Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
Delaware’s dove, resident Canada goose
and early teal seasons to open in September
Hunting opportunities also offered at state fish and wildlife areas
DOVER (Aug. 24, 2012) – Delaware hunters will be able to test their wing shooting skills on Saturday, Sept. 1, with the statewide opening of the mourning dove and resident Canada goose seasons on private lands and state wildlife areas. On Wednesday, Sept. 12, hunters can start adding green- and blue-winged teal to their bag on private lands and state wildlife areas within the teal hunting zone – coastal areas from south of the C&D Canal to Lewes east of Routes 13, 113 and 1.
The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife offers many early season hunting opportunities on its wildlife areas throughout the state. In some state wildlife areas, hunting hours may be more restrictive due to other activities taking place on the wildlife areas.
New Castle County State Wildlife Areas
In New Castle County, sunflower fields have been planted at the Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area on the Rocks, Guestford and Bell tracts. Hunting spots are chosen by a lottery held at noon at the Cedar Swamp lottery station located on Collins Beach Road. Hunting days will be Saturday, Sept. 1, Labor Day Monday, Sept. 3, and all remaining Saturdays in September. Hunting hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. All other areas of Cedar Swamp outside of zones 1, 2, 8 and 9 are open daily to dove hunting according to all state and federal regulations from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset. .
The Baxter Tract of the Augustine Wildlife Area has one sunflower field open throughout dove season with no special permits required. Shooting hours for this field are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset. All other tracts of the Augustine and C&D Canal Wildlife Areas are open to dove hunting throughout the season with no special permits required.
Resident Canada Geese
Resident Canada goose hunting will be available on the C&D Canal Wildlife Area and on and around Reedy Island in the Delaware River. No special permits are required. Hunting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
Ten blinds on the Port Penn Tract of the Augustine Wildlife Area will be open for the early teal season. These blinds are available by permit only through lottery drawings held at the Augustine lottery station at the end of North Congress Street in Port Penn. Lotteries are held on opening day, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with drawings taking place 1½ hours before legal shooting time throughout the season.
Kent County State Wildlife Areas
Kent County state wildlife areas offer several dove hunting opportunities with both lottery and non-lottery hunts. Lottery permit hunts are available at the Milford Neck Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Penuel Tract, the Norman G. Wilder WMA Caulk Tract, Norman G. Wilder WMA Willow Grove Tract, Little Creek WMA Davey Crockett Tract, and the Ted Harvey WMA Logan Lane and Buckaloo Tracts. Permits to hunt the sunflower fields on these areas are issued through a noon lottery at the Little Creek lottery station on Route 9/Bayside Drive just south of Little Creek. These areas are hunted on opening day, Labor Day and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in September only. Hunting hours are 1-5 p.m.
For those not interested in the lottery hunts, dove hunting opportunities are available at the Blackiston Wildlife Area and the Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, Haines Tract, where sunflower fields have been planted. These sites are open all days of the dove season with hunting hours from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset. Blackiston Wildlife Area dove fields were planted later, so this would be an excellent opportunity for late-season dove hunting.
Resident Canada Geese
Several Kent County wildlife areas have resident Canada goose hunting opportunities. At the Milford Neck WMA, all of the waterfowl hunting blind sites will be open on a first come-first served basis. In addition, Blackiston, Norman G. Wilder (Petersburg and Willow Grove Tracts), Milford Neck and Little Creek (Davy Crockett Tract) will be open for September goose hunting with no restriction to blinds or blind sites. Additionally, at the Woodland Beach and Roberts Tract permit-required blinds, resident goose hunting will be allowed while hunting September teal. Hunting hours here are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
Daily lotteries for blinds will be held at the Woodland Beach WMA for marsh and pondside blinds on the Taylor’s Gut impoundment and the McKay Tract. At the Ted Harvey WMA, Roberts Tract and river blinds 32-44 will be available through a daily lottery at the Little Creek WMA. Lotteries will be held 1½ hours before legal shooting time at the Woodland Beach lottery station and 2 hours before legal shooting time at the Little Creek lottery station. Other wildlife areas open for teal hunting include Milford Neck WMA, and the Little Creek Davey Crockett Tract. All teal hunting on the above areas will be every day of the September season from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
Sussex County State Wildlife Areas
Dove hunting on managed fields will be available on the Assawoman and Nanticoke wildlife areas, but heavy crop damage due to deer will greatly reduce dove hunting success. At Assawoman, permits will be issued on a self-serve basis beginning on Sept. 1. Hunting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset every day of the September season.
At the Nanticoke WMA, dove hunting will begin on opening day, Sept. 1. Corn and sunflowers are planted at the George Adams Field and the Dirt Pit Fields. No permits or check out are required and there are no limits on the number of hunters. Dove hunting is allowed on other unmanaged areas without a permit.
All other wildlife areas in Sussex County are open for dove hunting with no permits required. Hunting hours at these sites are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
Resident Canada Geese
No resident goose hunts are planned for Sussex County on state wildlife areas as no resident goose flocks are present on areas accessible for hunting.
Prime Hook State Wildlife Area is open to teal hunting this year. Hunting days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. State blinds 1-8 will be open. Permits are free and will be issued on a first come-first served basis from the tag board on Prime Hook State Wildlife Area at Little Neck Road. All federal blinds are closed, and no drawings or check out will occur. No other Sussex County state wildlife areas fall within the September teal season zones. Hunting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
General Hunting Information for the 2012-2013 seasons on private and state wildlife area lands:
September season dates are:
- Doves: Sept. 1 – Sept. 29 (1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset)
- Resident Canada Geese: Sept. 1 – Sept. 25 (1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset)
- Teal: Sept. 12 – Sept. 29 (1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset).
For later dates, hunters should consult the 2012-2013 Delaware Migratory Game Bird Season Summary, available online at www.fw.delaware.gov and where hunting licenses are sold.
Non-toxic shot must be used for all dove hunting on state wildlife areas during the month of September.
In addition to a Delaware hunting license, teal, dove and goose hunters will need to have registered with the Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) to obtain a registration number. Hunters can call toll free 1-855-335-4868 or go to www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt to register for a HIP number.
If hunting from a blind that was selected through a lottery, all hunters in the blind are required to have the $20 annual blind permit that can be purchased where hunting licenses are sold. This permit is waived for hunters participating in Division of Fish and Wildlife-designated youth hunting days.
Hunting maps for state wildlife areas are available by calling 302-739-9912 or online at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/HuntingMaps.aspx.
Hunters for the Youth Day deer hunt on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area will be selected through a lottery drawing held the morning of the hunt at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 2591 Whitehall Neck Road, Smyrna, Delaware. This drawing will occur 1½ hours prior to legal shooting time. A pre-season application is no longer required for this special hunt. A drawing for unfilled stands will be held at the Woodland Beach Lottery Station at noon.
For all other hunting and trapping information, hunters should consult the Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide along with wildlife area maps. Maps are available online at www.fw.delaware.gov or by calling the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.
Vol. 42, No. 329