The 2013 Delaware spring turkey hunting season opens Saturday, April 13, and runs through Saturday, May 11, the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife announced. Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise until 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Hunters are reminded that all birds taken must be checked at an authorized turkey check station by 2:30 p.m. on the day of the hunt.
Delaware hunters are reminded they must have successfully completed a mandatory one-day turkey hunter education class before they can legally hunt wild turkeys in Delaware. Turkey hunters also are required to carry their Hunter Education Card certifying successful completion of the course. Hunting on public lands is by preseason lottery permit only. Hunters must carry their public lands permit while hunting and may only hunt the designated area and season segment/dates specified in the permit.
Hunter education coordinator Mark Ostroski offered some tips for a safe and successful hunt. “A successful turkey hunt depends on many factors including skill, careful preparation and attention to safety details. Hunters should be sure to pattern their gun, because knowing where and how your gun shoots can make all the difference between failure and success at bagging that big gobbler,” he said.
The wild turkey remains one of Delaware’s top restoration successes after being on the verge of extinction by the early 20th century. In the early 1980s, the Division of Fish and Wildlife partnered with the Delaware chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation to reestablish a wild turkey population in the state. By 1991, the population had grown large enough to permit opening a wild turkey hunting season, and the big birds continue to thrive and multiply. Last year’s turkey season was marked by several new achievements, including a record harvest of 615 birds.
Authorized turkey check stations for 2013 will be available in the Cape Region at the following locations: Hook’em & Cook’em, 3 York Beach Mall, Route 1, South Bethany Beach, 302-539‐6243; Whitetail Taxidermy and Outdoor Supplies, 32369 Long Neck Road, Suite 15, Millsboro, 302-945-2117; and That Place, 30618 Millsboro Highway, Millsboro, 302-934-9260.
Check station hours may vary, so hunters are advised to call the station where they are likely to check a bird to confirm the hours of operation. Hunters who want to have their bird scored and entered into the National Wild Turkey Federation records are reminded to have their bird’s live weight recorded on a certified scale. If the check station does not have a certified scale, hunters will have to go to another shop to have the turkey re-weighed.
For more information call Matt DiBona, Wildlife Section, at 302-735-3600 or go to www.fw.delaware.gov.