Delaware waterfowl hunting seasons reopen Dec. 9

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds waterfowlers that the last of three 2016/17 seasonal segments for hunting migratory ducks in Delaware opens Friday, Dec. 9 and runs through Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.

Other current or upcoming waterfowl seasons are:

· Canada geese: Friday, Dec. 16-Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, daily bag limit two and possession limit six;

· Brant: Saturday, Dec. 3-Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017; daily bag limit two and possession limit six;

· Snow geese: Season continues through Saturday, Feb. 4, 2016; daily bag limit 25, no possession limit; includes Ross’ geese. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with permission of refuge manager.

· Sea ducks: Monday, Nov. 21-Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 within the designated Special Sea Duck Hunt Area, located not less than 800 yards from shore between Port Mahon/Elbow Cross Navigation Light and the Delaware-Maryland line. For sea ducks harvested during the special season in the designated area, a daily bag limit of five and possession limit of 18 applies to sea ducks; this daily bag limit to include no more than four scoters, four long-tailed ducks or four eiders. Sea ducks may be harvested outside the designated area only during regular duck season dates and are part of the regular duck season bag and possession limits; those harvested within the special area during regular duck season may be in addition to limits for other ducks during regular duck season.

Youth waterfowl hunting day – Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017

The daily bag limit of six ducks (excluding mergansers and coots) may include, in any combination, up to: four mallards, with no more than two hen mallards; one black duck; two pintails; two canvasbacks; three wood ducks; two redheads; two scaup; six teal; six shovelers; six gadwalls; six wigeons; six goldeneyes; six ring-necked ducks; six buffleheads; six ruddy ducks; one mottled duck; one fulvous whistling-duck; four scoters; four eiders; four long-tailed ducks. The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit for each species. The season on harlequin ducks remains closed.

Season dates for coots and mergansers are the same as for ducks, with a daily bag limit of 15 and possession limit of 45 for coots, and a daily bag limit of five and a possession limit of 15 for mergansers. Daily bag limit may include no more than two hooded mergansers (six in possession).

Hunters harvesting Canada geese also may take white-fronted geese, which count against the daily bag limit of two for Canada geese, allowing hunters to take up to two Canada geese, or two white-fronted geese, also known as “specklebellies,” or one of each daily.

Most state wildlife areas open for waterfowl hunting hold a lottery drawing for waterfowl blinds 1.5 hours before legal shooting time, except for Little Creek Wildlife Area, which holds its drawing two hours before legal shooting time. Hunters should plan to arrive in time to sign up for the drawing. If hunting waterfowl on a state wildlife area from a blind that was selected through a lottery, all hunters in the blind are required to carry the $20 annual blind permit, available for purchase where hunting licenses are sold. This permit is waived for hunters participating in Division of Fish & Wildlife-designated youth hunting days.

Additional information about waterfowl blind lotteries and availability at individual wildlife areas as well as rules specific to each wildlife area can be found online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps. Hard copies of these wildlife area maps are also available at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, or by calling the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.

How to get your hunting license, HIP/LEN numbers and required stamps:

Delaware residents age 16 through 64 and non-residents age 16 or older must purchase a hunting license to hunt in Delaware. A junior hunting license is required for youths age 13 through 15. Hunters age 16 and older who hunt migratory waterfowl also are required to purchase a Delaware waterfowl stamp. Delaware resident hunters 65 and older are not required to purchase a Delaware waterfowl stamp. Delaware hunting licenses and waterfowl stamps are sold online, at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For additional information on Delaware hunting licenses, call 302-739-9918.

For hunters age 16 and older, a federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamp is also required to hunt waterfowl. Federal duck stamps may be purchased at U.S Post Offices, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges and online at; no exemptions are made for persons 65 years or older for purchasing federal stamps. For more information on federal stamps, call 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724).

Hunters who are exempt from purchasing a license must obtain an annual, free License Exempt Number (LEN). Hunters who plan to pursue migratory game birds such as ducks, geese and doves, also must obtain a HIP number as required under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Harvest Information Program. LEN and HIP numbers can be obtained through the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter and Trapper Registration System (HTR). This free, easy-to-use system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To use the HTR system, please visit If you prefer to talk to a live customer service representative, please call 855-DELHUNT (855-335-4868).

For more information on waterfowl hunting in Delaware, click on 2016-2017 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. Printed copies of the Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide and the wildlife area maps are also available at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, or by calling the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912. The printed guide also is available from license agents throughout the state.

The Division of Fish & Wildlife encourages hunters to bring cameras and take photos to enter in the Division’s annual Delaware Hunting Photo Contest, with the winner to be published in next year’s Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. Deadline for contest entries is Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Information and forms are available on the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s website or may be requested by calling Jennifer Childears at 302-739-9910, or email