Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Delaware turkey season to open April 11
DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife announces check stations
DOVER (April 2, 2015) – Delaware’s spring turkey hunting season opens Saturday, April 11, and runs through Saturday, May 9, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today. Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise until 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Hunters are reminded that only bearded birds may be taken, and that all harvested birds must be checked at an authorized turkey check station by 2:30 p.m. on the day of the hunt. Bag limit for all turkey hunters is one bearded bird per year.
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/Turkey Education Card certifying successful completion of the mandatory turkey 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,” he said. “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.”
Ostroski noted that hunters also should remember these important safety practices:
- Take time to identify your target and what lies beyond;
- It is illegal and unsafe to wear clothing that includes the colors red, blue, black or white while turkey hunting;
- Never stalk a wild turkey; and
- Do not imitate the male gobbling call while 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 & Wildlife partnered with the Delaware chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Delaware Wild Lands 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, 687 birds were harvested, setting a new state record with a 12 percent increase from 2013’s harvest of 614 birds. “For nine out of the last 10 seasons, we have had record turkey harvests, which can be attributed to the growing popularity of spring turkey hunting and a healthy turkey population,” said Wildlife Biologist Matt DiBona. Several birds with multiple beards – a relatively rare occurrence in Delaware’s wild turkey population – were harvested, including one bird with five beards and a combined length of 35.5 inches, DiBona added.
Authorized turkey check stations for 2015 will be available at the following locations:
McKay Wildlife and Hunter Education Field Office
6180 Hay Point Landing Road, Smyrna
(Intersection of Route 9/Shorts Landing Road)
Little Creek Wildlife Area Check Station
Route 9, Bayside Drive͕, Little Creek
(Just south of the Town of Little Creek)
3544 Williamsville Road, Houston
(Intersection of Deep Grass Lane and Williamsville Road)
First State Sporting Goods
825 Halltown Road, Marydel
Miller’s Butcher Shop
577 Morgan’s Choice Road, Wyoming
LP Sports Center
1 East Street, Spartan Plaza, Harrington
Delmarva Speed & Sport
689 Warner Road, Milford
New Castle County
775 S. DuPont Highway, New Castle
9641 Tharp Road, Seaford
Hook ‘Em and Cook ‘Em
3 York Beach Mall, Route 1, South Bethany
30618 Millsboro Highway, Millsboro
Bucks and Ducks Sports Center
14882 Hardscrabble Road, Seaford
NOTE: List of check stations is subject to change without notice. Visit www.fw.delaware.gov after April 1 for any changes. 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.
Most hunters are required to have a Delaware hunting license. 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 hunting in Delaware, click on 2014-2015 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state. For more information about hunting on public lands, click Wildlife Area Hunting Maps or State Forest Maps.
Vol. 45, No. 95