Hunting and Trapping Information
News and Notices | 2023 CT Hunting and Trapping Guide | CT Migratory Bird Hunting Guide | Hunting at National Wildlife Refuges in Connecticut | ATV Regulations | Thank a Landowner
Hunting and fishing licenses, stamps, and permits can be purchased 24/7 on the DEEP’s Online Outdoor Licensing System. These items can also be purchased at outdoor equipment retailers and some town halls (please check with your local town hall to find out about availability or any restrictions).
Hunting and fishing licenses purchased through CT's Online Outdoor Licensing System can be signed electronically, allowing you to keep a digitally signed copy on your smartphone instead of needing to have a signed, printed copy! Licenses purchased through a license agent location must still be printed and signed to be valid.
The Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods (Burlington; directions) and Franklin (North Franklin; directions) Field Offices and DEEP's Western District Headquarters (Harwinton; directions) will be open for fishing and hunting license sales, on Monday – Friday, from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM, and on Monday - Friday, from 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM at DEEP’s Eastern District Headquarters (Marlborough; directions). No public restrooms are available inside the Sessions Woods and Franklin offices.
- Marine District Headquarters (Old Lyme; 860-434-6043) is CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
New to hunting or interested in taking up the activity again? The Hunting Roadmap helps you get started!
Hunting and Trapping News and Notices
NEW! Hunting Closure Related to Forest Harvest at Nassahegon State Forest
A timber harvest (W-432A) on Stone Road at Nassahegon State Forest in Burlington resumed on November 28, 2022. The remaining half of this timber harvest should be wrapped up this winter. As a result, the east side of Stone Road will again be closed to the public in this state forest and this includes hunting at the specific request of the logging contractor. Also, the public parking area that is used daily by mountain bikers will be closed from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. The public can still park there on weekends. Signs have been posted stating this at the parking area. The parking area is necessary as a log truck turnaround.
Acreage Added to Bishop Swamp Wildlife Management Area Now Open for Hunting
Approximately 284 acres in Hebron, formerly the Fracchia property, have been added to the 752-acre Bishop Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Andover and are currently open (as of November 1, 2022) for hunting during the small game, waterfowl, deer (fall archery only), and turkey (fall archery only) seasons. Shared boundaries between Meshomasic State Forest, Gay City State Park, and the new acquisition have been marked with appropriate signs, which indicate property boundaries and where hunting is permitted. Hunters should park at a pull-off parking area located at 239 North Street (Route 85) in Hebron to access the new section of the WMA (located east and west of Route 85) and Meshomasic State Forest.
In 2023, both sections of Bishop Swamp WMA will be open to all forms of hunting, including shotgun deer hunting as part of the State Land Deer Lottery and muzzleloader deer hunting. Details on how to apply for the 2023 Deer Lottery will be included in the 2023 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide, which will be published online in December 2022.
The 284-acre Fracchia property was acquired in two phases with funding from the State Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program and Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program. The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program is the nation's oldest and most successful wildlife restoration program. Funds from taxes paid by sportsmen and women on ammunition, firearms, and archery equipment go toward projects to restore, conserve, manage, and enhance wild birds and mammals and their habitats.
Acreage Added to Goshen Wildlife Management Area
Approximately 631 acres are being added to Goshen Wildlife Management Area, located off of Beech Hill Road in Goshen, CT. With this additional acreage, the property is now 1,584 acres (see map). The new acreage is now open to all regulated hunting including small game, wild turkey, pheasant, deer, and waterfowl hunting. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Western District Biologist Peter Picone at 860-424-3032.
New! DelReeves Road in Meshomasic State Forest Reopened
A culvert replacement project that began in late September 2022 on DelReeves Road within Meshomasic State Forest in East Hampton is completed and the road is open to public use. Learn more about this project and view photos of the work.
Property Added to Salmon River State Forest Open for Hunting: Salmon River State Forest recently expanded by 207.68 acres when DEEP acquired the Lord property with the help of funds from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program. A portion of the property borders Jones Hollow Road and Parker Road in Marlborough. The boundary of the new property has been marked with state land markers and “Hunting Permitted” signs. Check DEEP’s Interactive Hunting Area Map to find the new location and types of hunting allowed (the PDF map of Salmon River State Forest will be updated in the near future). The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program is funded by hunters and those who participate in shooting sports. Any properties acquired with Federal Aid funds are for the approved purpose of protecting in perpetuity, wildlife and wildlife habitat and to allow compatible wildlife associated recreational uses.
Sars-CoV-2 and White-tailed Deer: Recent research conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) indicated that wild white-tailed deer were exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. This research was not conducted in Connecticut, but positive results were found in several states, including New York and Pennsylvania. There is currently no evidence to indicate that deer can spread the virus to humans. The results are not surprising—deer are mammals that live in close proximity to humans—and other wild mammals have been shown to be susceptible to the virus that causes Covid-19. Additional research is underway. There also is no evidence the virus can be transmitted through food preparation and consumption. Hunters should always practice good hygiene while field dressing wild game. For tips on handling meat from wild animals, visit the CDC website.
Scientists still do not fully understand how wild deer were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or how new variants may impact transmissibility among species. With this in mind, it is recommended that domestic animals are kept away from wildlife and wildlife carcasses as a precautionary measure. Direct and indirect transmission from people to wildlife is possible, thus reducing SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human population through preventive measures, including vaccination, is the best defense against human to deer transmission. (Note: Vaccination may not be recommended for immunocompromised people.)
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2023 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide
Find links to the different sections of the 2023 Guide.
- ebook version of the 2023 Hunting and Trapping Guide
- Downloadable PDF of the 2023 Hunting and Trapping Guide
- Downloadable PDF of the 2023-Guía-de-caza-y-captura-de-Connecticut
- 2023 Season Summary Quick Reference
- 2023 List of Public Hunting Areas
- Public Hunting Area Maps and Information
- Sunrise/Sunset Table for 2023
- Pheasant Hunting
- 2023 Deer Lottery
- Private Land Consent Form
- 2023 Deer/Turkey Harvest Tags | Tagging and Reporting Deer/Turkeys
- Replacement Tag Deer Check Stations
- Online Hunter Reporting -- (for Deer, Wild Turkey, Small Game, and Coyote/Fox)
- Hunting at National Wildlife Refuges in Connecticut
- Shooting Ranges and Public Shooting Opportunities
- Field Trials and Dog Training | Field Trial Dates
- Snapping Turtle Regulations
Hunters: Help Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade
2022-2023 Connecticut Migratory Bird Hunting Guide
Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations
Hunters who have encountered problems purchasing the Federal Duck Stamp at local post offices can purchase the Electronic Duck Stamp, or E-Stamp, online for immediate use. You may purchase the E-Stamp from another state as DEEP's online system currently is unable to process Federal Duck Stamp purchases. The actual stamp will be mailed to you after purchase, but you will have an E-Stamp to use until you receive the actual stamp. Details on how to purchase an E-Stamp are on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.
ATTENTION WATERFOWL HUNTERS
Request for Connecticut Eider Hunters to Voluntarily Avoid Harvesting Hens and Young (Brown) Eiders this Season
Following an unusual episode of mortality caused by avian influenza this spring, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) anticipates a decline in the number of common eiders in the St. Lawrence Estuary in 2023 and beyond. Many of these birds migrate south to winter in southern New England. In order not to further jeopardize the situation of the species, CWS is calling on the cooperation of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island hunters to:
- Reduce, on a voluntary basis, their harvest of common eiders for the 2022-23 season.
- Refrain from harvesting female common eiders or young. Females and young are brown in color, while males are white and black.
- For about 20 years, the population of common eiders nesting in Québec’s colonies in the St. Lawrence Estuary has been stable. One of the reasons the population is not increasing is that recruitment (percentage of young in the population) is probably just sufficient to replace adult mortality (from natural causes and hunting).
In spring 2022, an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) struck at some of the largest eider colonies in the estuary, and a non-exhaustive count of
carcasses recovered allowed CWS to estimate that between 5 and 15% of nesting females died. Many nests were abandoned by the females, and very few crèches (groupings of adult females with their broods) were observed in the estuary. As a result, CWS biologists expect the number of young birds for 2022 to be particularly low and the population to be lower in the coming years.
While daily bag for eiders in the Atlantic Flyway states is currently limited to no more than three, of which only one can be a hen, we are also asking Connecticut hunters to also voluntarily refrain from shooting "brown" eider.
Southern New England is the wintering terminus for many eiders breeding in Canada. It is irresponsible to ask Canadian hunters to forgo harvesting hens and young birds only to have them shot when they arrive here. In order to allow time for eiders to recover from the recent avian influenza outbreak (the same one that decimated the Northeast poultry industry and caused egg prices to skyrocket), we are asking our responsible waterfowl hunters to also pass on the hens and young eiders that cross in front of their barrels this year.
Notice for Waterfowl Hunters Traveling to Canada to Hunt
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) implemented restrictions in September 2022 on hunter harvested wild bird meat/carcasses from all of Canada, regardless of province, due to the risk of transmitting highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). APHIS has been working with stakeholders and other federal agencies to provide options for importing hunter-harvested wild bird meat/carcasses that address the HPAI transmission risk to our domestic poultry. View the press release that outlines restrictions and conditions.
Hunting at National Wildlife Refuges in Connecticut
Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge (NWR): Opportunities for hunting at this federally-owned NWR have been expanded to include archery deer hunting on 4 units, archery turkey hunting on 1 unit, and waterfowl hunting on 3 units. The Stewart B. McKinney NWR consists of 10 units located along the coast of Connecticut from Westbrook to Greenwich. Select the links below for each unit to obtain information on allowable hunting, accessibility, regulations, maps, and more, as well as to print out a Hunt Brochure that needs to be signed and carried on your person while hunting at these areas. Use the Find Your Hunt mapping application provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to see maps of the national wildlife refuges in Connecticut.
- Calf Island Unit, Greenwich: Waterfowl and archery deer hunting only. Hunters must have a signed USFWS Hunt Brochure at all times.
- Great Meadows Unit, Stratford: Waterfowl and archery deer hunting only. Waterfowl may be hunted on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday during the regular state season. After the close of the regular waterfowl season, Canada and snow goose hunting is permitted every day except Sunday. Hunters must have a signed USFWS Hunt Brochure at all times.
- Chimon and Sheffield Islands, Norwalk: Waterfowl and archery deer hunting only. Hunters must have a signed USFWS Hunt Brochure at all times.
- Salt Meadow Unit, Westbrook: Fall archery deer (tree stand) and turkey hunting only. Hunters must have a signed USFWS Hunt Brochure at all times.
Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge: Hunting and fishing information for the Silvio O. Conte NWR, including a Hunt Brochure for hunters to print and carry with them when hunting on Refuge lands, can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website. Hunters must have a signed USFWS Hunt Brochure at all times.
Registered Hunting and Fishing Guide List
Frequently Asked Questions about Hunting
2021 Connecticut Deer Program Summary
2021 Wild Turkey Program Report
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Regulations for Riding All-Terrain Vehicles in Connecticut
- All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) MAY NOT be operated on any state lands (exceptions may be granted for paraplegics and sanction events).
- Written permission is required to operate an ATV on private land (If permission is not obtained, may result in a Criminal Trespass Fine).
- ATVs MAY NOT be operated in any manner which would harass wildlife or domestic animals.
- All ATVs require a valid registration.
- ATV operators MUST STOP upon request from any law enforcement officer.
- ATVs MAY NOT be operated on any railroad right-of-way.
Potential Impacts of ATV Misuse
- The heavy weight of an ATV compacts soil, often leading to excessive runoff where sediments have negative impacts on aquatic habitats for fish, amphibians, and other wildlife.
- Water quality can also be impacted by suspended sediments blocking light, which reduces the ability of aquatic plants to photosynthesize and reduces oxygen levels in the water column. Reduced oxygen levels cause negative effects on survival and productivity in aquatic ecosystems.
- Vegetation and fragile habitats can be damaged by riding in wetland habitats.
- Invasive plant seeds and plant fragments can be transported long distances on ATVs, causing negative impacts to native plant communities.
- Excessive noise has been shown to disrupt normal behavior patterns of wildlife species, such as nesting, reproduction, and feeding.
- More information about ATVs on State Land
Please ride responsibly and follow all ATV rules and regulations.
Thank a Landowner!
Private landowners create recreational opportunities by granting outdoor users access to their property. This access is a privilege, so please remember to take time every year to extend your appreciation to private landowners who offered you access for fishing, hunting, hiking, or wildlife watching opportunities on their properties. If you have been recreating on local land trust or other private non-profit conservation lands, be sure to include those groups on your thank you list as well. Following are some suggestions for hunters, anglers, and other outdoor users when thanking private property owners who allow access for outdoor recreation:
- Express your appreciation thoughtfully and personally. If you are mentoring a new or junior hunter, angler, birder, or naturalist, include him or her in the process of thanking the landowner.
- Consider providing the landowner with some of your fish or game harvest, or share images or a list of the wildlife you saw on their property.
- Send a personal note or card thanking the landowner for the opportunity to use his or her land. Consider giving a small gift, such as a gift certificate or gift basket. In the case of a non-profit landowner, make a donation to their organization.
- Offer to help with tasks around the property, or identify, clean up, and properly dispose of any illegal dumping that has occurred.
- Document and report suspicious or illegal activities on the property to the DEEP Environmental Conservation Police at 860-424-3333 (24 hours) or deep.EnConPolice@ct.gov.
Content last updated on February 10, 2023.