Open season is just a few weeks away for most of the US. It's an exciting time of year for veteran hunters and beginners alike. But before heading out on your first hunt, make sure you're familiar with Delaware hunting laws and regulations. Most seasoned hunters may be well aware that hunting laws evolve on an almost yearly basis. The governments’ main objective is to address public safety for the benefit of the hunter and the hunted.
Delaware Hunting Laws and Regulations
It's a must to keep up to date with Delaware hunting laws before heading out on your first hunt. Studying your state's hunting laws might be a bit time consuming, and we know you're impatient to get out there and start shooting. But breaking the law and having to pay a fine can put a serious damper on your hunting season.
Keep reading to learn about Delaware hunting laws including dates, which animals you’re allowed to hunt, which weapon you're allowed to use, how to get a hunting license, and much more.
1. Deer Hunting Season
Archery: September 1 – January 31
Crossbow: September 1 – January 31
Muzzleloader: October 7 – 15
Shotgun: November 11 – 19; January 14 – 21
Handgun: January 7 – 14
For special antlerless, youth/non-ambulatory disabled hunt and more, click here.
Methods of Take
- Limited to revolvers and single hot pistols with a minimum barrel length of 5.75 inches and a maximum of 12.5 inches.
- Using straightwall handgun ammunition in .41 magnum, .41 caliber, .357 magnum, .44 caliber, .44 magnum, .45 caliber, .454 caliber, .480 caliber, .50 caliber, and .460 caliber
For specifics on sharps rifle, crossbows, vertical bows and baiting, click here.
Licenses & Permits
Hunting licenses can be purchased online 24/7 on www.fw.delaware.gov.
For special license, special permits, permits and more, click here.
2. Duck Hunting Season
Regular Season: October 28 – November 8
November 21 – November 26
December 9 – January 28
For September Teal season dates, mergansers, coots, youth waterfowl hunt, daily bag and possession limits, click here.
Illegal Hunting Methods
No person shall take migratory game birds:
- With a rifle, pistol, swivel gun, punt gun, battery gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, machinegun
- With a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells.
For a more detailed description on what is illegal and legal in the manner of taking waterfowl, click here.
Licensing and Permits
With the fully automated recreational licensing system for the state of Delaware, sportsmen can now purchase and print license on their site 24/7.
Click here and turn to page 4 for other special permits and more.
3. Turkey Hunting Season
- Private Land: April 9 – May 7
- Public Land
- Permit A: April 8 – 14
- Permit B: April 15 – 21
- Permit C: April 22 – 28
- Permit D: April 29 – May 6
- Youth Hunt: April 1
For other details on other game hunting seasons, click here.
Legal Firearms, Bows, and Shot Sizes
- 20, 16, 12, 10 gauge
- Legal shot sizes: #4, #5, #6 lead or steel. 7 or 7 ½ shot may be used if it is part of a duplex or triplex load containing 4, 5, or 6 shot.
- Smoothbore muzzleloading shotguns only
- #4, #5, #6 shot only.
- Minimum broadhead width of 7/8 inches.
- Crossbows may be used for turkey hunting.
- Crossbows must meet the same standards as for deer hunting.
For restrictions, check stations, bag limits and more, click here.
License and Permits
Public hunters must have an annual permit from the Division. Also, public and private land hunters should always have the proof of turkey hunting safety course completion with them at all times.
For more detailed facts on special licenses, permits and more, click here.
General Hunting Information
It is vital to know the prohibited methods of take for any kind of wildlife for the State of Delaware.
For general regulations, firearms and archery equipment as well as trapping information, click here.
If you want to know how it is like to hunt during the Late Season Waterfowl Hunting in Delaware you can watch this video below by Pete Plasmier.
As long as you are knowledgeable with the hunting laws in the state of Delaware and abide by them to the letter, you and your hunting buddies will surely enjoy every minute of hunting.
Hunt safe and hunt proud!
Do you want to know more about hunting laws and regulations? click here.
Featured image via Marulasfontein