About Hunting in Delaware

Delaware is a coastal state so what it might lack in big game hunting it more than makes up for in bird seasons. From ducks to geese to swans, Delaware has a variety of birds seasons.

Delaware hunting seasons generally begin in September and run through early February of the following year. Specific seasons, based on species and method of take, begin and end on different dates throughout the year.

It is a snowy place so there are chances to hunt snow goose conservation order. There are over 62,000 acres that Delaware offers and 19 public wildlife areas that provide hunting and wildlife opportunities. They face a tremendous challenge to conserve species and restore the beauty of the state.

It is a peninsula so there are coastal plains to be enjoyed as well snow in the winter. Enjoy Delaware’s great outdoors and get a start with the general hunting dates that are listed below!

2021 Delaware Hunting Seasons Opening in October

Snow goose, duck, other migratory birds and firearm deer hunting seasons open in October. There will be a one-day, youth-only waterfowl hunt on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Snow goose: Oct. 1 through Jan. 31, 2022; Feb. 5, 2022

Antlerless deer: Oct. 1 through 3, Oct. 18, Oct. 22 through 25 and Oct. 29 through 31, including Sundays

Muzzleloader deer: Oct. 8 through 17, including Sundays

Youth Waterfowl Hunt: Oct. 16

Ducks, coots and mergansers: first season split Oct. 22 through Nov. 1

Continuing Hunting Seasons

Mourning dove: First season split through Oct. 4 for  (half an hour before sunrise to sunset) (Important Reminder)

Moorhen, gallinule, sora, Virginia rail, king rail and clapper rail: Through Nov. 24

Common snipe: Through Nov. 27

Archery and Crossbow Deer: Through Jan. 31, 2022, including Sundays (half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset)

Gray squirrel: Through Feb. 5, 2022 (half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset; closed during November shotgun deer season)

Coyote: Through Feb. 28, 2022

Crows: Through March 26, 2022 (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only)

Groundhog: Through June 30, 2022

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife provides opportunities for migratory bird hunting on state wildlife areas.

Wildlife Area Maps

Full and detailed information on hunting seasons is found in the Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Sunday deer hunting is allowed on all Sundays through Jan. 31, 2022, using only those hunting methods legal for the respective established deer hunting seasons.

Wildlife area maps and rules are available online and for download.

Delaware Archery Deer Hunting Seasons 2021

ArcherySept 1 – Jan 31Must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material displayed on the head chest, and back.
CrossbowSept 1 – Jan 31Must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material displayed on the head chest, and back.

Delaware Firearm Deer Hunting Seasons 2021

MuzzleloaderOct. 8-17
Jan. 24-30
Muzzleloaders can have scopes.
General Firearm / ShotgunNov. 12-21
Jan. 15-23
May be equipped with scopes

It is now legal to hunt deer with a handgun or authorized straight walled pistol caliber rifle during any shotgun deer season. Archery and crossbow hunters may take antlered deer during the October antlerless deer season but NOT during the December antlerless season.

Delaware Turkey Season 2022

Delaware separates its turkey hunting seasons by private and public land permits.

Public Land Permit AApr 9-15
Public Land Permit BApr 16-22
Public Land Permit CApr 23-29
Public Land Permit DApr 30-May 7

Delaware’s spring wild turkey hunting season will run from April 9, 2022 – May 7 2022. A special one-day hunt for youth and non-ambulatory hunters will occur on April 2, 2022. No Sunday hunting. Public land permits can only be used on the property and season segment for which they are issued. Applications must be received by January 7, 2022 to be processed for the lottery drawing.

Understanding Delaware’s hunting season

Before hunting in DE, you will need the following:

  1. A Delaware hunting license (resident vs non-resident)
  2. Applicable permits (turkey, deer, etc)

Delaware Hunting License Costs

Sportsman can purchase their license 7 days a week from : https://de.gov/DigitalDNREC

Resident Adult Hunting License$39.50
Non-resident Adult Hunting License$199.50

Permit & Tag Costs

Resident PermitCost
Resident Trapping$10
Resident Waterfowl (Duck)$15
Wildlife Area Blind and Deer Stand Permit$20
Resident Hunter’s Choice and Quality Buck Tag combination$20
Each additional Antlerless Deer Tag$20
Non – Resident PermitCost
Non-Resident Trapping$75
Non-Resident Waterfowl (Duck)$15
Wildlife Area Blind and Deer Stand Permit$20
Non-Resident Quality Buck Tag $50
Non-Resident Antlered Deer Tag$50
Each additional Antlerless Deer Tag$20

Tips for Hunting in DE

  • Archery and crossbow hunters may bag antlered bucks through the October antlerless seasons. They may not do so during the December antlerless season.
  • Delaware has legalized hunting with a handgun during shotgun seasons as well as handgun season, though hunters can only use one during their dates allotted.
  • All registered motor vehicles used to access State Wildlife Areas must have a Conservation Access Pass. A Pass will be issued free to hunters, if requested with the purchase of a hunting license.

Delaware Hunting News

Delaware is a great coastal state offering a wide range of game in its beautiful forest. If you would like Turkey begins on April 10th and Small Game starts on Sept 15. Although it’s a small state there is exceptional deer hunting. Sunday hunting is illegal. Delaware has legalized deer hunting with a handgun. Official deer season starts Sept 1 and lasts until Jan 31st!

Links to Official Sites

Delaware Hunting Regulations PDF

Delaware State Regulations Site

Delaware Hunting Licenses and Permits