Migratory Bird Hunting
If you are a Delaware migratory bird hunter (ducks, geese, doves, woodcock, rails, snipe, and coots), you MUST obtain a new H.I.P number each year. What is H.I.P.? H.I.P. is the “Harvest Information Program” being implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). It was started in 1992 when California, Missouri, and South Dakota participated in the pilot program. For many years, the USFWS has collected waterfowl harvest information through a post-season survey of hunters who purchased Federal duck stamps. This survey was fine for its time, but better information is now needed. Also, the previous survey did not provide harvest data on other migratory birds like doves and woodcock. H.I.P. will fulfill these needs. Under the Harvest Information Program, migratory bird hunters need a special permit to hunt. To get the permit, hunters have to provide their name and address, and answer a few questions about their previous year’s hunting effort and success. This information is collected by the state, remains totally confidential, and goes immediately to the USFWS which randomly selects hunters to receive a survey form. This way, hunters have the forms to record harvest information during the season instead of after the fact like the old survey required. By surveying while hunting is going on, much better information should be available to the Service for evaluating bird harvests and the status of migratory bird species. If you are going to hunt migratory birds in Delaware, you MUST have a H.I.P. number. To obtain a permit visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt or call toll free 1-855-335-4868.
This permit is free.
Youth Waterfowl Hunts, October 20, 2018 and February 9, 2019
Open statewide on private and public lands, including state wildlife areas and the federal refuges. The lottery drawing for state blinds is 1.5 hours before legal shooting time except for the Little Creek WMA where the drawing is 2 hours before legal shooting time. Hunters should arrive prior to 2 hours before legal shooting time to sign up for the lottery.
Children 10 through 15 years old may hunt, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult 21 years of age or older. No state or federal stamps are required. Thirteen, fourteen and fifteen year old hunters must purchase a Delaware junior hunting license. Regular season limits and waterfowl hunting regulations apply.
Adult companions must be licensed to hunt in Delaware (or exempt) but may not possess a firearm during the hunt. For more information on youth hunting, see the Youth Hunting page.
Waterfowl regulations were adopted through Federal regulations.
HUNTING FROM BOATS
During the waterfowl season, it shall be unlawful for any person to hunt from a boat of any kind that is within 1,500 feet of an established blind, unless they have permission from the blind owner, except that:
- Any person may retrieve crippled waterfowl by the use of a boat in accordance with federal Regulations
- Any person may use a boat for transportation to and from an established blind lawfully used by such person
- Any person may hunt from a boat that is firmly secured and enclosed in an established blind.
During the waterfowl season, it shall be unlawful for any person to hunt from a boat, or a floating or fixed blind in the Little River in areas bounded on both sides by land administered by the Division, except as permitted in writing by the Director.
During the waterfowl season, it shall be unlawful for any person to hunt within 900 feet of the shoreline (high tide line) of the Delaware River and Bay, between the Appoquinimink River and the Smyrna River, without written permission of the closest adjoining landowner(s). Furthermore, it shall be unlawful for any person to hunt within 1,500 feet of the shoreline (high tide line) of the Delaware River and Bay, between the Smyrna River and the Murderkill River, without written permission of the closest adjoining landowner(s).
It shall be unlawful for tender boats servicing gunning (layout) rigs to be further than 1,500 feet from the rig or to conduct any activity, except to pick up downed birds or service the rig.
Hunters are reminded that Delaware and Maryland have a reciprocal agreement for hunting snow geese. Delaware hunters can hunt snow geese in Maryland with their Delaware hunting license provided they have a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp, a Federal Duck Stamp, a Maryland H.I.P. number and are in compliance with Maryland Hunter Safety laws. Holders of a Delaware resident guide license should refer to the “Delaware Guide/Hunt License” section for information related to reciprocity in other states. Maryland resident hunters can hunt snow geese in Delaware with their Maryland resident hunting license provided they have a Delaware Waterfowl (Duck) Stamp, a Federal Duck Stamp, a Delaware H.I.P. number and are in compliance with the Delaware Hunter Safety laws. This agreement only applies to residents of Maryland and Delaware.
The snow goose Conservation Order (CO) will reopen during the winter and spring of 2018/19 after other waterfowl hunting is closed. When the CO is open, snow goose hunters can use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls. In addition, hunting hours are extended to a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset and daily bag and possession limits are removed. Participants hunting during the CO must have a valid Delaware or Maryland resident hunting license, a Delaware Waterfowl (Duck) Stamp (Federal stamp not required), a Delaware HIP number and the free CO permit issued by the Division. Holders of a Delaware resident guide license should refer to the “Delaware Guide/Hunt License” section for information related to reciprocity in other states. This permit can be obtained by computer registration at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt. The need for the Delaware Waterfowl (Duck) Stamp follows the requirements on Licenses & Permits page of this guide as related to hunter age.
- The non-resident 3-day hunting license can now be used to hunt waterfowl provided the hunter has purchased the Federal Duck Stamp and state waterfowl (duck) stamp and has a H.I.P. number.
- When purchasing your waterfowl (duck) stamp on the electronic systems, the stamp image is printed on your license if you purchase your hunting license at the same time. If you purchase the stamp separately you will receive the stamp image. The Division no longer mails original waterfowl (duck) stamps automatically at the end of the season (June 30th of each year). If you would like an original stamp sent to you please call (302) 739-9918 and provide your name, address and order ID number after you purchase the electronic stamp.
Waterfowl leg banding
Division wildlife biologists have been testing waterfowl for Avian Influenza, and banding American Black Ducks as part of an Atlantic Flyway black duck monitoring initiative.
Did you know?
Reports from hunters of harvested waterfowl with leg bands help biologists learn more about species distribution (travel, etc.) and survival rates! Old bands may still have a phone number and/or website to report bands. Since fall 2017, the reporting phone number has been discontinued. If you harvest a banded bird, please go to www.reportband.gov to report the band.
Non-toxic shot, as approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is required for all waterfowl hunting within the State of Delaware. There are no exceptions. For a list of currently approved non-toxic shot types visit http://flyways.us/faq/what-type-shot-approved-non-toxic-us.
Delaware Waterfowl (Duck) stamp Program
2018 Delaware Waterfowl (Duck) Stamp
The Division of Fish & Wildlife, in partnership with Delaware Ducks Unlimited, began the waterfowl stamp and print program in 1980 to raise funds for waterfowl conservation, including acquiring and improving the wetland habitats that are vital for the survival of migratory waterfowl. These funds improve waterfowl habitat in Delaware and Canada and help to ensure that waterfowl species will prosper and provide enjoyment for generations to come.
All 2018 entries submitted had to depict Pintail and a Golden Retriever. The 2018 prints and stamps (as well as the 2016 and 2017 prints and stamps) will be available July 1, 2018. After June 30, 2018 the 2015 prints and stamps will be destroyed in accordance with the waterfowl stamp program policy. For information on the Delaware Waterfowl Stamp Program or to reserve and purchase prints/stamps, contact the Division at (302) 739-9918 or visit our website: http://de.gov/waterfowlstamp.
Caution: Shot carries beyond the lethal range. Hunters should use extreme caution when selecting the direction they shoot in.