Delaware Turkey Hunting Season to Open in April
Delaware’s statewide one-day turkey hunt for youth ages 10 to 15 and for non-ambulatory disabled hunters requiring a wheelchair will be held Saturday, April 3, followed by the four-week spring turkey hunting season from Saturday, April 10 through Saturday, May 8. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reminds turkey hunters that 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 has a Delaware hunting license or a License Exempt Number (LEN). 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 2021 Turkey Check Stations and on page 31 of the 2020/2021 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide. Turkey harvest data collected by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife are used to manage Delaware’s wild turkey population.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus period, hunters will be required to use a self-registration process to register harvested turkeys. Easily identifiable, residential-style mailboxes with self-registration forms are located at each check station. To complete registration of a harvested turkey, hunters are required to fill out the form as completely as possible and sign and date the form. After completing the form, hunters should remove and retain the small bottom portion as a receipt, before folding and placing the top portion in the slot in the back of the mailbox. 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 form in their vehicle. Check stations will not be weighing wild turkeys harvested by hunters this season.
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, visit NWTF Wild Turkey Records or contact your local NWTF representative.
Hunters on state wildlife areas and state forests during the spring turkey hunting season are required to carry their public land permit that was issued through a preseason lottery. The permit specifies the public land and season segment/dates that can be hunted. Hunters participating in the April 3 special turkey hunt for youth and non-ambulatory disabled hunters may hunt without a public land permit on state wildlife areas and state forests open to turkey hunting during the regular turkey hunting season.
Registered motor vehicles used to access designated wildlife areas owned or managed by the DNREC 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.
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 a License Exempt Number (LEN).
Due to cancelation of in-person turkey hunter safety courses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Hunter Education Program is offering a free online turkey course to until May 14, 2021.
To complete the online course, participants may go to Delaware turkey hunting course on the DNREC website to view the video, take the 20-question test, and either create an account or sign into an existing account in the DNREC ePermitting system to review and/or print their hunting license.
Participants must earn a score of 80% or higher on the test to successfully pass the turkey hunting course. Tests will be reviewed within 24 hours of completion. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a confirmation email and the course will be added to their profile in the DNREC hunter education database.
Hunters who completed a Delaware-accepted turkey course online must send a copy of the certificate of completion to the hunter education office at HunterEducation@delaware.gov or by calling 302-735-3600 x1.
Hunters completing the turkey hunting course for the first time who have a current hunting license are reminded to reprint their license to indicate successful completion of the course. Hunters who previously completed the turkey hunting course also should check to ensure that their hunting license displays their turkey hunting course number. Additionally, hunters who have successfully completed the course no longer need to carry a course card as proof of completion when their hunting license indicates they have passed the course.
A Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) is required to hunt. Delaware hunting licenses and Conservation Access Passes can be obtained online at Delaware Licenses or from hunting license agents statewide. Hunters can obtain a free LEN through the DNREC ePermitting system or from a licensing agent where hunting licenses are sold, where hunters must create a profile to obtain their LEN.
For more information on turkey hunting, visit the 2020/2021 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide and Wildlife Area Hunting Maps or call DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912. More information on hunting licenses and the Conservation Access Pass is available at de.gov/hunting or by calling DNREC’s Recreational Licensing office at 302-739-9918.