Additional hunting opportunities available in February

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is promoting additional hunting opportunities in February with a second special youth waterfowl hunting day on Feb. 8, the one-day reopening of the regular snow goose hunting season Feb. 8, and the opening of the Snow Goose Conservation Order season on Feb. 1.

• Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day: The one-day, special youth waterfowl hunting day Saturday, Feb. 8 is open for hunters ages 10 through 15. Normal daily waterfowl bag limits and hunting regulations apply during the special youth waterfowl hunting day, 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 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 ages 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 those state wildlife areas with a lottery drawing for a waterfowl blind. The morning lottery is held 1.5 hours before legal shooting time at Augustine, Cedar Swamp, Woodland Beach and Assawoman, and two hours before legal shooting time at Little Creek and Ted Harvey. Those state wildlife areas that allow waterfowl hunting and do not have lotteries are also open on the youth waterfowl day. Wildlife area rules and regulations are available online under Wildlife Area Maps.

• Snow goose one-day hunting season: The regular snow goose hunting season reopens for one day Saturday, Feb. 8, when adult hunters can also hunt snow geese, subject to regular snow goose season bag limits and hunting regulations.

• Snow Goose Conservation Order season: The Snow Goose Conservation Order season is open Saturday, Feb. 1, through Friday, Feb. 7, closing for the youth waterfowl hunting day and one-day reopening of the regular snow goose season on Saturday, Feb. 8, and reopening Monday, Feb. 10 through Friday, April 10. The Snow Goose Conservation Order is a separate season open only for snow geese that occurs when Delaware’s regular waterfowl hunting seasons are closed. The Snow Goose Conservation Order is not open on Sundays.

During the Snow Goose Conservation Order, liberal harvest methods are allowed to help reduce the large snow goose population that is damaging the species’ Arctic nesting grounds and local wetlands and agricultural lands in the Mid-Atlantic region where the birds overwinter.

Legal shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, and there are no daily bag and possession limits. Unplugged shotguns and electronic calls are allowed. All other federal and state hunting regulations apply. If hunting on a state wildlife area where the Conservation Order is open, hunters should refer to Wildlife Area Maps for specific rules and regulations.

Hunters participating in the Snow Goose Conservation Order must obtain a free snow goose conservation order permit number, which must be in their possession while hunting. Hunters also are required to report their Conservation Order hunting activity and harvest success to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Friday, May 1. Conservation Order permit numbers can be obtained and harvest reports can be submitted online under Delaware Hunter and Trapper Registration; hunters may also call (302) 735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday.

Conservation Order participants are also required to have a valid Delaware hunting license or license-exempt number (LEN) or a Maryland resident hunting license (unless exempt in Maryland), a 2019/2020 Delaware waterfowl stamp (unless exempt), and a Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required.

Hunters were also reminded that:

• Information on hunting license and Delaware waterfowl stamp requirements is available online under Delaware Licenses.

• Waterfowl and other migratory game bird (except crow) hunters need a Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. HIP (and LEN) numbers can be obtained online under Delaware Hunter and Trapper Registration or by calling toll free 1-855-335-4868.

• Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1967, must have a basic hunter education safety course card/number.

• A federal migratory bird stamp is required for hunters age 16 or older to hunt waterfowl (except during the Snow Goose Conservation Order season).

• Registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife are required to display a Conservation Access Pass (CAP), with one free annual CAP available with the purchase of any Delaware hunting license.

For more information, call (302) 739-9912 or visit www.fw.delaware.gov.