Additional waterfowl hunting opportunities are available in February with the opening of the Snow Goose Conservation Order Monday, Feb. 1 and a second special youth waterfowl hunting day Saturday, Feb. 6. Information for hunters is available from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control at de.gov/hunting.
Snow Goose Conservation Order
The Snow Goose Conservation Order is open Monday, Feb. 1 through Friday, Feb. 5, closing for the youth waterfowl hunting day on Saturday, Feb. 6, and reopening on Monday, Feb. 8 through Friday, April 9, excluding Sundays. Note the printed 2020/2021 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide incorrectly indicates the Snow Goose Conservation Order is open Saturday, Feb 6. The Conservation Order is closed Saturday, Feb. 6, with the regular snow goose hunting season reopening for one day when regular snow goose season bag limits and hunting regulations apply.
The Snow Goose Conservation Order is a separate season only for snow geese that occurs when Delaware’s regular waterfowl hunting seasons are closed. Liberal harvest methods are allowed during the Conservation Order to help reduce the large snow goose population that is damaging its Arctic nesting grounds, as well as wetlands and agricultural lands on migration routes and overwintering areas.
Legal shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. There are no daily bag and possession limits, and unplugged shotguns and electronic calls are allowed. All other federal and state hunting regulations apply. Hunters on state wildlife areas where the Conservation Order is open should refer to Wildlife Area Maps for specific rules and regulations.
Hunters participating in the Conservation Order must obtain a free Snow Goose Conservation Order permit number that must be in their possession while hunting. Permit numbers can be obtained at the DNREC ePermitting system or by calling toll-free 855-DEL-HUNT (855-335-4868) 24/7 or 302-735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday. Hunters also are required to report their Conservation Order hunting activity and harvest success online or by calling 302-735-3600 to the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife by Friday, April 30, 2021.
Other requirements for hunters participating in the Snow Goose Conservation Order include:
· All participants need a Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number.
· Delaware residents must have a hunting license or a valid Delaware License Exempt Number (LEN).
· All resident hunters at least 16 years of age except those who possess an LEN must purchase a Delaware Waterfowl Stamp.
· Maryland residents who can legally hunt in Maryland do not need a Delaware hunting license, provided they obtain an LEN specific to hunting snow geese and purchase a Delaware Waterfowl Stamp.
· Maryland residents who have an annual Delaware LEN for other hunting do not need a LEN specific to hunting snow geese or a Delaware Waterfowl Stamp.
· All other non-resident hunters must have a Delaware non-resident hunting license or a valid Delaware LEN.
· All non-resident hunters at least 16 years of age must purchase a Delaware Waterfowl Stamp except those who possess a valid Delaware LEN.
· A federal migratory bird (duck) stamp is not required to participate in the Conservation Order.
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day
The one-day, special youth waterfowl hunting day on Saturday, Feb. 6 is open for hunters ages 10 through 15. Normal daily waterfowl bag limits and hunting regulations apply, 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 or hunt during the youth hunt. Youth hunters ages 13 through 15 must have completed a hunter education course, obtained a hunter education certification card and purchased a Delaware junior hunting license. Youth hunters age 10 through 12 must possess a license exempt number (LEN) and may have taken a hunter education course. All youth waterfowl hunters need a Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. No state or federal waterfowl stamps are required for youth hunters.
Youth waterfowl hunting is available on many state wildlife areas, some of which are accessed through a waterfowl blind lottery drawing. The following wildlife areas issue waterfowl blinds through a lottery drawing, with a morning lottery held one and a half hours before legal shooting time at Augustine, Cedar Swamp, Woodland Beach and Assawoman wildlife areas and two hours before legal shooting time at the Little Creek and Ted Harvey wildlife areas. A State Wildlife Area Waterfowl Blind Permit is not needed during the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day. More information on which state wildlife areas allow waterfowl hunting and associated wildlife area rules and regulations is available at Wildlife Area Maps.
Continuing hunting seasons include:
· Gray squirrel: through Feb. 6
· Ring-necked pheasant (male only): through Feb. 6
· Coyote (hunt): through Feb. 27
· Red fox (hunt): through Feb. 27
· Raccoon and opossum (hunt): through Feb. 27
· Cottontail rabbit: through Feb. 27
· Beaver: through March 20, private land only
· Crows: through March 27, and June 24 to 26 (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only)
· Groundhog: through June 30
Continuing trapping seasons include:
· Muskrat, mink, otter, raccoon, opossum and nutria:
· New Castle County: through March 10 (March 20 on embanked meadows)
· Kent and Sussex counties: through March 15
· Red fox and coyote: through March 10
· Beaver: through March 20, private land only
For more information about hunting on state wildlife areas, including wildlife area maps and rules, licensing and other requirements, visit de.gov/hunting. More information on hunting seasons and wildlife areas is available in the 2020/2021 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or by calling the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912.
Registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish and 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 CAP, hunters will need the registration card for the vehicle to which the pass will be assigned.
A Delaware hunting license or a license exempt number (LEN) is required to hunt. All migratory game bird hunters except crow hunters, including duck, goose and dove hunters, need a free Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, which can be obtained through the DNREC ePermitting system or by calling 24/7 toll free 855-DEL-HUNT (855-335-4868).
Delaware hunting licenses, Delaware waterfowl stamps and Conservation Access Passes can be purchased online at de.gov/hunting or from hunting license agents statewide, with more information available online or by calling the DNREC Licensing office at 302-739-9918. Hunters obtaining a LEN should create a profile using the DNREC ePermitting system or at a hunting license agent. Federal migratory bird (duck) stamps are available for purchase online and at U.S. Post Offices and Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges.