Junior Hunter Training Days
Help a new generation discover a passion for hunting and the outdoors!
Connecticut designates specific days when experienced adult hunters are encouraged to take a youth hunting, helping them learn safe and effective hunting practices, develop observational skills, and gain confidence and a comfort level they need to discover a passion for hunting and the outdoors. Mentors usually come away from the experience knowing they have introduced a young person to a sport they love and inspired him or her to become an avid and successful hunter and conservationist. On these days, licensed junior hunters (12 to 15 years of age) may hunt when accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years of age or older. The adult mentor may not carry a firearm and must remain within physical contact in a position to provide direct supervision and instruction at all times.
Junior hunters (12 to 15 years of age) may also hunt during the regular hunting seasons, but must be licensed and accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 years of age or older while hunting. A person may not supervise more than 2 junior hunters at one time while hunting. Juniors are entitled to their own bag limits. Junior license holders do not have to purchase a new license if they turn 16 years of age during the same calendar year. Our Hunting Roadmap will help you get started with hunting in Connecticut!
2023 Junior Hunter Training Days
WATERFOWL - SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2023 and SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2023
Junior hunters (ages 17 and under) who are accompanied by a licensed adult mentor can hunt for waterfowl (ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots) on state land that is designated for waterfowl hunting or private land where verbal permission has been obtained. A list of state-owned hunting areas that are open for waterfowl hunting and have good access can be found in the Migratory Bird Hunting Guide. Maps and a full list of areas that are open to waterfowl hunting are on the hunting area map section of the DEEP website (select the query button on the top right of the map to obtain a list of areas open to waterfowl hunting).
The junior hunter (ages 12-15) must have a valid small game junior hunting license and a 2023 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. Sixteen and 17-year-old hunters must have a valid hunting license, a 2023 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, and a 2023-2024 federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. Adults must possess a valid hunting license; however, accompanying adults cannot hunt ducks on Youth Days but can hunt any other migratory gamebird for which the season is open. Bag limits and shooting hours are the same as for the regular duck and goose hunting seasons. More details about the migratory bird hunting seasons can be found in the Migratory Bird Hunting Guide. (Buy My License Online)
The Connecticut Waterfowl Association sponsors a Waterfowl Mentoring Program. View an article that describes how this great program pairs experienced volunteer mentors with youths and even adult novice waterfowl hunters in the March/April 2014 issue of Connecticut Wildlife magazine.
PHEASANT - SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2023
State and Private Land: Youth participants (12 to 15 year-olds) must possess a current junior hunting license and a Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp. Youth must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. Adults must possess a valid hunting license; however, they are not allowed to carry a firearm.
Hunt on Your Own on Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day - October 14, 2023
Pheasants will be stocked at Skiff Mountain WMA, Simsbury WMA, and Naugatuck SF - Hunter's Mountain in the west and Meadow Brook WMA, Mansfield Hollow FTA, and Bartlett Brook WMA in the east for October 14, 2023. Junior hunters wishing to hunt at one of these areas should secure a daily permit for the area they wish to hunt at through the Online Outdoor Licensing System.
Mentored Hunt Opportunities: The Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) Program and several Connecticut sportsmen's clubs offer mentored junior pheasant hunts on Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day (October 14, 2023) and additional dates in the fall. These events are held free of charge for hunters between 12 and 15 years of age. At each event, participants will be coached on shooting clay targets on the trap or skeet field prior to participating in the hunt. Mentored hunts are staffed with Certified Volunteer Hunter Safety Instructors and experienced hunters, along with a well-trained bird dog and its handler. Youth participants (ages 12 to 15) must possess a 2023 junior hunting license and 2023 Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp, and complete a 2023 Junior Pheasant Hunt Day Application. Hunts will be available for registration on the CT Hunter Education Registration System and will be posted in early September.
DEER - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4 through SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2023 (excluding Sunday)
Private Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must each have a valid private land shotgun/rifle deer permit and written consent from the landowner.
State Land: Licensed junior hunter must have a state land shotgun deer permit (Lottery or No-Lottery). Adult mentor must have a valid deer permit of any type. Deer hunting on Junior Hunter Training Days is permitted on any Lottery or No-Lottery Deer area, regardless of area designated on the permit, with the following exceptions:
- Yale-Myers Forest, MDC Barkhamsted Reservoir-East Block, MDC Barkhamsted Reservoir-West Block, and MDC Nepaug Reservoir-Valentine/Pine Hill Block are not open during Junior Deer Hunter Training Days.
- Centennial Watershed State Forest and Bristol Water Company are only open to junior hunters and mentors who have both been awarded a permit for these areas.
SPRING TURKEY - SATURDAY, APRIL 15 through SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 2023 (excluding Sunday)
Private Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must have both a valid Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp and written consent from landowner.
State Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must have a valid Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp.
Adult mentor may assist in calling turkeys. Hunting hours for Junior Hunter Training Days only are 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset. Harvested turkeys must be tagged and reported (more info).
Trout Brook Valley in Easton is open for wild turkey hunting during the 2023 Spring Turkey Junior Hunter Training Days (April 15-22, excluding Sunday) and the regular spring season (April 26 - May 27). Hunter access to this area is by permit only. Permits are available on Connecticut's Outdoor Licensing System. In addition, hunters must call the Wildlife Division (860-424-3011) to obtain a lock combination to access the hunter parking lot.
Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington is open for wild turkey hunting during the 2023 Spring Turkey Junior Hunter Training Days (April 15-22, excluding Sunday) and the regular spring season (April 26 - May 27). Permits are available on Connecticut's Outdoor Licensing System. The entire management area is open for archery hunting and the north area only is open for firearms hunting. View the Sessions Woods hunting area map for more information.
Content last updated in October 2023.