Delaware Hunting Guide
As one of the smaller states in the nation, Delaware offers limited hunting opportunities. However, the state does have a diverse landscape that supports healthy populations of several popular game species.
What to Hunt
Unlike some larger states, Delaware offers a more limited selection of game to hunters.
Turkey tags are drawn through lottery for public land hunting, and a turkey safety course is required prior to beginning your hunt. For these reasons, other species of game are more popular for hunters in Delaware. Turkey season usually runs in April and May, and there is a bag limit of one bearded turkey per year. In 2020, over 80% of wild turkeys harvested were taken from private lands. However, harvest of wild turkeys from public lands has been increasing in recent years.
The whitetail deer population is very strong in Delaware, and the state has become a popular destination for deer hunters. Archery season usually begins in September, with muzzleloader season occurring in October and January, and shotgun season in November and January. This archery season opens earlier than seasons in many other states.
Bobwhite quail, gray squirrel, and cottontail rabbits are all popular small game species in Delaware. These can be found in abundance across the state and may be hunted legally with bows or firearms.
Snow Geese and Tundra Swans are popular game hunting birds in Delaware, though hunting opportunities are limited to preserve animal populations. Designated youth hunt days are available for waterfowl hunting. Waterfowl hunters must purchase a Delaware waterfowl stamp and a federal migratory bird stamp. For those hunting dove, goose, and teal, a Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number is needed.
Other Delaware game species include: Pheasant, Chukar and Hungarian Partridge, Ruffed Grouse, Quail, Crow, Gray Squirrel, Gray Cottontail Rabbit and European Hare, Snowshoe Hare, Woodchuck, Coyotes, Grey and Red Foxes, Raccoon and Opossum, etc. found in the "Hunting Seasons" section at bottom of the page
Where to Hunt
Although total public land space in Delaware is limited, the state offers several types of hunter-friendly areas.
Wildlife Management Areas
The Division of Fish & Wildlife supports and maintains Delaware’s WMA areas. Each WMA may be under its own restrictions and regulations. Detailed information on each individual area can be obtained from free maps made available by the Division of Fish & Wildlife.
Forest Service Lands
The Blackbird, Redden, and Taber forests are all classified as forest service lands, and are maintained by the Delaware Forest Service. A public lottery system distributes turkey hunting permits for these areas.
Quality Buck Management Areas
The following areas are considered Quality Buck Management Areas: The Cedar Swamp (except the Rocks tract) and Woodland Beach State Wildlife Areas; the Dulany Manor tract of Blackbird State Forest; the Chesapeake, Ellendale, Headquarters, and Jester tracts of Redden State Forest; and Killen's Pond State Park. These areas are subject to restrictive deer hunting regulations. Anyone hunting in these areas may not take antlered deer with a minimum outside antler spread of less than 15 inches.
State parks are year-round areas for use by the public. Hunters share state parks with campers, bikers, nature watchers, and other people partaking in recreational activities. Sunday hunting is prohibited in Delaware State Parks.
Any hunter over the age of 13 is required to have a junior hunting license or a hunting license in the state of Delaware. Those under 13 may still hunt if they are supervised by a licensed hunter over the age of 18. Resident seniors over 65 years of age are not required to have a license but must carry proof of residency.
|Resident Adult Hunting License (Ages 16-64)||$39.50|
|Resident Junior Hunting License (Age 13-15)||$5.00|
|Resident Trapping License (Ages 13-64)||$10.00|
|Non-Resident Adult Hunting License (Age 16+)||$199.50|
|Non-Resident Junior Hunting License (Age 13-15)||$50.00|
|Non-Resident Guide Hunting License (Age 18+)||$475.00|
|Non-Resident 3-Day Hunting License (Age 16+)||$75.00|
Completion of a hunter’s education course is required to obtain a hunting license in the state of Delaware. A separate turkey hunting education course is also required for turkey hunters. Classes are available as in-person instruction or as a combination of online instruction and field day(s).
Delaware also offers an optional “Master Hunter” course for advanced hunters.
Delaware designates several days of the year as youth hunting days. Any hunter under 13 is not required to have a hunting license. Any hunter between the ages of 13 and 18 must obtain a junior hunter’s license in order to legally take any game.
A trapping education course and trapping license is required to trap animals in Delaware. The following animals are considered furbearing mammals in Delaware for the purpose of trapping: muskrat, mink, otter, raccoon, opossum, nutria, beaver, red fox, coyote, and groundhog. A trapping license is required for all of these except for groundhog.
|Deer*||Sep 1 2022- Jan 31 2023|
|Turkey||Apr 8 2023 - May 6 2023|
|Ducks, Coots, Mergansers||Oct 21 2022 - Jan 31 2023|
|September Teal||Sep 10 2022- Sep 28 2022|
|Sea Ducks||Oct 21 2022 - Jan 31 2023|
|Geese*||Sep 1 2022 - Sep 24 2022|
|Nov 23 2022 - Nov 26 2022|
|Dec 24 2022 - Jan 23 2023|
|Swans*||Nov 11 2022 - Jan 31 2023|
|Mourning Dove||Sep 1 2022 - Oct 3 2022|
|Nov 21 2022 - Jan 31 2023|
|King and Clapper Rails||Sep 3 2022 - Nov 23 2022|
|Sora and Virginia Rails||Sep 3 2022 - Nov 23 2022|
|Woodcock||Nov 21 2022 - Jan 17 2023|
|Common Snipe||Sep 9 2022 - Nov 26 2022|
|Jan 2 2023 - Jan 16 2023|
|Moorhens and Gallinules||Sep 3 2022 - Nov 23 2022|
|Crow||Jul 1 2022 - Mar 25 2023|
|Jun 23 2022 - Jun 20 2022|
|Gray Squirrel||Sep 15 2022 - Feb 4 2023|
|Cottontail Rabbit||Nov 21 2022 - Feb 18 2023|
|Groundhogs||July 1 2022 - June 30 2023|
|Ring-necked Pheasant||Nov 21 2022 - Feb 4 2023|
|Bobwhite Quail||Nov 21 2022 - Jan 7 2023|
|Bullfrog||May 1 2022 - Sep 30 2023|
|Snapping Turtle||Jun 15 2022 - May 15 2023|
|Diamondbank Terrapin||Sep 1 2022 - Nov 15 2023|
*Hunting dates for this species may vary by zone, method of take, or subspecies of animal. Visit the state’s website (https://www.eregulations.com/assets/docs/guides/22DEHD_LR.pdf) to find out more.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information.