index

Delaware Public Lands Hunting and Trapping Laws and Regulations

Public Hunting Areas within Each County

ZONE A

DEER, WATERFOWL, TURKEY, SMALL GAME HUNTING LOCATIONS

NEW CASTLE

  • State Wildlife Areas:
    • Augustine Wildlife Area: Zone 3, Deer (Lottery), Waterfowl (Lottery, Teal), Turkey (Lottery, Teal), Small Game
    • Eagles Nest Wildlife Area: Zone 3, Deer, Waterfowl (Portion Lottery), Turkey, Small Game
    • C&D Canal Conservation Area: Zones 1A, 1B, 2, 3, All species
    • Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area: Zone 3, Deer (Lottery), Waterfowl (Lottery), Turkey, Small Game (Lottery)
  • State Parks:
    • Auburn Valley State Park: Zone 1A, Deer
    • Brandywine Creek State Park: Zone 1A, Turkey
    • Lums Pond State Park: Zone 1B, Turkey
    • White Clay Creek State Park: Zone 1A, Turkey
  • State Forests:
    • Blackbird State Forest: Zone 2, Deer (Quality Buck), Waterfowl, Turkey, Small Game

KENT

  • State Wildlife Areas:
    • Blackiston Wildlife Area: Zone 4, All species
    • Little Creek Wildlife Area: Zone 5, All species (Waterfowl and Turkey on portion lottery)
    • McGinnis Pond Wildlife Area: Zone 8, All species except Turkey
    • Milford Neck Wildlife Area: Zone 9, All species (Turkey only on a lottery basis)
    • Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area: Zone 6, All species
    • Ted Harvey Conservation Area: Zones 5, 8, All species (Portion lottery)
    • Urban/Fortney Wildlife Area: Zone 4, All species
    • Woodland Beach Wildlife Area: Zone 5, All species (Deer and Waterfowl on portion lottery)
  • State Parks:
    • Killens Pond State Park: Zone 8, Deer
  • State Forests:
    • Taber State Forest: Zone 7, All species
  • National Wildlife Refuges:
    • Bombay Hook NWR: Zone 5, All species

SUSSEX

  • State Wildlife Areas:
    • Assawoman Wildlife Area: Zones 15, 17, All species (Lottery for Waterfowl)
    • Barr Complex: Zone 11, All species
    • Industrial Forest Lands - Laurel: Zones 13, 16, All species
    • Marshy Hope Wildlife Area: Zone 10, All species
    • Midlands Wildlife Area: Zone 14, All species
    • Milford Neck Wildlife Area: Zone 9, All species
    • Nanticoke Wildlife Area: Zone 13, All species
    • Old Furnace Wildlife Area: Zone 11, All species
    • Prime Hook Wildlife Area: Zone 9, All species (Lottery for Waterfowl)
  • State Parks:
    • Cape Henlopen State Park: Zone 9, Deer, Waterfowl
    • Delaware Seashore State Park: Zone 15, Deer, Turkey
    • Holts Landing State Park: Zone 15, Turkey
    • Trap Pond State Park: Zone 16, Waterfowl, Small Game (Specific type restrictions apply)
  • State Forests:
    • Redden State Forest: Zones 8, 11, 12, 15, All species (Quality Buck in certain tracts)
  • National Wildlife Refuges:
    • Prime Hook NWR: Zones 9, 12, All species (Lottery for Waterfowl)

Special Notes:

  • A: Zone refers to Wildlife Management Zone(s) for each public land. Check zone boundaries.
  • B: Public land turkey hunting exclusively via preseason lottery. Refer to the Turkey Hunt Application.
  • X: Denotes allowed species for hunting. Consult the area map for specifics on seasons, regulations, and precise locations.
  • L: Hunting is available solely through a daily lottery. The area map has lottery details.
  • PL: Portions of the area require a daily lottery for hunting.
  • T: Legal for September Teal Season hunting.
  • *: Tracts managed as Quality Buck Areas. Details on the area map.
  • **: Verify area rules for permissible small game hunting types.

Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities in Delaware

Waterfowl enthusiasts can avail of diverse hunting settings on public lands in Delaware. The options encompass marsh blinds or blind sites, upland blinds, goose pits, and designated upland fields. Hunters should consult the specific maps related to each area for detailed rules and regulations.

Certain regions in Delaware mandate permits, which can be obtained through a daily lottery system. These areas include:

  • Augustine Wildlife Area (WA)
  • Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area
  • Woodland Beach Wildlife Area
  • Kelley Island, which is a section of the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
  • Portions of Little Creek Wildlife Area
  • Selected areas of Ted Harvey Conservation Area (CA)
  • Segments of Assawoman Wildlife Area

For Prime Hook Wildlife Area as well as the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, the permit lotteries are conducted through the National Wildlife Refuge lottery system.

Deer Hunting Opportunities in Delaware

Delaware offers deer hunters a wide array of public lands for hunting. To understand the unique rules and regulations of each location, hunters are advised to reference the individual area maps.

Permits for firearm deer hunting, available exclusively through a daily lottery, are required for the following areas:

  • White Clay Creek State Park
  • Augustine Wildlife Area (WA)
  • Blackbird State Forest
  • Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area
  • Woodland Beach Wildlife Area (excluding the Lighthouse Island tract)
  • Various segments of Little Creek Wildlife Area
  • Ted Harvey Conservation Area (CA)
  • Specific parts of Assawoman Wildlife Area

In the case of eight Delaware State Parks, deer hunting is strictly controlled through permits. Hunters must contact the respective Park Office for precise details regarding the hunting sites within these parks. For additional information or assistance, individuals can call 302-739-9220 or they can explore the designated hunting adventures page on the Delaware State Parks website at Delaware State Parks Hunting Information.

Quality Buck Management Areas in Delaware

Specific locations in Delaware have been designated as Quality Buck Areas, where stringent regulations on the harvest of antlered deer ensure the maintenance of a healthy deer population. These areas include:

  • Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area (excluding the Rocks tract)
  • Woodland Beach State Wildlife Area
  • Dulany Manor tract of Blackbird State Forest
  • Chesapeake, Ellendale, Headquarters, and Jester tracts of Redden State Forest
  • Killens Pond State Park

In these areas, all hunters—except those under 17 years of age and non-ambulatory hunters hunting in Cedar Swamp or Woodland Beach—are required to adhere to the following rule: It is prohibited to harvest any antlered deer unless it possesses a minimum outside antler spread of 15 inches or more.

Such a restriction also implies that only bucks eligible for the existing Quality Buck Tag, which signifies the required antler spread, may be legally hunted in these aforementioned areas. It's important to note that the harvesting of antlerless deer remains permissible under these regulations.

Small Game and Turkey Hunting in Delaware

Delaware extends numerous opportunities for small game hunters on its public lands. It's crucial to check the maps for each area to comprehend the respective rules and regulations.

Rabbit hunting in Delaware is selective and requires permits from specific areas issued via a daily lottery, which include:

  • Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area (WA)
  • Designated regions of Woodland Beach Wildlife Area
  • Selected parts of Little Creek Wildlife Area
  • Portions of Ted Harvey Conservation Area (CA)
  • Certain areas of the Assawoman Wildlife Area

For enthusiasts looking to hunt turkey, the state has established a preseason lottery to allocate hunting opportunities. Hunters interested in this should consult the Turkey Hunt Application for more details and application procedures.

Interactive Wildlife Area Maps for Delaware

Delaware has introduced cutting-edge interactive Wildlife Area Maps accessible online. With these interactive features, users can:

  • Utilize their mobile devices for in-field access.
  • Zoom for enhanced details of preferred locations.
  • Gather comprehensive information about wildlife areas from a single source.

Each Wildlife Area map includes distinct sections for:

  • General Overview
  • Hunting Areas
  • Sunday Hunting Zones
  • Birding Hotspots

To access the interactive maps, visit Delaware Wildlife Area Maps, and simply click on the button directed towards the online maps.

For traditionalists or those who prefer physical copies, paper maps are available from the Division of Fish and Wildlife Office located at 89 Kings Hwy., Dover, Delaware 19901. These maps come with embedded regulations and are provided at no cost for the first five maps. Any additional map is priced at $0.50, while a full booklet of maps is available for a combined cost of $6 ($5 for the booklet and $1 for shipping). Alternatively, the maps can be downloaded for free at the same online address mentioned earlier.

Importantly, hunting days for certain species on public lands may not align with the standard hunting seasons. Hunters are encouraged to verify specific regulations for each public area they intend to explore.

For information regarding the public lands open for Sunday deer hunting, please visit Sunday Deer Hunting in Delaware or contact the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912 for further guidance.

Delaware Wildlife Area Deer Stand/Waterfowl Blind Lottery Permit

Hunters utilizing a State Wildlife Area waterfowl blind or deer stand assigned via a daily lottery are obligated to obtain a Wildlife Area Deer Stand/Waterfowl Blind Lottery Permit. The annual cost of the permit is $20 and it must be in the hunter's possession while using the assigned facilities.

Key aspects of the permit include:

  • Mandatory possession during the use of blinds or stands.
  • Exemption for youth hunters and their non-hunting adult companions during special youth deer and waterfowl hunt days.

Permits are available for purchase at hunting license vendors or through the Delaware Digital DNREC website.

Regulations for Hunting in Delaware State Wildlife Areas

Adherence to specific guidelines is crucial for hunters in Delaware State Wildlife Areas. A summary of these general rules includes:

  • Verification of individual area maps for detailed regulations.
  • Requirement of a Conservation Access Pass for vehicle entry, excluding C&D Canal Conservation Area.
  • Prohibition of unlicensed motor vehicles exceeding 20 MPH on wildlife area roads.
  • Horseback riding and biking (including e-bikes) are permitted only on designated roads and trails.
  • Compliance with restricted area signage set by the Division.
  • Limitations on entry and activities from sunrise to sunset, with exceptions for legal hunting and fishing.
  • Special authorization is required for camping and swimming.
  • Furbearer hunting regulations are map-specific for locations and details.
  • Zero tolerance for dumping, littering, and target shooting, including paintball.
  • Hunting specifications and firearm regulations are outlined on area maps.
  • Usage of firearms must align with state designations, with certain exceptions possibly granted by the Division.
  • Engaging a firearm, including air rifles, bows, and paintball guns is exclusively for lawful hunting or trapping.
  • Restrictions on rifled guns along the C&D Canal with exceptions for muzzleloaders and shotguns during deer seasons.
  • Dyke usage is prohibited for hunting and walking during open waterfowl seasons.
  • Valid leases are required for trapping; leases are auctioned annually.
  • Restrictions on non-resident hunters regarding deer driving, loaded firearms, and hunting practices.
  • Small game hunting closure aligns with December and January Shotgun deer seasons.
  • Banning of baiting for deer hunting.
  • Conforming to area-specific regulations for training rabbit dogs on Sundays outside firearm deer seasons.
  • Prohibition on permanent non-state deer stands and guidelines for temporary stand usage.
  • Mandatory free registration for overnight tree stands or ground blinds, visible registration numbers, and defined deployment dates.
  • Disallowance of trail camera placement or usage.
  • Obligatory abstinence from alcohol, liquors, or drugs while hunting or possessing firearms.
  • Proscription against the collection or removal of wildlife from State Wildlife Areas unless explicitly authorized.

For a comprehensive understanding and compliance with the hunting regulations on Delaware State Wildlife Areas, please refer to area-specific maps provided online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps and for further inquiries or stand registration visit Delawarethe  Division of Fish and Wildlife or contact the Wildlife Section at (302) 739-9912.

Quality Buck Zones

In Redden State Forest, certain tracts are designated as "Quality Buck" areas:

  • Headquarters Tract
  • Jester Tract
  • Ellendale Tract
  • Chesapeake Tract

In these zones, hunters are permitted to harvest doe, but emphasis is placed on the management of a quality buck population. Hunters are advised to familiarize themselves with the specific criteria that define "Quality Buck" as per Delaware hunting regulations when hunting in these designated tracts.

Blackbird State Forest Hunting Regulations

Stand Locations and Lottery

Deer hunting in Blackbird State Forest is limited to specific areas:

  • Tybout Tract
  • White Road Tract
  • Dulany Tract
  • South Barlow Tract

These areas require hunters to utilize numbered stands. Access to stands during most firearm seasons is determined by a lottery conducted at BSF headquarters 1.5 hours before legal hunting time.

For map resources:

Seasonal Restrictions

  • October Antlerless Season: Tybout and Barlow's tracts are closed to firearm hunting; archery hunting permitted.
  • January Handgun and Straight-walled Pistol-caliber Rifle Season: Tybout tract closed completely; no lottery for White Road, Barlow, and Dulany tracts, access is first-come, first-served.
  • January General Firearm and January Muzzleloader Seasons: Limited lotteries for Tybout, White Road, Dulany, and Barlow tracts due to reduced hunter participation. Contact BSF for details.

Quality Bucks and Archery Hunting

  • Dulany Tract: Exclusively managed for quality bucks.
  • Archery Hunting: Permitted from BSF lottery stands, with hunters required to be within 50 yards of their stand.
  • Meadows and North Barlow Tracts: Only archery hunting is allowed; trails might have non-hunting traffic due to an educational center.

Further Restrictions and Information

  • Stands during Archery seasons are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Only one hunter per stand at a time.
  • Squirrel hunting with rifles or muzzleloading rifles is prohibited; however, shotguns are permitted.
  • Trails are generally closed to the public during firearm hunting seasons, but encounters with non-hunters are possible on BSF properties.
  • Small game hunting is not permitted on the Dulany and Tybout tracts.

Taber State Forest Hunting Requirements

Mandatory Sign-In

All hunters accessing Taber State Forest must sign in at designated kiosks before commencing their hunt. This is a critical step to ensure hunter compliance and safety on the premises.

Squirrel Hunting Regulations

For those seeking to hunt squirrels in Taber State Forest, there are specific weapon restrictions:

  • The use of rifles or muzzleloading rifles for hunting squirrels is strictly prohibited.
  • Shotgun squirrel hunting remains permissible throughout the designated areas of the forest.

Hunters are advised to adhere closely to these rules to maintain the established hunting protocols and to ensure a safe environment for all forest users.

Delaware State Park Hunting Regulations

Delaware State Parks operate year-round, accommodating a wide range of activities, including deer hunting, which is essential for managing the impact of deer populations on park ecosystems. Hunting, however, is not universal across all state parks—only nine of the total seventeen permit deer hunting. A select number of parks also allow limited small game and waterfowl hunting.

Hunting Restrictions

Certain activities are prohibited within Delaware State Parks:

  • Hunting is disallowed on Sundays.
  • Utilizing handguns or rifles for hunting is forbidden.

Registration and Fees

To hunt on State Park lands, adherence to the following is mandatory:

  • Obtain a State Park Registration, costing $10.
  • Registrations can be secured at participating State Parks or at the DNREC office located at 89 Kings Highway, Dover.
  • Once registered, the permit is valid across all State Parks that allow hunting for the entire season.
  • Hunters are encouraged to provide an email address with their registration or send a request to DNREC_StatePark_Hunting@delaware.gov to join the hunting mailing list, which offers updates on Special Hunt opportunities and other hunting-related information.

Obtaining Hunting Rules and Maps

For details on specific park rules and geographic information:

  • Rules and maps are available directly from the office of the park you wish to hunt in.
  • Details can also be accessed via the State Parks website at Delaware State Parks Hunting.
  • Information requests can be made to DNREC_StatePark_Hunting@delaware.gov.
  • Alternatively, individuals may contact the office by calling 302-739-9220.

Note that hunting regulations in State Parks are generally stricter than in State Wildlife Areas. It is incumbent upon hunters to familiarize themselves with these regulations before engaging in hunting activities within the parks.

Bombay Hook and Prime Hook Hunting Regulations

Located near Milton and Smyrna, Delaware, the Bombay Hook and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuges together span over 26,000 acres of land along the state's eastern coastline. These refuges serve as vital habitats for a variety of wildlife and offer hunting opportunities as part of the six wildlife-dependent recreational uses recognized by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.

Hunting Opportunities

Hunting is not only a significant facet of Delaware's cultural heritage but also a managed activity within these refuges:

  • Deer, upland game, webless migratory birds, and waterfowl are the primary game species available for hunting.
  • Both Bombay Hook and Prime Hook Refuges provide public hunting access.

Where to Find Hunting Information and Regulations

For comprehensive hunting guidelines and requirements, the following resources are available:

Hunters need to review the complete listings of hunting regulations and information provided via the official websites or refuge contact numbers before embarking on hunting expeditions to ensure compliance with all legal and safety requirements.

Delaware Public Lands Hunting and Trapping Laws and Regulations

Accessible Hunting Facilities in Delaware

Delaware offers specialized deer stands and waterfowl blinds for hunters with disabilities, ensuring an inclusive hunting experience. Various state wildlife areas (WAs) and state parks (SPs) are equipped with facilities catering to individuals with limited mobility and those requiring wheelchair access.

Deer Stands and Waterfowl Blinds Availability

Augustine Wildlife Area (WA)

  • Deer Stands: 1 Wheelchair Accessible, 1 for Limited Mobility
  • Waterfowl Blinds: 1 Wheelchair Accessible, 1 for Limited Mobility

Cedar Swamp WA

  • Deer Stands: 4 Wheelchair Accessible, 6 for Limited Mobility
  • Waterfowl Blinds: 1 Wheelchair Accessible, 3 for Limited Mobility

Woodland Beach WA

  • Deer Stands: 2 Wheelchair Accessible, 8 for Limited Mobility
  • Waterfowl Blinds: 3 Wheelchair Accessible

Little Creek WA

  • Deer Stands: 3 Wheelchair Accessible, 2 for Limited Mobility

Ted Harvey Conservation Area (CA)

  • Deer Stands: 5 Wheelchair Accessible, 3 for Limited Mobility
  • Waterfowl Blinds: 1 Wheelchair Accessible

Assawoman WA

  • Deer Stands: 9 Wheelchair Accessible
  • Waterfowl Blinds: 1 Wheelchair Accessible

Old Furnace WA

  • Deer Stands: 2 Wheelchair Accessible, 4 for Limited Mobility

Nanticoke WA

  • Deer Stands: 1 Wheelchair Accessible

State Parks with Wheelchair Accessible Deer Stands

  • White Clay Creek SP: 9
  • Trap Pond SP: 2
  • Lums Pond SP: 2
  • Brandywine Creek SP: 1
  • Auburn Valley SP: 1
  • Cape Henlopen SP: 4
  • Delaware Seashore SP: 2
  • Killens Pond SP: 1
  • Holts Landing SP: 3

Eligibility and Information

To utilize these stands or blinds, hunters must:

  • Have a valid State of Delaware Certified Hunter with Disabilities card.

For further details about the program and accessible hunting facilities, individuals can contact:

  • Phone: 302-739-9912

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.

Wild Advisor Pro

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.