowl stamp, and secure a Delaware H.I.P. permit.
  • Their home state or Canadian province offers a similar exemption to Delaware residents.

LICENSE APPLICATION

Prospective guides must apply online at Delaware's Digital DNREC portal or contact the Recreational Licensing Office at (302) 739-9918. This license is not procurable through State Licensing Agents.

DELAWARE TRAPPING LICENSE PROCUREMENT

Trappers in Delaware must secure their licenses via the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

RENEWAL AND APPROVAL PROCESS

  • Trappers with a license from the last two years can renew through Digital DNREC or authorized agents without awaiting approval.
  • New applicants or those who skipped the past two years must apply through Digital DNREC. Approval from the Division is mandatory before processing these applications, so early application is recommended.
  • Mail-in applications can be executed through DNREC's website or by requesting a form at 302-739-9918.

Once licensed, trappers receive a permanent license number, renewable annually.

REQUIREMENTS FOR DELAWARE'S CONSERVATION ACCESS PASS (CAP)

A Conservation Access Pass (CAP) is mandated for all registered vehicles entering Delaware State Wildlife Areas, effective from July 1, 2017.

ACQUISITION AND USAGE

  • Purchasers of a hunting license receive a free annual CAP, showing their vehicle registration card during purchase.
  • The CAP is vehicle-specific but can be transferred for $10 to another vehicle owned by the same person through Digital DNREC.
  • Hunters not choosing a free CAP during a license purchase can obtain one via Digital DNREC by providing the necessary documentation.

DETAILS AND EXCEPTIONS

  • A CAP must be conspicuously displayed in the specified vehicle.
  • The annual validity is from the license purchase date until June 30 of the next year.
  • Non-resident 3-day hunting license holders are also eligible for a free annual CAP.
  • License-exempt hunters must buy a CAP for vehicle access to State Wildlife Areas.
  • Additional CAPs can be bought for individuals with multiple vehicles.
  • CAP purchase locations include the official website, authorized agents, and the Division's office in Dover.
  • Specific Wildlife Areas like the C&D Canal Conservation Area are exempt from requiring a CAP.
  • A CAP is not needed for accessing Department-leased lands for lease-specific purposes.

For full details on exemptions and the CAP's scope or to buy a pass, visit the official Fish and Wildlife website or contact the Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912.

DELAWARE RESIDENT SENIOR LIFETIME CONSERVATION ACCESS PASS

Effective from July 1, 2022, Delaware citizens aged 65 and above can acquire a Resident Senior Lifetime Conservation Access Pass (CAP) for a once-off fee of $65, granting access to State Wildlife Areas in line with standard CAP holders.

FEATURES AND REGULATIONS

  • The Senior Lifetime CAP maintains validity provided the individual continues to reside in Delaware.
  • This CAP is individual-centric rather than vehicle-specific, thus non-transferable to another person.
  • The pass is applicable across any vehicle as long as the senior pass holder is present either as a driver or a passenger.
  • When accessing Wildlife Areas, the pass must be displayed on the vehicle's driver's side front dashboard.

PURCHASE AND CONTACT INFORMATION

The Resident Senior Lifetime CAP can be purchased through Digital DNREC, at state-authorized license agents, or directly at the Division’s licensing desk. For assistance or inquiries regarding the pass, individuals can contact the Recreational Licensing Office at 302-739-9918.

TATE WILDLIFE AREAS AND CONSERVATION ACCESS PASS (CAP) REQUIREMENTS

Delaware provides interactive online Wildlife Area Maps, accessible via mobile devices for various activities. The maps feature zoom functions and detailed information on general layout, hunting zones, Sunday hunting, and birding locations. Access the maps at Delaware's Wildlife Area Maps.

WILDLIFE AREAS REQUIRING CAP

The following areas mandate a CAP for entry with a registered vehicle:

  • Assawoman Wildlife Area (certain exceptions apply)
  • Augustine Wildlife Area (excludes Augustine Beach)
  • Blackiston Wildlife Area
  • Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area (excludes Collins Beach)
  • Eagles Nest Wildlife Area
  • Industrial Forest Land Wildlife Area – Barr and Laurel Complexes
  • Little Creek Wildlife Area (excludes Port Mahon and DNREC Offices)
  • Marshy Hope Wildlife Area
  • McGinnis Pond Wildlife Area (excludes McGinnis Pond boating area)
  • Midlands Wildlife Area
  • Milford Neck Wildlife Area (excludes DuPont Nature Center and Cedar Creek)
  • Nanticoke Wildlife Area (excludes Phillips Landing)
  • Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area (includes C&R Center)
  • Old Furnace Wildlife Area (excludes Concord Pond)
  • Prime Hook Wildlife Area
  • Tappahanna Wildlife Area
  • Ted Harvey Conservation Area (excludes Scottons Landing and Logan Lane Fishing Pond)
  • Woodland Beach Wildlife Area (excludes the beach, fishing pier, Aquatic Resources Education Center, and fishing ponds)

Exemptions include the C&D Canal Conservation Area, Michael N. Castle Trail, and designated fishing/boating access areas, listed in the Delaware Fishing Guide.

GENERAL WILDLIFE AREA RULES

  • CAP is required for registered vehicles for allowable activities within Wildlife Areas.
  • Access allowed from sunrise to sunset, unless engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, or boating.
  • Carry-In/Carry-Out policy for all trash.
  • Prohibited activities include damage to property, drone use, off-leash dogs outside hunting/training, camping, open fires, swimming, unauthorized signage, vending, firewood collection, cache placing, habitat destruction, wildlife disturbance, unlicensed vehicle operation, off-road driving, excessive speeding, horse and bike riding off designated areas, improper parking, and leaving vehicles/trailers over 24 hours.
  • Fishing permitted as per area-specific rules.

CAP COSTS*

  • Resident Annual: $32.50
  • Resident 3-Day: $10.00
  • Resident Senior Lifetime: $65.00
  • Non-Resident Annual: $65.00
  • Non-Resident 3-Day: $20.00
  • Transfer fee: $10.00

*Additional fees may apply when purchasing through State Licensing Agents.

For specifics on allowable activities, and rules, and to obtain a CAP, refer to the online maps, contact the DNREC building in Dover, or call the Wildlife section at 302-739-9912.

 

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.