The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters that shotgun deer season dates run from Friday, Nov. 9 to Saturday, Nov. 17, and resumes from Saturday, Jan. 19 to Saturday, Jan. 26. Muzzleloaders also may be used during these dates, and may be equipped with scopes.
Of all Delaware’s deer seasons, the shotgun dates draw by far the most interest from hunters. “It’s remarkable that during Delaware’s five-month deer season, nearly 50 percent of the overall annual deer harvest will occur during these eight days in mid-November,” said Deer and Furbearer Biologist Joe Rogerson. “This year we anticipate the total deer season harvest will be approximately 13,500 deer, with nearly 6,000 of them harvested during the November shotgun deer season.”
In order to hunt, Delaware residents age 16 through 64 are required to purchase a Delaware hunting license; a Delaware junior license is required for ages 13 through 15. Delaware hunting licenses are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find the participating agent nearest you, or to purchase a license online, visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/services/Pages/Licenses.aspx. For more information on Delaware hunting licenses, call 302-739-9918.
Deer must be tagged immediately after harvest, and tags must remain attached until the deer is processed. Delaware hunting licenses come with two antlerless deer tags and two doe tags. Additional antlerless deer tags may be purchased online or from license agents for $10. Hunter’s Choice tags, which may be used on antlered or antlerless deer, may be purchased for $10. Hunter’s Choice tags come with a Quality Buck tag, which can only be used on an antlered deer with a minimum outside spread of 15 inches. Hunters are permitted to harvest a maximum of two antlered bucks for all seasons combined; all other deer taken must be antlerless.
Hunters are reminded that they must register their deer within 24 hours of harvest. However, if a hunter plans to take their deer to a butcher or taxidermist, they must register their deer before dropping the animal off, as the registration number will be required before the deer can be accepted. Hunters who butcher their own deer must also register the deer within 24 hours of harvest or before processing, whichever comes first. Hunters may register a deer by calling 1-855-DEL-HUNT (1-855-335-4868) or by visiting the following website http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt
Hunters also are reminded that during any firearm deer season, any person hunting any wildlife except migratory game birds is required to display on his or her chest, back and head a total of no less than 400 square inches of hunter orange material. Hunters who are completely concealed inside a ground blind to hunt deer during any firearms deer season are required to place 400 square inches of hunter orange material within 10 feet outside of the blind and at least 3 feet off the ground.
Hunters who are fortunate enough to harvest a deer and already have enough venison are encouraged to donate their deer to the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger Program. All donated deer will be processed free of charge to the hunter, and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable groups. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife maintains eight walk-in coolers where hunters may donate field-dressed, tagged deer at the following locations:
New Castle County
Augustine Wildlife Area, Port Penn
Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, Smyrna
Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, Viola
Division of Fish & Wildlife Mosquito Control Office, Milford
Assawoman Wildlife Area, Frankford
Gumboro Community Center, Millsboro
Redden State Forest Headquarters, Georgetown
Trap Pond State Park, Laurel
Successful hunters may also take their deer to any of the participating private butcher shops found throughout the state.