Shotgun Deer Season Started

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Deer photoRelease from Division of Fish and Wildlife

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters that shotgun deer season dates run from Friday, Nov. 15 to Saturday, Nov. 23, and resume from Saturday, Jan. 18 to Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. Muzzleloaders also may be used during these dates, and may be equipped with scopes.

Of all Delaware’s deer seasons, the shotgun dates draw 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 Deer and Furbearer Biologist Joe Rogerson. “This year we anticipate Delaware hunters will harvest more than 13,000 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.

Deer must be tagged immediately after harvest, and tags must remain attached until the deer is processed. Delaware hunting licenses come with two antlerless deer tags and two doe tags. Additional antlerless deer tags may be purchased online or from license agents for $10. Hunter’s Choice tags, which may be used on antlered or antlerless deer, may be purchased for $10. Hunter’s Choice tags come with a Quality Buck tag, which can only be used on an antlered deer with a minimum outside spread of 15 inches. 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. However, if a hunter plans to take their deer to a butcher or taxidermist, they must register their deer before dropping the animal off, as the registration number will be required before the deer can be accepted.  Hunters who butcher their own deer must also register the deer within 24 hours of harvest or before processing, whichever comes first.  Hunters may register deer by clicking on Deer Registration, or by calling 1-855-DEL-HUNT (1-855-335-4868).

Hunters also are reminded that during any firearm deer season, any person hunting any wildlife except migratory game birds is required to wear no less than a total of 400 square inches of hunter orange material on their heads, chests and backs. Deer hunters concealed inside ground-level blinds also must place 400 square inches of hunter orange within 10 feet outside of the blind and at least 3 feet off the ground.

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.

For more information on hunting in Delaware, hunters should consult the 2013-2014 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide, along with state wildlife area maps if they plan to hunt on wildlife areas. Copies of the guide are available at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, at license agents statewide, and online at http://www.eregulations.com/delaware/hunting/pageFlip/; the maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and online at http://www.eregulations.com/delaware/hunting/pageFlip/.