DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is promoting additional hunting opportunities in February with the opening of the Snow Goose Conservation Order Monday, Feb. 4, and the second special youth waterfowl hunting day Saturday, Feb. 9.
The Snow Goose Conservation Order will open Feb. 4 and run through Friday, Feb. 8, closing for the youth waterfowl hunting day Saturday, Feb. 9. It will reopen Monday, Feb. 11 and run through Friday, April 12. Snow goose hunters can still hunt on the youth waterfowl day, when regular snow goose season bag limits and hunting regulations apply. The Snow Goose Conservation Order is a separate season open only for snow geese that occurs when Delaware’s regular waterfowl hunting seasons are closed. The Snow Goose Conservation Order is not open on Sundays.
During the Snow Goose Conservation Order, liberal harvest methods are allowed to help reduce the large snow goose population that is damaging its Arctic nesting grounds, and local wetlands and agricultural lands in the Mid-Atlantic region where the birds overwinter. Unplugged shotguns and electronic calls are allowed. Legal shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, and there are no daily bag and possession limits. All other federal and state hunting regulations apply. If hunting on a state wildlife area where the Conservation Order is open, hunters should refer to www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/WildlifeAreaMaps.aspx for specific rules and regulations.
Hunters participating in the Snow Goose Conservation Order must obtain a free permit number, which must be in their possession while hunting. Hunters also are required to report their Conservation Order hunting activity and harvest success to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Wednesday, May 1. Conservation Order permits can be obtained and harvest reports can be submitted online at egov.delaware.gov/htr; hunters may also call 302-735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday.
Conservation Order participants are also required to have a valid Delaware hunting license or license-exempt number or a Maryland resident hunting license (unless exempt in Maryland), a 2018-19 Delaware waterfowl stamp (unless exempt), and a Delaware Harvest Information Program number. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required.
The one-day, special youth waterfowl hunting day Feb. 9 is open for hunters ages 10 to 15. Youth hunters must be of sufficient physical size and strength to safely handle a firearm, and must be accompanied by a licensed or license-exempt adult hunter age 21 or older, who cannot possess a firearm during the youth hunt.
Youth hunters age 13 through 15 must have completed a hunter education course, obtained a Hunter Ed certification card, and purchased a Delaware junior hunting license. Youth hunters age 10 through 12 must possess a license-exempt number and may have taken a hunter education course. All youth waterfowl hunters will need a Federal Harvest Information Program number. No state or federal waterfowl stamps are required for youth hunters. Normal daily waterfowl bag limits and hunting regulations apply, and youth hunters also are permitted to harvest 25 snow geese and two Canada geese during the special waterfowl hunting day.
Youth waterfowl hunting is available on most Division of Fish & Wildlife wildlife areas, with a lottery drawing for waterfowl blinds held 1.5 hours before legal shooting time at Augustine, Cedar Swamp, Woodland Beach, and Assawoman, and two hours before legal shooting time at Little Creek and Ted Harvey. Other state wildlife areas that allow waterfowl hunting but do not have lotteries are also open on the youth waterfowl day. Wildlife area rules and regulations are available at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/WildlifeAreaMaps.aspx.