Electronic Licenses Authorized for Delaware’s Sportsmen and Women in Caucus-Sponsored Bill

Contact: Nick Lewis, Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator

Highlights

  • On September 30, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor John Carney signed House Bill 218 (HB 218), a sporting license modernization bill, into law.
  • HB 218 was authored by Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative William Carson and co-sponsored by Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Jeff Spiegelman and Senators Bruce Ennis and Brian Pettyjohn.
  • HB 218 modernizes hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses, as well as waterfowl and trout stamps, to allow for digital formats to serve as proof of license ownership, should a sportsman or woman be required to “present such license upon request to any person empowered to arrest for violations of the game and fish laws.”

Why it Matters:  Delaware has a rich hunting, fishing, and trapping community that is deeply embedded in the state’s traditions and history. The Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus has fought ardently to pass pro-sportsmen legislation and defeat efforts that would otherwise limit the rights of sportsmen and women within the First State. One of the greatest successes this year was the passage of House Bill 218, legislation that modernizes licenses for Delaware sportsmen and women. With the 2021-2022 hunting season upon us, this bill will expand the options sportsmen and women have in order to be compliant with license requirements.

On September 30, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) Member Governor John Carney signed House Bill 218 (HB 218) into law, allowing for Delaware’s sportsmen and women to utilize a digital format for proof of possession of their hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and stamps. The modern reporting method, which applies to all licenses and stamps, comes as a welcome advancement for hunters, anglers, and trappers who will no longer have to carry a printed version of their licenses on their person. The bill also gives the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control the ability to set the application requirements for digital stamps, providing increased flexibility in adapting, rather than being subjected to statutory guidelines.

HB 218 is the culmination of a bipartisan effort from the Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. HB 218 was authored by Caucus Co-Chair Representative William Carson, and co-sponsored by the other three Caucus Co-Chairs – Representative Jeff Spiegelman, Senator Brian Pettyjohn, and Senator Bruce Ennis. HB 218 was passed unanimously in both chambers, highlighting the collective nature of this license modernization effort and exemplifying a strong understanding of the importance of updating methods in which sportsmen and women may carry their hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds the Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus' leadership and GSC member Governor Carney for their continued efforts towards ensuring that sporting licenses and stamps remain current with the growth of technology in the 21st century.

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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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