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Furbearer Trapping & Hunting

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Furbearer Trapping Seasons

Muskrat, Mink, Otter

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

Raccoon,* Opossum

Kent & Sussex Counties Dec.15 – Mar. 15



Raccoon and Opossum

Sept. 1 – Oct. 7 Chase
Oct. 16* – Oct. 31 Chase
Nov. 1 – Nov. 11 Hunt
Nov. 20* – 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 page 14 for deer season dates.

Hunt: Nov. 1 – Feb. 29


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 or rimfire or centerfire rifle up to 25 caliber.


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. River otters may be trapped in mill ponds and streams with a special free permit from the Division.

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.

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.

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.


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.


It is unlawful to place traps (set or unset) in the field prior to the opening of the trapping season. All traps must be removed from the field by the last day of the trapping season.

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