DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is currently promoting additional hunting opportunities in February, with the opening of the Snow Goose Conservation Order on Feb. 4 and the second special youth waterfowl hunting day on Feb. 9.
Snow Goose Conservation Order open
The Snow Goose Conservation Order is open through Friday, Feb. 8, closing for the youth waterfowl hunting day on Saturday, Feb. 9, and reopening Monday, Feb. 11, through Friday, April 12. Snow goose hunters can still hunt on the youth waterfowl day, when regular snow goose season bag limits and hunting regulations apply.
The Snow Goose Conservation Order is a separate season open only for snow geese that occurs when Delaware’s regular waterfowl hunting seasons are closed. The Snow Goose Conservation Order is not open on Sundays.
During the Snow Goose Conservation Order, liberal harvest methods are allowed to help reduce the large snow goose population that officials said is damaging its Arctic nesting grounds and local wetlands and agricultural lands in the Mid-Atlantic region where the birds overwinter.
Unplugged shotguns and electronic calls are allowed. Legal shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, and there are no daily bag and possession limits. All other federal and state hunting regulations apply. If hunting on a state wildlife area where the Conservation Order is open, hunters should refer to Wildlife Area Hunting Maps, online at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/WildlifeAreaMaps.aspx, for specific rules and regulations.
Hunters participating in the Snow Goose Conservation Order must obtain a free permit number, which must be in their possession while hunting. Hunters also are required to report their Conservation Order hunting activity and harvest success to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Wednesday, May 1.
Conservation Order permits can be obtained and harvest reports can be submitted online under Delaware Hunter & Trapper Registration, at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt; hunters may also call (302) 735-3600 during business hours, Monday through Friday.
Conservation Order participants are also required to have a valid Delaware hunting license or license-exempt number (LEN) or a Maryland resident hunting license (unless exempt in Maryland), a 2018/2019 Delaware waterfowl stamp (unless exempt) and a Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required.
Youth waterfowl hunt set for Feb. 9
The one-day, special youth waterfowl hunting day on Feb. 9 is open to hunters ages 10 to 15. Youth hunters must be of sufficient physical size and strength to safely handle a firearm, and must be accompanied by a licensed or license-exempt adult hunter 21 or older who cannot possess a firearm during the youth hunt.
Youth hunters ages 13 through 15 must have completed a hunter education course, obtained a Hunter Ed certification card, and purchased a Delaware junior hunting license. Youth hunters ages 10 through 12 must possess a license-exempt number (LEN) and may have taken a hunter education course.
All youth waterfowl hunters will need a Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. No state or federal waterfowl stamps are required for youth hunters. Normal daily waterfowl bag limits and hunting regulations apply, and youth hunters also are permitted to harvest 25 snow geese and two Canada geese during the special waterfowl hunting day.
Youth waterfowl hunting is available on most Division of Fish & Wildlife wildlife areas, with a lottery drawing for waterfowl blinds held 1.5 hours before legal shooting time at Augustine, Cedar Swamp, Woodland Beach and Assawoman, and two hours before legal shooting time at Little Creek and Ted Harvey. Other state wildlife areas that allow waterfowl hunting but do not have lotteries are also open on the youth waterfowl day. Wildlife area rules and regulations are available online in the 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 online under Delaware Licenses.
Waterfowl and other migratory game bird (except crow) hunters need a federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. To register for a LEN or HIP number, hunters can go to Delaware Hunter & Trapper Registration at https://egov.delaware.gov/htr or call toll free at 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, hunters born on or 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 free CAP, or to purchase an additional pass, 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, or from hunting license agents statewide. Federal migratory bird stamps are available at U.S. Post Offices, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges, online at https://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php, and the American Birding Association in Delaware City (weekdays only).
For more information on hunting and trapping, see the 2018-2019 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide and Wildlife Area Hunting Maps online. Hard copies of the guide and newly-updated hunting maps are also available at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office. More information on hunting licenses, season details and Conservation Access Passes is also available by calling the Wildlife Section office at (302) 739-9912. For more information, visit www.fw.delaware.gov.
Busy week for hunting citations
DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between Jan. 21-27 made 1,209 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters and the general public, issuing 56 citations. Officers responded to 42 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public.
Wildlife conservation citations issued during the week included: failure to have hunting license in possession, license forgery or misrepresentation, unlawful possession of a game animal (white-tailed deer), hunt deer during closed season, hunt deer at nighttime, four citations for possess or transport an antlered deer that was unlawfully killed, three citations for possess or transport an antlerless deer that was unlawfully killed, three citations for failure to attach deer tag to an antlerless deer, three citations for failure to retain tag on an antlerless deer, failure to check an antlerless deer within 24 hours, two citations for unlawful removal of antlerless deer parts prior to checking, hunting migratory waterfowl without required state waterfowl stamp, impede lawful hunting and four citations for hunt on a state game refuge.
Boating and boating safety, and public safety citations issued during the week included: allow the use of a non-compliant vessel and personal watercraft (PWC) rental without written acknowledgment of PWC educational materials; three citations for unlawfully loaded firearm in/on a motor vehicle, intimidation of a witness, failure to stop at the command of a police officer, four citations for failure to stop at a stop sign, driving a vehicle at unreasonable speed, operating off highway vehicle (OHV) on the roadway, failure to signal turn and driving while suspended or revoked.
Other citations issued during the week included two citations for damage to state property, four citations for trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area, three citations for operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area, trespass on division lands, littering/dumping on a state wildlife area, no Conservation Access Pass, conspiracy third degree, and no proof of vehicle registration.