Fees, passes required at state parks, wildlife areas starting Friday, May 8

Reduced cost state park pass available for those on state assistance, including unemployment

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today that it will reinstate entry fees and park pass requirements at all Delaware State Parks and require a Conservation Access Pass to enter state wildlife areas starting Friday, May 8.

DNREC also announced that those receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits can receive an annual park pass for $10, and those passes can be purchased online for those on unemployment as well as other state or federal assistance. The Assistance Pass Program was already available to those on General Assistance, Medicaid, Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) or Purchase of Care, but was only available with an in-person application.

On March 16, DNREC suspended entry fees, park passes and access passes until April 30 to allow Delawareans to be active outdoors and to provide space for activity, and the free period was then continued.

For the safety of the public and for employees, a number of limitations and requirements will remain in place in parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps, including:

  • Entrance booths at parks will not be staffed, so visitors without a park annual pass will pay the daily fee via automated credit card machines or the self-registration envelopes at park entrances.
  • Bathrooms will remain closed or unavailable at parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps.
  • Beaches remain closed except for exercising, dog-walking and surf fishing under very limited conditions, per the Governor’s state of emergency orders.
  • Playgrounds, campgrounds and park offices continue to be closed and tours and other activities in parks will not yet resume.
  • Visitors to parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps must have masks with them, and must wear them when social distancing from others cannot be maintained.
  • The Governor’s requirement that out-of-state visitors must quarantine for 14 days upon entering Delaware before visiting parks, wildlife areas or other public spaces remains in effect.

“As the state’s businesses take small steps toward reopening on Friday, we will start our delayed fee season for parks as well, since 65 percent of the funding that runs our state parks system comes from visitor fees. And we are extending our discounted Assistance Program annual pass to those on unemployment for the first time ever,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “Like businesses, we still need some limits out of concern for health and safety, so we will not yet back to full operations but hope to take more steps soon.”

Delaware State Parks

State park entrance fees for vehicles registered in Delaware are $4 at inland parks and $5 at ocean parks. Fees for out-of-state vehicles are $8 at inland parks and $10 at ocean parks. Entrance fees will remain in effect through Nov. 30, which is the normal fee season end date.

Annual passes and surf fishing permits may currently only be purchased online, as all state park offices remain closed to the public, with annual passes for Delaware vehicles at $35 and for out-of-state vehicles at $70, with discounts for seniors, military and others. Those who purchase an annual pass before June 1 may place their receipt of purchase in the window of their vehicle to use state parks while waiting for the pass to arrive via mail. For information on pass and permit fees, go to www.destateparks.com/Know/PassesTagsFees, which includes a link to apply for the reduced cost Annual Pass Assistance Program for those on state and federal assistance, including unemployment.

Delaware Fish and Wildlife areas

A Delaware Conservation Access Pass is required for any registered motor vehicle that’s used to access most of state wildlife areas. Conservation Access Passes are available as annual passes, which may be used from July 1 through June 30, or as three-day passes, which may be used for three consecutive days. The conservation pass provides needed funding to help the Division of Fish and Wildlife maintain and improve public access, facilities, and wildlife habitat on state wildlife areas. Conservation Access Passes may be purchased and more information is available online at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/conservation-access-pass/.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

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. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:
Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov
Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov
Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov

DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: Dec. 9-15

Reminder for the week: Hunting and fishing licenses and Conservation Access Passes help fund Delaware conservation and outdoor recreation facilities

DOVER – To achieve public compliance with laws and regulations through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between Dec. 9-15 made 1,360 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters, and the general public, issuing 16 citations. Officers responded to 43 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. A Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and Michael N. Castle Trail.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Hunting on a refuge (1), removing antlered deer parts prior to checking (1), possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer (1), failure to tag antlered deer (1), failure to check antlered deer within 24 hours (2), failure to check antlerless deer within 24 hours (1), and no License Exempt Number (LEN) (1).
Boating & Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (2).
Public Safety: Possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vessel (1) and possession of drug paraphernalia (2).
Other: Damaging state property – cutting plants (2) and operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1).

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters, and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting, and boating laws and regulations. The Public are encouraged to report fish, wildlife, and boating violations to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580 or through the DENRP Tip app on a smartphone, which can be downloaded free of charge by searching “DENRP Tip” via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030, going online to http://de.gov/ogt, or using the DENRP Tip app. Verizon customers can connect to Operation Game Theft directly by dialing #OGT.

Are you AWARE?
Did you know that your purchase of fishing and hunting licenses and Conservation Access Passes helps fund fish and wildlife conservation and public outdoor recreation facilities? Revenue from fishing and hunting licenses supports statewide fish and wildlife surveys, management, and conservation, as well as habitat management and fishing and hunting access on state lands managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife to include boat ramps and state wildlife areas. Conservation Access Pass revenues also help fund management and maintenance of state wildlife areas.

Delaware fishing and hunting licenses and Conservation Access Pass are sold online, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license or Conservation Access Pass online, visit Delaware licenses. For additional information on Delaware fishing or hunting licenses and Conservation Access Passes, call 302-739-9918.



DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife announces Delaware hunting seasons opening in November

Shotgun deer, duck, Canada goose, and cottontail rabbit among numerous hunting seasons opening statewide

Pictuere of the DNREC Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife DivisionDOVER – Numerous Delaware hunting seasons open in November, including the shotgun deer season from Friday, Nov. 15 through Sunday, Nov. 24, Sundays included, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today. Other popular hunting seasons opening in November include the second season split for ducks and the first season split for Canada goose, with many other hunting seasons also opening. Complete information is available online by visiting the 2019-2020 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide.

The November shotgun deer season is the most popular deer season. During Delaware’s five-month deer season, nearly 50 percent of the overall annual deer harvest typically occurs during the 10 days of the November shotgun season. Harvest of does by hunters is encouraged to help manage and better balance the state’s deer population.

A doe in the field. USFWS photo

Successful hunters who wish to donate venison to help feed those in need are encouraged to participate in Delaware’s Sportsmen Against Hunger Program. All donated deer will be processed free of charge to the hunter, and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable groups.

Hunting seasons opening in November:
• Red fox (hunt only): Nov. 1 – Feb. 29, 2020
• Raccoon and opossum (hunt only): Nov. 1 – Feb. 29, 2020*
• Youth/Non-ambulatory disabled hunt for deer: Nov. 2 and 3
• Shotgun deer: Nov. 15-24, including Sundays
• Sea ducks in special sea duck area: Nov. 23 – Jan. 31, 2020 (See page 30 of the guide for more information about the special sea duck area.)
• Ducks, coots, and mergansers second season split: Nov. 25 – 30
• Woodcock first season split: Nov. 25 – 30
• Bobwhite quail: Nov. 25 – Jan. 4, 2020
• Mourning dove second season split: Nov. 25 – Jan. 31, 2020
• Ring-necked pheasant (male only): Nov. 25 – Feb. 1, 2020
• Cottontail rabbit: Nov. 25 – Feb. 29, 2020
• Canada goose first season split: Nov. 28 – 30

* Raccoon and opossum hunting season is closed during the November youth/non-ambulatory disabled hunt and November shotgun deer seasons, with the exception of the special zone where raccoon season is open all year, as described on page 36 of the guide. Special raccoon and opossum hunting hours during the December antlerless, and January handgun, shotgun, and muzzleloader seasons are 7 p.m. until midnight.

First Canada goose split Nov. 28-30. DNREC photo

Continuing hunting seasons include:
• Moorhen, gallinule, sora, Virginia rail, king rail, and clapper rail: through Nov. 21
• Common snipe: through Nov. 30
• Snow goose: through Jan. 31, 2020, and Feb. 8, 2020
• Tundra swan: through Jan. 31, 2020, by permit only, issued via pre-season lottery
• Gray squirrel: through Feb. 1, 2020 (closed during November shotgun deer season)
• Archery and crossbow deer: through Feb. 2, 2020, including all Sundays
• Coyote (hunt only): through Feb. 29, 2020
• Crow: through Mar. 31, 2020 (Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only)
• Groundhog: through June 30, 2020

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife offers many hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas. Wildlife area maps and rules are available at Wildlife Area Hunting Maps.

A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) is required to hunt, and most waterfowl hunters require a Delaware waterfowl (duck) stamp. More information on hunting license and Delaware waterfowl stamp requirements is available at Delaware Licenses. Waterfowl and other migratory game bird (except crow) hunters will need a Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. To register for a LEN or HIP number, hunters can go to Delaware Hunter and Trapper Registration or call toll free 1-855-335-4868. For hunters age 16 and older, a federal migratory bird stamp is also required to hunt waterfowl.

To purchase a hunting license, either in person or online, hunters born after Jan. 1, 1967, must have a basic hunter education safety course card/number. Hunters who took a Delaware hunter safety course starting in 2008 can print their hunter safety card by going to http://de.gov/huntersafety. Hunters who took their Delaware hunter safety course before 2008 should call the Hunter Education Office at 302-735-3600, ext. 1 to obtain a hunter safety card.

Registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife are required to 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 Delaware Licenses, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and from hunting license agents statewide. Federal migratory bird stamps are available at U.S. Post Offices, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges, and online at Federal duck stamps.

For more information on hunting, click 22019-2020 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide and Wildlife Area Hunting Maps. Hard copies of the guide and newly-updated hunting maps are also available at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office. More information on hunting licenses, season details, and the Conservation Access Pass is also available by calling the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.