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Migratory Bird


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 or call toll free 1-855-335-4868.

This permit is free.

2015-16 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days

Youth Waterfowl Hunts, October 17, 2015 and February 6, 2016*

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 an 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 section on Youth Hunting Information.

*Pending Federal approval – See 2015-16 Waterfowl Season Summary pamphlet for approved dates.

Waterfowl regulations were adopted through Federal

Waterfowl Hunters and Boats

Each year more hunters die from drowning and the effects of hypothermia than from gunshot wounds. Most of the accident reports from waterborne hunting fatalities are not dramatic stories. The hunter didn’t succumb in an “Outdoor Life and Death” struggle. Rather the accident reports usually read: “Fell out of boat reaching for a decoy and never resurfaced” or “capsized boat due to overloading or uneven distribution of decoys, dog, and other hunters”. Many hunters do not regard themselves as a“boater” and as a consequence do not consider the special conditions and challenges of the marine environment. Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s) are essential and should be worn at all times. Statistics show that the great majority of capsizing and falls overboard occur with boats less than 20 feet in length. Special type III (wearable) vests for hunting are available and are comfortable and warm for the coldest, nastiest duck and goose hunting days. They can be purchased in camo colors. Hunters use smaller, more easily transportable craft like john boats, bass boats or canoes. Some boat designs are not as stable as others. These types, because of their flat bottoms or narrow beams, are more prone to swamping or capsizing. How can you avoid an unplanned fall into the water?

  • Wear your life jacket. Camouflage float coats are available at most marine dealers.
  • Never cross large bodies of water during rough weather in a boat that can’t take the conditions due to size and/or overloading.
  • Stay with your boat if you capsize and can’t get to shore. Try to climb on it.
  • Avoid standing up or moving around in the boat.
  • Never move about your boat with a loaded gun or rifle.
  • Don’t overload, read the capacity plate attached to the inside hull as a guide.
  • Distribute your gear evenly.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, it lowers your body core temperature and encourages one to take chances they wouldn’t normally take.

Every sensible hunter knows that guns, alcohol and drugs don’t mix. Hunting under the influence of alcohol is a Federal hunting violation not excluding loss of your state hunting license if convicted. Those persons born on or after January 1, 1978 must take an approved boating certification course before operating a boat. Contact the Office of Boating Education for more information on taking a boating education course at (302) 739-9915 or take an online course at


Most drownings could have been prevented. What causes them? Drownings occur because the victim made the wrong decision, did not realize the dangers of boating in rough, cold water, was not properly prepared, had the wrong equipment, or failed to wear a life-jacket (PFD). Small boats, by their very nature, are extremely unstable crafts. Often the victim of a small boat accident did not realize just how unstable their craft was. Add to this, cold, rough water, and the chances for survival for falling overboard are very slim. COLD WATER KILLS—even those in excellent condition who know how to swim.

The Five Primary Causes of Water Deaths are:

  1. Hypothermia – The rapid loss of body heat in cold water.
  1. “Dry” Drowning – Constriction of the throat, and the resulting suffocation, due to a sudden inrush of cold water.
  1. “Wet” Drowning – The displacement of air in the lungs by water.
  1. Massive Heart Attacks in older, out-of-shape, non-swimmers in cold water.
  1. Being run over by own boat, especially when starting in gear.


Aggressive CPR (rescue breathing and heart massage) can save your life. What do you and your fishing, hunting, and canoeing friends know about it?


Cold water not only kills, but in some instances, it preserves. Warming drowning victims from the inside out by CPR or warm, moist inhalation may bring them back to life!


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. 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.

Conservation Order

The snow goose Conservation Order (CO) is expected to reopen during the winter and spring of 2016 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. This permit can be obtained by computer registration at The need for the Delaware Waterfowl (Duck) Stamp follows the requirements on Licensing & Permits 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.
  • For more information on ordering Collector Waterfowl (Duck) Stamp(s) and waterfowl prints contact Candace Dunning at (302) 739-9918. The collector stamps and prints are not available online.

Non-Toxic Shot

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


Shot carries beyond the lethal range. Duck hunters should use extreme caution when selecting the direction they shoot in.


Delaware Small Boat Equipment Requirements

1. Registration fee



2. Decals & boat number

Display properly on bow

Display properly on bow

3. Personal flotation Device

(PFD)*Must be serviceable

(see below)

One approved wearable PFD
for each person on board

One approved wearable PFD for each person on board plus one throwable PFD.

4. Whistle

One hand, mouth or power
operated, and audible at least
one half (1/2) mile

One hand, mouth or power operated, and audible at least one half (1/2) mile

5. Fire Extinguisher Portable

One type B-1, if carrying passengers for hire, or if boat construction will permit entrapment of flammable vapors.

One type B-1, if carrying passengers for hire,
or if boat construction
will permit entrapment of flammable vapors.

6. Lights

7. Ventilation At least two ventilator ducts fitted with cowls or equivalent,
if boat construction will permit entrapment of flammable vapors.

8. Atlantic Ocean, Delaware Bay and Delaware River South of Artificial Island—U.S. Coast Guard regulations require all vessels to carry day and night distress signaling devices.
Outboard motorboats less than 16’ in length are exempt from daytime requirements.

Take a Boating Education Course

1-800-464-4357 or 739-9915

2016 Delaware Turkey Hunting Check Stations*

Kent County

McKay Wildlife and Hunter Education Field Office

6180 Hay Point Landing Road, Smyrna

(Intersection of Route 9/Shorts Landing Road)


Little Creek Wildlife Area Check Station

Route 9, Bayside Drive, Little Creek

(Just south of the Town of Little Creek)


Williamsville Store

3544 Williamsville Road, Houston

(Intersection of Deep Grass Lane and Williamsville Road)


First State Sporting Goods

825 Halltown Road, Marydel


Miller’s Butcher Shop

577 Morgan’s Choice Road, Wyoming


LP Sports Center

1 East Street, Spartan Plaza, Harrington


Delmarva Speed & Sport

689 Warner Road, Milford


New Castle County

Master Baiters

775 S. DuPont Highway, New Castle

302-834-BAIT (2248)

Sussex County

Wildlife Recreations

9641 Tharp Road, Seaford


Hook ‘Em and Cook ‘Em

3 York Beach Mall, Route 1, South Bethany


That Place

30618 Millsboro Highway, Millsboro


Bucks and Ducks Sports Center

14882 Hardscrabble Road, Seaford


*NOTE: List of check stations subject to change without notice. Visit after April 1 for any changes. Hours may vary. Call the station where you will check a bird to confirm hours of operation.

Check station hours may vary, so hunters are advised to call the station where they are likely to check a bird to confirm the hours of operation. Hunters who want to have their bird scored and entered into the National Wild Turkey Federation records are reminded to have their bird’s live weight recorded on a certified scale. If the check station does not have a certified scale, hunters will have to go to another shop to have the turkey re-weighed.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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