DELAWARE — Additional firearm deer hunting seasons opening in January and the continuing archery deer hunting seasons provide the last chance for hunters to harvest deer during the 2022/23 hunting season, announced the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Deer hunters in Delaware are encouraged to harvest does (female deer) during deer hunting seasons to help manage the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population.
Deer hunting seasons opening in January:
- January handgun deer*: Jan. 7, Jan. 9 through 14 (closed Sunday, Jan. 8**) Hunting permitted only south of the C&D Canal
- January general firearm deer* (also known as the January shotgun season): Jan. 14 through 22, including Sundays
- January muzzleloader deer: Jan. 23 through 29, including Sundays
*Straight-walled pistol-caliber rifles are allowed during the January handgun and general firearm (shotgun) deer seasons only south of the C&D Canal.
**Hunters may only use archery equipment, including crossbows, to hunt on Sunday, Jan. 8.
Continuing hunting seasons include:
- Bobwhite quail: through Jan. 7, 2023
- Woodcock and common snipe: through Jan. 16, 2023
- Canada goose (migratory season): through Jan. 23, 2023
- Ducks (including sea ducks***), coots and mergansers: through Jan. 31, 2023
- Brant: through Jan. 31, 2023
- Tundra swan (by special permit ONLY): through Jan. 31, 2023
- Snow goose: through Jan. 31, 2023, and Feb. 4, 2023
- Mourning dove: through Jan. 31, 2023
- Archery and crossbow deer: through Jan. 31, 2023, including all Sundays
- Gray squirrel: through Feb. 4, 2023
- Ring-necked pheasant (male only): through Feb. 4, 2023
- Cottontail rabbit: through Feb. 28, 2023
- Coyote (hunt): through Feb. 28, 2023
- Red fox (hunt): through Feb. 28, 2023
- Raccoon and opossum (hunt): through Feb. 28, 2023****
- Beaver (hunt): through Mar. 19, 2023, private land only
- Crows: through Mar. 25, 2023, June 22 through 24, 2023 and June 29 through 30, 2023 (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only)
- Groundhog (hunt): through June 30, 2023
***Sea duck hunters are advised that there is no longer a special sea duck zone with its own separate season dates or daily bag and possession limits. Season dates for sea ducks are now the same as the regular duck season and the daily bag and possession limits for sea ducks are now included as part of the regular daily bag and possession limits for all ducks. Refer to Page 34 of the 2022/2023 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide found at de.gov/hunting for additional information about hunting sea ducks.
****Special raccoon and opossum hunting hours during the January handgun, January general firearm and January muzzleloader deer seasons are 7 p.m. until midnight.
Continuing trapping seasons include:
- Red fox and coyote: through Mar. 10, 2023
- Beaver: through Mar. 20, 2023
- Muskrat, mink, otter, raccoon, opossum and nutria (New Castle County Only): through Mar. 10, 2023 (Mar. 20, 2023 on embanked meadows)
- Muskrat, mink, otter, raccoon, opossum and nutria (Kent and Sussex counties): through Mar. 15, 2023
Hunters and trappers are being reminded that they must report harvested coyotes by contacting the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-735-3600 by the close of business on the day following their harvest. A message also can be left after-hours at the phone number reporting a coyote harvest – the harvest reports are important data used by DNREC biologists to track coyote distribution and numbers across the state. For more information about coyotes in Delaware – including a Depredation Order signed by the DNREC Secretary that allows the animals to be shot if threatening public safety, or livestock and domestic animals – go to de.gov/coyotes.
Successful deer hunters who wish to donate venison to those in need are encouraged to participate in Delaware’s Hunters Against Hunger Program administered by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife. Field-dressed deer may be donated at participating private butchers or division self-serve, walk-in coolers, with additional information and participating butcher and cooler locations found at de.gov/DHAH. All donated deer will be processed free of charge to the hunter, and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable organizations serving those in need. Last year, hunters donated over 24,000 pounds of venison that provided over 96,000 meals to Delawareans in need.
The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife offers many hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas. Wildlife area maps and rules are available at de.gov/wamaps, with information specific to Sunday deer hunting on state wildlife areas available at de.gov/sundayhunt. More information on hunting seasons and wildlife areas is available in the 2022/2023 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide at de.gov/hunting.
Information on hunting licenses, the License Exempt Number (LEN), the Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number needed to hunt most migratory birds, the state waterfowl stamp and the Federal Duck Stamp, as well the Conservation Access Pass required for registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife is available at de.gov/huntinglicense.
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