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Updated wildlife area maps provide clarity on hunting, DNREC says

Delaware Public Media

Officials from Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control say some of their maps may have caused confusion about what wildlife areas allow certain types of hunting, so they’ve updated those maps.

It’s not an effort to strengthen or relax policies. Division of Fish & Wildlife Program Manager Craig Rhodes said each wildlife area in the state has a map, but over the years, inconsistencies have developed, leaving hunters uncertain what’s accurate.

“Some wildlife areas, for example, would allow hunting for small game species only on certain days of the week, whereas others allowed it throughout the season,” Rhodes said. “The same thing [goes] for some of our deer seasons and waterfowl seasons; some areas were closed for some seasons while other areas were open.”

He added that DNREC was receiving a lot of phone calls with people inquiring about what they could or could not do in a given area.

“We think the new maps are a step in the right direction of making that easier, so it will be an easier self-service system,” Rhodes said.

For example, Rhodes said the new maps show that some areas require a daily lottery for hunting. Other areas are first-come first-serve.

The maps also make sure people seeking to use an area at the same time for different activities don’t come into conflict.

“When we have someone who might, for example, want to go birding, it’ll make it easier for them to look at the areas they want to go to and know if there is an open season in what areas there may be hunting in, that if they want to avoid those areas, it should help eliminate conflicts,” Rhodes said.

The maps and regulations are available online or in paper copy at DNREC’s headquarters in Dover and at all of DNREC’s wildlife regional offices.

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