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Recreational Licensing



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

Digital DNREC — A New ePermitting System

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has built a new ePermitting system – Digital DNREC — that offers most recreational licenses, passes, permits, and stamps online.

The new system offers online application for permits and licenses and user accounts and profiles to allow users to manage their own portfolio of licenses and permits.

In-Person Options

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

Note: During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, recreational license sales at DNREC offices are suspended.

 

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 via Digital DNREC or in-person at an authorized license agent or at the licensing desk inside DNREC’s Richardson and Robbins Building, at 89 Kings Highway SW, in Dover.

Note: If you already purchased a fishing license in 2020 using the old system, your license is still valid.

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 Digital DNREC.

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 and Wildlife. To apply, complete and submit the Head/Charter Boat License Application.

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.

Hunting and Trapping Licenses

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

Trapping licenses can be purchased online via Digital DNREC or by submitting a Fish and Wildlife Trapping License Application.

Manage Your Account

The Digital DNREC ePermitting system also helps users 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, or participate in the Snow Goose Conservation Order.

Hunter and Trapper Education Requirements

All persons born after January 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 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.

License Funds at Work

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.

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.

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 via Digital DNREC or in-person at an authorized license agent or at the licensing desk inside DNREC’s Richardson and Robbins Building, at 89 Kings Highway SW, in Dover. All purchases require information from your vehicle registration card.

 




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