Early shotgun deer season opens Friday through Nov. 20

DOVER — For thousands of Delaware deer hunters, their favorite time of year afield is squarely in sight, with projections pointing to another bountiful harvest during the state’s early shotgun deer season. It begins Friday and continues through Nov. 20.

It includes hunting on Sunday.

Of all Delaware’s deer seasons, the early shotgun season draws 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 10 days in mid-November,” said Emily Boyd, deer and furbearer biologist with the Division of Fish & Wildlife. “This year we anticipate Delaware hunters will harvest about 14,000 deer, with nearly half of them taken during the November shotgun deer season.”

This year, hunters will also have the opportunity to hunt on two Sundays during the November shotgun season in areas open to Sunday hunting. To find out which public areas are open for Sunday hunting, please visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov.

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 desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building at 89 Kings Highway in Dover and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, go to www.dnrec.delaware.gov.

For more information on Delaware hunting licenses, call (302) 739-9918.

Once shotgun deer season ends this month it will resume Jan. 14, 2017, and run through Jan. 21, including Jan. 15.

Other Delaware deer season dates include:

• Special antlerless: Dec. 10-Dec. 17, including Dec. 11

• Handgun: Jan. 7-14, 2017, (no Sunday deer hunting allowed).

• Muzzleloader: Jan. 23-28, 2017.

• Archery and crossbow deer season, ongoing through Jan. 31, 2017 (except for designated Sundays during certain firearms seasons, no Sunday deer hunting allowed during archery and crossbow season).

Deer must be tagged immediately after harvest, and tags must remain attached until the deer is processed.n, visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov.

Hunters must register their deer within 24 hours of harvest. A registration number is required before taking any deer to a butcher or taxidermist.
Likewise, hunters who butcher their own deer must register the deer within 24 hours of harvest or before processing.

To register deer, visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt. They can be registered using a smartphone, tablet or computer. To register by phone, call (855) 335-4868.

Hunters are encouraged to donate harvested 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.

The Division of Fish & Wildlife maintains walk-in coolers where hunters may donate field-dressed, tagged deer.

They are:

Sussex County: Assawoman Wildlife Area, near Frankford; Gumboro Community Center; Redden State Forest Headquarters, near Georgetown; Trap Pond State Park, near Laurel.

Kent County: Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, near Smyrna; Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, near Viola; Mosquito Control Office, Milford.
New Castle County: Augustine Wildlife Area, Port Penn

Private butcher shops participating are:

Sussex County: Dave’s Cut ‘Em Up, 6854 Delmar Road, Delmar. (302) 381-7257. Ole McDonald’s Farm Fresh Meats & Produce, 8977 DuPont Blvd., Lincoln. (302) 265-2321

Kent County: Miller’s Butcher Shop, 577 Morgans Choice Road, Wyoming. (302) 697-8278. D&J Custom Cutting, 89 Myers Drive, Hartly. (302) 492-0323
New Castle County: Townsend Deer Butchering, 1300 Dexter Corner Road, Townsend. (302)-378-3268

For more information, call the licensing desk at (302) 739-9918 or the Wildlife Section office at (302) 739-9912.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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