Sunday Hunts and Shifting Seasons: Changes in Delaware’s 2024/25 Hunting Guidelines

A man shooting on a moving targetPhoto by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

DOVER, DE — Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has ushered in significant changes for the state’s hunting and trapping enthusiasts. Their latest 2024/25 guide, now available across the state and online, not only sports a winning photograph from a hunting photo contest but carries important news for the hunting community.

The biggest news? It’s now legal to hunt gamebirds on Sundays. That means ducks, geese, turkeys, doves, and the like can be hunted across privately-owned lands and designated State Wildlife Areas. The decision marks an expansion from deer hunting on Sundays – a change implemented in 2016. However, the new Sunday hunting rule doesn’t apply to small game animals like gray squirrels or rabbits, and the restrictions remain unchanged in certain areas, including Delaware State Forest lands and the state’s two national wildlife refuges.

While Sunday gamebird hunting presents an exciting prospect for hunters, it does bring a shift in the local waterfowl seasons. Regulatory frameworks established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and respective flyway councils include Sundays in the total number of days open for migratory bird hunting. This effectively transforms the hunting week from six days to seven, thereby shrinking the overall weeks of hunting. While duck hunters will still enjoy 60 days of open season, they’ll find it condensed into about 8.5 weeks instead of the traditional 10.

The Atlantic Flyway’s Canada geese population presents another twist. Low population numbers necessitated a reduction in the hunting season from 45 days to 30. This shorter season, along with the new Sunday hunting rule, has influenced the upcoming scheduling more than any other species.

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On top of season details, the guide also provides useful information on licensing and permit requirements, hunting education programs, and public land hunting opportunities. Hunters can purchase licenses and Delaware waterfowl stamps online, at DNREC’s office in Dover, or from license agents throughout the state.

With new hunting opportunities but condensed seasons, Delaware’s hunters have a lot to consider this year. Grab a copy of the 2024/25 guide and plan your hunting calendar wisely.

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