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Delaware

Hunting

Licensing & Permits

Quick Reference for Licensed Hunters

Resident

License Exempt Number

Junior Hunting License

Adult Hunting License

Federal Waterfowl Stamp

State Waterfowl Stamp

HIP #

Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit*

12 and Under

Yes

No (unless turning

13 during season)

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

13 thru 15

No

Yes

No (unless turning 16 during season)

No

No

Yes

Yes

16 thru 64

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

65 and over

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Non-Resident

License Exempt Number

Junior Hunting License

Adult Hunting License

Federal Waterfowl Stamp

State Waterfowl Stamp

HIP #

Deer Stand and Waterfowl Blind Permit*

12 and Under

Yes

No (unless turning

13 during season)

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

13 thru 15

No

Yes

No (unless turning 16 during the season)

No

No

Yes

Yes

16 thru 64

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

65 and over

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Social Security Number and Hunting Licenses

The Delaware Division of Child Support Services has the authority, under Federal Welfare Reform Legislation (Title 42 of the US Code, Section 666 (a) (13) ), to collect Social Security Numbers for individuals who purchase recreational hunting and fishing licenses. For more information go to https://de.gov/huntinglicense

Obtaining a Duplicate Hunting License

Duplicate licenses may be printed free of charge by logging into your Digital DNREC Account at: https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC. If you do not have a Digital DNREC Account or need more information please call the Recreational Licensing Office at (302) 739-9918 or email dfwreclic@delaware.gov.

Online Licensing

Delaware maintains a fully automated recreational licensing system. Sportsmen can purchase and print licenses from our website 24 hours a day 7 days a week by visiting https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC with a compatible computer and printer. We also partner with over 85 Licensing Agents where licenses can be purchased including our Dover Fish and Wildlife office at 89 Kings Highway. A complete listing of Licensing Agents can be found on our website or by calling 302-739-9918.

Special License and Permits Required to:

(These permits are only issued at DNREC’s Dover office located at 89 Kings Highway)

  • Deal in raw furs commercially
  • Hold a field trial for dogs
  • Ship game out of state
  • Breed game commercially
  • Operate a shooting preserve
  • Possess or collect wildlife for scientific purposes
  • Possess live wild animals or any protected animals
  • Train dogs out of season (available only for retrievers)

Special Permits for Hunters with a Disability

A variety of hunting opportunities exist for hunters with a disability in Delaware. For a list of deer stand and waterfowl blind facilities for hunters with a disability, see Public Lands Hunting & Trapping.

State of Delaware Certified Hunter with Disabilities Card

Hunters with a disability must obtain a certification card to use all facilities and opportunities made available to hunters with a disability on State Wildlife Areas and State Parks. For information on obtaining this card, call the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9912.

Hunt from a Vehicle Permit

Approved non-ambulatory hunters may be permitted to hunt specified game animals from their vehicle with a permit issued by the Division.

Hunter Registration System

Hearing impaired hunters may go online at https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC to register harvested deer, obtain their Harvest Information Program (HIP) numbers, register for the Snow Goose Conservation Order (CO) and report their hunting activity during the CO.

License Exempt Hunters/Trappers

Hunters and trappers that are license exempt are required to obtain an annual License Exempt Number (LEN) at no cost. Hunters and Trappers shall obtain a separate LEN for each activity if they engage in both. While not legally required to purchase a license, those hunters and trappers that are eligible to be license exempt may purchase a license so that their purchase can help direct conservation and management efforts for wildlife and the habitats they support. For those individuals that are exempt from purchasing a license but choose to do so, we thank you very much for your support to conservation. If a license exempt hunter or trapper chooses to purchase a license they shall not obtain a LEN.

The LEN system was created so that opinions and game harvests of license exempt hunters and trappers could be evaluated and considered when establishing new statutes, regulations and policies. If you obtain this LEN, use it whenever you are asked for your license number such as for registering a deer, obtaining a HIP number or purchasing additional deer tags or permits. License exempt hunters that are authorized to hunt deer, receive five deer tags at no cost. For more information about deer tags, please see Deer Hunting.

License exempt hunters not purchasing a hunting license who use a motor vehicle to access State Wildlife Areas must purchase a Conservation Access Pass. Additionally, all license exempt hunters must purchase a State Wildlife Area Waterfowl Blind and Deer Stand Permit if they are using those items. This permit is not required on the Youth and Non-ambulatory Hunt days. License exempt hunters are not required to purchase a Delaware Waterfowl Stamp unless they are Maryland residents utilizing the exemption to hunt snow geese in Delaware and then the stamp is required. Furthermore, license exempt hunters are not required to purchase a federal waterfowl stamp unless they are 16 years of age or older. Lastly, all license exempt hunters that will hunt migratory birds must obtain a free HIP number and those hunters pursuing snow geese during the Conservation Order must also register for a free permit number.

You can obtain your annual LEN and other items described above at https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC or by visiting any location that hunting licenses are sold. For a complete list of license agents, please visit: https://dnrec.alpha. delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/licenses/agents/. LENs are no longer available by calling the Hunter Registration System. NOTE: If a hunter or trapper is exempt from purchasing a license for reasons related to military service, please contact the recreational licensing office at 302-739-9918 for more information on how to obtain your LEN as you may need to provide supporting documentation.

If you have problems with these systems, call 302-735-3600 or 302-739-9918 during normal business hours (8:00am - 4:30pm) Monday - Friday. For questions on LEN eligibility requirements please contact the recreational licensing office at 302-739-9918 or www.dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/licenses/exemptions/. For a complete list of license agents please visit: https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/licenses/agents/

The following are the criteria for which a person is exempt from purchasing a hunting or trapping license but they must obtain a free License Exempt Number:

Delaware Residents:

  • Resident Youth Under 13: Residents under 13 years of age may hunt without a license when accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older who is the lawful holder of a hunting license or has a lawful right to hunt.
  • Resident Senior 65 or Older: Residents, 65 years of age or older may hunt or trap without a license, but must have proof of age and residency.
  • Resident Property Owner: Residents who own or live upon farms in this State containing 20 or more acres, and the members of their immediate families who reside on the farm, may hunt and trap on said farm only without purchasing a license.
  • Resident Organized Fox Hunt: Any unarmed residents participating in an organized fox hunt may participate without a license.

Non-Residents:

  • Non-Resident Snow Goose Hunter: A nonresident may hunt without a license while hunting snow geese, provided:
    1. The nonresident resides in another state or Canadian province which extends the same exemption to Delaware residents (Currently, Maryland is the only state to honor this exemption);
    2. The nonresident is properly licensed, or exempt from the licensing requirement, to hunt snow geese in the state or Canadian province in which he or she resides;
    3. The nonresident purchases a Delaware waterfowl (duck) stamp.
  • Non-Resident Youth Under 13: Nonresidents other than aliens who are under 13 years of age may hunt without a license when accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older who is the lawful holder of a hunting license or has a lawful right to hunt.
  • Non-Resident Farm Occupant: Nonresidents or aliens who are occupants of farms in this State containing 20 acres or more, who actually reside thereon, and the immediate members of the family of such occupants who also reside on said farm, may hunt or trap on said farms without a license.
  • Non-Resident Property Owner: A nonresident, who owns but is not an occupant of a farm in this State containing 20 acres or more, and the immediate members of the family of the nonresident farm owner may hunt or trap without a license on said farm if the farm occupant or resident, if any, gives the owner written permission or if hunting, trapping, and/or fishing is permitted pursuant to a written lease, if any, between the farm owner and the occupant or resident of the farm.
  • Non-Resident Organized Fox Hunt: A nonresident participating in an organized fox hunt may participate without a license.

Military Exemptions:

  • Resident Military Hospital Inpatient: A member of the armed forces of the United States who is a patient in a military hospital may hunt or trap without a license, upon receipt by the Department of a written statement signed by the applicant’s commanding officer certifying the nature of the applicant’s disability and place of station.
  • Resident Veterans with a Disability: Residents or non-residents who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States and certified by the Veterans Administration as having at least a 60% service-connected disability may hunt or trap without a license.
  • Resident One-time Military Veteran: Any resident who has served honorably for 90 or more consecutive days on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, including service as member of the Delaware National Guard, in military actions in Southwest Asia associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom may, for the first 12 months following the date the resident was honorably discharged or removed from active status, hunt without purchasing a license.

If a military hunter or trapper meets the exemption criteria, applicants are asked to complete an application at www.dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/licenses/exemptions/ or by calling 302-739-9918. Military licenses are not available through State Licensing Agents. License exempt Military exceptions are only processed through the Dover office. Please call 302-739-9918 for assistance.

License Requirements Related to Non-Resident Military Personnel

Any member of the armed forces of the United States of America while actually stationed within this State shall be deemed a resident of this State for the purpose of obtaining a license to hunt, trap and fish in this State. Each such application shall be supported by a written statement signed by the applicant’s commanding officer certifying the applicant’s place of station within this State.

To be eligible for the resident license, applicants are asked to complete an application at www.dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/licenses/exemptions/ or by calling 302-739-9918. These licenses are not available through State Licensing Agents.

Delaware Guide License

All individuals receiving monetary or in-kind compensation for providing personal guide services to hunters are required to have a Delaware Guide License. License holders must be 18 years of age or older.

Persons acquiring a guide license must not have been convicted for violations of any wildlife or fisheries statutes or regulations within the last three years prior to applying for a Delaware Guide License.

All persons possessing a Delaware Guide License are required to complete and submit an annual report to the Division within seven days after the close of the season to include the following information which must be readily available for inspection by enforcement officers: full name of each hunter, address of each hunter in the party, hunting license number for each hunter, date, number and species of each animal harvested, location of hunts and the name and license number of the guide.

The guide shall retain all hunting field records for a period of three years.

A resident or non-resident Guide license is valid as a Guide and a Hunting license. A separate hunting license is not required.

A non-resident shall be exempt from the guide licensing requirement only while guiding hunters for snow geese (light geese), provided:

  • The non-resident is properly licensed to guide in another state or Canadian province which extends the same exemption to Delaware residents;
  • The non-resident guide purchases obtains a free License Exempt Number, a Delaware migratory waterfowl (duck) stamp and obtains a Delaware H.I.P. permit;
  • The non-resident resides in another state or Canadian province which extends the same exemption to Delaware residents.

Applicants must apply for the license online at: https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC or by calling the Division’s Recreational Licensing Office at (302) 739-9918. Guide licenses are not available through State Licensing Agents.

Trapping Licenses

Trappers must purchase their trapping license through the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Trappers who purchased a trapping license during the 2020-21 trapping year can purchase again this year through their Digital DNREC account or at an authorized recreational license agent statewide, without waiting for approval. Trappers who did not purchase a trapping license during the 2020-21 trapping year can create an account in Digital DNREC (or use their existing Digital DNREC account) and apply for a trapping license; these new trapping applications will require approval by the Division before the sale can be processed so trappers should plan ahead. Additionally, mail-in applications are available online at www.dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/licenses/, by submitting the trapping application (see below) in this guide, or by calling 302-739-9918. Licensed trappers will be issued a permanent license number that can be renewed annually.

Conservation Access Pass

Effective July 1, 2017, a Conservation Access Pass is required for any registered motor vehicle used to access designated Delaware State Wildlife Areas for any allowable activity, including hunting, birdwatching, hiking and photography.

The Conservation Access Pass will help the Division of Fish and Wildlife maintain and improve these areas for hunting, wildlife viewing and wildlife photography. These funds will also help support habitat improvements on State Wildlife Areas.

A FREE annual Conservation Access Pass will be provided with the purchase of a hunting license. In order to receive a free Conservation Access Pass the hunter must present a vehicle registration card at the time of the hunting license purchase. The Conservation Access Pass is assigned to a single specified registered motor vehicle and may be transferred to another registered motor vehicle of the same ownership for a fee of $10.00. CAP transfers may be completed by logging into your Digital DNREC Account at: https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC. If you do not have a Digital DNREC Account or need more information please call the Recreational Licensing Office at (302) 739-9918 or email dfwreclic@delaware.gov.

If a free Conservation Access Pass is not selected during the purchase of the hunting license, one may be obtained by logging into your Digital DNREC Account at: https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC or by contacting the Division of Fish & Wildlife Recreational Licensing Office and providing the hunter’s driver’s license, hunting license and a vehicle registration card. Manual requests are processed in the order they are received and may take up to four weeks.

The Conservation Access Pass must be displayed in the assigned vehicle as described on the Pass.

The Pass is available annually July 1 - June 30 and is valid from the date of the hunting license purchase until June 30. The non-resident 3 day hunting license receives a free annual Pass.

License exempt hunters not purchasing a hunting license who use a motor vehicle to access State Wildlife Areas must purchase the Pass.

Hunters who are issued a free Pass may purchase additional Passes if they use multiple vehicles throughout the year to access State Wildlife Areas where the Pass is required. The Conservation Access Pass may be purchased online at https://de.gov/licensing, at authorized license agents throughout the state or at the Division’s licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE. Remember to have your vehicle registration card available at the time of purchase. Please visit https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC to purchase the Pass online or to find a complete list of authorized license agents. If you have questions about purchasing the Pass, please call the Division’s Recreational Licensing Office at 302-739-9918.

Hunters using a motor vehicle to access a State Wildlife Area to hunt from a waterfowl blind or deer stand must also have the Pass displayed in the vehicle. See Public Lands Hunting & Trapping for more information.

State Wildlife Areas exempt from the Conservation Access Pass include the C&D Canal Conservation Area, including the Michael N. Castle Trail, designated fishing and boating access areas, educational facilities and shooting ranges. Additional areas may also be exempt. For a complete list of areas where the Pass is required or areas where the Pass is exempt, please visit our website www.de.gov/fw or call the Division’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912.

A Conservation Access Pass shall not be required to access applicable lands leased from the Department, provided access is for the purpose for which such lands are leased. For more information on furbearer trapping leases see Furbearer Hunting & Trapping State Wildlife Areas.

Conservation Access Pass

Conservation Access Pass Costs*

Price

Resident Annual Conservation Access Pass

$32.50

Resident 3 Day Conservation Access Pass

$10.00

Non-Resident Annual Conservation Access Pass

$65.00

Non-Resident 3 Day Conservation Access Pass

$20.00

Transfer to Vehicle of Same Ownership (Dover Office Only)

$10.00

State Wildlife Areas Requiring a Vehicle Conservation Access Pass

Wildlife Area Maps

Did You Know?

Delaware’s Wildlife Area Maps are now interactive and available online. You can now:

  • Access them with your mobile device in the field.
  • Zoom in and out for better details about your favorite spots.
  • Get all the information on a wildlife area in one easy location.

Each Wildlife Area is complete with maps for:

  • General Overview
  • Hunting
  • Sunday Hunting
  • Birding

Go to https://de.gov/wamaps and click on the button for the online maps to access them today!

Assawoman Wildlife Area (including the Okie Preserve)

  • Except to launch a boat, fish or crab at Sassafras and Mulberry Landing boating access areas, Strawberry Landing dock and pavilion, and Memorial Pond

Augustine Wildlife Area

  • Except Augustine Beach boating access area

Blackiston Wildlife Area

Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area

  • Except Collins Beach boating access area

Eagles Nest Wildlife Area

Industrial Forest Land Wildlife Area – Barr and Laurel Complexes

Little Creek Wildlife Area

  • Except Port Mahon boating access area, DNREC Offices

Marshy Hope Wildlife Area

McGinnis Pond Wildlife Area

  • Except McGinnis Pond boating access area

Midlands Wildlife Area

Milford Neck Wildlife Area

  • Except DuPont Nature Center and Cedar Creek boating access area

Nanticoke Wildlife Area

  • Except Phillips Landing boating access area

Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area (including the C&R Center)

Old Furnace Wildlife Area

  • Except Concord Pond boating access area

Prime Hook Wildlife Area

Tappahanna Wildlife Area

Ted Harvey Conservation Area

  • Except Scottons Landing boating access area and the Logan Lane Fishing Pond

Woodland Beach Wildlife Area

  • Except Woodland Beach boating access area, fishing pier, Aquatic Resources Education Center and associated fishing ponds

A Conservation Access Pass is not required to access the C&D Canal Conservation Area including the Michael N. Castle Trail.

Fishing access areas listed in the Delaware Fishing Guide do not require a Conservation Access Pass, except for certain non-fishing/boating uses at Assawoman Wildlife Area as indicated above.

Please refer to area specific maps available online at https://de.gov/wamaps , the DNREC building in Dover, or call the Wildlife section at 302-739-9912 for allowable activities on each Wildlife Area.

General Wildlife Area Rules

Regulated hunting and trapping is authorized throughout many state wildlife areas. Please refer to the various season tables found within this guide for specific dates. Additionally, refer to Public Lands Hunting & Trapping of this guide and specific area maps for more information.

The following rules and regulations apply to all wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife unless other-wise authorized by written permit from the Director or regional office. For additional area specific rules please see the respective State Wildlife Area map.

  1. Effective July 1, 2017, a Conservation Access Pass is required for any registered motor vehicle used to access designated Delaware State Wildlife Areas for any allowable activities, including hunting, birdwatching, hiking and photography.
  2. Entry is permitted between sunrise and sunset unless lawfully hunting, fishing or boating.
  3. All lands administered by the Division are Carry-In / Carry-Out. Littering or dumping trash including yard waste is prohibited.
  4. The following activities are prohibited on State Wildlife Areas:
  • Damaging or defacing buildings, equipment, structures, signs or land features
  • Operating radio controlled devices, including drones, or the launching of model rockets
  • Allowing dogs to run off leash. See #10 in the HUNTING/TRAPPING column for dog training and hunting information
  • Camping
  • Open fires of any type
  • Swimming
  • Posting signs, banners or notices of any type
  • Vending or soliciting of any type
  • Cutting or removing firewood
  • Placing caches or letterboxes
  • Cutting, injuring or removing trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, mosses or other plants
  • Collecting and/or removing any wildlife species unless lawfully hunting, trapping or fishing
  • Operating unlicensed vehicles, motor vehicles off of established roadways or driving in excess of 20 MPH
  • Parking in a manner that blocks access to a road, trail, or boat ramp. Violators will be towed at owner’s expense
  • Leaving a vehicle or trailer unattended for more than 24 hours
      Licensed fishing is permitted according to area specific rules established on current area maps.
      Horses and bicycles may only be ridden on maintained roads or trails that have been designated by the Division on current area maps.