Hunters Reminded of Basic Hunter Education Course Requirements

Online and In-Person Courses Available

With fall hunting seasons approaching, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reminds hunters born after Jan. 1, 1967, that they must successfully complete an approved Basic Hunter Education Course to obtain a Delaware Hunting License. Early pre-registration is advised due to limited class seating, with classes filling quickly as the hunting season approaches.

Course dates, times and locations are available online on the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Hunter Education Program’s Hunter Education Course Calendar. Additional classes will be scheduled based on class demand. Classes are generally offered from July through February. Students must be 10 years of age or older to be able to take any Hunter Education Program Course.

The Basic Hunter Education Course teaches students safety, ethics, firearm types, safe gun handling, marksmanship techniques, specialty hunting techniques, wildlife management, wildlife identification, survival, Delaware hunting laws and regulations and many other hunter safety-related topics. All Basic Hunter Education Course participants must participate in a live firearm firing session with a trained instructor.

Two options are available for the Basic Hunter Education Course:

  • Traditional, in-person course offered at one of the classroom locations throughout the state, which includes the required live firearm firing session. The in-person course is free of charge to all students.
  • Online hunter education course with one of three private vendors listed on the Hunter Education web page at de.gov/huntersafety, combined with a one-day, in-person field day course to complete the live firearm firing requirement. A fee is charged for taking the course online; the field day course is free.

Registration for Basic Hunter Education Courses is available online through the ePermitting system at de.gov/digitaldnrec.

The Delaware Hunter Education Program was established in the early 1970s to help educate the public in safe hunting practices and to reduce hunting-related accidents. More than 37,000 Delaware hunters have completed hunter safety courses and received their hunter safety cards, which has substantially reduced hunting-related accidents.

For more information, contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife Hunter Education Office at 302-735-3600, ext. 1.

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, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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West Nile Virus Is Detected in Sentinel Chickens in Delaware

No Human Cases of WNV Reported to Date in State

West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in Delaware for the first time in 2021 in sentinel chickens, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. This first finding occurred in northern New Castle County at a sentinel chicken station sampled by DNREC’s Mosquito Control section on July 19. While there have been no reported WNV cases in humans this year in the state, Delawareans are reminded that the possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), will continue until colder autumn temperatures in mid-October or later.

Blood samples are collected by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Mosquito Control section each week from early July into October from the state’s outdoor-caged sentinel chickens that are humanely housed and handled at 20 monitoring stations statewide. The blood samples are tested for WNV and EEE antibodies by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory. Sentinel chickens bitten by mosquitoes carrying WNV or EEE develop antibodies to these diseases but are otherwise unaffected by them. WNV and EEE can be transmitted by mosquitoes to humans and horses.

Most people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms, but about 20% can develop a mild illness, which may include fever, body and muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting and rash symptoms. A small number of people can develop serious illness involving neurological problems, paralysis and possibly death. EEE is not as prevalent as WNV, but can present more severe symptoms in humans and horses.

DNREC reminds the public to take common-sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10 to 30% diethyl toluamide (DEET) in accordance with label instructions and avoiding mosquito-infested areas and times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn and at night.

Spraying to reduce mosquito populations in areas where WNV or EEE is detected may be initiated by the Mosquito Control section as warranted based on factors to include mosquito population levels and mosquito species present. To reduce mosquito-breeding habitat and chances of disease transmission, residents should drain or remove outdoor items that collect water, such as discarded buckets or containers, uncovered trashcans, stagnant birdbaths, unprotected rain barrels or cisterns, old tires, upright wheelbarrows, flowerpot liners, depressions in boat tarps, clogged rain gutters, corrugated downspout extenders and unused swimming pools.

The state veterinarian within the Department of Agriculture urges horse owners to contact their veterinarians as soon as possible to have horses and other equines vaccinated against WNV and EEE. Neither disease has a specific drug treatment, and infections in horses are fatal in 70 to 90% of EEE cases and in 30% of WNV cases.

More information about mosquitos and mosquito-borne diseases is available from the following resources:

  • For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the DNREC Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.
  • For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section, at 302-698-4500.
  • To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 888-295-5156.
  • For more information on West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

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, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC, DPH Offer Tips About Ticks

Summer in Delaware is all about the great outdoors – biking and hiking, backyard and beach days, gardening and grass cutting. These time-honored summer activities can expose outdoor enthusiasts to unwanted guests – ticks. Depending on the type of tick, their irritating bite can transmit a variety of pathogens that can cause illnesses ranging from mild to serious.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in partnership with the Delaware Division of Public Health have launched new web pages to educate the public about ticks, including where they are found, how to identify different types and what precautions to take before and after exposure to ticks, as well as information about tick-borne pathogens.

Tick facts include:

  • Tick Biological Aide Sierra Quiles, demonstrating tick-safe attire: light-colored clothing and pants tucked into socks. DNREC photos.
    Tick Biological Aide Sierra Quiles, demonstrating tick-safe attire: light-colored clothing and pants tucked into socks. DNREC photos.

    In Delaware, ticks are everywhere, but most bites occur in backyards.

  • Ticks do not jump or fall out of trees; they wait on grass or other plants for a host to walk by so they can grab on.
  • Ticks are active year-round, not just in late spring/early summer which is prime “tick season.”
  • Several different types of ticks are found in Delaware, and several types can carry different pathogens that can infect humans including Lyme disease.

Recommended precautions include:

  • Keep grass short and remove brush from the yard to reduce tick habitat.
  • Wear long pants tucked into socks and long sleeves in areas with high tick populations to help keep ticks from reaching skin.
  • When returning from outdoor activities, check for ticks and remove any from skin as soon as possible to reduce the chance of disease transmission.
  • Following exposure to tick-prone areas or tick bites, watch for symptoms of common illnesses caused by tick-borne pathogens and seek medical attention as needed.

For more information, visit the DNREC website at de.gov/ticks and the DPH website at de.gov/lyme.

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, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Scientists Investigate Mysterious Songbird Deaths in Delaware, Several Other States and D.C. Area

Photo Credit: National Parks Service photographer Leslie Frattaroli

Public Advised to Temporarily Remove Feeders and Bird Baths

State and federal wildlife experts and wildlife rehabilitators are investigating reports in at least six mid-Atlantic and central states, including Delaware, of sick and dying songbirds stricken by an unknown disorder characterized by swollen eyes with crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs such as erratic flight and stumbling. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has observed similar symptoms in Delaware’s avian population and more than 50 dead birds have been reported.

Juvenile birds appear to be more affected than adults, with European starlings, blue jays and common grackles as the species most associated with the debilitating event. Investigating agencies including DNREC are working cooperatively with animal health laboratories to find what’s behind this event, with Delaware’s samples sent to the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in New Bolton Center, Pa., but no definitive cause has been identified to date.

Although the cause of the event is not yet known, wildlife health experts believe congregating birds may contribute to its spread. Federal and state wildlife experts recommend anyone who keeps bird feeders or bird baths in their home landscape take the following precautions to help manage the event:

  • Cease feeding birds at feeders and providing water in bird baths
  • Before reactivating bird feeders and baths when it is deemed safe by animal health experts to do so, clean them with a 10% bleach solution
  • Avoid handling wild birds, wearing disposable gloves if it is necessary to handle a bird
  • Keep domestic pets away from sick and dead wild birds

If residents observe a live wild bird exhibiting the symptoms as described above, they may contact Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research at 302-737-9543. Additional information can be found on its website at tristatebird.org. If residents find a dead wild bird they suspect displayed any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-735-3600.

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, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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


Garrisons Lake Boat Ramp to Temporarily Close for Reconstruction

The Garrisons Lake boat ramp and parking lot in Kent County will temporary close for reconstruction beginning Monday, July 12, 2021, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced. Project completion is anticipated by Dec. 1, 2021, weather permitting. The public fishing area on the north side of the pond, including the fishing pier and parking lot, will remain open.

The project will involve reconstruction of the boat ramp, installation of a new courtesy dock, repaving the existing parking lot and installation of a portable toilet enclosure.

Alternate nearby public ponds with boat ramps also managed by DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife include Moores Lake and Derby Pond near Dover and Mud Mill Pond west of Camden.

For more information on the Garrisons Lake boat ramp reconstruction project, call the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

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, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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