Outlook is optimistic for a bountiful harvest from Delaware’s white-tailed deer herd
Dover, DE -(Ammoland.com)- For thousands of Delaware deer hunters, their favorite and unrivaled time of year afield is fast approaching.
With prognostications pointing to a bountiful harvest, the state’s shotgun deer season – which runs from Friday, Nov. 14 thru Saturday, Nov. 22 (before resuming next Jan. 17) – is squarely in many hunters’ sights this week. Of all Delaware’s deer seasons, the early shotgun season draws by far the most interest from hunters.
“It’s remarkable that during Delaware’s five-month deer season, nearly 50 percent of the overall annual deer harvest will occur during these eight days in mid-November,” said Deer and Furbearer Biologist Joe Rogerson, Division of Fish & Wildlife. “This year we anticipate Delaware hunters will harvest more than 13,000 deer, with nearly half of them taken during the November shotgun deer season.”
In order to hunt, Delaware residents age 16 through 64 are required to purchase a Delaware hunting license; a Delaware junior license is required for ages 13 through 15. Some license requirements differ for non-resident hunters. Delaware hunting licenses are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find the participating agent nearest you, or to purchase a license online, click Delaware Licenses. For more information on Delaware hunting licenses, call 302-739-9918.
Deer must be tagged immediately after harvest, and tags must remain attached until the deer is processed. Delaware hunting licenses come with four antlerless deer tags, but additional antlerless deer tags may be purchased online or from license agents for $10. Hunter’s Choice tags, which may be used on antlered or antlerless deer, also may be purchased by resident hunters for $10. Hunter’s Choice tags come with a Quality Buck tag, which can only be used on an antlered deer with a minimum outside antler spread of 15 inches. Non-residents may purchase an Antlered Deer Tag and a Quality Buck Tag for $25 each. Hunters are permitted to harvest a maximum of two antlered bucks for all seasons combined. All other deer taken must be antlerless.
Hunters are reminded that they must register their deer within 24 hours of harvest. However, if a hunter plans to take their deer to a butcher or taxidermist, they also must register their deer before dropping the animal off, as the registration number will be required before the deer can be accepted. Hunters who butcher their own deer must likewise register the deer within 24 hours of harvest or before processing, whichever comes first.
Hunters may register deer by visiting the Hunter and Trapper Registration (HTR) system online at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt using their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Along with allowing hunters to register a deer, the HTR system allows hunters to obtain the required Harvest Information Program (HIP) numbers for the purpose of hunting migratory birds, obtain a License Exempt Number (LEN) for those hunters and/or trappers who are exempt from having to purchase a license, register for the snow goose conservation order, and report snow goose harvests.
Those who prefer to register their deer through a live customer service representative have the option to call 855-DELHUNT (855-335-4868). However, using the website instead of the live customer service phone number to access the HTR system is a cost-savings measure that helps the Division of Fish & Wildlife direct more funding to on-the-ground habitat conservation and management, and to public hunting areas.
As an added incentive for hunters to access the HTR system online rather than by phone, the Division of Fish & Wildlife will randomly select 20 hunters or trappers throughout the season to receive a donated $50 gift card to Cabela’s. Only hunters and trappers who access the HTR system online will be entered into these drawings.
The first two drawings for gift card winners took place Aug. 25 and Oct. 3, with eight lucky hunters randomly selected to receive a donated $50 gift card to Cabela’s. The third drawing was held Nov. 6, and the following individuals who accessed the HTR system online were selected to receive a donated $50 gift card to Cabela’s: Robert House, Milford; Jacob Perkins, Dagsboro; Roger Satterfield, Frederica; and Kenneth Oprisko, Ocean View.
Successful hunters who harvest a deer and already have enough venison for themselves are encouraged to donate their deer to the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger Program. All donated deer will be processed free of charge to the hunter, and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable groups.
The Division of Fish & Wildlife maintains walk-in coolers where hunters may donate field-dressed, tagged deer at the following locations:
- Assawoman Wildlife Area, Frankford
- Gumboro Community Center, Millsboro
- Redden State Forest Headquarters, Georgetown
- Trap Pond State Park, Laurel
- Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, Smyrna
- Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, Viola
- Mosquito Control Office, Milford
New Castle County
- Augustine Wildlife Area, Port Penn
(NOTE: This cooler is temporarily unavailable; replacement anticipated.)
These coolers are checked periodically, and donated deer are taken to the Sussex Correctional Institution’s deer butchering program, or to participating private butcher shops, where they are processed.
If a hunter donates a deer, the Division of Fish and Wildlife requests that the hunter please call the phone number posted on the cooler, so that the deer is transported for processing in a timely manner. Any deer dropped off at a cooler must be field-dressed and registered, with the registration number written on the field tag attached to the animal.
Successful hunters may also take their deer to any of the Sportsmen Against Hunger participating private butcher shops found throughout the state:
- Johnson’s Custom Cutting
- 21404 Burton Road
- Milton, DE 19968
- Dave’s Cut ‘Em Up
- 6854 Delmar Road
- Delmar, DE 19940
- Mark’s Meats & More
- 24910 Hollyville Road
- Millsboro, DE 19966
- Miller’s Butcher Shop
- 577 Morgans Choice Road
- Wyoming, DE 19934
- D&J Custom Cutting
- 89 Myers Drive
- Hartly, DE 19953
New Castle County
- Marks Butcher Shop
- 7296 Grantham Lane (River Road Ind. Park)
- New Castle, DE 19720
- Bobby’s Deer Butcher Shop
- 1084 Bethel Church Road
- Middletown, DE 19709
- Townsend Deer Butchering
- 1300 Dexter Corner Road
- Townsend, DE 19734
- Cedar Hill Custom Deer Cutting
- 738 Paddock Road
- Smyrna, DE 19977
For more information on hunting in Delaware, click on 2014-2015 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide, along with state wildlife area maps if planning to hunt on wildlife areas. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.
The maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and online at Delaware Hunting Maps.
About the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)
DNREC is committed to preserving the quality of Delaware’s environment, maintaining the health and safety of its residents, and protecting the natural systems upon which life depends. DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife’s mission is to ensure that the freshwater, marine and wildlife resources of the State of Delaware will be conserved and managed for equitable and sustainable use.