DNREC Announces Photo Contest Winners

“Winter Hike at Dusk Near the Marsh” by James Blackstock

Contest Highlights Woodland Beach Wildlife Area

From May through mid-August, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control invited photographers and nature lovers to submit their best photographs taken on the Tony Florio Woodland Beach Wildlife Area and the adjoining Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) near Smyrna. Now the results are in for this new annual contest.

Winter beach
“Winter Tide” by Aurelia Thomas
(Under 13)

To increase public awareness of the natural wonders of AREC and the surrounding wildlife area, children and adults were encouraged to visit the area to take and submit photographs of aquatic life, birds and other wildlife, scenic landscapes, and people enjoying the outdoors. The peaceful, scenic area is a destination along the Delaware Bayshore Byway that features two fishing ponds, trails, and a raised boardwalk with vistas across the tidal salt marsh to Delaware Bay.

Entries were accepted in three categories: birds, nature and people enjoying nature; and in three age groups: children under age 13, teens ages 13 to 18 and adults age 19 and older.

The 2021 winners are:

Children under age 13:
Nature — “Winter Tide” by Aurelia Thomas
Birds — “Portrait of a Blue Grosbeak” by Wyatt Humphreys

Teens ages 13 to 18:
Nature — “Rain Drops on Leaf” by Bella McDannell

Adults 19 and older:
Birds — “Ringed-neck Duck” by Sherry Abbott
Enjoying Nature — “A Different Perspective” by David S. Vallee
Nature — “Winter Hike at Dusk Near the Marsh” by James Blackstock

Winning photos are posted on the DNREC website and featured in DNREC’s Outdoor Delaware online magazine, de.gov/outdoorde. Judging was based on how well the photos represent the following criteria: things you can see and do at the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, originality/creativity and universal appeal. The judging panel included DNREC educators at the Aquatic Resources Education Center.

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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Delaware Hunting Seasons Opening in September

Delaware’s archery and crossbow deer season opens Sept. 1. DNREC photo.

 

Hunting Opportunities Available at State Wildlife Areas

Hunters in Delaware can start their 2021/2022 hunting season Wednesday, Sept. 1 with the opening of mourning dove, archery and crossbow deer, and resident Canada goose hunting seasons, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. Hunters can hunt teal starting Saturday, Sept. 11 and gray squirrel starting Wednesday, Sept. 15.

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

  • Dove: Sept. 1 to Oct. 4 for first season split (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)*
  • Archery and Crossbow Deer: Sept. 1 to Jan. 31, 2022, including Sundays (½- hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset)
  • Resident Canada goose: Sept. 1 to 25 (½-hour before sunrise to sunset)
  • Teal: Sept. 11 to 29 (½- hour before sunrise to sunset, limited to the designated teal zone south of the C&D Canal to Lewes and east of Routes 13, 113/113A and 1)
  • Gray squirrel: Sept. 15 to Feb. 5, 2022 (½-hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset; closed during November shotgun deer season)

*Reminder: Non-toxic shot must be used for dove hunting on state wildlife areas during the month of September; lead shot is not permitted. Hunting hours may differ at specific dove fields on certain state wildlife areas.

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife offers many early season hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas. Wildlife area maps and rules are available at Wildlife Area Maps and Regulations. Additional information on September migratory bird hunting opportunities and associated rules on state wildlife areas is available at Migratory Bird Hunting.

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 teal hunters also need a Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, which can be obtained through the DNREC ePermitting system website or by calling toll free 1-855-DEL-HUNT (1-855-335-4868). If using the DNREC ePermitting 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 display the 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 Delaware Recreational Licensing or from hunting license agents statewide. Hunters obtaining an LEN are reminded that they should create a profile using the DNREC ePermitting system portal or get 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 2021/2022 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.

More information on hunting seasons and wildlife areas is available in the 2021/2022 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or by calling the Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912. More information on hunting licenses, the state waterfowl stamp and the Conservation Access Pass is available at Delaware Recreational Licensing or by calling the Recreational Licensing office at 302-739-9918.

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 to Lift Advisory on Use of Bird Feeders and Baths as Songbird Mortality Decreases

Blue Jay Sitting on a Branch. Brian E. Kushner/stock.adobe.com

 

Investigation into Mysterious Songbird Mortality Event Continues

Occurrences of a mysterious songbird illness and mortality event have decreased in the state to the extent that the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has lifted an advisory issued in June asking that the public temporarily discontinue use of bird feeders and baths. The advisory was initially issued as a precaution to minimize the spread of the still-unknown cause of the songbird mortality event.

The following procedures are recommended for resuming use of bird feeders and baths:

  • Initially thoroughly clean bird feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution and weekly thereafter
  • Remove bird feeders and baths if sick or dead birds are observed
  • Avoid handling wild birds, wearing disposable gloves if it is necessary to handle a bird
  • Keep pets away from sick and dead wild birds

Since late May, wildlife agencies and wildlife rehabilitators in more than 10 states and Washington D.C. have responded to public reports of sick and dying songbirds, more than 150 reports made in Delaware. Affected birds typically exhibit symptoms to include eye swelling and squinting, crusty discharge around the eyes or neurologic symptoms such as erratic flight and stumbling, often followed by the death of the bird. Juvenile birds appear to be more affected than adults, with European starlings, blue jays, northern cardinals and American robins the most reported affected species.

Investigating agencies and organizations continue working cooperatively with animal diagnostic laboratories to identify the cause of this illness. While the cause of the songbird mortality event is not yet known, none of the following pathogens have been detected in sick or diseased birds to date: Salmonella and Chlamydia, avian influenza virus, West Nile and other flaviviruses, Newcastle disease virus and other paramyxoviruses, herpesviruses and poxviruses and Trichomonas parasites. No human health, domestic livestock or poultry issues have been reported in association with the bird mortality event.

Observations of live songbirds in Delaware exhibiting the above-mentioned symptoms can be reported to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research at 302-737-9543. Additional information can be found on the organization’s website: www.tristatebird.org. A dead songbird seen to have displayed any of the aforementioned symptoms can be reported to 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

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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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