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Delaware

Hunting

Small Game Hunting

Small Game Seasons and Bag Limits

All seasons and limits subject to change. Please stay current by consulting the online version of this guide by visiting http://www.eregulations.com/de... or call 302-739-9912.

Seasons

Dates

Limit*

Additional Information

Gray Squirrel

Sept. 15 - Feb. 5 Closed during Nov. Shotgun Deer Season

Daily 6

Gray squirrels may be hunted with shotguns statewide, .17 through .22 cal. rimfire and pellet firearms and muzzleloading rifles up to .36 cal. south of the C&D Canal. Only shotguns may be used north of the C&D Canal. When a squirrel season overlaps with a deer firearms season, squirrel hunters must wear 400 square inches of hunter orange displayed on the head, chest and back.

Possession 12

Cottontail Rabbit

Nov. 22 - Feb. 28

Daily 4

Rabbits may be hunted with shotguns, compound, recurve, and longbows. Rabbit hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material displayed on head, chest, and back when hunting during any deer firearms season.

Possession 8

Groundhogs

July 1 - June 30

No limit

Groundhogs are an unprotected species and may be hunted with longbows, crossbows, shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, and rimfire or centerfire rifles. A hunting license is not required to hunt groundhogs.

Ring-necked Pheasant (Male Only)

Nov. 22 - Feb. 5

Daily 2

Pheasants may be hunted with shotguns and longbows. Pheasant hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material displayed on head, chest, and back when hunting during any deer firearms season.

Possession 4

Bobwhite Quail

Nov. 22 - Jan. 1

Daily 6

Bobwhite Quail may be hunted with shotguns and longbows. Quail hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material displayed on head, chest, and back when hunting during any deer firearms season.

Possession 12

Bullfrog and Turtle Seasons

Seasons

Dates

Limit*

Additional Information

Bullfrog

May 1 - Sept. 30

Daily 24

May be taken with a valid hunting or fishing license.

Possession 48

Snapping Turtle**

June 15 - May 15

No limit

Snapping turtle minimum length is 11 inches on the curvature of the top shell. Traps must be tagged with trapper’s name and address or current year’s license number. Baited fish hooks are unlawful. A free snapping turtle permit number must be obtained and will be issued at the time of the trapping license purchase. Those interested in trapping on Division of Fish and Wildlife lands and state-owned ponds will need to contact the Regional Manager for an additional permit for those lands.

Diamondback Terrapin**

Sept. 1 - Nov. 15

Daily 4

There is no possession limit on diamondback terrapin that have been lawfully taken and of lawful size, when it is lawful to have said animals, their meat, and skins in possession.

Possession No limit

Delaware Squirrels

Sussex County hosts two species of diurnal tree squirrel: Gray and Delmarva Fox

Gray squirrels are quite common while Delmarva fox squirrels are so rare they are on the state Endangered Species list.

If you hold a Delaware hunting license, you are permitted to hunt gray squirrels but NOT fox squirrels. Before you shoot, take a good look at the squirrel in your crosshairs! Delmarva fox squirrels are more likely to walk on the ground rather than jump from tree to tree as with gray squirrels.

If you have seen a Delmarva fox squirrel, please call the Species Conservation and Research office 302-735-3600) and, if you have a camera, take a picture. Thanks!

Gray Squirrel

FUR: Darker gray with rusty brown highlights

EARS: Longer and pointy

BELLY: White

SIZE: Smaller with less bushy tail

Delmarva Fox Squirrel

FUR: Silver gray with creamy to white belly, ears and muzzle (rarely have any brown fur)

EARS: Shorter and wider

BELLY: Creamy white

SIZE: 11⁄2 times larger with fuller tail

Hunter and Trapper Mail Surveys

Each year, the Division sends out hunter and trapper mail surveys to estimate the total harvest and hunting effort for game species in Delaware. Aside from deer, turkeys, coyotes and gray foxes, hunters and trappers are not required to report the animals they harvest. These surveys allow biologists to determine harvest information for all of the other wildlife species that are hunted and/or trapped.

Around 5,500 hunters and 635 potential trappers are surveyed annually. The average age of those surveyed in 2019/20 was 57 years old, with the youngest age of 6 and oldest 89.

The Division is currently testing an electronic version of the surveys, if you would like to participate, be sure to include an email address when purchasing a hunting license. Thank you to all the hunters and trappers who participate in these surveys each year!

Estimated Mammal Harvest from the 2019/20 Hunter Mail Survey:

Category

Squirrel

Rabbit

Raccoon

Opposum

Red Fox

Groundhog

Coyote

# of Hunters

1,628

1,117

194

18

572

440

123

# of Days Hunted

7,196

6,827

1,997

53

4,249

6,774

1,223

# of Days per Hunter

4.4

6.1

10.3

3.0

7.4

15.4

9.9

Total # Harvested

7,671

4,900

1,372

62

1,540

1,971

9

Harvest per Day

1.07

0.72

0.69

1.17

0.36

0.29

0.01

Estimated Game Bird Harvest from 2019/20 Hunter Mail Survey:

Category

Mourning Dove

Crow

Snipe

Woodcock

Wild Quail

Pen-raised Quail

Wild pheasant

Pen-raised Pheasant

Canada Goose

Snow Goose

Brant

Ducks

Sea ducks

Rails

# of Hunters

2,251

275

0

130

16

113

65

259

2,510

599

146

2,332

130

16

# of Days Hunted

6,914

777

0

421

97

421

211

1,555

13,942

2,558

324

19,626

308

97

# of Days per Hunter

3.1

2.8

0

3.2

6.1

3.7

3.2

6.0

5.6

4.3

2.2

8.4

2.4

6.1

Total # Harvested

31,447

1,425

0

178

0

1,150

81

2,267

6,931

8,696

194

20,225

1,020

194

Harvest Per Day

4.5

1.8

0

0.4

0

2.7

0.4

1.5

0.5

3.4

0.6

1.0

3.3

2.0

Waterfowl Leg Banding

Division wildlife biologists have been busy banding waterfowl as part of a expansive monitoring initiative across the Atlantic Flyway.

Did you know?

Reports from hunters of harvested waterfowl with leg bands help biologists learn more about species distribution (travel, etc.) and survival rates! Old bands may still have a phone number and/or website to report bands. Since fall 2017, the reporting phone number has been discontinued. If you harvest a banded bird, please go to www.reportband.gov to report the band.