The state’s wildlife and non-tidal fishing regulations, which the Division of Fish and Wildlife has spent the past two years reviewing and revising, went into effect on Aug. 15. The last time there was a major overhaul was in 1971.
“Many of the revisions were to reflect the enactment of new laws or clarify the meaning of certain terms, ” according to Wildlife Administrator Lloyd Alexander. “But some, such as establishing rules for falconry, represent major changes. Now it’s the responsibility of hunters, trappers and anglers to learn what the rules are. The new format should make that easier.”
The newly published regulations, which are on the Division website (www.dnrec.state.de.us/fw/wildregs.htm) or available at the main offices at the Richardson and Robbins Building in Dover, include 15 sections on wildlife: definitions; method of take; federal laws and regulations; seasons; wild turkeys; shooting preserves; deer; general rules and regulations governing land and waters administered by the Division; the Wildlife Theft Prevention Fund; nuisance game animals; Delaware River and Bay shoreline refuges; waterfowl refuge; wildlife rehabilitation permits; falconry; and collection or sale of nongame wildlife.
Eight non-tidal fishing regulations cover special permits; bag limits and seasons; closure of Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control ponds during drawdowns; methods of take; ice fishing; speed and wake of motorboats on Division ponds; fish stocking practices; and Lake Como.
Some highlights of the new regulations are:
Eliminating gunning rig permits (hunting waterfowl from a boat);
Allowing landowners to remove up to eight beavers causing property damage from December through March 20 without obtaining a beaver trapping permit;
Establishing a daily limit of four terrapins (though the season may be closed entirely in the future if conditions warrant);
Permitting the use of bait for deer hunting on private lands;
Prohibiting target shooting on state-owned lands;
Requiring permits to keep reptiles and amphibians, with the exception of noncommercial collections who may keep one of each species provided they are not rare or endangered;
Requiring permits to breed nongame wildlife in captivity; persons with existing collections have until Dec. 15 to register with the Division of Fish and Wildlife;
Days available for firearms deer hunting have been expanded statewide by four Saturdays and two weekdays;
Muzzleloading rifles are now considered unloaded if the cap, primer or flash powder is removed, the striking mechanism is removed or disabled, or the rifle is cased.
Other technical changes do not affect the basic restrictions of the previous regulations.
“These regulations reflect a commitment by the Division of Fish and Wildlife to work with the hunters, trappers and anglers of Delaware to develop regulations that are both acceptable and scientifically sound,” said Director Andrew T. Manus. “During the revision process we held several workshops and public hearings at which we received numerous comments and suggestions from interested persons. In making the changes, the Division was careful to ensure the integrity of the proposed regulations, while addressing public concerns.”
For more information, contact Kathleen Jamison, Information and Education, 302-739-4506, or Lloyd Alexander, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 302-739-5297. (document no. 40-01/99/08/21)