Delaware turkey hunting season will open this month with self-serve turkey harvest registration at check stations

Turkey hunt day for youth and non-ambulatory disabled hunters April 4, regular turkey season opens April 11

DOVER, Del. – Delaware’s statewide one-day turkey hunt for youth ages 10-15 and for non-ambulatory disabled hunters requiring a wheelchair for mobility will be held Saturday, April 4, followed by the four-week-long spring turkey hunting season from Saturday, April 11 through Saturday, May 9. Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with no Sunday hunting.

Youth hunters on the one-day turkey hunt must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older who has completed a Delaware-approved turkey hunter safety course and who has a Delaware hunting license or is license-exempt. The accompanying adult may not hunt on the special one-day turkey youth hunt.

Only bearded turkeys may be harvested, and the bag limit is one bearded turkey per hunter each year, regardless of where and when a bird is harvested.

All harvested turkeys must be registered at an authorized turkey check station by 2:30 p.m. on the day the bird was harvested. A list of available check stations is available at 2020 Turkey Check Stations and on page 27 of the Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. (Note: Blue Hen Outdoors in Kent County is not available for checking in turkeys). Harvest data collected by the Division of Fish & Wildlife is used to manage Delaware’s wild turkey population.

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) considerations, self-registration of harvested turkeys has been enabled by DNREC this year at check stations to accommodate required social distancing. Easily identifiable, residential-style mailboxes are located at each check station, with self-registration cards placed inside each mailbox. To complete registration of a harvested turkey, hunters are required to fill out the card as completely as possible, remembering to sign and date the card. After having done so, remove the small bottom portion of the card and retain it as a receipt, placing the top portion of the card in the slot in the back of the mailbox. DNREC advises if multiple hunters are using or waiting to use a  self-check station, hunters should remain the required six feet (or further) apart from one another – or fill out the registration card at your vehicle using your own pen. Check stations will not be weighing wild turkeys harvested by hunters this season.

Hunters who want to have their bird scored and entered into the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) records are reminded to have their turkey’s weight recorded on a certified scale. Please contact your local NWTF representative to have the turkey weighed.

Since all Delaware spring turkey season plans are subject to change based on health and safety considerations during the coronavirus period, any changes will be announced by DNREC and also posted on its website.

Hunting on state wildlife areas and state forests during the spring turkey hunting season requires carrying the public land permit that was issued through a preseason lottery. The permit will specify the public land and season segment/dates that can be hunted. Hunters participating in the special turkey hunt for youth and non-ambulatory disabled hunters on April 4 may hunt without a public land permit on those state wildlife areas and state forests that are open to turkey hunting during the regular turkey hunting season.

Turkey hunters are reminded of the following:

  • A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) is required to hunt. More information on hunting license requirements is available at Delaware Licenses, where hunting licenses can also be purchased. To register for a LEN, hunters can go to Delaware Hunter and Trapper Registration or call toll free 1-855-335-4868.
  • To purchase a hunting license, hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, must present a basic hunter education safety course card/number.
  • All turkey hunters 13 years of age and older must have completed a Delaware-approved turkey hunter safety course. Turkey hunters under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older who has completed a Delaware-approved turkey hunter safety course and who has a Delaware hunting license or is license exempt.
  • The Hunter Education/Turkey Education card certifying successful completion of the mandatory turkey course must be carried when turkey hunting.
  • 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), with a CAP temporarily not required through April 30, 2020.

Due to cancelation of recent in-person turkey hunter safety courses during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) period, the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter Education Program has developed a free online turkey course to be offered until May 17, 2020. Follow these two steps to complete the course:

Students must earn a score of 80% or higher on the test to successfully pass the course. Your test will be reviewed within 24 hours of completion. Students who successfully complete the course will receive an email with instructions on how to print their updated hunter safety card.

For more information on turkey hunting, click 2019-2020 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide and Wildlife Area Hunting Maps. More information on turkey hunting is also available by calling the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912.

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

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Latest emergency order limits recreation options for out-of-state visitors; allows restricted surf fishing

Out-of-state visitors must self-quarantine for 14 days before engaging in fishing, hunting, golf, visiting state parks and wildlife areas

DOVER, Del. – A week after Gov. John Carney issued stay-at-home orders to slow the coronavirus spread, state parks and wildlife areas remain open but now with additional restrictions for residents and visitors. Under the latest directive, anyone who enters Delaware from another state must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. The order applies to individuals who would like to fish, hunt or intended to visit state parks and wildlife areas, including the state’s golf courses.

The order also allows limited vehicle access to beaches for the purpose of surf fishing for those with a current surf fishing permit. Unlike normal surf fishing, surf fishing under the emergency order will only be allowed with the following restrictions: Only fishing from vehicles will be allowed, only two persons from the same household may accompany the vehicle and both persons must be actively fishing at all times, with distance between vehicles on the beach of 20 yards.

“This change is designed to allow a source of food and a bit of safely distant recreation, but it is not intended to allow the normal type of surf fishing we see with groups of people engaged in non-fishing activities. The beaches are still not a place for numbers of people engaged in social activities,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “For anyone coming from out of state with the intent to surf fish, or trout fish, or hunt, or golf, or go to state parks or wildlife areas, please understand the 14-day quarantine applies, which means coming into Delaware to immediately engage in one of those activities and go back home is not allowed.”

For more information, read the full text of the orders from Sunday and Monday.

Sunday’s order has the force and effect of law. Any failure to comply with the provisions contained in a Declaration of a State of Emergency or any modification to a Declaration of the State of Emergency constitutes a criminal offense.

While most state parks and wildlife areas are currently open with the exception of beaches for all but exercise and surf fishing, all state park campsites, cabins, cottages, yurts and playgrounds are closed. Buildings such as park offices and nature centers remain closed, and programs and tours are canceled. The Brandywine Zoo and the Go Ape course at Lums Pond State Park will remain closed at this time.

Upstate trout season is now open to all residents in seven designated trout streams. Ommelanden shooting range near New Castle is now available to residents by pre-scheduled appointment only.

Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is required to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people. All conditions are subject to change.

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

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

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Enjoy trout season while maintaining a safe distance from other anglers and fishing less-crowded areas

Downstate ponds open; upstate streams opening early for anglers next week

DOVER, Del. – Take advantage of the early opening of the upstate trout season for adult anglers on Tuesday, March 31 to help minimize crowds and accommodate responsible outdoor recreation during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) period. Anglers are reminded to practice safe social distancing – a minimum of six feet, or about the length of some fishing rods – and to choose less-crowded areas to cast their lines into the streams.

Getting outdoors is a great way to reduce stress and enjoy fresh air to help physical and mental well-being, however, everyone is reminded to be considerate of others and to act responsibly. DNREC’s Natural Resources Police will have a presence at the streams to monitor fishing and angler activity for crowding and appropriate distancing.

Upstate trout season will open in seven designated trout streams in northern New Castle County for only youth anglers under age 16 on Monday, March 30 at 7 a.m., followed by the opening of trout season for all anglers on Tuesday, March 31 starting one half-hour before sunrise. Youth anglers can be accompanied by adults on the March 30 youth day, but only youth can fish that day.

White Clay Creek, Red Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run, and Mill Creek will be stocked with thousands of rainbow and brown trout, including some trophy-sized fish. Trout stocking is currently planned to continue weekly in April at White Clay Creek and periodically at the other streams prior to or until Thursday, April 30.

Downstate trout season remains open at Tidbury Pond near Dover and Newton Pond near Greenwood, both of which opened March 7.

All plans are subject to change based on health and safety considerations and any changes will be announced.

Trout anglers planning to fish the New Castle County trout streams should note the following rules and regulations:

  • Stocked trout streams are currently closed to all fishing through Sunday, March 29 to accommodate trout stocking, eliminate incidental hooking of trout, and allow stocked trout time to adjust to their new waters, all done to improve trout fishing when the season opens.
  • A Delaware fishing license is required, unless an angler is exempt.
  • A Delaware trout stamp is required until June 30, unless an angler is exempt.
  • Following the opening youth day start at 7 a.m. on March 30, trout fishing at these streams 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 inside or within 50 feet of the designated fly-fishing-only section of White Clay Creek, where the daily possession limit is four trout.

Managed by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife, proceeds from the purchase of Delaware trout stamps are used to help purchase next year’s trout for stocking. The popular fishery also is supported by federal Sport Fish Restoration funds administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that are generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.

Delaware fishing licenses and trout stamps are sold online and by license agents statewide that remain open (license sales are suspended at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson and Robbins Building in Dover during the coronavirus outbreak). To purchase a license online or to find a participating agent (agents should be contacted to determine if they are open), visit dnrec.delaware.gov. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.

Additional information about Delaware Trout Season is available online. For general information on fishing in Delaware, check out the 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available from license agents that remain open.

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 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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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DNREC Updates: Ommelanden shooting range by appointment only; Brandywine Zoo, Go Ape course to remain closed

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the following changes to three recreational areas as a result of COVID-19 issues:

  • Ommelanden shooting range near New Castle will be open reduced hours of noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 and beginning Thursday, March 26, will be available by pre-scheduled appointment only. Due to reduced availability of part-time staff as well as the need to control the number of users, those who want to use the range for firearms or archery must call 302-382-1074 in advance to arrange a time, leaving a message if the call is not answered. Range use appointments will be provided when staffing allows within the range’s normal hours of operation but may not be available at certain normal operating times. Operating hours and other information about the range may be found at the Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center webpage.
  • The Brandywine Zoo and the Go Ape course at Lums Pond State Park will remain closed at this time. The zoo was closed in January for construction of its new Madagascar Exhibit, and was schedule to reopen in April. The Go Ape course had not yet opened to the public for the 2020 season.

Additional resources, information and status of DNREC business and operations are available at dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/coronavirus and destateparks.com/Covid19.

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

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Get Outside, But Protect Yourself

DNREC offers tips to enjoy outdoors safely during the coronavirus period

DOVER, Del. – With entrance fees to Delaware State Parks and state wildlife areas currently waived, Delawareans are getting outside to stay active and healthy. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control offers a few tips for enjoying the outdoors safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period:

  • Keep your social distance, even when outside. Enjoy less crowded areas. Limit your group to fewer than 10 people and keep at least 6 feet away from other visitors.
  • Avoid close-contact activities. Instead, fish, hike, paddle board, ride a bicycle or explore nature.
  • Don’t rent or share sports equipment. Use your own binoculars, bike, fishing rod, golf disc, kayak, yoga mat, etc.
  • Wipe down sports equipment before and after use. Disinfect gear with federal recommended products including diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol and EPA-registered household disinfectants.
  • Avoid playgrounds. Delaware State Parks has closed all its playgrounds, but they may still be open in other areas. Surfaces like slides and swings have a lot of touch points that could potentially spread the virus.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands. Use soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. If you’re sick or have been sick in the past two weeks, please stay home to recuperate.

“If you choose to get outside, please take precautions to protect yourself, your family and your community,” said Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Whether you’re spending time in your own backyard or exploring our state’s nature areas, practice social distancing and be safe. And please watch for possible changing announcement in the interest of public health and safety.”

Delaware State Parks offers Play Outside, a map-based, mobile-friendly app helps visitors find parks, natural areas, trails and more. Filter the search by county and facility to find appropriate options during the coronavirus period. As a reminder, the public is currently prohibited from accessing the beach except to exercise or walk their dogs where dogs are permitted. Beach access from within Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks is prohibited at this time. Parking and fishing at the Indian River Inlet within Delaware Seashore State Park is permitted at this time. Additional resources are available at dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/coronavirus and destateparks.com/Covid19.

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 Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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