This week's edition of "Traplines on Cypress Creek" discusses some positive changes made by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife to hunting regulations.


I keep telling myself that this hot, dry, muggy spell has to end soon, but it seems as if “soon” just won’t come soon enough. I know the sporadic thunderstorms and those two days of soaking rains seemed to come at just the time to save the crops. I had worried about the soybeans out where I hunted, but it seemed they doubled in size the day after those soakers.

DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife has recently released the major changes to our hunting regulations and even the most pessimistic person would be hard pressed to find anything negative about them. They’ve been sorely needed.

My personal favorite is the removal of that silly requirement to wear a license exposed on the outer clothing. I’d submitted the proposal to the Wildlife Advisory Board nearly three years ago and it’s taken that long to get the legislature to act on it. (You know I still have a gripe about politicians being involved in wildlife matters and here’s just one of the reasons. What Fish and Wildlife could have changed in a matter of minutes took the legislature three years to accomplish.) The requirement now is that you have the license “on your person” to present when lawfully required. This falls in line with all but one or two other states currently.

Next is the crossbow season. Though I’ve taken some blame, this never was my idea. I actually don’t see any reason to have a separate season as it would have and could have been so much simpler just to have included the crossbow, the long bow, the recurve and the compound under a single “archery” season. It seems silly to have the crossbow season a carbon copy of the archery season including the dates and requirements for hunter orange apparel during firearms seasons.

The last change has taken decades for the politicians to be educated by the biologists as to the significant impact of the red fox on native small game in Delaware. Finally the red fox is going to be managed like any other furbearer in the state. The season will run from Nov. 1 until Feb. 28, 2011.

Several other changes should be noted.

The “safety zone” for archers has been reduced to 50 yards of occupied structures and highways. (Gun hunters have remained unchanged).

There is a major additional requirement placed on individuals exempt from buying hunting licenses due to age or land ownership exemptions. They will now have to get a Hunter and Trapper Identification Number and have it available when lawfully required. This allows the division to better approximate the number of participants in the program as well as allowing them to be included in any statewide surveys. This number can be acquired by dialing 877-939-3678 or online at www.dehip.com.

All of this information is available in the 2010 Hunting and Trapping Guide or online through the Fish and Wildlife website at www.fw.delaware.gov.