June 22, 2018

Delaware: Handgun Hunting Legislation Passes House

By Brett Stayton, Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator

On June 19, Delaware HB 156 passed out of the House of Representatives with bipartisan support from Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus members, including all four Co-Chairs. 

If enacted, this legislation would greatly expand the range of pistol calibers authorized for hunting deer during the state’s shotgun season with the intention of improving the efficacy with which the states deer herds can be managed to reduce crop damage while maintaining public safety. The bill would also authorize the use of pistol caliber rifles, which would further extend the options Delaware hunters have for harvesting deer.

Additionally, the bill would also establish a new seven-day deer season beginning on the first Saturday in January under the condition that hunters use only handguns or pistol caliber rifles.

Should this bill be enacted into law, all prospective hunters in the state should check the state to verify that their handgun or pistol caliber rifle is in compliance with state law prior to going afield.   

“I am pleased that HB 156 passed overwhelmingly in the House. I hope the bill receives the same treatment in the Senate as soon as possible and is sent to the Governor for his signature,” said bill sponsor and Caucus Co-Chair Representative Jeff Spiegleman. “It’s time Delawareans have access to more hunting opportunities and hunting experiences.”

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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