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Turkey Hunting in Delaware

Hunting Regulations Icon Delaware Hunting

Turkey Season

Delaware’s spring wild turkey hunting season will run from April 14, 2018 – May 12, 2018. Public land permits can only be used on the property and season segment for which they are issued. Applications must be received by January 5, 2018 to be processed for the lottery drawing.

Season segments A-D for Public Land
Permits are:

(A) April 14 – April 20

(B) April 21 – April 27

(C) April 28 – May 4

(D) May 5 – May 12

Youth Day: April 7, 2018

No Sunday Hunting

Turkey Hunting Hours

1/2 hour before sunrise until 1:00 p.m. All turkeys must be checked at an authorized turkey check station by 2:30 p.m. on the day the bird is killed.

Turkey Check Stations

Locations and hours will be posted on the Division’s website www.de.gov/fw. just prior to the season. Information can also be obtained by calling 735-3600 or 739-9912.

Legal Birds and Bag Limit

Bearded birds only. Bag limit is one turkey
per year.

Calls

All non-electric calls will be legal. For safety reasons, hunters should not imitate the male gobbling call.

Legal Firearms, Bows, and Shot Sizes

  1. Shotguns – 20, 16, 12, 10 gauge – legal shot sizes: #4, #5, #6 lead or steel. 7 or 7 ½ shot may be used if it is part of a duplex or triplex load containing 4, 5, or 6 shot.
  2. Muzzleloaders – smoothbore muzzleloading shotguns only; #4, #5, #6 shot only.
  3. Longbow/compound/crossbow – Minimum broadhead width of 7/8 inches.
  4. Crossbows may be used for turkey hunting. Crossbows must meet the same standards as for deer hunting.

Clothing

For safety reasons, it will be illegal to wear any visible garment having the colors red, white or blue.

Blinds/Decoys

Temporary blinds of vegetation or camouflage material are legal. Artificial turkey decoys are legal. Decoys may have no parts from a formerly live turkey.

Restrictions

Dogs or bait may not be used. Hunters may not drive turkeys or shoot them while they are at roost.

HUNTING PRIVATE AND PUBLIC LANDS

Both public and private land turkey hunters must carry proof of turkey hunting safety course completion. In addition, public land hunters must have an annual permit from the Division.

Public Land turkey Permits

A permit is needed to hunt turkey on
public lands.

Youth/Non-Ambulatory Disabled Turkey Hunt, April 7, 2018

Open statewide. Any youth from 10 years through 15 years and individuals that are non-ambulatory disabled may hunt. Young hunters must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older. Hunters 13-15 years old must have a valid Delaware junior hunting license and must have taken a Basic Hunter Safety course as well as a Delaware approved turkey hunter safety course.

The normal bag limits and regulations apply.

Adult companions must be licensed to hunt in Delaware (or exempt) and must have taken a Delaware approved turkey hunter safety class. Adult companions may not possess a firearm during the hunt. Young hunters must be of sufficient size and physical strength to safely handle a firearm.

  • All turkeys taken must be registered.
  • All state wildlife areas and state forests open for turkey hunting will be open for the Youth/Non-Ambulatory Disabled Turkey Hunt. Hunters may go to any areas they choose. If overcrowding occurs, the Division may add this hunt to its pre-season lottery system in future seasons.

For more information on youth hunting, see the Youth Hunting section.

First Time Turkey Hunters

All first time Delaware turkey hunters must successfully complete a Division approved Turkey Hunting Safety Course. This includes both public and private hunters. Public land hunters must have completed the Turkey Hunting Safety Course before they can apply for a public land turkey permit.

To register for a classroom Turkey Hunting Safety Course, call the Hunter Education Office at (302) 735-3600.

Delaware also accepts an online Turkey Hunting Safety Course. The online course can be found at www.wildturkeyhuntingcourse.com. Upon completion of the online course, contact the Hunter Education Office.

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)

(302) 735-3600

Little Creek Wildlife Area Check Station

Route 9, Bayside Drive, Little Creek

(Just south of the Town of Little Creek)

(302) 739-4610

Williamsville Store

3544 Williamsville Road, Houston

(302) 424-2277

First State Sporting Goods

825 Halltown Road, Marydel

(302) 343-9696

Miller’s Butcher Shop

577 Morgan’s Choice Road, Wyoming

(302) 697-8278

Delmarva Speed & Sport

689 Warner Road, Milford

(302) 424-1179

New Castle County

Ommelanden Hunter Education
and Training Center

1205 River Road, New Castle, DE 19720
(302) 323-5333

For hours of operation, please call
(302) 735-3600

Sussex County

Wildlife Recreations

9641 Tharp Road, Seaford

(302) 430-9453

Hook ‘Em and Cook ‘Em

3 York Beach Mall, Route 1, South Bethany

(302) 539-6243

B&D Sports Center

14882 Hardscrabble Road, Seaford

(302) 875-5600

Kelly’s Outdoors

29920 John H, Williams Hwy.,
Millsboro, DE 19966

(302) 934-7517

*NOTE: List of check stations subject to change without notice. Visit www.de.gov/fw 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.

WILD TURKEY SIGHTING SURVEY

During the months of July and August, the Division asks hunters and the general public to submit their observations of turkeys as part of an annual survey of the population. Survey forms may be found in June on the Division’s website at www.de.gov/fw or it may be obtained by calling (302) 735-3600.