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2021 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide


Small Game and Pheasant Hunting


Hunters must have verbal permission to hunt small game on private land. Specific laws and regulations for each season are listed below. (License and permit costs)

Resident Game Birds

Migratory Game Birds

Small Mammals

Furbearer Hunting

New to small game hunting or interested in taking up the activity again? The Small Game Hunting Roadmap helps you get started!

Resident Game Bird Hunting Seasons

Ruffed Grouse

Species: Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Quail, Chukar, Hungarian Partridge, and Wild Turkey (turkey hunting season information).

Major Pheasant Stocking Areas

Season Dates

  • Pheasant: Jan. 1 - Feb. 27 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 31

  • Ruffed Grouse: Oct. 16 - Nov. 30

  • Quail: Oct. 16 - Oct. 30

  • Chukar and Hungarian Partridge: Jan. 1 - Feb. 27 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 31

Bag Limits

  • Pheasant: Daily (2); Season (10)
  • Ruffed Grouse: Daily (1); Season (8)
  • Quail: Daily (2); Season (10)
  • Chukar and Hungarian Partridge: Daily (2); Season (10)

Hunting Hours: 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset.

License Requirements -- Firearms or Archery Hunting License and a Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp

Special Conditions:

  • Extended Quail Season - Quail may be hunted at the Nod Brook WMA and the Flaherty, Mansfield, and Sugarbrook Field Trial Areas from Jan. 1 - Feb. 27 and from Oct. 16 - Dec. 31.
  • Landowners hunting resident game birds on their own land must obtain the Free Landowner Resident Game Bird Stamp, and are restricted to daily and season bag limits.
  • Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day - Saturday, October 9, 2021. Information on Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Events held at local sportsmen's clubs can be found on the Junior Hunter webpage. "Hunt on Your Own" junior pheasant hunts are available at designated state-owned locations for licensed junior hunters accompanied by a licensed adult hunter.

Saturday Pheasant Hunting Permits - Saturday permits are required October 16 - November 13, 2021, at select areas listed below. These areas will be stocked the listed Saturday mornings and afternoons and will only be open to hunters with a Saturday permit. Saturday permits for these areas will only become available on the Online Outdoor Licensing System the Monday preceding the Saturday hunts, starting at 7:00 AM (new this year and not reflected in the printed version of the 2021 CT Hunting Guide). Specific details about these permits and pheasant hunting in general can be found on the Pheasant Hunting webpage.

  • Cromwell Meadows WMA
  • NU-Skiff Mountain Coop. Area     
  • Naugatuck State Forest (Hunter's Mtn. Block)     
  • Simsbury WMA
  • Nathan Hale State Forest
  • Durham Meadows WMA

 

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons

Changes are coming to 2021 HIP permits purchased through third-party license vendors. Learn how the changes affect you. There are no changes if you purchase your HIP permit through DEEP's Online Licensing System.

New to migratory bird hunting or interested in taking up the activity again? The Waterfowl Hunting Roadmap helps you get started!

Crow Hunting

Season Dates: (hunting only on certain days)

  • Jan. 9 - March 31; Monday through Saturday
  • Aug. 14 - Oct. 8: Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
  • Oct. 16 - Nov. 27; Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays

Bag Limit: No limit

Hunting Hours: 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset.

License Requirements -- Firearms or Archery Hunting License and Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp.

Legal Firearms

Special Conditions:

  • While crow hunting from a stationary position a hunter is exempt from the fluorescent orange clothing regulation.
  • In addition to Connecticut hunting laws, migratory bird hunters are subject to all Federal Laws and Regulations.
Woodcock, Snipe, and Rail Hunting

Species: Woodcock, Snipe, Rails, Coot, Crows

Season Dates: See current Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

License Requirements: Firearms or Archery Hunting License and Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp.

Legal Firearms

Non-toxic Shot - Non-toxic shot is required for coot and rail hunting. The maximum size shot allowed is BB for steel and #2 for other federally approved non-toxic shot types.

Special Conditions: In addition to Connecticut hunting laws, migratory bird hunters are subject to all Federal Laws and Regulations. Legal shooting hours for migratory game birds and waterfowl end at sunset.

Waterfowl Hunting

Species: Ducks, Mergansers, Geese, Brant

Season Dates: See current Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

License Requirements: Firearms or Archery Hunting License and Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. All migratory game bird hunters, including junior hunters (ages 12-15), must obtain the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. Federal Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp also required for hunters 16 years or older. Note, federal waterfowl stamps must be signed in ink on the face of the stamp.

Legal Firearms: Shotguns are the only firearms which may be used. Refer to the Migratory Bird Hunting Guide for regulations regarding the number of shells a shotgun may hold.

Special Conditions:

  • Non-toxic Shot - Non-toxic shot is required for waterfowl hunting. The maximum size shot allowed is BB for steel and #2 for other federally approved non-toxic shot types.
  • Possession of Lead Shot - possessing lead shot while waterfowl hunting is prohibited.
  • Federal Regulations - in addition to Connecticut hunting laws, waterfowl hunters are subject to all Federal Laws and Regulations. Legal shooting hours for migratory game birds and waterfowl end at sunset.
  • No Hunting Buffer Zone - while hunting in tidal areas from land or from floating blinds anchored to land or rock positions, the no hunting buffer zone around permanent buildings is 250 feet.
  • Fluorescent Orange Clothing - while hunting waterfowl from boats or stationary positions, a hunter is exempt from the fluorescent orange clothing regulation.

Junior Waterfowl Hunter Training Days: Dates are published in the current Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

Small Game Mammals

Season Dates

  • Gray Squirrel: Jan. 1 - Feb. 27 and Sept. 1 - Dec. 31
  • Cottontail: Jan. 1 - Feb. 27 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 31
  • European Hare: Jan. 1 - Feb. 27 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 31
  • Snowshoe Hare: Jan. 1 - Jan. 30 and Nov. 20 - Dec. 31
  • Woodchuck: March 15 - Nov. 15

Bag Limits

  • Gray Squirrel: Daily (8); Season (40)
  • Cottontail: Daily (3); Season (25
  • European Hare: Daily (1); Season (10)
  • Snowshoe Hare: Daily (2); Season (10)
  • Woodchuck: Daily and Season (no limit)

Hunting Hours: 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset.

License Requirements: Firearms or Archery Hunting License

Special Conditions: None

Furbearer Hunting Seasons

Season Dates

  • Raccoon: Jan. 1 - Jan. 16 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 31
  • Opossum: Jan. 1 - Jan. 16 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 31
  • Red and Gray Foxes: Jan. 1 - Feb. 27 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 31
  • Coyote: Jan. 1 - Dec. 31

Bag Limits:

  • Raccoon: Daily (5); Season (no limit)
  • Opossum: Daily and Season (no limit)
  • Red and Gray Foxes: Daily (3 combined); Season (30 combined)
  • Coyote: Daily and Season (no limit)

Hunting Hours:

  • Raccoon and Opossum: No restrictions on state-owned lands open to hunting and on private lands where landowners have given permission.
  • Foxes and Coyotes: 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset.

License Requirements: Firearms or Archery Hunting License

Special Conditions:

  • Raccoons and Opossums: When hunting at night, rifles or handguns using ammunition larger than .22 caliber rimfire or shotgun shells larger than #2 shot may not be used. Note that rifles or handguns using .17 caliber rimfire ammunition are permitted for hunting at night. It is illegal to take raccoons or opossums with the use of a light from a motor vehicle.
  • Foxes and Coyotes taken by hunting must be reported online or by telephone (1-877-337-4868). Or, they can be pelt tagged. To be sold, all fox and coyote pelts must be tagged.

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Content last updated on November 30, 2020.