DNREC releases updated guidelines for 2022-23 hunting season
DELAWARE – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has announced additional hunting seasons for 2022. “November shotgun season”, or the popular general firearm deer season, opens November 11th, and stretches through November 20th. It includes a special deer hunt open to youth and non-ambulatory hunters between November 5th and 6th. Duck, Canada goose, and other hunting seasons will open later in the month.
Deer hunters are encouraged to go after does, or female deer, to help manage the size and quality of the First State’s deer population, says DNREC. Deer hunting is permitted every Sunday until January 31st, 2023. All harvested deer must be registered within 24 hours of harvest, by clicking here, or calling 855-DEL-HUNT.
Hunters wishing to donate venison to those in need can do so through the Delaware Hunters Against Hunger Program. Field-dressed deer can be donated at participating butchers, or DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s self-serve walk in coolers. All donated deer will be processed free of charge, and the meat will be distributed to participating charities. DNREC says last year, hunters donated over 24,000 pounds of processed venison, providing 97,000 meals.
Sea duck hunters are no longer under a special hunting zone with its own separate season dates or daily bag and possession limits. Season dates for sea ducks have returned to those of the regular duck season. The daily bag and possession limits for sea ducks are not part of the regular daily bag limit and possession limit for all ducks.
Hunting season dates for seasons opening in November:
- Raccoon and opossum (hunt only): Nov. 1 through Feb. 28, 2023*
- Red fox (hunt only): Nov. 1 through Feb. 28, 2023
- Deer youth/non-ambulatory hunt: Nov. 5 and 6
- Deer general firearm/shotgun: Nov. 11 through 20, including all Sundays
- Tundra swan (by special permit ONLY): Nov. 11 through Jan. 31, 2023
- Woodcock (first season split): Nov. 21 through 26
- Ducks (including sea ducks), coots and mergansers (second season split): Nov. 21 through 26
- Brant (first season split): Nov. 21 through 26
- Bobwhite quail: Nov. 21 through Jan. 7, 2023
- Mourning dove (second season split): Nov. 21 through Jan. 31, 2023
- Ring-necked pheasant (male only): Nov. 21 through Feb. 4, 2023
- Cottontail rabbit: Nov. 21 through Feb. 28, 2023
- Canada goose (first season split): Nov. 23 through 26
*Raccoon and opossum hunting seasons are closed during the November youth/non-ambulatory deer hunt and the November general firearm/shotgun deer season. Special hunting hours for raccoon and opossum during the December antlerless, January handgun/straight-walled pistol-caliber rifle, January general firearm/shotgun and January muzzleloader deer seasons are 7 p.m. until midnight (reference the 2022/2023 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide at de.gov/hunting for deer season dates).
Continuing Delaware hunting seasons include:
- Moorhen, gallinule, sora, Virginia rail, king rail and clapper rail: through Nov. 23
- Common snipe: through Nov. 26
- Deer archery and crossbow: through Jan. 31, 2023, including all Sundays
- Snow goose: through Jan. 31, 2023; Feb. 4, 2023
- Gray squirrel: through Feb. 4, 2023 (closed during November general firearm/shotgun deer season)
- Coyote (hunting): through Feb. 28, 2023
- Crows: through March 25, 2023, June 22 through 24, 2023 and June 29 through 30, 2023 (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only)
- Groundhog: through June 30, 2023
A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number is required to hunt, and most waterfowl hunters are required to purchase a Delaware waterfowl (duck) stamp and a Federal Duck Stamp. Dove, goose and duck hunters also need a Federal Harvest Information Program number, which hunters can find by clicking here, or calling 855-DEL-HUNT.