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Recreational Licensing



The Division of Fish & Wildlife offers licenses, permits, stamps, and passes for recreational fishing and hunting, and for the use of Delaware Wildlife Areas.

Contact Us

Danielle Davis
Licensing Coordinator
302.739.9918

Note: Because of the public health restrictions of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, recreational license sales at DNREC offices are suspended.

Licenses, permits, stamps, and passes are available in-person at an authorized license agent or at the licensing desk inside DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, and, in most cases, online.

Certain residents and non-residents may be exempt from parts of the fishing, hunting and trapping licensing requirements.

A New ePermitting System

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is building a new ePermitting system that offers licenses, permits, registrations, and more, online.

The new system, part of a growing Digital DNREC, offers online application for permits and licenses and user accounts and profiles to allow users to manage their own portfolio of licenses and permits.

Recreational fishing licenses are now available through the Digital DNREC ePermitting system. As more licenses and permits are added, links here will take you to that system.

Note: If you already purchased a fishing license in 2020 using the old system, your license is still valid. We will migrate your 2020 license data into our new system so you can access all of your purchases under your DNREC account.

Recreational Fishing Licenses

A Delaware recreational fishing license covers recreational fishing, crabbing and clamming in all Delaware waters. Licenses must be purchased annually by recreational anglers. In addition to the license, recreational anglers who purchase an individual fishing license or resident boat fishing license will automatically be issued a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number.

All funds derived from the issuance of fishing licenses are dedicated to a special account for the purpose of matching and securing federal money allotted to Delaware under the provisions of the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act. Together, these funds support restoration, conservation, management and enhancement of sportfish and the provisions for public use and benefit from these resources.

Delaware fishing licenses can be purchased online or in-person at an authorized license agent or at the licensing desk inside DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, at 89 Kings Highway SW, in Dover.

Fisherman Information Network (FIN) Numbers

All Delaware anglers age 16 or older are required by regulation to have a Delaware-issued Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number on an annual basis before fishing in Delaware waters. There is no fee for a FIN number. A FIN number is automatically issued with the purchase of a Delaware fishing license. In some cases, such as when you are exempt from licensing requirements, you may need to apply separately for a FIN number though the ePermitting system.

Surf Fishing

Residents and non-residents are exempt from fishing license requirements if they are the operator of a vehicle with a valid Delaware surf fishing vehicle permit, as long as the vehicle is located on a designated Delaware State Park surf fishing area. Normal licensing provisions apply to other occupants of that vehicle if they are fishing.

Head Boats and Charter Boats

Charter and head boat fishing operations are allowed With Restrictions as of May 29, 2020.

Head boat licenses are required for vessels hired on a per-person basis. Charter boat licenses are required for vessels hired on a per-trip basis. Both the charter boat and head boat licenses cover the paying passengers, the captain and the crew while they are fishing aboard the vessel only.

Head boat and charter boat licenses are issued directly from the Division of Fish & Wildlife.  To apply, complete and submit the Head/Charter Boat License Application.

Hunting Licenses

All persons born after Jan. 1, 1967 must satisfactorily complete an approved Hunter Education Course before applying for a Delaware Hunting License. You will need a Hunter Safety Number (HSN) to apply for a license. A completed Hunter Education Course from another state may be used to meet this requirement.

All funds derived from the issuance of hunting licenses are dedicated to a special account for the purpose of matching and securing federal money allotted to Delaware under the provisions of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. Together, these funds support restoration, conservation, management, and enhancement of wildlife and the provisions for public use and benefit from these resources.

Delaware hunting licenses can be purchased online or in-person at an authorized license agent or at the licensing desk inside DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, at 89 Kings Highway SW, in Dover.

Trapping Licenses

All persons born after January 1, 1978 must have completed an approved Trapping Education Course and have a Trapping Education Card to apply for a trapping license. To apply, complete and submit the Fish and Wildlife Trapping License Application.

Hunter and Trapper Registration

The Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Hunter and Trapper Registration System helps individuals meet legal requirements for hunting and trapping in Delaware. Users can get a License Exempt Number if legally exempt from purchasing a hunting or trapping license, register deer they have harvested, get their Harvest Information Program (HIP) Number for hunting waterfowl and other migratory birds, participate in the Snow Goose Conservation Order, or retrieve a lost registration or permit number.

Conservation Access Passes

A Conservation Access Pass is required for any registered motor vehicle that’s used to access State Wildlife Areas for hunting, birdwatching, photography and similar recreational activities. Conservation Access Passes are available as annual passes (July 1 through June 30) or as 3-day passes (good for three consecutive days).

Passes can be purchased online or in-person at an authorized license agent or at the licensing desk inside DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, at 89 Kings Highway SW, in Dover. All purchases require information from your vehicle registration card.

The Delaware Division of Child Support Services has the authority, under Federal Welfare Reform Legislation (Title 42 of the US Code, Section 666 (a) (13) ), to collect Social Security Numbers for individuals who purchase recreational hunting and fishing licenses.




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