Delaware Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Reopen Dec. 12

California Waterfowl
Waterfowl Hunting
Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife
Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife

Dover, DE -( DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds waterfowlers that the last of three 2014-15 season segments or splits for hunting migratory ducks and Canada geese in Delaware opens Friday, Dec. 12.

With duck season running through Saturday, Jan. 24, and Canada goose season running through Saturday, Jan. 31.

Other current or upcoming waterfowl seasons are:

  • Brant: Monday, Dec. 22 – Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, and Monday, Jan. 12 – Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015; daily bag limit two; possession limit six;
  • Snow geese: Season continues through Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015; daily bag limit 25, no possession limit; includes Ross’ geese. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge open Monday, Wednesday and Friday with permission of refuge manager.
  • Sea duck: Special season for scoters, eiders, and long-tailed ducks continues through Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 within the designated Special Sea Duck Hunt Area, located not less than 800 yards from shore between Port Mahon/Elbow Cross Navigation Light and the Delaware-Maryland line. For sea ducks harvested during the special season in the designated area, a daily bag limit of seven and possession limit of 21 applies to sea ducks; of this number, four can be scoters, with a daily possession limit of 12. Sea ducks may be harvested outside the designated area only during regular duck season dates, and count towards the regular six duck daily bag limit; those harvested within the special area do not count towards the regular season duck bag limit.

The daily limit of six ducks (excluding mergansers and coots) may include, in any combination, up to: four mallards, with no more than two hen mallards; one black duck; two pintail; one canvasback, three wood ducks; two redheads; two scaup, six teal; six shovelers; six gadwalls; six wigeons; six goldeneyes; six ring-necked ducks; six buffleheads; six ruddy ducks; one mottled duck; one fulvous whistling-duck; four scoters; six eiders; six long-tailed ducks. The possession limit is three times the daily limit. The season on harlequin ducks remains closed.

Season dates for coots and mergansers are the same as for ducks, with a daily bag limit of 15 and possession limit of 45 for coots, and a daily bag limit of five and a possession limit of 15 for mergansers. Daily bag limit may include no more than two hooded mergansers (six in possession).

Canada geese have a daily bag limit of two, with a possession limit of six birds. Hunters also may take white-fronted geese, which count against the daily bag limit for Canada geese, allowing hunters to take up to two Canada geese, or two white-fronted geese, also known as “specklebellies,” or one of each daily.

Most state wildlife areas open for waterfowl hunting hold a lottery drawing for waterfowl blinds 1.5 hours before legal shooting time, except for Little Creek Wildlife Area, which holds its drawing two hours before legal shooting time. Hunters should plan to arrive in time to sign up for the drawing. Additional information about duck blind lotteries and availability at individual wildlife areas as well as rules specific to each wildlife area can be found online at Delaware Hunting Maps.

Hard copies of these wildlife area maps are also available at DNREC’s Dover license desk, or by calling the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.

How to get your hunting license, HIP/LEN numbers and required stamps:

In order to hunt, Delaware residents age 16 or older and under the age of 65 and non-residents age 16 or older must purchase an adult hunting license to hunt in Delaware. A junior hunting license is required for youths age 13 through 15. 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, visit Delaware Licenses. For additional information on Delaware hunting licenses, call 302-739-9918.

Hunters age 16 and older who hunt migratory waterfowl – including resident Canada geese – are required to purchase a Delaware Waterfowl Stamp, available for purchase online, at DNREC’s Dover licensing office, or from Delaware license agents. Delaware resident hunters 65 and older are not required to purchase a Delaware Waterfowl Stamp. A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp, available for purchase online and at U.S. Post Offices, is required for all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older; no exemptions are made for persons 65 years or older for purchasing federal stamps.

Hunters who are exempt from purchasing a license must obtain an annual, free License Exempt Number (LEN). Hunters who plan to pursue migratory game birds such as ducks, geese and doves, also must obtain a HIP number as required under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Harvest Information Program. LEN and HIP numbers can be obtained through the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter and Trapper Registration System (HTR). This free, easy-to-use system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers a choice between using the mobile-friendly website or a phone system.

To encourage hunters to use the convenient online HTR system, the Division of Fish & Wildlife has partnered with Cabela’s to enter hunters who use the HTR system via the website into a drawing for one of 20 donated $50 gift cards for the 2014-15 season. 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 direct more funding to on-the-ground habitat conservation and management, and to public hunting areas.

To use the new HTR system, please visit Gift card drawings will be conducted periodically during the hunting season, but only hunters and trappers who use the website to obtain their HIP and LEN permits, or to register their deer will be eligible. If you prefer to talk to a live customer service representative, call 855-DELHUNT (855-335-4868), but note that you will not be eligible for the Cabela’s gift card drawing.

The first three drawings for gift card winners took place Aug. 25, Oct. 3 and Nov. 6, with 12 lucky hunters randomly selected to receive a donated $50 gift card to Cabela’s. The fourth drawing was held Dec. 3, and the following individuals who accessed the HTR system online were selected to receive a donated $50 gift card to Cabela’s: Christopher Tarzaghi, Wilmington; Daniel Cropper, Delmar; Roy Ritzenthaler, Dover; and Brian Joseph, Berlin, Md.

For more information on waterfowl hunting in Delaware, click on 2014-2015 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide and the 2014-2015 Migratory Game Bird Seasons. The guide and the migratory bird season summary also are available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents statewide.

The Division of Fish & Wildlife also would like to encourage hunters to bring cameras and take photos to enter in the Division’s annual Delaware Hunting Photo Contest. The contest is seeking photos of Delaware hunters in action, with the winner to be published in next year’s Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. Deadline for contest entries is Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015.

Information and forms are available on the Division’s website at Photo contest information, or

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.