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October is mostly associated with falling temperatures, colorful leaves, and Halloween, but Delaware hunters don’t have to wait until October 31 for treats.

Although whitetail deer archery season has been open since September 1, October presents various other opportunities to deer hunters who wish to harvest deer by other means. Delaware’s first muzzleloader deer season opens Friday and runs through Saturday, October 14. The nine-day season includes Sunday, October 8, which is the first of the five Sundays on which deer hunting is permitted in Delaware during the 2017-2018 season. Licensed hunters are legally allowed to harvest bucks or does during the muzzleloader season (assuming they possess the appropriate deer tags) with firearms that require manually loading the gun by inserting measures of gunpowder (or a similar propellant) and a projectile into the end of the gun barrel. Muzzleloaders only fire one shot before they must be manually reloaded, and they may be equipped with scopes.

October also provides deer hunting opportunities to hunters who wish to use shotguns or handguns instead of a muzzleloader, bow, or crossbow. The first of Delaware’s special antlerless deer seasons runs on October 16, 20, 21, 23, 27, 28, and 30 (the Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays outside of the muzzleloader season). During this special October antlerless deer season, hunters can legally use shotguns, approved handguns, muzzleloaders, or archery equipment to harvest deer with both antlers less than three inches long. However, only hunters who use bows or crossbows may harvest bucks with antlers longer than three inches.

Deer are not the only game in town in October, however.

Gray squirrel season, which opened September 15 and runs through February 3, provides hunters the chance to fill their game bags with up to six squirrels per day. Those who hunt squirrels north of the C&D Canal can only use shotguns, but hunters who pursue squirrels south of the canal can use shotguns, rimfire and pellet rifles .17 through .22 caliber and muzzleloading rifles up to .36 caliber.

October also ushers in the first of Delaware’s three regular duck seasons. In addition to a youth waterfowl hunting day (for hunters age 10-15) on October 21, the first Delaware duck season segment runs from October 27 through November 7. Hunters can harvest up to six ducks per day, although species-specific guidelines are in place, including no more than four mallards (but no more than 2 hens), two black ducks, and three wood ducks. Other species-specific limits are listed by the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. Delaware’s snow goose season also opens in October, running from October 10 through February 10.

For some of the more adventurous hunters whose interests go beyond deer, waterfowl, and typical small game, other October hunting opportunities exist. Dove season reopens October 17 through October 21, rail season runs through November 9, the first of two snipe seasons runs through December 2, and the moorhen and gallinule season runs through November 9.

Just in case a hunter has exhausted all other opportunities, she or he can also pursue crows, groundhogs, or coyotes in October.