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Division of Fish & Wildlife promotes additional February hunting opportunities

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is promoting additional hunting opportunities in February with a second special youth waterfowl hunting day Feb. 8, the one-day reopening of the regular snow goose hunting season Feb. 8 and the opening of the Snow Goose Conservation Order season Feb. 1.

— Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day: The one-day, special youth waterfowl hunting day Feb. 8 is open for hunters ages 10-15. Normal daily waterfowl bag limits and hunting regulations apply during the special youth waterfowl hunting day, to include a limit of 25 snow geese and one Canada goose.

Youth hunters must be of sufficient physical size and strength to safely handle a firearm, and must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter age 21 or older who cannot possess a firearm during the youth hunt. Youth hunters age 13-15 must have completed a hunter education course, obtained a hunter education certification card, and purchased a Delaware junior hunting license. Youth hunters ages 10-12 must possess a license exempt number and may have taken a hunter education course. All youth waterfowl hunters need a Delaware Harvest Information Program number. No state or federal waterfowl stamps are required for youth hunters.

Youth waterfowl hunting is available on those state wildlife areas with a lottery drawing for a waterfowl blind. The morning lottery is 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. Those state wildlife areas that allow waterfowl hunting and do not have lotteries are also open on the youth waterfowl day. Wildlife area rules and regulations are available at Wildlife Area Maps.

— Snow goose one-day hunting season: The regular snow goose hunting season reopens for one day Feb. 8, when adult hunters can also hunt snow geese subject to regular snow goose season bag limits and hunting regulations.

— Snow Goose Conservation Order season: The Snow Goose Conservation Order season is open Feb. 1 through Feb. 7, closing for the youth waterfowl hunting day and one-day reopening of the regular snow goose season on Feb. 8, and reopening Feb. 10 through April 10. 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 the species’ Arctic nesting grounds and local wetlands and agricultural lands in the Mid-Atlantic region where the birds overwinter. Legal shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, and there are no daily bag and possession limits. Unplugged shotguns and electronic calls are allowed. 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 Maps for specific rules and regulations.

Hunters participating in the Snow Goose Conservation Order must obtain a free snow goose conservation order 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 permit numbers can be obtained and harvest reports can be submitted at bit.ly/2zyYqgG; 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 2019/2020 Delaware waterfowl stamp, unless exempt, and a Delaware Harvest Information Program number. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required.

Information on hunting license and Delaware waterfowl stamp requirements is available at Delaware Licenses.

Waterfowl and other migratory game birds — except crow — hunters need a Delaware Harvest Information Program number. HIP and LEN numbers can be obtained at bit.ly/2zyYqgG or by calling toll free 855-335-4868.

Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1967, must have a basic hunter education safety course card/number.

A federal migratory bird stamp is required for hunters age 16 and older to hunt waterfowl, except during the Snow Goose Conservation Order season.

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, with one free annual CAP available with the purchase of any Delaware hunting license.

Delaware hunting licenses, Delaware waterfowl stamps, and Conservation Access Passes can be purchased at bit.ly/2H7eZ72, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover, 89 Kings Highway, 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 at bit.ly/2zztJIg.

Find the 2019-2020 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide at eregulations.com/delaware/hunting and the Wildlife Area Maps at bit.ly/2Ym4HHy. Hard copies of the guide and hunting maps are also available at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office.

For more, call 739-9912 or visit fw.delaware.gov.