Delaware hunter Matthew Lawson bagged his first wild turkey in the First State last year. Delaware’s season starts next month. /Submitted photo
One-Day Youth and Non-Ambulatory Hunter Turkey Hunt April 2, Followed by Regular Hunting Season Opening on April 9
Wild turkey hunting in Delaware begins Saturday, April 2 with a one-day turkey hunt for youth ages 10 through 15 and for non-ambulatory hunters, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today – with the regular turkey hunting season opening Saturday, April 9 and running through Saturday, May 7. Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with no Sunday hunting allowed. Only bearded turkeys may be harvested, and the bag limit is one bearded turkey per hunter each year, regardless of where and when harvested.
Youth participating in the one-day April 2 hunt must be 10 to 15 years of age and must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older who has completed a Delaware-approved turkey hunter safety class and who possesses a Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN). Accompanying adults may not hunt during the youth-day hunt. Regular-season turkey hunters under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult of 21 years of age or older who has completed a Delaware-approved turkey hunter safety class and who possesses a Delaware hunting license or LEN. Non-ambulatory hunters who participate in the one-day hunt on April 2 must need a wheelchair for mobility.
Hunting regulations require that all harvested birds must be checked at an authorized turkey check station by 2:30 p.m. on the day the bird was harvested. A list of turkey check stations is available at dnrec.delaware.gov and in the 2021/2022 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide. Check station hours may vary, so hunters are advised to call the station to confirm hours of operation. Hunters who want their bird scored and entered into National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) records are reminded to have their turkey’s weight recorded on a certified scale. For more information, see the NWTF website.
Hunting on state wildlife areas and in state forests during the spring regular turkey hunting season requires carrying a public land permit that was issued via preseason lottery, with the permit specifying the public lands and season segment/dates that can be hunted. Hunters participating in the special turkey hunt for youth and non-ambulatory hunters on April 2 may hunt without a public land permit on those state wildlife areas and state forests open to turkey hunting during the regular turkey hunting season as indicated on pages 43 and 45 of the Hunting & Trapping Guide.
Turkey hunters are reminded of the following hunter education requirements:
- All turkey hunters 13 years of age and older must have completed a Delaware-approved turkey hunter safety course, including youth ages 13 through 15 hunting on the special youth turkey hunt on April 2.
- Hunters completing the turkey hunting course for the first time and who possessed a current hunting license or LEN prior to completing the course are reminded that they will need to reprint their license or LEN so that it will indicate successful completion of the course. Likewise, hunters who previously completed the turkey hunting course should ensure that their hunting license displays their turkey hunting course number. Hunters who have successfully completed the course no longer need to carry a course card as proof of completion if their hunting license or LEN indicates they have passed the course.
- Prospective hunters who are unable to attend an in-person turkey hunter safety course offered by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife may complete an approved online course offered by an outside vendor for a fee. More hunter education information can be found at dnrec.delaware.gov. Upon completion, hunters will need to submit a copy of their course completion certificate to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a phone number that the hunter education office can call regarding any questions about your certificate.
The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife offers turkey hunting opportunities on those state wildlife areas that are open to turkey hunting, with details available at de.gov/wamaps.
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 and CAPs can be purchased online at de.gov/huntinglicense or from hunting license agents statewide. Hunters obtaining a License Exempt Number (LEN) are reminded that they should create a profile using the DNREC ePermitting portal or obtain a LEN at a hunting license agent if they have not already done so.
Additional information on hunting seasons and state wildlife areas is available in the Hunting & Trapping Guide or by calling the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912. Information on hunting licenses and the Conservation Access Pass is available at de.gov/huntinglicense or by calling the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Recreational Licensing office at 302-739-9918.
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.