DOVER, Del.- This fall, hunters will be interested in a number of changes, including a new crossbow season, a statewide red fox season, use of pellet firearms for squirrel hunting and licensing changes, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announced. The changes were made following public review.
"Two changes that generated a great deal of public interest were the crossbow and red fox hunting seasons," said Wildlife Program Manager Ken Reynolds. "We had a full house at our March public hearing and most of the comments were about these two topics."
Starting this fall, crossbows may be used by all hunters during a general crossbow season that will run from Sept. 1, 2010 through Jan. 31, 2011. During any overlap with a deer gun season, crossbow hunters must wear 400 square inches of hunter orange as do gun hunters.
A new regulation establishes a statewide hunting season for red fox that will run from Nov. 1, 2010 through Feb. 28, 2011. Following the recent passage of a revised statute by the Delaware General Assembly, the new season was created to allow the Division to manage the species. "We want to manage red fox like other furbearer species in Delaware," said Wildlife Administrator Greg Moore, adding that hunters have been requesting a red fox season for many years.
Two very important statutory changes approved by the Legislature and taking effect this year involve licenses and hunting safety zones. Hunting licenses no longer have to be displayed in a back tag but must be carried on your person while hunting. The safety zone for hunting with archery devices, including crossbows, has been reduced to 50 yards. Gun hunting safety zones were not changed.
Another regulatory change this year is that hunters and trappers who are exempt from licensing due to age or property ownership will be required to obtain a Hunter and Trapper Identification Number. Like a license, this number must be carried by the hunter or trapper when they are in the field. To obtain this number, hunters can call 877-939-3678 toll-free or visit www.dehip.com.
"For many years, this group of hunters and trappers has been unrepresented because we did not know who they were," said Wildlife Program Manager Rob Hossler. "The information generated by this system will allow the Division to know the total number of hunters and trappers in the State and provide a way for these sportsmen and sportswomen to be included in game harvest and hunter opinion surveys."
Squirrel hunters will also see a regulatory change this season with the addition of .17 through .22 caliber pellet firearms to the list of those allowed for hunting in Delaware. These guns must have rifled barrels.
For more information on hunting season changes, hunters should consult the 2010 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide, call the DNREC Wildlife Section at (302) 739-9912, or visit http://regulations.delaware.gov/register/july2010/final/index.shtml#TopOfPage and scroll down to the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife section to view the regulations.