Delaware Authorities Caution Drivers to Watch Out for Deer During Mating Season

Onset of peak deer activity in Delaware during mating season calls for vigilance by drivers at dawn, dusk and overnight. /DNREC photo

 

Extra Vigilance on Roads Called for as Days Shorten and Deer Become More Active Morning and Evening

Use extra caution on the roads during the deer mating season is the warning to Delaware drivers from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) within the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and Delaware State Police (DSP). Late October through November is the peak period for deer-related crashes, as that’s when white-tailed deer males (bucks) are in their annual pursuit of females (does) in the First State. That pursuit leads to more deer crossing roadways in the shorter days ahead – especially after the Nov. 6 change from daylight saving time back to Eastern Standard Time.

White-tailed deer breed only once a year. The mating season, which carries on from late October sometimes into mid-December, and peaks from Nov. 11 to 20, is referred to as the rut. “During this timeframe, deer activity increases substantially as bucks search for mates,” said DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Program Manager Joe Rogerson. “If a buck’s pursuit of a doe takes them across a roadway, it doesn’t matter if it’s a rural road or Route 1, a collision with a vehicle could occur. Delaware drivers need to pay particular attention while behind the wheel this time of year, especially when driving on roads bordered by woods or agricultural fields, since that’s where deer are more apt to run out onto the roadway.”

With the end of daylight saving time, more motorists will be traveling to and from work and school around dawn and dusk, when deer are typically most active. According to the latest Delaware Office of Highway Safety data, deer-vehicle collisions occur most often between 5 and 7 a.m. and spike again from 5 to 10 p.m. – which includes the timeframe when many people are heading home for the evening. “With shorter daylight hours during the fall, we see an increase in deer along our roadways,” said Kimberly Chesser, Office of Highway Safety director. “We remind drivers to be alert, pay attention to the road and surroundings, and be more cautious during these times. Slow down and watch for deer crossing signs that indicate areas where deer are known to cross the road. Never drive impaired and always buckle up, every trip, every time.”

The average white-tailed deer in Delaware weighs about 140 pounds, with larger bucks going 200 pounds or more, according to the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife. Hitting an animal that size may cause injury to drivers or passengers, or trigger an accident involving other motorists – besides doing costly damage to vehicles involved in such a collision.

In 2021, 1,849 or 95% of the 1,945 vehicle-animal collisions investigated by Delaware State Police involved deer. Of that number, 821 collisions with deer occurred in October, November and December, the months spanned by the deer mating season in Delaware, when drivers are warned to be most attentive. “Deer collisions typically increase during this time of the year, so it is essential for drivers to remain vigilant,” said Sergeant India Sturgis, DSP director of public information. “Although deer are more active at dawn and dusk, they are also active during broad daylight. Wearing your seatbelt, reducing your speed, and driving alert may not prevent all deer-related collisions, but can certainly reduce injuries and vehicle damage if you are involved in a collision.”

Based on reported insurance claims from July 1, 2021 to June 20, 2022, State Farm Insurance ranked Delaware 32nd nationally with drivers having a 1-in-122 chance of being involved in an animal collision, with deer accounting for the majority of animal-related crashes and vehicle damage claims. To avoid a large out-of-pocket expense, AAA Mid-Atlantic, which provides coverage for Delaware motorists, recommends purchasing a policy that includes comprehensive coverage for collisions with deer or other animals. AAA Mid-Atlantic also notes the average claim submitted for a deer strike is more than $5,000.

DNREC, OHS, DSP and other police agencies and auto insurance companies all agree: the best way to prevent or lessen the severity of deer collisions is attentive driving, which includes avoiding distractions that can take a driver’s eyes off the road, such as mobile phones, adjusting the radio, eating while driving, or passenger activities.

Additional safety tips include:

  • Always wear your seatbelt to reduce your risk of injury in a collision.
  • Reduce speed at night, on curves and in bad weather.
  • Switch to high beams when there is no oncoming traffic to better reflect the eyes of deer on or near the roadway and scan the sides of the road as well as what’s directly ahead.
  • Watch for “Deer Crossing” signs marking commonly-traveled areas by deer on the road ahead. Slow down immediately and proceed with caution until past the crossing point.
  • Be aware deer usually travel in groups, so if you see one deer, there are likely to be others.
  • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten deer away. Do not depend on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer, as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Do not swerve to miss a deer – brake and stay in your lane. Losing control of your vehicle, crossing into another lane, hitting an oncoming vehicle, or leaving the roadway and striking a tree or utility pole will likely result in a much more serious outcome than hitting a deer.
  • If you hit a deer, and your vehicle is damaged, stop at the scene, get your car off the road if possible, turn on your vehicle hazard lights – and if you or anyone in your vehicle are injured, call 911.
  • Do not touch the animal or get too close; injured deer may bite or kick and are capable of causing serious injury.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, InstagramTwitter or LinkedIn.

About Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. FAQs can be answered at ArriveAliveDE.com. You can follow the Delaware Office of Highway Safety by visiting us at: ArriveAliveDE.com, OHS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and YouTube.

Media Contacts:
DNREC: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov, Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov
OHS: Jason Coleman, jason.coleman@delaware.gov
DSP: Sergeant India Sturgis, india.sturgis@delaware.gov; Senior Corporal Jason Hatchell, jason.hatchell@delaware.gov;

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More Delaware Hunting Seasons to Open in November, Including Firearm/Shotgun Deer, Waterfowl and Small Game

A number of Delaware hunting seasons – including “shotgun deer season” – are to open in November, with waterfowl and small game also prominent among next month’s sporting seasons /Photo: USFWS

 

Youth and Non-ambulatory Deer Hunt Set for Nov. 5 and 6; All Deer Hunters Encouraged to Harvest Does to Help Manage Deer Herd

 

Additional Delaware hunting seasons are set to open in November, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today – including the popular November general firearm deer season, also known as “November shotgun season,” which opens Nov. 11 and extends through Nov. 20, as well as the special deer hunt open to only youth and non-ambulatory hunters on Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6. Duck, Canada goose and other hunting seasons are to open later in the month.

Deer hunters are encouraged to harvest does (female deer) during deer hunting seasons to help manage the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population. Deer hunting is allowed on all Sundays through Jan. 31, 2023, using only those hunting methods legal for the respective established deer hunting seasons, with additional information available at de.gov/sundayhunt. All harvested deer must be registered within 24 hours of harvest online at de.gov/digitaldnrec or by calling toll-free 855-DEL-HUNT (855-335-4868).

Successful deer hunters who wish to donate venison to those in need are encouraged to participate in the Delaware Hunters Against Hunger Program. Field-dressed deer may be donated at participating butchers or self-serve, walk-in coolers maintained by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife, with additional information and participating butcher and cooler locations found online at de.gov/DHAH. All donated deer will be processed free of charge to the hunter, and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable organizations. Last year, hunters donated over 24,000 pounds of processed venison that provided more than 97,000 meals to Delawareans in need.

Sea duck hunters are advised that there is no longer a special sea duck zone with its own separate season dates or daily bag and possession limits. Season dates for sea ducks are now the same as the regular duck season, and the daily bag and possession limits for sea ducks are now included as part of the regular daily bag and possession limits for all ducks. Refer to page 34 of the 2022/2023 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide found at de.gov/hunting for additional information about hunting sea 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

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife offers many hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas. Wildlife area maps and rules are available at de.gov/wamaps, with information specific to Sunday deer hunting on state wildlife areas available at de.gov/sundayhunt.

A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) 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 (HIP) number, which can be obtained online at de.gov/digitaldnrec or by calling toll free 855-DEL-HUNT (855-335-4868). When using the online DNREC permitting system, hunters should either create a profile or use the “Quick Hunting Registration” option.

Registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife are required to have and display a Conservation Access Pass (CAP). Hunters can opt to receive one free annual CAP with the purchase of any Delaware hunting license. To obtain a CAP, hunters will need the registration card for the vehicle to which the pass will be assigned, except for the Resident Senior Lifetime Conservation Access Pass available to Delaware residents aged 65 or older.

Delaware hunting licenses, Delaware waterfowl stamps and Conservation Access Passes can be purchased online at de.gov/digitaldnrec, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901 or from hunting license agents statewide. Hunters obtaining a LEN are reminded that they should create a profile using the de.gov/digitaldnrec portal or obtain a LEN at a hunting license agent if they have not already done so. Federal Duck Stamps are available for purchase at U.S. Post Offices, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges and online at 2022/2023 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.

More information on hunting seasons and wildlife areas is available in the 2022/2023 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide at de.gov/hunting. More information on hunting licenses, the state waterfowl stamp and the Conservation Access Pass is available at de.gov/huntinglicense.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Wildlife Viewing Facilities Offered on State Wildlife Areas

The wildlife viewing deck at the Port Penn Tract of the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Augustine Beach Wildlife Area. /DNREC photo

 

DNREC Expanding Elevated Vistas to Provide Opportunities to View Wildlife in Coastal Wetlands and Adjoining Uplands

Wildlife viewing is quickly becoming a favorite outdoor activity, attracting both Delaware residents and visitors who want to enjoy the splendor of the First State’s outdoor natural spaces. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control provides numerous outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands, including elevated wildlife-viewing structures on several state wildlife areas managed by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Since 2013, the Division of Fish and Wildlife has focused on expanding outdoor recreation opportunities in state wildlife areas. With planning and public input, new wildlife-viewing structures have been constructed in the Augustine Wildlife Area near Port Penn and the Little Creek Wildlife Area east of Dover, with additional wildlife-viewing structures planned for the Ted Harvey Conservation Area near Bowers Beach and the Milford Neck Wildlife Area east of Milford.

The new structures expand upon existing wildlife viewing opportunities, including the Division of Fish and Wildlife-managed Aquatic Resources Education Center’s saltmarsh boardwalk trail located in the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, the deck at the Division of Fish and Wildlife-managed DuPont Nature Center overlooking the Mispillion Harbor, and the Assawoman Wildlife Area’s observation tower that stands 40 feet above the wetlands.

Almost all these facilities are accessible to individuals with mobility challenges, including accessible parking, hard-packed trail surfaces and portable restrooms. Interpretive signs at a number of viewing locations help educate visitors about the wildlife they might encounter or about observed wildlife habitats. A new DNREC webpage includes more information about the elevated viewing structures, photographs of them, wildlife most likely to be seen, links to maps of a specific wildlife area where a viewing structure is located, and information about the Conservation Access Pass (CAP).

Registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife are required to have and display a CAP, except at the Aquatic Resources Education Center and DuPont Nature Center. To obtain a CAP, visitors will need the registration card for the vehicle to which the pass will be assigned – with the exception of the Resident Senior Lifetime Conservation Access Pass available to Delaware residents aged 65 or older. More information about the CAP – which may be purchased online at de.gov/digitaldnrec, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, or from hunting license agents statewide – can be found at de.gov/cap.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Trout Stocked in White Clay Creek to Provide Fall Fishing Opportunities

Rainbow trout were stocked today in White Clay Creek by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife for fall and winter angling opportunities. /DNREC graphic by Duane Raver

 

Trout were stocked in White Clay Creek in northern New Castle County today to provide anglers opportunities to fish for trout in the fall and winter, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. About 1,000 pounds of 12- to 13-inch rainbow trout were stocked from near the Pennsylvania state line downstream to Newark.

Trout anglers are reminded of the following rules and regulations:

  • A Delaware fishing license is required, unless an angler is exempt.
  • A Delaware trout stamp is required through Nov. 30 to fish in White Clay Creek, as well as other designated trout streams stocked earlier this year, unless an angler is exempt.
  • Trout fishing is open one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset, unless otherwise restricted by area rules.
  • The daily possession limit is six trout, except for a daily possession limit of four trout when fishing in or within 50 feet of the designated fly-fishing-only section of White Clay Creek.

Managed by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife, trout are purchased from hatcheries and stocked using revenue from anglers purchasing Delaware trout stamps. Trout stocking in Delaware is also supported by federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration funds generated by anglers purchasing fishing equipment.

Delaware fishing licenses and trout stamps can be purchased online at de.gov/digitaldnrec, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901 or from fishing license agents statewide. More information on fishing, fishing licenses and trout stamps in Delaware can be found at de.gov/recfishing.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Delaware Hunting Seasons to Open in October Include Antlerless Deer, Muzzleloader Deer, Duck and Snow Goose

A Northern pintail drake, a duck also known to wildlife watchers and hunters as a “bull sprig” for its graceful and powerful flight. Delaware’s first season split for duck hunting runs from Oct. 21 to 29. /USFWS photo

 

Youth Waterfowl Hunt to Occur Oct. 15; Hunters Reminded That Deer Hunting is Allowed on All Sundays Through Jan. 31, 2023

Additional Delaware hunting seasons are set to open in October, including various deer firearm seasons, duck, snow goose and other migratory game birds – as well as the one-day youth-only waterfowl hunt on Saturday, Oct. 15, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. Deer hunting is allowed on all Sundays through Jan. 31, 2023, using only those hunting methods legal for the respective established deer hunting seasons, with additional information available at de.gov/sundayhunt.

Hunting season dates and hunting hours for seasons opening in October:

  • Snow goose: Oct. 1 through Jan. 31, 2023; Feb. 4, 2023 (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)
  • Antlerless deer: Oct. 1 through 2, 17, 21 through 24 and 28 through 31, including Sundays (½- hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset)
  • Muzzleloader deer: Oct. 7 through 16, including Sundays (½- hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset)
  • Youth Waterfowl Hunt: Oct. 15 (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)
  • Ducks, coots and mergansers: first season split Oct. 21 through Oct. 29 (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)

Continuing hunting seasons include:

  • Mourning dove: through Oct. 3 (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)
  • Moorhen, gallinule, sora, Virginia rail, king rail and clapper rail: through Nov. 23 (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)
  • Common snipe: through Nov. 26 (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)
  • Archery and crossbow deer: through Jan. 31, 2023, including all Sundays (½- hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset
  • Gray squirrel: through Feb. 4, 2023 (½-hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset; closed during the November deer general firearm season)
  • Coyote: through Feb. 28, 2023 (½- hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset)
  • Crows: through March 25, 2023, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)
  • Groundhog: through June 30, 2023 (½- hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset)

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife offers many hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas. Wildlife area maps and rules are available at de.gov/wamaps, with information specific to Sunday deer hunting on state wildlife areas available at de.gov/sundayhunt.

A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) 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 (HIP) number, which can be obtained online at de.gov/digitaldnrec or by calling toll free 1-855-DEL-HUNT (1-855-335-4868). When using the online DNREC permitting system, hunters should either create a profile or use the “Quick Hunting Registration” option.

Registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife are required to have and display a Conservation Access Pass (CAP). Hunters can opt to receive one free annual CAP with the purchase of any Delaware hunting license. To obtain a CAP, hunters will need the registration card for the vehicle to which the pass will be assigned.

Delaware hunting licenses, Delaware waterfowl stamps and Conservation Access Passes can be purchased online at de.gov/digitaldnrec, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901 or from hunting license agents statewide. Hunters obtaining a LEN are reminded that they should create a profile using the de.gov/digitaldnrec portal or obtain a LEN at a hunting license agent if they have not already done so. Federal Duck Stamps are available for purchase at U.S. Post Offices, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges and online at 2022/2023 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.

More information on hunting seasons and wildlife areas is available in the 2022/2023 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide at de.gov/hunting. More information on hunting licenses, the state waterfowl stamp and the Conservation Access Pass is available at de.gov/huntinglicense.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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