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Public Lands Hunting & Trapping

Hunting Regulations Icon Delaware Hunting

HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES ON PUBLIC LANDS

WATERFOWL

Waterfowl hunters have a variety of opportunities to hunt on public lands in Delaware including marsh blinds/blind sites, upland blinds, goose pits, and upland fields. Refer to individual area maps for specific area rules and regulations.

The following areas are by permit only issued through a daily lottery:

  • Augustine WA
  • Cedar Swamp WA
  • Woodland Beach WA
  • Kelley Island (part of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge)
  • Little Creek WA (portions of)
  • Ted Harvey CA (potions of)
  • Assawoman WA (portions of)
  • Prime Hook WA and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (lotteries run through National Wildlife Refuge lottery system)

DEER

Deer hunters have a variety of opportunities to hunt on public lands in Delaware. Refer to individual area maps for specific area rules and regulations.

The following areas have firearm deer hunting by permit only issued through a daily lottery.

  • White Clay Creek State Park
  • Augustine WA
  • Blackbird State Forest WA
  • Cedar Swamp WA
  • Woodland Beach WA (except the Lighthouse Island tract)
  • Little Creek WA (portions of)
  • Ted Harvey CA
  • Assawoman WA (portions of)
  • Deer hunting at Lums Pond, Trap Pond, Cape Henlopen, Fort DuPont, and Delaware Seashore State Parks is by permit only and hunters should contact the Park Office where they intend to hunt for specific site information. For more information call (302) 739-9220 or visit destateparks.com.

QUALITY BUCK MANAGEMENT AREAS

The Cedar Swamp (except the Rocks tract) and Woodland Beach State Wildlife Areas as well as the Dulany Manor tract of Blackbird State Forest and the Chesapeake, Ellendale, Headquarters, and Jester tracts of Redden State Forest are Quality Buck Areas. All hunters (except hunters under 17 years of age and non-ambulatory hunters hunting on either the Cedar Swamp or Woodland Beach State Wildlife Areas) hunting these areas shall not take an antlered deer with a minimum outside antler spread of less than 15 inches at any time. Only bucks that qualify for the existing Quality Buck Tag are legal in these areas. Antlerless deer can still be legally harvested.

SMALL GAME / TURKEY

Small game hunters have a variety of opportunities to hunt on public lands in Delaware. Refer to individual area maps for specific area rules and regulations. Turkey hunting is only available through a preseason lottery. See page 40 for more information.

The following areas have rabbit hunting by permit only issued through a daily lottery:

  • Cedar Swamp WA
  • Woodland Beach WA (portions of)
  • Little Creek WA (portions of)
  • Ted Harvey CA (portions of)
  • Assawoman WA (portions of)

RULES FOR STATE WILDLIFE AREAS

Hunters are advised to check each area map for specific rules and information.

  • A Conservation Access Pass is required for all vehicles using designated State Wildlife Areas, except for the C&D Canal Conservation Area. See pages 4 and 5 for more information.
  • All vehicles used on wildlife areas must be licensed, used only on designated roads, not exceed 20 m.p.h., and not make excessive noise. See wildlife area maps for detailed regulations.
  • No person may trespass into areas closed by the Division.
  • Entry is limited from sunrise to sunset, except to lawfully hunt and fish.
  • No camping or swimming without special authorization of the Division.
  • No dumping or littering, no target shooting including paintball.
  • Hunting can only be done as specified on area maps available from the Division.
  • Horses may be used on wildlife areas only on established roads open to vehicular traffic. No off road vehicles registered or unregistered.
  • Firearms are allowed except for designated prohibited areas; the Division may authorize firearm possession in designated prohibited areas.
  • No rifled guns allowed on lands along the C&D Canal except muzzleloaders and shot- guns during the deer seasons when it is lawful to use such firearms.
  • Firearms may not be discharged on Sunday except for areas approved for Sunday deer hunting.
  • No firearms are permitted on dikes and walking on dikes is prohibited during the waterfowl season.
  • No trapping on state areas without a valid lease. Leases will be bid in October of each year.
  • Non-resident hunters may not participate in deer drives and must hunt from a stationary position only. Non-resident hunters may not walk with a loaded firearm while deer hunting as this will be considered driving deer.
  • Small game hunting closed during December and January Shotgun deer seasons. See area maps for details.
  • Baiting for deer hunting is prohibited.
  • Rabbit dogs may be trained on some areas on Sundays during September, October, and November except for the Sundays during firearm deer seasons. See specific wildlife area maps for dog training regulations.
  • No permanent non-state deer stands are permitted. Temporary portable deer stands may be used on some areas (see individual area maps). Temporary portable stands may be erected at the owners own risk after August 15th and must be removed by February 15th. Any stands left after this date will become property of the Division.
  • It shall be unlawful to possess, consume or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages, liquors or drugs while hunting or in the possession of firearms when on lands administered by the Division.
  • Collection and removal of any wildlife species from a State Wildlife Area is prohibited unless otherwise provided by statute, regulation or authorized by the Division Director.

AREA MAPS

Maps for all state wildlife areas may be obtained from the Division of Fish and Wildlife Office, 89 Kings Hwy., Dover, Delaware 19901. Regulations covering each area are included. Individuals can receive up to 5 maps free. Additional maps will cost $0.50 cents each. A complete booklet of maps can be obtained for $5.00 plus $1.00 for shipping. Maps are also available for free on the Division’s Web Site (www.fw.delaware.gov).

  • Hunters should note that days open for hunting some species on public lands may vary from the general hunting season. Hunters should check the regulations for each public area they plan to hunt.
  • To view public lands open to Sunday deer hunting, please visit the Sunday deer hunting website: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Pages/Sunday-deer-hunting.aspx or call the Wildlife Section office 302-739-9912.

DEER STAND / WATERFOWL BLIND LOTTERY PERMIT

Hunters that use a State Wildlife Area waterfowl blind or deer stand for hunting that was assigned through a daily lottery must purchase a $20 annual Wildlife Area Deer Stand/Waterfowl Blind Lottery Permit. All individuals must be in possession of this permit when using the blind or stand. These permits can be purchased where hunting licenses are sold or online at www.de.gov\fw.

RULES FOR DELAWARE FOREST SERVICE LANDS

(BLACKBIRD, REDDEN, AND TABER STATE FORESTS)

(Administered by Delaware Forest Service, Department of Agriculture) Please contact each State Forest office for a list of any tract closures.

  • For Redden State Forest information call: (302) 856-2893.
  • For Blackbird State Forest call: (302) 653-6505.
  • For Taber State Forest call: (302) 698-4549.

TURKEY HUNTING CHANGES ON STATE FOREST LANDS

The Delaware Forest Service will be be issuing permits to hunt turkeys on State Forest Lands through a separate public lottery system not found within this guide. Please contact the Forest Service at (302) 698-4548 to learn more on how turkey hunting will be administered on State Forest Lands.

THE FOLLOWING RULES AND REGULATIONS APPLY TO ALL STATE FOREST LANDS:

  • State Forests are year-round multiple use areas. Hunters share the use of State Forest Lands with other public users such as hikers, campers, horseback riders, firewood cutters, and loggers.
  • No special permits are required to hunt on State Forest lands, except as specified in the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife annual Hunting and Trapping Guide. Properly licensed hunters may hunt during any open season except on areas designated, such as those marked with Wildlife Sanctuary, NO HUNTING, Safety Zones signs, or Closed to Public White-tailed Deer Hunting.
  • Portions of State Forest tracts will be closed to public white-tailed deer hunting from September 1st-January 31st. Please contact each State Forest for a list of these closures.
  • Hunting is only permitted as specified on State Forest maps available free-of-charge from State Forest offices and online at http:// dda.delaware.gov/forestry/maps.shtml.
  • Sunday hunting is prohibited on all State Forest property.
  • No permanent deer stands, platforms, ladders, or blinds may be constructed. No screw-in steps, tree spikes, screws, or nails are allowed. All parts of temporary (portable) deer stands must be removed on the final day of the January muzzleloader season; any stands remaining after this date will be removed and become property of the Delaware Forest Service. Stands may be placed after August 1 prior to the start of the new year’s hunting season.
  • Deer drives by any person or persons are not permitted on any State Forest land at any time.
  • For deer hunting, only the entrails (internal organs known as viscera) may be left behind on State property. All other deer parts must be removed from State property.
  • Portions of some State Forest tracts are only open to archery hunting for deer. Please contact your local State Forest office for more information.
  • Small game hunting is closed on State Forest lands during firearm deer season.
  • The Delaware Forest Service reserves the right to close to hunting specific State Forest tracts during specific hunting seasons. There-fore, it is important to consult the current hunting guide for a listing of these closures.
  • Trapping rights may be leased for State Forest lands. No other trapping is permitted on State Forest lands.
  • Target shooting is prohibited.
  • Waterfowl hunting is not permitted on State Forest land or waters.
  • No dumping or littering.
  • Placing paint, ribbon, flagging, reflectors, etc., is not permitted
  • No living trees, shrubs or other vegetation may be cut, felled, uprooted, removed or otherwise injured or destroyed.
  • No off-road vehicles registered or unregistered.
  • Camping is available by permit in designated areas only.
  • It is unlawful to use bait for hunting purposes on all State Forest lands.
  • No parking in front of access gates to State Forest lands.

RESTRICTIONS APPLYING TO REDDEN STATE FOREST

  • Headquarters, Jester, Ellendale and Chesapeake Tracts are Quality Buck only (doe harvest is permitted on these tracts).

RESTRICTIONS APPLYING TO BLACKBIRD STATE FOREST

Maps delineating these areas are available at Blackbird State Forest headquarters, on the DDA website (agriculture.delaware.gov) or by calling (302)-653-6505.

  • Deer hunting is limited to numbered stands on Tybout, White Road, Dulany and South Barlow.
  • For all firearm seasons, there will be a lottery held at Blackbird State Forest (BSF) headquarters, located on the Tybout tract, at 502 Blackbird Forest Road, 1.5 hours before legal hunting time.
  • Dulany Tract is managed for Quality bucks only.
  • No small game hunting on the Dulany Tract.
  • Archery hunting is permitted from BSF lottery stands.
  • During Archery seasons bow hunters, using BSF stands, must be within 50 yards of their designated stand.
  • Please note that archery hunting is the only type of hunting allowed on the Meadows and north Barlow Tracts. The Meadows Tract contains the BSF Education Center, which includes outdoor education trails, so hunters may encounter other individuals on this property.
  • Stands will be available during the Archery seasons on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • No more than one hunter may hunt from a stand at any one time.
  • Squirrel hunting is not allowed with a rifle or muzzleloading rifle. Shotgun squirrel hunting is permitted.
  • The trails of BSF trails are generally closed during firearm hunting seasons, but hunters may encounter other individuals on BSF properties.

RESTRICTIONS APPLYing TO TABER STATE FOREST.

  • All hunters must sign in at kiosks.
  • Squirrel hunting is not allowed with a rifle or muzzleloading rifle. Shotgun squirrel hunting is permitted.
  • Turkey hunting is archery only in those same areas shown as deer archery only on Taber maps.

RULES FOR DELAWARE STATE PARK LANDS

(ADMINISTERED BY DIVISION OF PARKS AND RECREATION)

State Parks are year-round multiple use areas. Hunters share park lands with other recreational user groups including hikers, bikers, runners, equestrians and others.

Deer hunting is an important management tool used by natural resource managers to reduce the impact of deer on the natural communities in Delaware’s state parks. Deer hunting is permitted in nine of Delaware’s sixteen state parks. Limited recreational small game and waterfowl hunting is also permitted in a few state parks.

Sunday hunting and handgun hunting are not permitted in Delaware state parks.

A State Park Registration fee ($10) is required to hunt on State Park lands. Register at any State Park where hunting is permitted or the DNREC office at 89 Kings Highway in Dover. Your registration is good for all State Parks where hunting is permitted for the season. Include your E-mail address on the registration or send a request to be added to our hunting mailing list to DNREC_StateParks_Hunting@state.de.us to receive information about Special Hunt opportunities and other hunting program updates.

State Park Rules are generally more restrictive than on State Wildlife Areas. You can obtain the rules and maps specific for the Park you intend to hunt, at that park’s office, on the State Parks website at http:// www.destateparks.com/activities/hunting/, by email request to DNREC_StateParks_Hunting@state.de.us or by calling (302) 739-9220.

DEER HUNTING PROGRAM CHANGES AT BRANDYWINE CREEK STATE PARK

A preseason application is no longer needed to deer hunt at Brandywine Creek State Park. There will no longer be shotgun hunting at the park during the 2018/19 hunting season. However, there will be a limited archery season. For more details, check the Delaware State Parks website at http://www.destateparks.com/activities/hunting/ or call Chris Bennett at (302) 739-9230.

RULES FOR BOMBAY HOOK & PRIME HOOK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES

Stretched along the eastern coastline of Delaware near Milton and Smyrna and covering 26,000 acres, the Bombay Hook & Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuges provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife.

Game species are sought after by avid hunters on both refuges. Hunting, which is identified by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 as one of the six wildlife-dependent recreational uses on refuges, is an important part of Delaware’s heritage and tradition. Public hunting opportunities are available for deer, upland game & webless migratory birds, and waterfowl on both refuges. A complete listing of hunting information and regulations can be accessed for Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge at http://bombayhook.fws.gov or (302) 653-9345 and for Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge at http://primehook.fws.gov or (302) 684-8419.

Deer Stand & Waterfowl Blind Facilities For Hunters WITH A DISABILITY

AREA

DEER STANDS

DEER
LOCATIONS

WATERFOWL BLINDS

Wheelchair Accessible

Limited Mobility

Wheelchair
Accessible

Wheelchair Accessible

Limited Mobility

Augustine WA

1

1

1

1

Cedar Swamp WA

3

6

1

2

Woodland Beach WA

2

6

3

3

Little Creek WA

2

2

Ted Harvey CA

6

3

1

Assawoman WA

4

5

1

Old Furnace WA

2

Nanticoke WA

1

White Clay Creek SP

3

Fort DuPont SP

1

Lums Pond SP

2