Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
2014 Delaware turkey season to open April 12
DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announces check stations
DOVER (April 4, 2014) – The 2014 Delaware spring turkey hunting season opens Saturday, April 12, and runs through Saturday, May 10, the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife announced today. Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise until 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Hunters are reminded that all birds taken must be checked at an authorized turkey check station by 2:30 p.m. on the day of the hunt.
Delaware hunters must have successfully completed a mandatory turkey hunter safety and education class before they can legally hunt wild turkeys in Delaware. Turkey hunters also are required to carry their Hunter Education Card certifying successful completion of the course.
Hunting on public lands, including state forest lands, is by preseason lottery permit only. Hunters must carry their public lands permit while hunting and may only hunt the designated area and season segment/dates specified in the permit.
Hunter Education Coordinator Mark Ostroski offered some tips for a safe and successful hunt. “A successful turkey hunt depends on many factors, including skill, careful preparation and attention to safety details. Hunters should be sure to pattern their gun, because knowing where and how your gun shoots can make all the difference between failure and success at bagging that big gobbler,” he said.
Ostroski noted that hunters also should remember these important safety practices:
- Take time to identify your target and what lies beyond;
- Avoid wearing clothing that includes the colors red, blue, black and white;
- Never stalk a wild turkey; and
- Do not imitate the male gobbling call trying to attract another gobbler.
The wild turkey remains one of Delaware’s top restoration successes after being on the verge of extinction by the early 20th century. In the early 1980s, the Division of Fish and Wildlife partnered with the Delaware chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation to reestablish a wild turkey population in the state. By 1991, the population had grown large enough to permit opening a wild turkey hunting season, and the big birds continue to thrive and multiply.
Last year, 614 birds were harvested, the second-highest season harvest on record, and the turkey season was marked by several new achievements. “For the first time turkeys were reported as harvested on the C&D Canal Conservation Area, which is a good indicator of how abundant and widespread our turkey population has become,” said Wildlife Biologist Matt DiBona, noting this was also the first year a bird was harvested using a muzzleloader. Several birds with multiple beards – a relatively rare occurrence in Delaware’s wild turkey population – were harvested, including two birds with six beards each, DiBona added.
Authorized turkey check stations for 2014 will be available at the following locations:
New Castle County
Ommelanden Hunter Education Center
Route 9, River Road, just north of Federal Lane, New Castle
Woodland Beach Wildlife Check Station
Route 9, 4876 Hay Point Landing Road, just north of intersection with Route 6
Little Creek Wildlife Area Check Station
Route 9, Bayside Drive just south of the town of Little Creek
3544 Williamsville Road, at intersection of Deep Grass Lane, Houston
Miller’s Butcher Shop
577 Morgan’s Choice Road, Wyoming
LP Sports Center
1 East Street, Spartan Plaza, Harrington
9641 Tharp Road, Seaford
Bucks & Ducks Sports Center/Messick Supply
14882 Hardscrabble Road, Seaford
Hook’em & Cook’em
3 York Beach Mall, Route 1, South Bethany Beach
30618 Millsboro Highway, Millsboro
Check station hours may vary, so hunters are advised to call the station where they are likely to check a bird to confirm the hours of operation. Hunters who want to have their bird scored and entered into the National Wild Turkey Federation records are reminded to have their bird’s live weight recorded on a certified scale. If the check station does not have a certified scale, hunters will have to go to another shop to have the turkey re-weighed.
The required 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.
For more information on turkey hunting in Delaware, consult the Wild Turkey Hunting Section on pages 22-23 of the 2013-2014 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide. Hard copies of the guide also are available at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover licensing office, or from license dealers statewide. For more information about hunting on public lands, click Wildlife Area Hunting Maps or State Forest Maps.
Vol. 44, No. 100