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Furbearer Trapping & Hunting


2013-2014 Furbearer Trapping Seasons

Muskrat, Mink, Otter, Raccoon,* Opossum

New Castle County** Dec. 1- Mar. 10

Kent & Sussex Counties Dec.15 – Mar. 15

Download Trapping License Application

State Wildlife Areas

Each year the Division accepts sealed bids for persons to trap muskrat and raccoon on its wildlife areas. Bidding information is published in mid-September with the bid opening in mid-October. Areas available for lease include: C&D Canal – 6 units; Augustine – 7 units; Woodland Beach – 3 units; Little Creek – 8 units; Milford Neck – 3 units; Prime Hook- State Area: Lewes Rehoboth – 2 units; Nanticoke – 2 units; Cedar Swamp – 5 units; Assawoman – 1 unit. No trapping is permitted on any Division lands without a permit.


Foothold traps may only be used with permission of the landowner and only during the muskrat season, except in certain areas where they may be used throughout the year (except on Sundays) to trap raccoons in eastern New Castle and Kent Counties. Foothold traps larger than No. 11/2 or No. 1 coil-spring may only be used in tidal areas including: tidal marshes; below the mean high tide in rivers; diked marsh that was formerly tidal; or islands surrounded by tidal marsh.

All Foothold traps, except No. 1 1/2 or No. 1 coil spring, must be tagged with either the trapper’s name and address or the trapper’s license number and the year of its issuance. All other traps, except muskrat traps, must be also marked with identification (such as box traps). Small leghold traps (No. 1 1/2 or smaller/No. 1 coil-spring or smaller) may be used in any marsh, stream, or ditch normally containing water, or freshwater wetlands in addition to being lawful in tidal areas.

TRAPPING PROHIBITIONS – It is unlawful to:

  • Use traps to take game animals except muskrats, mink and otter. Box traps may be used by landowners to trap rabbits during the open season.
  • Set any type of trap except in marshes, streams or ditches (rabbit, raccoon and opossum Box traps may be set elsewhere).
  • Use any type of trap, except for muskrats, without marking the trap with a metal tag stating the trapper’s license number and year or his name and address.
  • Fail to visit traps less than once every 24 hours.
  • Use or possess killer or conibear traps with a jaw spread in excess of 5 inches.
  • Set traps any time before the opening day of a season or any time after the last day of a season. (There is no provision in Delaware’s laws to set up traps the day before a season opens or to allow the removal of traps for several days after a season closes.)
  • Use diving or box traps for muskrats.


Raccoons may be trapped in season statewide with box traps operated to confine but not harm the entrapped animal. The trap opening may not exceed 195 square inches. Raccoons may be hunted and trapped on private land only, at any time of the year, except on Sundays, in New Castle or Kent Counties from the southerly boundary of Rt.380 and east and southeast of the center line of Rt. 13 and Rt. 113, south to the Saint Jones River with permission of the landowner.


Landowners with damage caused by beavers may take up to 8 per season without a permit from December 1 through March 20 provided they report their catch by April 1. Beavers may be taken at any other time or more than 8 may be taken with a permit from the Division. Beaver hides and the meat of lawfully taken beaver harvested anywhere within or outside of Delaware may be sold.


Red fox may be killed in accordance with the statutes and regulations of the State of Delaware governing the hunting of red fox from November 1 through the last day of February, excluding Sundays. It is unlawful to kill a red fox that is being pursued by dogs. During any deer firearms season, it will be unlawful to hunt red fox with any firearm that is not also legal for deer hunting. Landowners may apply to the Division of Fish and Wildlife for a permit to control red foxes on their property. Hides of foxes legally taken may be sold.

River Otter

Otters must be tagged by an authorized representative of the Division of Fish & Wildlife in accordance with CITES requirements. Please contact the Division at 302-735-3600 to make arrangements to have your otter tagged once the pelt has been stretched and dried but before it is sold or shipped out of state. Tags will not be distributed to trappers but instead must be affixed to otter pelts by a representative from the Division so bring your pelts with you for tagging.


Raccoon and Opossum

Sept. 2 – Sept. 11 Chase

Oct. 20* – Oct. 31 Chase

Nov. 1 – Nov. 15 Hunt

Nov. 23* – Feb. 28 Hunt

Mar. 1 – Mar. 31 Chase

No Limit

Season closed statewide during Nov. shotgun and Oct. muzzleloader deer seasons. Hunt hours 7:00 p.m.-midnight during Dec. and Jan. deer seasons. See below for special zone where season is open all year except Sundays and during deer seasons listed above.

*Season reopens one hour after sunset

Red Fox

Chase: Oct. 1 – Apr. 30* except season closed during deer gun seasons Oct. thru Dec.

See Deer Hunting for season dates.

Hunt: Nov. 1 – Feb. 28


No Limit

*From Jan.-Apr. fox hunting by chase during deer hunting season shall be permissible on private lands only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday if the owner of the private land has authorized such hunting to occur thereon.

Red fox may be hunted with a longbow, crossbow, shotgun, muzzleloading rifle, rimfire or centerfire rifle up to 25 caliber, revolvers and single shot pistols.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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