DNREC reminds hunters to take advantage of Snow Goose Conservation Order starting Feb. 1

DOVER –The Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife is again implementing an annual Snow Goose Conservation Order, which began in 2009 as part of an Atlantic Flyway-wide effort to reduce the population of greater snow geese. Snow goose numbers have reached levels that are causing extensive damage to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic as well as depredation of the wetlands and agricultural areas where the birds overwinter in the Mid-Atlantic, including Delaware. The state’s 2016 Conservation Order to harvest snow geese will open Monday, Feb. 1 and run through Friday, Feb. 5, then will reopen Monday, Feb. 8 and run through Saturday, April 9.

The Conservation Order is a separate season open only for snow geese and occurs after Delaware’s regular waterfowl hunting seasons close. It was created with the intent of using hunting as a game management tool to reduce and stabilize the greater snow goose population. Last year, an estimated 13,684 snow geese were harvested by more than 730 hunters who participated in the Conservation Order in Delaware.

During the Conservation Order, hunters will be able to pursue snow geese every day except Sunday. Use of unplugged shotguns and electronic calls are allowed, with legal shooting hours starting a half-hour before sunrise and extended to a half-hour after sunset; there are no daily bag and possession limits. All other federal and state hunting regulations apply.

The Conservation Order will be closed on Saturday, Feb. 6, for a special statewide youth waterfowl hunting day. Regular snow goose hunting is also allowed on this day for all legally licensed waterfowl hunters in Delaware, but the special harvest methods described above are not allowed and the regular-season daily bag limit of 25 snow geese will be in effect on this day.

Most state wildlife areas will be open to hunting during the Conservation Order beginning Monday, Feb. 1. Wildlife areas in New Castle and Sussex counties will be open on a first-come, first-served basis with no registration required, except at the Assawoman Wildlife Area where hunters must self-register at the Assawoman check station. In Kent County, individual sign-in will be required at Woodland Beach, Little Creek and Ted Harvey wildlife areas. Sign-in will not be required at Blackiston, Milford Neck or Norman G. Wilder wildlife areas. To avoid conflicts with the spring 2016 wild turkey season, snow goose hunting will be prohibited on state wildlife areas after Friday, April 8. Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges are not participating in the Conservation Order.

To participate in the Conservation Order, hunters must obtain a free Snow Goose Conservation Order permit number by registering at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt. Individuals needing assistance in obtaining the permit number should call 302-735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday. Participants are also required to have a valid Delaware hunting license or a Maryland resident hunting license, a 2015-16 Delaware waterfowl stamp and a Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, with the HIP available at the website above. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required.

Once registered for the Snow Goose Conservation Order permit, hunters are required to keep this permit number in their possession while hunting and to report their hunting activity and success to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Sunday, May 1 via website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt; hunters may also report by phone at 302-735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday.

For more information, please call 302-739-9912 or visit www.fw.delaware.gov.

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

Vol. 46, No. 26

DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife announces registration for Delaware’s mandatory wild turkey hunting course

DOVER – With Delaware’s spring wild turkey hunting season fast approaching, DNREC’s Hunter Education Program reminds both resident and non-resident hunters that they must pass a Delaware-approved course on turkey hunting before they can legally hunt turkeys in the First State.

Registration is now open for the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife’s one-day mandatory wild turkey hunter education course, which is offered in all three counties in Delaware. Students only need to attend one of the two dates offered: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 or Sunday, Feb. 7, at one of the following locations:

  • New Castle County – Ommelanden Hunter/Trapper Education Training Center and Range, 1205 River Road, New Castle, DE 19720
  • Kent County – Little Creek Hunter Education Training Center, 3018 Bayside Drive, Dover, DE 19901
  • Sussex County – Owens Station Shooting Sports & Hunter Education Center, 12613 Hunters Cove Road, Greenwood, DE 19950

“Delaware’s turkey hunter education course teaches students age 10 and up important turkey hunting safety information, and current laws and regulations pertaining to wild turkey hunting in the state,” said Delaware Hunter Education Coordinator Mark Ostroski. “Students also learn the biology and behavior of the wild turkey, the wild turkey’s history in Delaware and turkey calling.”

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to print their Delaware Turkey Safety Card or have the turkey course added to their Delaware Hunter Education Card, which must be carried while hunting, Ostroski said.

All students planning on attending one of the courses must register in advance. To register and enroll into the course, click Hunter Education Online Access and after logging in, click “Sign me up” and select “Mandatory Turkey Ed.” Students may also contact the Hunter Education Office at 302-735-3600, ext. 1.

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

Vol. 46, No. 24

Feb. 6 designated waterfowl hunting day for youth hunters

DOVER – To promote and provide additional hunting opportunities for youth hunters, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife has designated Saturday, Feb. 6 as the second of two special youth waterfowl hunting days for ages 10 to 15 to be held on both public and private lands.

“These special youth hunting days are an excellent opportunity for experienced adult hunters to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation, thereby continuing one of Delaware’s great conservation and outdoor recreation traditions,” said David Saveikis, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Director. “Hunting is an exciting outdoor activity for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.”

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 take hunter education. No state or federal stamps are required for youth hunters. In Delaware, youth hunters may also hunt during the regular seasons for all game and must be accompanied afield by an adult.

Normal daily waterfowl bag limits and hunting regulations apply. Youth hunters also are permitted to harvest snow geese and two Canada geese. On state wildlife areas, a lottery drawing for waterfowl blinds will be held 1.5 hours before legal shooting time at Augustine, Cedar Swamp, Woodland Beach, Ted Harvey and Assawoman, and two hours before legal shooting time at Little Creek Wildlife Area. Hunters should plan to arrive in time to sign up for the drawing. All other state wildlife areas that do not have lotteries but that allow waterfowl hunting are also open on the youth day. Hunters also should check each wildlife area’s rules before hunting.

Delaware hunting licenses are sold online, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. To promote youth hunting, the Division is waiving waterfowl blind fees for youth hunters on state wildlife areas on youth hunting days. Daily blind fees apply at all other times.

Reminder: The Snow Goose Conservation Order will be closed Feb. 6 for the youth hunt, due to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restrictions which state that no other waterfowl seasons may be open at the same time as the Snow Goose Conservation Order. With this one exception, the Conservation Order will resume and be in effect from Monday, Feb. 1 through Saturday, April 9.

For more information on hunting in Delaware, click on Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and from license agents throughout the state.

This program is part of Delaware’s Children in Nature Initiative, a statewide effort to improve environmental literacy in Delaware, create opportunities for children to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Delaware’s multi-agency initiative, which partners state and federal agencies with community organizations, is part of the national No Child Left Inside program.

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

Vol. 46, No. 25

Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier temporarily closed starting Jan. 25 for decking replacement

LEWES – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation’s Planning, Preservation and Development Section today announced the temporary closure of the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier for replacement of aging decking boards starting on Monday, Jan. 25.

Last year, the Division completed repairs to 125 pilings that had deteriorated and needed refitting and reinforcement. This upcoming project is the second phase of the most extensive repairs ever made to the popular pier, and will include decking and superstructure repairs costing $535,370.

The all-wooden pier was built during World War II by the U.S. Army as a mining wharf. Several rehabilitative efforts have been undertaken since 2007 to the pilings beneath the section of the pier that remains open for public use. The T-head portion of the pier was demolished in 2012 after its deteriorated condition was thought to pose a threat to safety and navigation. The Division of Parks & Recreation has been closely monitoring the condition of the pier since that time and has noticed an accelerated rate of deterioration in the structure.

The project to repair the pier is being funded through a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sport Fishing Restoration grant along with park user fees and annual pass funds, and support from state legislators – Reps. Peter Schwartzkopf, Timothy Dukes and Stephen Smyk, and State Sen. Ernesto Lopez, Division Director Ray Bivens said.

The fishing pier decking repair is expected to take up to120 days to complete depending on weather conditions. For questions about the status of the project, please contact Cindy Todd with Delaware State Parks, at 302-739-9209.

Media Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 21

Milford man faces charges including weapons violations in connection with illegal deer drive near Bridgeville

Gerald L. Bradley
Gerald L. Bradley

SEAFORD – Following an investigation, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested a Milford man Jan. 20 for weapons and hunting violations related to an illegal deer drive on Marshy Hope Wildlife Area west of Bridgeville.

Gerald L. Bradley, 53, was charged with two felony counts of possession of a firearm/ammunition by a person prohibited and one count each of unlicensed hunting and participating in an unlawful deer drive on state lands. A shotgun and 12 rounds of ammunition were seized as evidence.

Following video arraignment in Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach, Bradley was released on $2,500 unsecured bond on the weapons and hunting-related charges, pending a preliminary hearing, but was then remanded to the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown in lieu of $100 secured bond for an unrelated warrant out of Superior Court.

Six other individuals involved in the illegal deer drive also were cited for one count each of participating in an unlawful deer drive on state lands and fined $107 each, including court costs.

The DNREC 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. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx.

Media Contacts: Sgt. John McDerby, Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 19