Kids and parents know that when the air turns crisp and the days get shorter school is right around the corner. But these changes also signal the return of a favorite pastime for families and friends: Hunting season in Delaware is just a few weeks away, and it’s time to fish out the gear and get ready.
Opening day of dove season, on Sept. 1, is always the starting gun for the rest of hunting season and the dog’s first workout to loosen the cobwebs and get back in gear in preparation for the seasons that lie ahead.
Early duck season comes next, and here it’s always a fertile one: Delaware is in the Atlantic Flyway and located on a coastal flat that contains some of the most productive marshes in the country. Theoretically, a hunter can bag up to six ducks per day, which with any luck can be accomplished in a couple of hours or all day depending on many factors such as location, weather and habitat.
After the ducks comes the long-awaited Canada goose season, which is special to my son and I because hunting on opening day is a tradition. We have hunted together on the opening day of goose season since he was a young boy. Now he is my guide, caller and hunting companion. There is nothing better than the banter we share as we sit in the blind and wait for the sunrise.
To be outdoors, watching the beauty and bounty all around you, is absolutely awe-inspiring. One of my favorite parts is following the dogs’ eyes stalk the bird, and then watching them work to fetch the fowl. This is all part of the experience of hunting.
Snow Geese are in at the same time, but, as most hunters know, they also have an extended season. They are a hit-or-miss species that can wipe out a cornfield or marsh in a matter of days.
Shotgun deer season usually begins in the second week of November. With plenty of good habitat around, the butcher shops are often loaded with Delaware’s venison.
While Wild Turkey and small game can also be bagged in Delaware, the above seasons are the ones that put tourists on the scent to travel and hunt in the First State.
The state’s public land and stewardship provide many opportunities for access to some of the finest hunting land in Delaware. We are also home to two National Wildlife Refuges that provide public hunting access. And the Del. 9 corridor, which runs along the East Coast of Delaware, offers a scenic byway dotted with wildlife areas and access to view the birds that make their way to Delaware each fall.
If you are into hunting, give Delaware a try - you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
*Featured guest blog post by Linda Parkowski – Director of Tourism, State of Delaware.