Deer Hunting in Delaware

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  • A
  • 46,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 19,500

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $92

    Hunting license is $39.50 plus $20 for hunter’s choice or antlerless tag, and $20 for quality buck or antlered tag. A conservation access pass is $32.50.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $314.50

    License is $199.50. Some licenses are reciprocal for neighboring states and the cost may vary depending on the state you live in, plus $50 for hunter’s choice or quality buck tag. A conservation access pass is $65.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 185 4/8"

    Taken by Herbert Milam in Sussex County in 1978.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 19

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 208 4/8"

    Taken by Keith Lee in Sussex County in 2005.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 11

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Delaware has some pretty good deer hunting. Image by Tom Reichner / Shutterstock

Season Dates (2021):

Archery and crossbow season spans September 1 to January 31. Muzzleloader season is October 8-17 and January 24-30. Youth weekend is November 6-7. Shotgun season runs November 12-21 and January 15-23. Handgun season is January 1 and 3-8. Please confirm season dates.

The Grade: A

Delaware deer harvest numbers had been down a few years ago, but they’ve mostly rebounded. Like much of the region, Delaware should benefit from recent heavy mast crops and mild winters. The deer herd should be in great shape this season.

Delaware is a small but diverse state, with habitat ranging from coastal marsh to upland hardwood forest. Archery season opens earlier than in most states (September 1), giving hunters a crack at a velvet buck the first week of the season. 

Also, the state is developing a new portal for hunters to not only purchase their license and tags but also to register deer harvests. This update is meant to make this step in the process much easier. All things considered, Delaware gets an A again this season.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

All of Delaware’s B&C entries have come from Sussex, New Castle, and Kent counties. While huntable land can be scarce, urban settings offer prime spots for bowhunting. With nearly 10% of the state being public land, hunters who can’t find private ground can still participate.

According to Delaware DNR officials, certain wildlife areas have mandatory antler restrictions for the hunters hoping to have an opportunity at an older buck, other areas are archery only, and some areas require hunters to hunt from established stands rather than offering the ability to roam freely and choose where they want to hunt. Regardless, find the right public land for you.