Duck Hunting Season to Open Friday in Del. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Duck Hunting Season to Open Friday in Del.

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DOVER, Del. - Delaware's regular duck season opens this Friday, October 24, according to Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. DNREC's Division of Fish & Wildlife is reminding migratory game bird hunters of the rules and dates for this year's waterfowl season segments and of public wildlife area hunting opportunities.

DNREC says this year's season segment dates for hunting migratory ducks are:

·        Friday, Oct. 24-Tuesday, Nov. 11

·        Monday, Nov. 24-Saturday, Nov. 29

·        Friday, Dec. 12-Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015

DNREC says the daily limit of six ducks (excluding mergansers and coots) may include, in any combination, up to: four mallards, with no more than two hen mallards; one black duck; two pintail; one canvasback, three wood ducks; two redheads; two scaup, six teal; six shovelers; six gadwall; six wigeon; six goldeneye; six ring-necked ducks; six bufflehead; six ruddy ducks; one mottled duck; one fulvous whistling-duck; four scoters; six eiders; six long-tailed ducks. The possession limit is three times the daily limit. DNREC says the season on harlequin ducks remains closed.

Season dates for coots and mergansers are the same as for ducks, according to DNREC, with a daily bag limit of 15 and possession limit of 45 for coots, and a daily bag limit of five and a possession limit of 15 for mergansers. DNREC says daily bag limit may include no more than two hooded mergansers (six in possession).

DNREC says goose, brant and snow goose seasons are as follows:

·        Canada Geese including white-fronted geese: season segments Monday, Nov. 24-Saturday, Nov. 29, and Friday, Dec. 12-Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015; daily bag limit two; possession limit six;

·        Brant: Monday, Dec. 22-Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, and Monday, Jan. 12-Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015; daily bag limit two; possession limit six;

·        Snow geese: Wednesday, Oct. 1-Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015; daily bag limit 25, no possession limit; including Ross' geese

DNREC says Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is open for snow goose hunting Monday, Wednesday and Friday with permission of refuge manager.

Most state wildlife areas hold a lottery drawing for waterfowl blinds 1.5 hours before legal shooting time, except for Little Creek Wildlife Area which holds its drawing two hours before legal shooting time, according to DNREC. The department says hunters should plan to arrive in time to sign up for the drawing.
 
Division of Fish & Wildlife biologists say they flew aerial surveys across the state on Oct. 20 to assess waterfowl populations, with promising results.

"Duck numbers appear to be favorable going into the season, possibly attributable to the cold front that moved through this past weekend," said Waterfowl Biologist Matt DiBona. "Good numbers of teal, pintail and widgeon were widespread across the state, with two of the best areas being the Port Mahon and Little Creek State impoundments, each having at least 1,000 birds."

DNREC says wildlife area staff have been busy this week completing preparations for opening day on Friday. This past Sunday, DNREC says volunteers joined Fish & Wildlife staff to grass duck blinds at the Little Creek Wildlife Area near Dover. Volunteer assistance also helped grass blinds at Augustine Wildlife Area near Delaware City last month.

"The Division thanks the volunteers who assisted with grassing waterfowl blinds," said Division of Fish & Wildlife Director David Saveikis. "With nearly 200 blinds throughout the state's wildlife areas and the recent constraints on our budget and staffing, we are especially appreciative of our volunteers and the time they spent working with us to help make this a great waterfowl season for hunters using our public wildlife areas. Their volunteer actions demonstrate the true spirit of hunting and conservation by giving back to the sport and resource."

In order to hunt, DNREC says Delaware residents age 16 or older and under the age of 65 and non-residents age 16 or older must purchase a hunting license to hunt in Delaware. A junior hunting license is required for kids age 13 through 15. Delaware hunting licenses are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC's Richardson & Robbins Building in Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find the participating agent nearest you, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses.

DNREC says hunters who are exempt from purchasing a license must obtain an annual, free License Exempt Number (LEN). Hunters who plan to pursue migratory game birds such as ducks, geese and doves, also must obtain a HIP number as required under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Harvest Information Program. LEN and HIP numbers can be obtained through the Division of Fish & Wildlife's Hunter and Trapper Registration System (HTR).
 
For more information on waterfowl hunting in Delaware, click on 2014-2015 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide and the 2014-2015 Migratory Game Bird Seasons. The guide and the migratory bird season summary also are available in printed form at DNREC's Dover licensing desk, and from license agents statewide.
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