Youth Hunting Programs: A Commitment to Delaware's Youth and Environment
The Division of Fish and Wildlife actively promotes youth engagement in hunting as a means of contributing to the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of Delaware's young population. These programs are tied into a larger initiative known as Delaware's Children in Nature Initiative, which emphasizes environmental education, provides outdoor activities for youth, and addresses public health concerns like childhood obesity by encouraging active, nature-based recreation.
As a participant in the multi-faceted No Child Left Inside program, Delaware's Children in Nature Initiative is a comprehensive approach that incorporates efforts from various state and federal agencies and community organizations. To strengthen these initiatives and further foster an appreciation as well as participation in outdoor activities among the youth, Ducks Unlimited is partnering with the Division to organize a Greenwing event slated for early spring. This event is a prime example of ongoing efforts to integrate hunting and fishing into the lifestyle of young residents, ensuring they develop a deep connection with nature and wildlife conservation. More details on this forthcoming Greenwing event and information regarding youth hunting opportunities can be accessed at the official website: http://www.greenwingde.org.
Mandatory Hunter Education for Delaware Hunters
Delaware mandates that individuals born on or after January 1, 1967, must successfully complete an authorized Basic Hunter Education Course as a prerequisite to acquire a Delaware Hunting License. This educational requirement is open to youths starting at the age of 10. However, an important stipulation is placed on learners below 12 years—they must attend the course in the company of an adult.
Parents need to evaluate the maturity and comprehension level of their children since the course content involves adult topics, technical terminologies, and demands the completion of certain assignments which may not be suitable for all ages. Moreover, the practical segment of the course, specifically the live firing exercise, may present challenges for students of a smaller stature and physical strength. In such cases, successfully finishing the firing component could be exceedingly difficult or unfeasible. This consideration is paramount when registering children for the Basic Hunter Education Course.
Supervision Requirements for Young Hunters in Delaware
Delaware has specific regulations ensuring the safety and proper mentorship of youth hunters—defined as individuals aged 15 and under. The law stipulates that these young hunters must be under the direct supervision of a qualified adult while hunting. The supervising adult must be at least 21 years old and possess a valid hunting license or hold a legitimate right to hunt, coupled with a License Exempt Number (LEN).
The state mandates additional educational prerequisites for adults supervising youth under 13 during turkey hunts; the adult must have successfully completed an approved turkey hunting education course. This requirement is in place to ensure the proper guidance and safety of young hunters, given the specific challenges and skills associated with turkey hunting. Thus, any adult planning to supervise youths in turkey hunting must fulfill both the general supervisory qualifications and the specialized turkey hunting education.
Hunting License Requirements for Youths in Delaware
Junior Hunting License
Youths aged 13 to 15, whether residents or non-residents of Delaware, are required to purchase a junior hunting license to legally hunt in the state.
License Exempt Number for Younger Youths
Children under 13 years old, regardless of residency status, must obtain a License Exempt Number (LEN). These young hunters must also be supervised directly by an adult who is at least 21 years old. The supervising adult should either possess a valid Delaware hunting license or should be legally authorized to hunt in Delaware without a license.
State Waterfowl Stamp Exemption
Any youth hunter under the age of 16 is exempt from purchasing a State Waterfowl (Duck) Stamp in Delaware. This exemption applies to both resident and non-resident youth hunters.
Youth Hunting FAQs in Delaware
Turning 16 During the Season
- License Transition: Youths with a junior hunting license who turn 16 mid-season must get an adult license.
- Recommendation: Consider an adult license purchase in anticipation of age change.
Guide License Age Requirement
- Minimum Age: Must be 18 or older to obtain a guide license.
- Youth Exclusion: Individuals under 18 are not eligible for a guide license.
Supervising Adult Hunter Licensing for Waterfowl
- License and Stamp Requirement When Not Hunting: Required if actively participating, such as calling, even without a firearm.
- Federal Stamp: Mandatory for the supervising adult even if not carrying a firearm.
- State Stamp: Only required for licensed hunters.
Supervising Adult Hunter Licensing for Turkey
- License and Education Card: Mandatory for adults supervising youth turkey hunts, regardless of active hunting involvement.
- Permit for Calling: License and course completion necessary even when calling without a firearm.
State Wildlife Area Permit for Junior License Holders
- Permit Requirement: A State Wildlife Area Waterfowl Blind and Deer Stand Permit is required.
- Youth Hunting Day Exception: Permit requirement waived during Division of Fish and Wildlife designated youth hunting days.
2023/24 Scheduled Youth Hunts
Youth and Non-ambulatory Deer Hunt
- Date: November 4 and 5, 2023
Youth and Non-ambulatory Turkey Hunt
- Date: April 6, 2024
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days
- Dates: October 21, 2023, and February 3, 2024