June 29, 2018

Delaware: Handgun Hunting Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk

By Brett Stayton, Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator

On June 28, Delaware HB 156 unanimously passed the Senate by a margin of 21-0. The bill had bipartisan support from many members of Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus members, including all four Co-Chairs. The Bill is now headed to the desk of Governor’s Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor John Carney.

Should this legislation be signed into law, Delaware’s sportsmen and women will be authorized to use an expanded range of pistol calibers for both handguns and pistol-caliber rifles during the state’s shotgun season. Additionally, a new seven-day deer season beginning on the first Saturday in January would be established specifically for the use of handguns or pistol caliber rifles.

Proponents of this bill cite the previously confusing patchwork of allowances surrounding the use of handguns for hunting as well as expanded opportunity for Delaware hunters as some of the key reasons this legislation is needed. Additionally, this expanded opportunity will provide assistance to the farming community in Delaware, who have been looking for additional resources to help them deal with crop damage issues related to deer in specific areas. If this bill is enacted into law, all prospective hunters in the state should check with the state regulations.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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