The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Division of Fish & Wildlife is 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.
The Snow Goose Conservation Order will be open Feb. 4-8, closing for the youth waterfowl hunting day on Feb. 9 and reopening Feb. 11-12. 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 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 — bit.ly/2gkEeGy — 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 May 1. Conservation order permits can be obtained and harvest reports can be submitted at egov.delaware.gov/htr; hunters may also call 735-3600 during business hours Mondays through Fridays.
Conservation order participants are also required to have a valid Delaware hunting license or license-exempt number or a Maryland resident hunting license (unless exempt in Maryland), a 2018-19 Delaware waterfowl stamp (unless exempt) and a Delaware Harvest Information Program number. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required.
The one-day, special youth waterfowl hunting day on Feb. 9 is open for hunters ages 10-15. 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 age 21 or older who cannot possess a firearm during the youth hunt.
Youth hunters ages 13-15 must have completed a hunter education course, obtained a Hunter Ed certification card and purchased a Delaware junior hunting license. Youth hunters age 10-12 must possess a license-exempt number and may have taken a hunter education course. All youth waterfowl hunters will need a Federal 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 1/2 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 at Wildlife Area Hunting Maps.
A Delaware hunting license or 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 Delaware Licenses. Waterfowl and other migratory game bird (except crow) hunters need a Federal Harvest Information Program number. To register for a LEN or HIP number, hunters can go to bit.ly/20myTRi or call 855-335-4868. For hunters age 16 and 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 visiting de.gov/huntersafety. Hunters who took their Delaware hunter safety course before 2008 should call the Hunter Education Office at 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. 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 at bit.ly/20myTRi, 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, at bit.ly/1qoNpHF and the American Birding Association in Delaware City, weekdays only.
For more, visit bit.ly/2LvbcAw and bit.ly/2gkEeGy. 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 phone to 739-9912 and at fw.delaware.gov.