§ 701 Game animals.
The following shall be considered game animals: Mink, snapping turtle, raccoon, opossum, gray squirrel, otter, muskrat, red fox, hare, rabbit, frog, deer and beaver. The Bryant fox-squirrel, otherwise known as the "sciurus niger branti," shall be protected wildlife.
§ 702 Game birds.
The following shall be considered game birds: The Anatidae, commonly known as geese, brant and river and sea ducks; the Rallidae, commonly known as rails, coots, mudhens and gallinules; the Limicolae, commonly known as shore birds, plovers, surf birds, snipe, woodcock, sandpipers, tattlers and curlews; the Gallinae, commonly known as wild turkeys, grouse, prairie chickens, pheasants, chukar partridges, partridges and quail; also the reed bird of the Icteridae; and the dove.
§ 703 Open season for game.
The open season during which it shall be lawful to catch, kill or pursue or attempt to catch, kill or pursue muskrat, or to hunt red fox by chase only shall, respectively, be as follows, including, in each instance, the days defining the open season:
(1) Muskrat: In New Castle County, December 1 to March 10, next following, but in embanked meadows or marshes in New Castle County, the open season shall be from December 1 to March 20, next following; in Kent and Sussex Counties, December 15 to March 15, next following.
(2) Red fox: October 1 to April 30, next following, red fox hunting whenever so permitted and whether occurring on public or private lands as provided herein, shall be permitted by chase only from 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset. Red fox hunting shall be permitted only on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday during such time when it is lawful to take deer with a firearm or archery. However, red fox shall not be hunted by chase at all during deer hunting season that takes place in October, November or December. Notwithstanding the foregoing, red fox may be killed in accordance with § 788 of this title. The Division of Fish and Wildlife shall determine those public lands that are available for fox hunting by chase during any deer hunting season. From January through April, fox hunting by chase during deer hunting season shall be permissible on private lands only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday if the owner of the private land has authorized such hunting to occur thereon.
26 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 3; 27 Del. Laws, c. 158, § 2; 27 Del. Laws, c. 159; Code 1915, § 2375; 37 Del. Laws, c. 220, § 1; 38 Del. Laws, c. 145, § 1; Code 1935, § 2821; 41 Del. Laws, c. 177, § 3; 44 Del. Laws, c. 147, § 1; 45 Del. Laws, c. 202, § 1; 45 Del. Laws, c. 206, § 1; 47 Del. Laws, c. 175, § 1; 47 Del. Laws, c. 394, § 2; 48 Del. Laws, c. 172, §§ 1, 2; 48 Del. Laws, c. 272, § 1; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 703; 51 Del. Laws, c. 123, § 3; 55 Del. Laws, c. 25; 68 Del. Laws, c. 15, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 43; 72 Del. Laws, c. 332, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 148, §§ 1, 2.;
§ 704 Prohibited hunting and trapping devices and methods; confiscation of devices; primitive weapon season.
(a) No person shall make use of any pitfall, deadfall, scaffold, cage, snare, trap, net, pen, baited hook, lure, urine or baited field or any other similar device for the purpose of injuring, capturing or killing birds or animals protected by the laws of this State, except red foxes, muskrats, raccoon, opossum, minks, otters, beavers and rabbits may be trapped and snapping turtles may be trapped or taken with a net in accordance with the regulations of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and except as otherwise expressly provided. Landlords and tenants and their respective children may take rabbits in traps and snares during the open season for same on their freeholds and leaseholds respectively. For purposes of this section, the term "lure" means any mixture of ingredients intended to be placed at the trap location for the purpose of masking human odor or attracting wildlife. The term "lure" does not include any tangible objects such as duck or goose decoys or similar tangible devices used while hunting nor does the term include any mixture of ingredients intended for the purpose of masking human odor or attracting deer while deer hunting.
(b) No person shall make use of any drug, poison, chemical or explosive for the purpose of injuring, capturing or killing birds or animals protected by the laws of this State.
(c) The unlawful setting or placing of any of the devices or contrivances named in subsection (a) or (b) of this section is an offense against this section, and such devices and contrivances, when found unlawfully set or placed, shall be confiscated by the Department and disposed of as the Department sees fit.
(d) No person shall shoot at, or kill any bird or animal protected by the laws of this State with any device, swivel or punt gun, or with any gun other than such as is habitually raised at arm's length and fired from the shoulder. Possession of such illegal device or gun while hunting shall be prima facie evidence of an offense under this subsection.
(e) No person shall use for hunting or have in their possession while hunting any shotgun shells loaded with lead or lead alloy missiles larger than No. 2 shot, except ammunition permitted for hunting deer during the lawful open season for deer.
(f) A muzzle-loading rifle, meaning a single-barrel gun which is loaded with black powder and projectile through the muzzle, having distinct rifling the full length of the bore, shooting a spherical or conical projectile, ignited by a flint striking a frizzen or by a percussion cap, having a minimum bore of 0.42 inches (10.67 mm), minimum powder charge of 62 grains (4 grams), may be used in the pursuit, taking or attempted taking ("hunting") of protected wildlife, provided:
(1) Such hunting takes place during the primitive weapon season established by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and is done pursuant to the requirements of law applicable to other means of hunting protected wildlife.
(2) No person engaged in such hunting shall possess or use any multi-projected loads (buck and ball), explosive bullets or any balls smaller than .42 caliber.
No weapon may be used for hunting deer during the primitive weapon season other than a muzzle-loading rifle or bow. The Department may permit the use of a single shot muzzle-loading pistol being a minimum .42 caliber with a minimum powder charge of 40 grains during the primitive weapons season for deer, when using a muzzle-loading rifle to provide the coup-de-grace, if required.
(g) Except as set forth herein, no person may use a handgun in the pursuit, taking or attempted taking (hunting) of protected wildlife. A handgun as described herein may be used for the pursuit, taking and attempted taking (hunting) of deer on privately owned lands situated south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and those lands within the State owned by the State of Delaware so designated for this purpose by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, at its discretion, under the following conditions:
(1) The handgun shall be limited to revolvers and single shot pistols with a minimum barrel length of 5.75 inches and not exceeding 12.5 inches and chambered for and using straight-wall handgun ammunition in .357 magnum, .41 caliber, .41 magnum, .44 caliber, 44 magnum, .45 caliber, .454 caliber, .480 caliber or .50 caliber and using open sights, metallic/mechanical, optical or telescopic sights;
(2) The handgun must be carried openly on a sling or in a holster and not concealed;
(3) To be used:
a. During a separate 7-day season to begin on the first Saturday in January through the second Saturday in January; and
b. In place of a shotgun during the shotgun deer season.
(h) No person shall operate, provide, sell, use, or offer to operate, provide, sell, or use any computer software or service that allows a person not physically present at a hunt site to remotely control a weapon that could be used to take a live animal or bird by remote operation, including, but not limited to, weapons or devices set up to fire through the use of the Internet or through a remote control device.
26 Del. Laws, c. 165, §§ 5, 8; 27 Del. Laws, c. 158, § 3; Code 1915, §§ 2378, 2381; Code 1935, §§ 2826, 2829; 41 Del. Laws, c. 177, § 5; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 704; 50 Del. Laws, c. 450, § 1; 53 Del. Laws, c. 198; 55 Del. Laws, c. 344; 57 Del. Laws, c. 606; 57 Del. Laws, c. 739, § 55; 58 Del. Laws, c. 331, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 169, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 459, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 463, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 493, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 125, § 1; 62 Del. Laws, c. 107, § 1; 62 Del. Laws, c. 326, § 7; 63 Del. Laws, c. 51, §§ 1, 2; 63 Del. Laws, c. 389, §§ 5, 8; 68 Del. Laws, c. 28; 68 Del. Laws, c. 381, §§ 1, 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 44; 70 Del. Laws, c. 436, §§ 1-4; 74 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 40, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 58, §§ 1, 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 308, § 1.;
§ 705 Visiting traps within 24-hour periods; killing of trapped animals.
(a) No person who sets or makes use of any trap, except for muskrats, shall permit more than 24 hours to elapse between visits to such trap.
(b) Notwithstanding § 704(d) of this title, a .22 caliber rimfire pistol may be used to kill animals lawfully confined or restrained by a trap or snare.
§ 706 Damaging nest, den or lair of protected wildlife or trees, stumps or logs on another's property.
No person shall needlessly destroy, break or interfere with any nest, den or lair of any bird or animal protected by the laws of this State, or set fire to, burn, bark or in any way mutilate any tree, living or dead, stump or log, on lands of another, without the express consent of the owner or person in charge.
§ 707 Hunting or shooting from motor vehicle, boats or farm machinery prohibited; penalty.
(a) No person shall shoot at or kill any bird or animal protected by the laws of this State by means of any firearms at any time or place while such person is the occupant of any motor vehicle, motor or sail boat or is riding in or upon any piece of farm machinery, unless said person is legally hunting crippled migratory birds from a motorboat as permitted by federal law. The presence of any person in or on any conveyance used in violation of this section shall be deemed to be a violation of this section.
(b) Whoever violates this section in the daytime, between sunrise and sunset, shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor for each offense. Whoever violates this section between sunset and sunrise of any day, shall be guilty of a class B environmental misdemeanor for each offense.
26 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 7; 27 Del. Laws, c. 158, § 5; Code 1915, § 2380; 35 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 1; Code 1935, § 2828; 46 Del. Laws, c. 147, § 1; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 708; 51 Del. Laws, c. 339, § 2; 59 Del. Laws, c. 81; 70 Del. Laws, c. 275, §§ 47, 48, 71.;
§ 708 Loaded firearms prohibited in or on motor vehicles, motorboats or farm machinery.
No person shall have a loaded shotgun or rifle in that person's possession in, against or on any automobile, other vehicle, any piece of farm machinery, motorboat while under power, sailboat while under power, or have any ammunition in the magazine or chamber of such shotgun or rifle except when it is otherwise lawful to hunt crippled migratory birds from a motorboat as permitted by federal law.
§ 709 Hours for hunting; federal laws and regulations; prohibitions and exceptions.
No person shall pursue, catch, take or kill any migratory bird or fowl except within the hours permitted by federal laws and regulations. No person shall pursue, catch, take or kill any animal protected by the laws of this State except frogs, muskrats, raccoons, opossums, skunks, minks, otter and foxes between a half an hour after sunset of 1 day and a 1/2 before sunrise the following day. No person shall shoot muskrats within the hours named in this section.
26 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 7; 27 Del. Laws, c. 158, § 5; Code 1915, § 2380; 35 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 1; Code 1935, § 2828; 46 Del. Laws, c. 147, § 1; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 710; 49 Del. Laws, c. 150; 70 Del. Laws, c. 275, §§ 49, 71.;
§ 710 Use of silencer on gun; penalty.
Whoever uses a silencer or noise-reducing contrivance on any gun, rifle or firearm when hunting for game or fowl, shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor.
§ 711 Hunting with automatic-loading gun prohibited; penalty.
(a) No person shall hunt for game birds or game animals in this State, except as authorized by state-sanctioned federal depredation/conservation orders for selected waterfowl species, with or by means of any automatic-loading or hand-operated repeating shotgun capable of holding more than 3 shells, the magazine of which has not been cut off or plugged with a filler incapable of removal through the loading end thereof, so as to reduce the capacity of said gun to not more than 3 shells at 1 time, in the magazine and chamber combined.
(b) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor.
(c) Having in one's possession, while in the act of hunting game birds or game animals, a gun that will hold more than 3 shells at 1 time in the magazine and chamber combined, except as authorized in subsection (a) of this section, shall be prima facie evidence of violation of this section.
§ 712 Prohibition against Sunday hunting.
(a) On Sundays, no person shall hunt or pursue any game birds or game animals with any dog or any kind of implement which is capable of killing said game birds or game animals, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) This section shall not be applicable to trapping, training dogs, hunting red foxes with dogs, or participating in commercial game preserve operations in accordance with the provisions of § 572 of this title.
§ 713 Fire regulations; penalty.
(a) No person shall:
(1) Fire or cause to be fired, any woodlot, forest or other wild land or property, material or vegetation being or growing thereon, other than brush in clearing land, either by dropping lighted matches, tobacco or other substance, or in any manner whatsoever without the consent of the owner or owners; or
(2) Start a fire or fires anywhere and permit same to spread to woodlots, forests or other wild lands, causing damage to or destruction of such property; or
(3) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, fire or cause to be fired any marshland in this State after March 1 in any year.
(b) The Department, upon application from any landowner or freeholder and after due investigation, may extend beyond March 1 the time during which marshland in this State may be fired, by the issuance of a permit thereto for such purpose, if it is found after such investigation that the landowner or freeholder has been prevented from firing landowner's or freeholder's marshland before March 1 by circumstances beyond landowner's or freeholder's control.
(c) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor for each offense in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed for any damage caused by the setting of unlawful fires of any kind whatsoever.
Code 1915, § 2379A; 35 Del. Laws, c. 206, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 191, § 11; Code 1935, § 2832; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 715; 57 Del. Laws, c. 739, § 56; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 275, §§ 52, 53, 71.;
§ 714 Trespassing; penalty.
Whoever enters upon the lands or waters of another within this State, without first obtaining permission to do so from the owner or lessee, for the purpose of hunting, trapping or fishing, shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor.
§ 715 Possession of protected wildlife; prohibitions.
(a) No person shall have more than 2 times the daily bag limit or creel limit of any game bird, game animal or game fish in that person's possession at any 1 time when it is lawful to possess such wildlife, except that possession limits for game birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act [16 U.S.C. § 703 et seq.] shall be defined by federal regulations. Any game bird, game animal, or game fish that has been processed and stored for consumption at a person's permanent residence shall not count against the person's possession limit. Nothing in this section shall apply to terrapin lawfully taken and of lawful size, when it is lawful to have said animals, their meat and skins in possession.
(b) No person shall have in possession any game fish during the closed season for said fish, whether the same shall have been taken within or without the State, and no person shall at any time of the year barter, sell, offer for sale or buy any game birds, game animals or game fish protected by the laws of this State, and killed or caught either lawfully or unlawfully within or without this State, except always the muskrat, the snapping turtle and the diamond back terrapin trade during the seasons when it is lawful to have said animals and their meat in possession, and trading at any and all times in muskrat skins and other skins and in terrapin of lawful size which have been lawfully taken; and further except always hotels, restaurants, clubs and other food dispensers which may offer pheasants and quail for food consumption, provided, however, that every such food dispenser having pheasants and quail in its possession has an invoice covering the same showing purchase thereof from a licensed game breeder within or without this State, said invoice to have the game breeder's license number on it.
(c) No person shall knowingly have in possession any game birds, animals or fish which have been unlawfully killed or taken, except when confiscated by the Department and when in the possession of the Department or when in the possession of those to whom the Department has given them.
(d) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor for each offense. In addition to being fined and/or imprisoned, the violator shall be fined $25 for each game bird, game fish and game animal caught or killed illegally, purchased or offered to purchase, sold, offered for sale, bartered or exchanged, or taken or killed or found in possession in excess of the bag or creel limit.
Code 1915, § 2390; 31 Del. Laws, c. 51, § 2; 40 Del. Laws, c. 191, §§ 13, 14; Code 1935, § 2849; 7 Del. C. 1953, § 721; 49 Del. Laws, c. 29; 50 Del. Laws, c. 437, §§ 1, 2; 57 Del. Laws, c. 739, § 57; 60 Del. Laws, c. 493, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 275, §§ 56, 57, 71; 79 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 1.;
§ 716 Hunting, fishing or trapping without a license; penalties.
Any person required by this title to obtain a license before hunting, trapping or fishing in this State and who hunts, traps or fishes without having obtained such license shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor.
§ 717 Frightening or harassing migratory birds; penalties.
Any person who shall frighten or harass migratory birds while at rest on the property of another by use of a rifle, shotgun or any other weapon, shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor.
§ 718 Requiring wearing of hunter orange in the hunting of deer; violation and penalty.
(a) "Hunter orange" means a daylight fluorescent orange color with a dominant wave length between 595 and 605 nanometers, and exotation purity of not less than 85 percent and illuminous factor of not less than 40 percent.
(b) During a time when it is lawful to take deer with a firearm, any person hunting any wildlife except migratory game birds in this State shall display on that person's head, chest and back a total of not less than 400 square inches of hunter orange material.
(c) If a hunter utilizes a ground blind to hunt deer during a time when it is lawful to take deer with a firearm and the hunter is completely concealed within a blind, then 400 square inches of hunter orange material shall be placed within 10 feet outside of the blind and at least 3 feet off of the ground.
(d) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a class D environmental misdemeanor.
§ 719 Discharge of firearms on or near public roads and public rights-of-way; penalty.
(a) No person, except in lawful self-defense, shall discharge any firearm while on or within 15 yards of a public road or right-of-way unless it is a road or right-of-way within an area controlled by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Department of Agriculture of the State or the United States Department of the Interior and is designated by the respective department as an area open to hunting or trapping.
(b) No person shall shoot at any wild bird or wild animal while it is on a public road, nor shall any person shoot across a public road or right-of-way at any wild bird or wild animal.
(c) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor.
§ 720 Conditional permits for disabled persons.
Notwithstanding §§ 707, 708 and 719 of this title, the Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, upon written application and presentation of a medical doctor's written statement that the applicant is unable to walk or is otherwise physically disabled to the extent that the applicant cannot safely hunt except from a vehicle, may issue a conditional permit to shoot wild birds and wild animals from a stationary vehicle during established hunting seasons and in accordance with other existing laws and regulations.
§ 721 Killer, body-gripping traps.
Anyone who sets, tends or possesses or attempts to set or tend a killer, body-gripping trap with a jaw spread in excess of 5 inches shall be guilty of a class B environmental misdemeanor for each offense.
§ 722 Prohibition against use of lights; penalties.
(a) No person or persons shall hunt or attempt to hunt at nighttime any species of wild bird or wild animal with any artificial light including the headlights of any vehicle or with any device that amplifies light using a power source including but not limited to night vision and infrared devices. Possession in a motor vehicle or conveyance of any firearms or other implements with which wild birds or wild animals may be killed, exposed within immediate reach, either loaded or unloaded, while using any artificial lights or any device that amplifies light, shall be prima facie evidence of the use of such firearms or other implements for hunting. Raccoons or opossums may be hunted on foot or while riding on a horse or mule at nighttime during open season with the use of a dog or artificial light or both. Frogs may be hunted on foot or from a boat at nighttime during open season with an artificial light.
(b) No person or persons shall make use of any artificial light emanating from a vehicle and directing toward woods, fields, orchards, livestock, wild animals or birds, dwellings or buildings. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to the normal use of headlights of a vehicle traveling on any public or private road in a normal manner, to any police, emergency or utility company vehicle using spotlights to perform their duties, or to any farmer or landowner on the farmer's or landowner's own or leased land using artificial lights to check on equipment, crops, livestock or poultry. Nor shall this subsection apply to the normal use of headlights of a vehicle traveling in a normal manner 2 hours prior to sunrise or 2 hours after sunset.
(c) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a class B environmental misdemeanor.
§ 723 Hunting or trapping in safety zones; penalty.
(a)(1) No person, except the owner or occupant, shall discharge a firearm within 100 yards of an occupied dwelling, house or residence or any barn, stable or any other building used in connection therewith, while hunting or trapping for wild birds or wild animals of any kind. The area within said distance shall be a "safety zone," and it shall be unlawful to shoot at any wild bird or wild animal while it is within such safety zone without the specific advance permission of the owner or tenant.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law or regulation to the contrary, the safety zone for hunting deer by archery device during established archery seasons shall be 50 yards.
(b) During any open hunting or trapping season, it shall be unlawful for any person, other than the owner or occupant, to hunt or to trap, pursue, disturb or otherwise chase any wild animal or bird within a safety zone without the specific, advance permission of the owner or occupant.
(c) No person, except the owner or occupant, or a person with the permission of said owner or occupant, shall discharge a firearm so that a shot, slug or bullet lands upon any occupied dwelling, house, or residence, or any barn, stable or other building used in connection therewith.
(d) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a class C environmental misdemeanor.
§ 724 Wilful obstruction or impeding of lawful hunting, fishing or trapping activities.
(a) No person shall wilfully obstruct or impede the participation of any individual in:
(1) The lawful taking of fish, crabs, oysters, clams or frogs; or
(2) The lawful hunting of any game birds or animals; or
(3) The lawful trapping of any game animals.
(b) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a class B environmental misdemeanor.
(c) Hunting, trapping or fishing activities while trespassing upon the private lands of another person, persons or corporation shall not be considered lawful hunting, trapping or fishing activities for purposes of this section.
(d) The conduct declared unlawful in this section shall not include any incidental interference arising from lawful activities normally conducted within the general area.
(e) This section shall not apply to law-enforcement personnel acting in the lawful performance of their duties.
§ 725 Falconry; permit; regulations; hunting.
(a) No person may take, transport or possess any raptor for falconry purposes in this State without first procuring a falconry permit from the Department. The Department shall not charge a fee for a falconry permit.
(b) The State hereby adopts Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations pertaining to falconry, and the Department may promulgate such other regulations as may be necessary to govern the practice of falconry.
(c) The falconry permit, when accompanied by a current hunting license, authorizes the hunting of game birds and game animals in compliance with the State's seasons and bag limits.
§ 726 Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
(1) The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact is an interstate agreement between member states to enhance the compliance with the hunting, fishing, and other wildlife laws of member states, and provides for the fair and impartial treatment of wildlife and fisheries violators.
(2) The Board of Compact Administrators has set forth prescribed requirements and procedures for any state to become a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact within the established Bylaws and Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact Operations Manual.
(3) Through this statute, the State of Delaware directs and empowers the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Division of Fish and Wildlife to enact all provisions of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
(4) DNREC is charged to adopt and begin implementation of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact set forth in the Compact, Bylaws and Operations Manual, and to further recognize all current and future member states legally empowered as members of the Compact on or before July 1, 2016. DNREC shall notify the General Assembly if an extension is necessary for a maximum of 3 years due to technological capacity challenges that preclude timely implementation of the Compact.
(5) The State of Delaware by representation through DNREC's Division of Fish and Wildlife will make a formal application to the Chairman and Board of Administrators of the Interstate Wildlife Violation Compact to receive full admission, authority, and representation as an official member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.