May 30, 2024

Delaware’s Governor Signs CSF Priority Sunday Hunting Bill Into Law

May 30, 2024 (Dover, Delaware) – Moments ago, Delaware Governor John Carney, a member of the Governor’s Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC), signed House Bill 271 (HB 271) into law, removing the longstanding prohibition on Sunday gamebird hunting in Delaware. Delaware’s definition of game birds includes waterfowl, rails, wild turkeys, pheasants, quail, chukar, and doves, amongst others.

In 2016, the Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus spearheaded the passage of HB 289, which permits deer hunting on both private and public lands (subject to approval of the appropriate regulatory body) on five Sundays during firearms seasons. In 2018, the Caucus took further steps for access and opportunity by passing SB 198, which opened hunting every Sunday throughout the state’s archery and firearm deer seasons. Previously, section 712 of Title 7 of the Delaware Code prohibited the hunting of any game birds or game animals (except deer) on Sundays. The enactment of this legislation will remove this prohibition against hunting game birds on Sunday and will substantially expand opportunities for sportsmen and women of the First State.

By lifting the current prohibition, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Division of Fish and Wildlife will continue to have the authority to establish and regulate season dates, bag limits and enforcement for the hunting of game birds but will gain the ability to add Sundays to the existing game bird seasons.

Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member, Rep. William Carson, was the primary sponsor of HB 271, with his fellow Co-Chairs and co-sponsors, Sen. Nicole Poore, Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, and Rep. Jeff Spiegelman. HB 271 passed both the House and Senate unanimously, a show of widespread support for our time-honored traditions and for expanding opportunities for Delaware’s hunters.

“I’d like to thank Governor Carney for signing this piece of legislation. Over the last several years in Delaware we have made great strides in providing new opportunities for hunters in the First State,” said Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, Representative Jeff Spiegelman. “By having another day to get outside during the weekend to enjoy our natural heritage we are making it easier to retain current hunters and recruit the next generation to the sport we love”.

The next step in this process falls to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to implement Sunday gamebird hunting as they continue to have the authority to establish and regulate season dates, bag limits and enforcement for the hunting of game birds. CSF fully anticipates that DNREC will implement Sunday gamebird hunting. Waterfowlers and visitors of the First State should expect to see this change as early as the 2024-2025 waterfowl hunting season, followed by the 2025 spring turkey season.

CSF applauds the Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, Secretary Garvin, and Governor Carney for putting the sportsmen and women of the First State, first.  Allowing sportsmen and women the opportunity to partake in our treasured outdoor heritage without restricting access is key in successfully continuing to recruit, retain, and reactivate hunters. CSF looks forward to working with DNREC as they move forward with implementing Sunday gamebird hunting.

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