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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : Much anticipated statewide shotgun deer hunting season opens Nov 13

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Contact: Joanna Wilson or Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Much-anticipated statewide shotgun
deer hunting season opens Nov. 13

Outlook is optimistic for a bountiful harvest from Delaware’s white-tailed deer herd

DOVER (Nov. 6, 2015) – For thousands of Delaware deer hunters, their favorite and unrivaled time of year afield draws near: With prognostications pointing to another bountiful harvest, the state’s shotgun deer season – which runs from Friday, Nov. 13 thru Saturday, Nov. 21 – is squarely in many hunters’ sights.

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 Joe Rogerson, deer biologist and program manager for Species Conservation and Research with the Division of Fish & Wildlife. “This year we anticipate Delaware hunters will harvest about 14,000 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.

Shotgun deer season resumes Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 and runs through Saturday, Jan. 23. Other Delaware deer season dates include:

·        Special antlerless – Saturday, Dec. 12-Saturday, Dec. 19

·        Archery and crossbow deer season, ongoing through Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016

·        Muzzleloader – Monday, Jan. 25-Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016

·        Handgun – Saturday, Jan. 2-Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016

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. Resident hunters may purchase a combination resident hunter’s choice/quality buck tag for $10. The resident hunter’s choice tag can be used on both antlered and antlerless deer. The resident quality buck tag can only be used on an antlered deer with a minimum outside antler spread of 15 inches. Non-residents may purchase separately one antlered deer tag valid for any deer and/or one quality buck tag for deer with a minimum outside antler spread of 15 inches 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. A registration number is required before taking any deer to a butcher or taxidermist. Likewise, hunters who butcher their own deer must register the deer within 24 hours of harvest or before processing.

Hunters may register deer by visiting the Hunter and Trapper Registration (HTR) system online at using their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Those who prefer to register their deer through a live customer service representative have the option to call 855-DEL-HUNT (855-335-4868). However, using the website instead of the live customer service phone number 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.

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:

Sussex County
   Assawoman Wildlife Area, Frankford
   Gumboro Community Center, Millsboro
   Redden State Forest Headquarters, Georgetown
   Trap Pond State Park, Laurel

Kent County
   Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, Smyrna
   Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, Viola
   Mosquito Control Office, Milford 

New Castle County
   Augustine Wildlife Area, Port Penn

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 & 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:

Sussex County
Dave’s Cut ‘Em Up
6854 Delmar Road
Delmar, DE 19940

Ole McDonald’s
Farm Fresh Meats & Produce
8977 DuPont Boulevard
Lincoln, DE 19960

Kent County
Miller’s Butcher Shop
577 Morgans Choice Road
Wyoming, DE 19934

D&J Custom Cutting
89 Myers Drive
Hartly, DE 19953

New Castle County
Townsend Deer Butchering
1300 Dexter Corner Road
Townsend, DE 19734

Cedar Hill Custom Deer Cutting
738 Paddock Road
Smyrna, DE 19977

Marks Butcher Shop
7296 Grantham Lane
(River Road Industrial Park)
New Castle, DE 19720

For more information on hunting in Delaware, click on 2015-2016 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and from license agents throughout the state. State wildlife area hunting maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and online at Delaware Hunting Maps. For more information, call the recreational license desk at 302-739-9918 or the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.

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Vol. 45, No. 383
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