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Delaware Hunting Guide

arkansas hunting

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

Turkey

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.

whitetail deer

Deer

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.

rabbit

Small Game

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.

migratory birds

Migratory Birds

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

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.

Licensing Fees


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.

License Fee
​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

Hunter Education


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.

Youth Hunting


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.

Trapping


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.

Hunting Seasons

Game Season
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.