Hunting and trapping seasons opening in December

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 this week. Fish & Wildlife officials noted that 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: through March 20, 2020, private land only;

• Woodcock and common snipe: Dec. 7 through Jan. 21, 2020;

• Antlerless deer: Dec. 14-22, including all Sundays (archery and crossbow hunters may not take antlered deer during the December antlerless deer season);

• Waterfowl (ducks, coots, and mergansers): Dec. 13 through Jan. 31, 2020;

• Brant: Dec. 21 through Jan. 1, 2020;

• Canada geese (migratory): Dec. 21 through Jan. 21, 2020.

Trapping seasons opening in December:

• Red fox, coyote: through March 10, 2020

• Muskrat, mink, otter, raccoon, opossum, nutria, in Sussex County: Dec. 15 through March 15, 2020;

• Beaver: through 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 at http://www.eregulations.com/delaware/hunting/ 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 (raccoon and opossum may be hunted from 7 p.m. until midnight during the December and January firearm deer seasons)

• Crow: through March 31, 2020 (Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays only)

• Red fox (chase) through April 30, 2020 (red fox chase season is closed during December antlerless season)

• Groundhog: through June 30, 2020 (open year-round)

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife offers many hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas. Wildlife area maps and rules are available at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/WildlifeAreaMaps.aspx.

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 http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Services/Pages/Lic-Perm-Reg.aspx. 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 https://egov.delaware.gov/htr or call toll free 1-855-335-4868. For hunters 16 or 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 http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Services/Pages/Lic-Perm-Reg.aspx, 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 https://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php.

For more information on hunting, visit http://www.eregulations.com/delaware/hunting/ and http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/WildlifeAreaMaps.aspx. 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.