Additional hunting, trapping seasons to open in December

Charlie MegginsonCulture, Headlines

a pile of hay next to a body of water

Waterfowl hunters await as ducks are called into their decoy spread. US Fish and Wildlife Service photo.

Delaware’s third duck hunting season segment will run from Friday, Dec. 10 through Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 and the second Canada goose hunting season segment will run from Friday, Dec. 24 through Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, DNREC¬†announced today.

December will also bring the special antlerless deer season as well as the opening of numerous trapping seasons.

Deer hunters are encouraged to harvest does (female deer) to help manage the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population.

Deer hunting is allowed on all Sundays through Jan. 2022, using only those hunting methods legal for the respective established deer hunting seasons. Additional information is available at

Hunting season dates opening in December:
  • Beaver:¬†Dec. 1¬†through¬†Mar. 19, 2022, Private Land Only
  • Woodcock and common snipe: Dec. 3 through Jan. 17, 2022
  • Antlerless deer: Dec. 11 through 19, including Sundays Dec. 12 and 19*
  • Ducks, coots and mergansers: Dec. 10 through Jan. 31, 2022
  • Brant: Dec. 11 through Jan. 31, 2022
  • Canada goose (Migratory season): Dec. 24 through Jan. 22, 2022

Archery and crossbow hunters may hunt deer during the December antlerless season but may not harvest antlered deer.

Trapping season dates opening in December:
  • Muskrat, mink, otter, raccoon, opossum, nutria:
    • New Castle County: Dec. 1 through Mar. 10, 2022 (March 20 on embanked meadows)
    • Kent and Sussex counties: Dec. 15 through Mar. 15, 2022
  • Red fox and coyote: Dec. 1 through Mar. 10, 2022
  • Beaver: Dec. 1 through Mar. 20, 2022, private land only

The groundhog trapping season will continue through June 30, 2022.

Continuing hunting seasons include:
  • Bobwhite quail: through Jan. 1, 2022
  • Mourning dove: through Jan. 31, 2022
  • Archery and crossbow deer: through Jan. 31, 2022, including all Sundays
  • Sea ducks in Special Sea Duck Area: through Jan. 31, 2022
  • Tundra swan (by special permit only): through Jan. 31, 2022
  • Snow goose: through Jan. 31, 2022 and Feb. 5, 2022
  • Ring-necked pheasant¬†(male only): through Feb. 5, 2022
  • Gray squirrel: through Feb. 5, 2022
  • Cottontail rabbit: through Feb. 28, 2022
  • Coyote (hunting): through Feb. 28, 2022
  • Red fox (hunting): through Feb. 28, 2022
  • Raccoon and opossum (hunting): through Feb. 28, 2022***
  • Crows: through March 26, 2022, June 23 through 25, 2022 and June 30, 2022 (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only)
  • Groundhog:¬†through June 30, 2022

Special raccoon and opossum hunting hours during the December antlerless, January handgun, January shotgun and January muzzleloader deer seasons are 7:00 p.m. until midnight (reference the hunting and trapping guide for these deer season dates).

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife offers many hunting opportunities on state wildlife areas, with details available at Information specific to Sunday deer hunting on state wildlife areas is available at

A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) is required to hunt, and most waterfowl hunters are required to purchase a Delaware waterfowl (duck) stamp and a Federal Duck Stamp. Migratory bird hunters, except crow hunters, also need a Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, which can be obtained through the¬†DNREC ePermitting system¬†website¬†or by calling toll free 855-DEL-HUNT (855-335-4868). If using the DNREC ePermitting system, hunters should either create a profile or use the ‚ÄúQuick Hunting Registration‚ÄĚ 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 at or from hunting license agents statewide. Hunters obtaining a LEN are reminded that they should create a profile using the DNREC ePermitting system portal or obtain a LEN at a hunting license agent if they have not already done so. Federal Duck Stamps are available for purchase at U.S. Post Offices, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges and online at 2021/2022 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.

Additional information on hunting seasons and state wildlife areas is available in the 2021/2022 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or by calling the Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912. Information on hunting licenses, the state waterfowl stamp and the Conservation Access Pass is available at or by calling the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Recreational Licensing office at 302-739-9918.

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