Statewide December antlerless deer season opens Dec. 10

DOVER – Delaware deer hunters will have another opportunity to harvest antlerless deer during the state’s December antlerless deer season – which runs from Saturday, Dec. 10 through Saturday, Dec. 17, including Sunday, Dec. 11. Hunters are reminded that only antlerless deer may be taken during the December antlerless season, including hunters who choose to use archery/crossbow equipment.

“The December antlerless season provides additional deer hunting and harvest opportunities, with more than 600 antlerless deer typically harvested annually during this season,” said Emily Boyd, deer and furbearer biologist with the Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Antlerless deer include female (doe) deer, as well as male deer with both antlers measuring less than three inches in length. Only shotgun, muzzleloader or archery/crossbow equipment can be used during the December antlerless deer season.

This year, hunters will have the opportunity to hunt on Sunday, Dec. 11 during the December antlerless season on private land with landowner permission and in public areas open to Sunday hunting. To find out which public areas are open for Sunday hunting, please visit Sunday deer hunting.

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. Some license requirements differ for non-resident hunters. Delaware hunting licenses are sold online, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, click Delaware Licenses. For more information on Delaware hunting licenses, call 302-739-9918.

Other upcoming Delaware deer season dates include:

· Handgun – Saturday, Jan. 7-Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 (no Sunday deer hunting allowed during handgun season)

· Shotgun – Saturday, Jan. 14-Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, including Sunday, Jan. 15

· Muzzleloader – Monday, Jan. 23-Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 (no Sunday deer hunting allowed during January muzzleloader season)

· Archery and crossbow deer season, ongoing thru Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 (except for designated Sundays during certain firearms seasons, no Sunday deer hunting allowed during archery and crossbow season)

Deer must be tagged immediately after harvest, and tags must remain attached until the deer is processed. Delaware hunting licenses come with four antlerless deer tags, but additional antlerless deer tags may be purchased online or from license agents for $10, which can be used to harvest antlerless deer and, in season, antlered deer. Resident hunters may purchase a combination resident hunter’s choice/quality buck tag for $10.

Hunters are reminded that they must register their deer within 24 hours of harvest. A registration number is required before taking any deer to a butcher or taxidermist. Likewise, hunters who butcher their own deer must register the deer within 24 hours of harvest or before processing.

Hunters may register deer by visiting the Hunter and Trapper Registration (HTR) system online at using their smartphone, tablet or computer. Those who prefer to register their deer through a live customer service representative have the option to call 855-DEL-HUNT (855-335-4868). However, using the website instead of the live customer service phone number is less costly to the Division of Fish & Wildlife, with the savings better used to fund wildlife and habitat conservation programs and management of public wildlife areas.

Successful hunters who harvest a deer and already have enough venison for themselves 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 Division of Fish & Wildlife maintains walk-in coolers where hunters may donate field-dressed, tagged deer at the following locations:

Sussex County

Assawoman Wildlife Area, near Frankford

Gumboro Community Center, Gumboro

Redden State Forest Headquarters, near Georgetown

Trap Pond State Park, near Laurel

Kent County

Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, near Smyrna

Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, near Viola

Mosquito Control Office, Milford

New Castle County

Augustine Wildlife Area, Port Penn

Donated deer are taken to the Sussex Correctional Institution’s deer butchering program, or to participating private butcher shops, where they are processed. If a hunter donates a deer, the Division of Fish & Wildlife requests that the hunter please call the phone number posted on the cooler, so that the deer is transported for processing in a timely manner. Any deer dropped off at a cooler must be field-dressed and registered, with the registration number written on the field tag attached to the animal.

Successful hunters may also take their deer to any of the Sportsmen Against Hunger participating private butcher shops found throughout the state:

Sussex County

Dave’s Cut ‘Em Up

6854 Delmar Road

Delmar, DE 19940


Ole McDonald’s

Farm Fresh Meats & Produce

8977 DuPont Boulevard

Lincoln, DE 19960


Kent County

Miller’s Butcher Shop

577 Morgans Choice Road

Wyoming, DE 19934


D&J Custom Cutting

89 Myers Drive

Hartly, DE 19953


New Castle County

Townsend Deer Butchering

1300 Dexter Corner Road

Townsend, DE 19734


Mark’s Butcher Shop

River Road Industrial Park

729 Grantham Lane

New Castle, DE 19720


For more information on hunting in Delaware, click on 2016-2017 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and from license agents throughout the state. State wildlife area hunting maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps. For more information, call the licensing desk at 302-739-9918 or the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.