Hunters looking for a lifetime hunting license in Delaware may be disappointed to find that the state does not currently offer this type of license. However, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) offers a variety of other permit options that hunters can buy to suit their needs. Both residents and non-residents can purchase annual or temporary license that allow them to hunt in the state during the appropriate hunting seasons.
In addition to resident and out of state hunting license choices, DNREC offers specific types of permits to certain groups. For example, a youth hunting license is available to applicants who meet the minimum age requirements and have taken a hunter’s education course. There are also special licenses for seniors and members of the military, which may be available at no cost in some situations. In the sections below, learn about the different hunting license options available and discover when and where these credentials can be used.
Most types of hunting licenses in Delaware are sold to both residents and non-residents. However, in most cases, out-of-state hunting licenses are sold for a higher fee than resident licenses. To qualify for resident rates, a hunter must be able to show that he or she is a permanent resident of Delaware. In most cases, registering to vote or holding a DE driver’s license gives a hunter state residency. Owning land in the state does not always make a hunter eligible to hunt with resident rates, but out-of-state landowners may contact DNREC to make sure.
Whether you qualify for a resident hunting license in DE or need to purchase an out-of-state credential, there are several different types of licenses available. As a hunter between 16 and 64 years of age, you may purchase one of the following:
Note that you can still get a license if you are younger than 16 or older than 64 years of age, but different policies apply. Furthermore, you will need to purchase additional permits or stamps if you wish to hunt certain types of species, according to Delaware hunting laws. More information is found below on youth and senior licenses as well as tags for certain species.
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In lieu of a senior hunting permit, you will qualify for a free License Exempt Number (LEN) if you are older than 64 years of age and are a permanent resident of Delaware. New LENs need to be obtained each year, but you will continue to receive free hunting access provided that you remain a resident of Delaware. While lifetime hunting licenses are not available, the LEN option provides similar benefits to a lifetime permit if you are a senior.
DNREC does not offer special rates for senior hunting licenses if you are not a permanent resident. You must purchase an adult out-of-state license at the regular rate if you are a non-resident senior.
Hunters will qualify for a youth hunting license in DE if they are between 13 and 15 years of age. Junior licenses are available at a reduced rate compared to adult licenses. Junior hunters also do not need to buy federal waterfowl stamps, which are required for adults who want to hunt ducks and other migratory waterfowl. However, as with any other type of license, the fees for youth permits are higher for out-of-state applicants than they are for residents. Once a youth turns 16 years of age, he or she will no longer qualify for a junior hunting license and will have to purchase credentials at adult rates instead. If a hunter will turn 16 years of age during the hunting season, he or she must buy a license at adult rates instead of getting a youth permit.
Licenses are not required for hunters who are younger than 13 years of age. However, it is necessary to register for a free LEN instead of buying a permit. A junior will be able to obtain a free LEN each year until he or she turns 13 years of age, at which point it is necessary to purchase a junior license.
In some cases, military hunting licenses in DE are provided at no cost. You may qualify for a free license if one of the following applies:
DNREC still offers benefits if you do not qualify for a free military hunting license under one of the conditions listed above. If you are a member of the armed forces who is stationed in Delaware, you will be able to purchase hunting licenses at the same rates as permanent residents even if you have residency in a different state.
No matter which type of hunting license you buy in Delaware, you may need to purchase additional passes and tags in order to hunt in the places you want or to take specific types of wildlife. First, you will need to have a Conservation Access Pass if you plan on driving into State Wildlife Areas in order to hunt. You have the option of buying a three-day pass or an annual pass for your vehicle. As with other types of hunting permits in DE, the conservation passes are available at a lower rate if you are a resident.
If you wish to hunt deer or waterfowl, you will need to buy an additional hunting pass on top of your annual permit. The non-resident and resident hunting tags you can buy for deer and waterfowl include: