Delaware Deer Harvest Announced for 2021/22 Hunting Season

A doe – female deer – standing in a Delaware field. DNREC announced that does accounted for 55% of the 2021-22 deer season harvest /DNREC photo

 

While Harvest Numbers Decreased, Venison Donations Increased

Delaware hunters reported harvesting 15,383 deer during the 2021/22 hunting season, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. The harvest was 10.9% lower than the 2020/21 record harvest of 17,265 deer, but marked the ninth consecutive year that the Delaware harvest exceeded 14,000 deer. The smaller harvest could be attributable to various factors, including natural food availability, hunter effort or the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s management of the deer population to improve the quality of the herd and reduce agricultural crop damage.
Deer harvest highlights during the 2021/22 hunting season include:

  • 6,350 deer were taken by hunters during the state’s popular 10-day November Shotgun Season, representing 41.3% of the total harvest
  • 8,492 females (does) and 6,891 males (bucks) were harvested, respectively – representing 55.2% and 44.8% of the total harvest, with doe harvest crucial in helping manage the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population
  • 70.9% of the total harvest consisted of antlerless deer – does, juvenile male deer without antlers commonly called button bucks, bucks with antlers measuring less than three inches, and bucks that had shed their antlers
  • Harvest was highest in Sussex County with 8,622 deer, followed by Kent County where 4,334 were taken, and New Castle County with 2,427 deer harvested
  • Zone 16 in southernmost Sussex County was the only wildlife management zone where the harvest increased, up slightly (1.6%) over 2020/21
  • 86% of Delaware’s deer harvest occurred on private property and 14% on public lands
  • 2,227 deer, representing 14.5% of the total harvest, were harvested on the 22 Sundays open to deer hunting on private lands and Division of Fish and Wildlife public wildlife areas.

Through the generosity of Delaware’s hunters and their donations of harvested deer to the Delaware Hunters Against Hunger program (formerly the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger program), the number of pounds of donated venison increased by 15% compared to the 2020/21 season, resulting in the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife providing 22 Delaware charities with 24,333 pounds of venison, equivalent to nearly 100,000 meals to distribute to individuals in need. The venison was processed by local butcher shops and the butcher shop at the Delaware Department of Corrections’ Sussex Community Corrections Center located in Georgetown.

More information on deer hunting and public wildlife areas can be found in the 2021/2022 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide or by calling the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife section at 302-739-9912. Information about the DNREC-sponsored Delaware Hunters Against Hunger program for donating venison can be found at dnrec.delaware.gov.

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 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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Delaware Sets Deer Harvest Record

Sportsmen Against Hunger Program Donates More Than 84,000 Venison Meals

Delaware hunters registered a record 17,265 harvested deer during the 2020/21 hunting season with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, surpassing the previous record harvest of 16,969 deer set last year during the 2019/20 hunting season. This year marks the eighth consecutive year that more than 14,000 deer were harvested.

With the record-breaking total harvest, numerous other records were surpassed this year, including:

  • November Shotgun Season harvest: 7,072 deer (previous record: 7,016 deer during the 1999/2000 season)
  • Adult doe harvest: 8,439 deer (previous record: 8,122 deer during the 2019/20 season)
  • Nine of the 18 Wildlife Management Zones had record harvests: Zones 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 17
  • Public lands harvest: 14.8% of total harvest (previous record: 14.4% in 2018/19 season)

Sussex County had the highest harvest with 9,580 deer during the 2020/21 hunting season, followed by Kent County with 4,863 and New Castle County with 2,822.

With all Sundays open to deer hunting during the hunting season for the third consecutive year, a total of 2,168 deer were harvested on the 22 Sundays open to deer hunting on private lands and designated DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife public wildlife areas.

During the 2020/21 hunting season, hunters harvested more females (does) than males (bucks), with the harvest comprised of 56.3% (9,722) does of all age classes and 43.7% (7,543) bucks. Antlerless deer — does and bucks without antlers or antlers measuring less than three inches — represented 72.4% of the total harvest. The doe harvest increased to 56.3% of the total harvest, and Delaware continues to have one of the highest antlerless deer harvest rates per square mile in the nation, both important to manage the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population.

Biologists will continue to analyze the harvest data over the coming weeks, and more detailed information will be posted on the Division’s website upon completion of all analyses.

The Sportsman Against Hunger Program had another successful year through the generosity of hunters, with 758 donated deer yielding more than 21,000 pounds of processed venison meat. The venison was distributed by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife to charitable organizations to provide over 84,000 meals to those in need.

For more information about hunting on state wildlife areas, including wildlife area maps and rules, licensing and other requirements, visit de.gov/hunting. More information on hunting seasons and wildlife areas is available in the 2020/2021 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or by calling the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Section 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. 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 @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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Additional Delaware Deer Hunting Seasons Opening in January

Numerous Hunting and Trapping Seasons Continue

Firearm deer hunting seasons opening in January and continuing archery deer seasons provide the last chance for hunters to harvest deer during the 2020/21 hunting season. Deer hunting is allowed on all Sundays, using only those hunting methods legal for the respective deer hunting season, with more information available from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control at de.gov/sundayhunt. Hunters are encouraged to harvest does (female deer) to help manage the size and quality of the deer population.

Successful deer hunters who wish to donate venison to those in need are encouraged to participate in Delaware’s Sportsmen Against Hunger Program. Field-dressed deer may be donated at participating butchers or self-serve, walk-in coolers maintained by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife, with additional information and participating butcher and cooler locations found at de.gov/sah. All donated deer will be processed free of charge to the hunter, and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable organizations serving those in need. Last year, hunters donated 25,406 pounds of venison that provided over 100,000 meals to Delawareans in need.

Deer hunting seasons opening in January include:

  • January handgun season*: Jan. 2, Jan. 4 to 9, which excludes Sunday, Jan. 3**
  • January shotgun season*: Jan. 16 to 24, including Sundays
  • January muzzleloader season: Jan. 25 to Jan. 31, including Sundays

* Straight-walled, pistol-caliber rifles are allowed during the January handgun and shotgun deer seasons.
**Hunters may only use archery equipment, including crossbows, to hunt on Sunday, Jan. 3.

Continuing hunting seasons include:

  • Bobwhite quail: through Jan. 2, 2021
  • Canada goose (migratory): through Jan. 18, 2021
  • Woodcock and common snipe: through Jan. 19, 2021
  • Ducks, coots and mergansers: through Jan. 30, 2021
  • Sea ducks in the Special Sea Duck Area: through Jan. 30, 2021
  • Brant: through Jan. 30, 2021
  • Tundra swan (by special permit ONLY): through Jan. 30, 2021
  • Snow goose: through Jan. 30, 2021, and Feb. 6, 2021
  • Mourning dove: through Jan. 30, 2021
  • Archery and crossbow deer: through Jan. 31, 2021, including all Sundays
  • Gray squirrel: through Feb. 6, 2021
  • Ring-necked pheasant (male only): through Feb. 6, 2021
  • Cottontail rabbit: through Feb. 27, 2021
  • Coyote (hunt): through Feb. 27, 2021
  • Red fox (hunt): through Feb. 27, 2021
  • Raccoon and opossum (hunt): through Feb. 27, 2021***
  • Beaver: through March 20, 2021, private land only
  • Crows: through March 27, 2021, and June 24 to 26, 2021 (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only)
  • Groundhog: through June 30, 2021

***Special hunting hours for raccoon and opossum during the January handgun, January shotgun and January muzzleloader deer seasons are 7 p.m. until midnight (reference the hunting and trapping guide for these deer season dates).

Continuing trapping seasons include:

  • Muskrat, mink, otter, raccoon, opossum and nutria:
    ○ New Castle County: through March 10, 2021 (March 20 on embanked meadows)
    ○ Kent and Sussex counties: through March 15, 2021
  • Red fox and coyote: through March 10, 2021
  • Beaver: through March 20, 2021, private land only

The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers many hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas. For more information, including wildlife area maps and rules, visit de.gov/hunting. Sunday deer hunting information specific to individual wildlife areas is available at de.gov/sundayhunt.

A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) is required to hunt, and most waterfowl hunters require a Delaware waterfowl (duck) stamp and a federal migratory bird (duck) stamp. All migratory game bird hunters except crow hunters, including duck, goose and dove hunters, also need a free Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, which can be obtained through the DNREC ePermitting system or by calling toll free 1-855-DEL-HUNT (1-855-335-4868). If using the 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 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 using the DNREC ePermitting system or from hunting license agents statewide. New this year, hunters obtaining a LEN should create a profile using the ePermitting system or at a hunting license agent. Federal migratory bird (duck) stamps are available for purchase at U.S. Post Offices, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges and online.

More information on hunting seasons and wildlife areas is available in the 2020/2021 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or by calling the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912. More information on hunting licenses, the state waterfowl stamp and the Conservation Access Pass is available at de.gov/hunting or by calling the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Recreational Licensing office at 302-739-9918.

Hunting opportunities also are available in some Delaware State Parks, with more information at destateparks.com.

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

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DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announces Sportsmen Against Hunger program butcher shops and cooler locations accepting donated deer

Processed venison donated to charitable organizations

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today the private butcher shops and DNREC cooler locations that accept donated deer for the Sportsmen Against Hunger program during Delaware’s 2018/19 deer hunting season. Deer generously donated by successful deer hunters are processed into venison at no charge to the hunter, with the Division of Fish & Wildlife distributing the venison to charitable groups that provide meals for needy Delawareans.

Last year, DNREC’s Sportsmen Against Hunger program distributed 19,083 pounds of venison from 649 deer donated by hunters to approximately three dozen food pantries and shelters statewide, which provided 76,332 meals to Delawareans in need. Since it began in 1992, the program has provided more than two million such meals.

Successful hunters can take their deer directly to participating private butcher shops, or they may drop off their deer at any of DNREC’s walk-in coolers listed below.

Participating Butcher Shops

Sussex County

Dave’s Cut ‘Em Up
6854 Delmar Road
Delmar, DE 19940
302-381-7257

Kent County

Miller’s Butcher Shop
577 Morgans Choice Road
Wyoming, DE 19934
302-697-8278

D&J Custom Cutting
89 Myers Drive
Hartly, DE 19953
302-492-0323

New Castle County

Townsend Deer Butchering
1300 Dexter Corner Road
Townsend, DE 19734
302-378-3268

Cooler Locations to Donate Deer

Sussex County

Assawoman Wildlife Area
37604 Mulberry Landing Road
Frankford, DE 19945

Gumboro Community Center
36849 Millsboro Highway
Millsboro, DE 19966

Redden State Forest HQ
18074 Redden Forest Drive
Georgetown, DE 19947

Trap Pond State Park
33587 Bald Cypress Lane
Laurel, DE 19956

Kent County

Little Creek Wildlife Area
3018 Bayside Drive
Dover, DE 19901

Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area
782 Kersey Road
Viola, DE 19979

Mosquito Control Office
1161 Airport Road
Milford, DE 19963

New Castle County

Augustine Wildlife Area
303 North Congress Street
Port Penn, DE 19731

Venison Packages
Ground venison ready for delivery to families in need.

Hunters donating deer are asked to call the phone number posted on the walk-in coolers so that the deer can be transported for processing in a timely manner. Hunters are reminded that all deer dropped off at a cooler must be field-dressed and registered by the hunter, with the registration number written on the field tag attached to the deer. Coolers are checked frequently, with donated deer taken to participating private butcher shops or the Sussex Correctional Institution’s deer butchering program for processing.

All deer harvested in Delaware, including donated deer, must be registered through the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter and Trapper Registration (HTR) system. Deer hunters are encouraged to access the system online using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Hunters who prefer to talk to a live customer service representative can call 855-DELHUNT (855-335-4868).

For more information on hunting in Delaware can be found at 2018-2019 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and from license agents statewide.

For more information on the Sportsmen Against Hunger Program, please visit Sportsmen Against Hunger, or contact Bill Jones, regional wildlife manager, 302-284-4795. For deer hunting information, please contact Eric Ness, deer and furbearer biologist, at 302-735-3600.

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


DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announces butcher shops, coolers for Sportsmen Against Hunger venison donations for 2017/18 season

DOVER – To help successful hunters whose generosity supports DNREC’s Sportsmen Against Hunger program and provide venison for needy Delawareans, the Division of Fish & Wildlife today announced the list of private butcher shops accepting donated deer during the state’s 2017/18 deer hunting season. All donated venison will be distributed to charitable groups participating in the program.

Last year, 18,154 pounds of venison from 631 deer donated by hunters was divided among 32 food pantries and shelters statewide, providing 72,616 meals. Since it began in 1992, the Sportsmen Against Hunger program has provided over 2 million meals for Delawareans in need.

Successful hunters can take their deer directly to participating private butcher shops, or they may drop off their deer at any of the DNREC-maintained walk-in coolers listed below.

Participating Butcher Shops

Sussex County

  • Dave’s Cut ‘Em Up, 6854 Delmar Road, Delmar, DE 19940
    302.381.7257

Kent County

  • Miller’s Butcher Shop, 577 Morgans Choice Road, Wyoming, DE 19934
    302.697.8278
  • D&J Custom Cutting, 89 Myers Drive, Hartly, DE 19953
    302.492.0323

New Castle County

  • Townsend Deer Butchering, 1300 Dexter Corner Road, Townsend, DE 19734
    302.378.3268

DNREC-Maintained Coolers for Donated Deer

Sussex County

  • Assawoman Wildlife Area, 37604 Mulberry Landing Road, Frankford, DE 19945
  • Gumboro Community Center, 36849 Millsboro Highway, Millsboro, DE 19966
  • Redden State Forest Headquarters, 18074 Redden Forest Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947
  • Trap Pond State Park, 33587 Bald Cypress Lane, Laurel, DE 19956

Kent County

  • Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, 4876 Hay Point Landing Road, Smyrna, DE 19977
  • Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, 782 Kersey Road, Viola, DE 19979
  • Mosquito Control Office, 1161 Airport Road, Milford, DE 19963

New Castle County

  • Augustine Wildlife Area, 303 North Congress Street, Port Penn, DE 19731

Hunters donating deer at a DNREC-maintained cooler are asked to call the phone number posted on the cooler so that the deer can be transported for processing in a timely manner. Hunters are reminded that any deer dropped off at a cooler also must be field-dressed and registered by the hunter donating it, with the registration number written on the field tag attached to the animal. Coolers are checked frequently, with donated deer taken to the Sussex Correctional Institution’s deer butchering program or to participating private butcher shops for processing.

All deer harvested in Delaware, including donated deer, must be registered through the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter and Trapper Registration (HTR) system. Deer hunters are encouraged to access the system online using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt. Those who prefer to talk to a live customer service representative can call 855-DELHUNT (855-335-4868).

For more information on hunting in Delaware, click on 2017-2018 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and from license agents statewide.

For more information on the Sportsmen Against Hunger Program, please visit Sportsmen Against Hunger, or contact Bill Jones, Kent County Regional Wildlife Manager, 302-284-4795. For deer information, please contact Deer and Furbearer Biologist Emily Boyd, at 302-735-3600.

Vol. 47, No. 244

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