Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut
Pheasant stocking updates for the 2020 hunting season will be added by late summer.
The permit-based Saturday program will continue on the six hunting areas listed below. Each area will be open by permit from Saturday October 17 - Saturday, November 14, 2020. Like last year, the areas will be stocked on Saturday morning and afternoon and will only be open to hunters with a Saturday AM (8:00 AM -11:00 AM) or Saturday PM (12:00 PM - 3:00 PM) permit. These select areas will be stocked prior to the morning permit and during the afternoon break to assure that birds will be available at these areas on the weekends.
Hunters without permits may hunt these areas after 3:00 PM. Hunters who secure a permit may bring along one junior hunter. The junior hunter does not need a separate permit if they accompany a Saturday permit holder. Permit holders who do not bring a junior hunter as a guest, cannot bring an adult guest, this option is for juniors only.
The areas for the permit-based Saturday program include:
- Cromwell Meadows WMA Map
- Durham Meadows WMA Map
- Nathan Hale State Forest Map
- Naugatuck State Forest (Hunter's Mountain Block only) West Block
- Simsbury WMA Map
- Skiff Mountain Coop WMA Map
All hunters wishing to use these areas on Saturdays before 3:00 PM must have a Saturday permit (or be a junior hunter accompanying a permitted hunter) and will only be able to be present during the specified time on the daily permit. Saturday permits for these areas will only become available on the Online Sportsmen Licensing System the Monday preceding the Saturday hunts starting at 12:01 AM. Daily Permits will be needed at these areas on the following Saturdays:
- Saturday, October 17
- Saturday, October 24
- Saturday, October 31
- Saturday, November 7
- Saturday, November 14
Compliance with these requirements is necessary in order for birds to be stocked between visits. If hunters are present, birds will not be stocked.
Junior Hunter Opportunities
October 10, 2020, is Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day. Stay tuned for a list of state-owned areas will be stocked with pheasants for Junior Hunters. All Junior Hunters must buy a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp and secure a Junior Hunter Training Day reservation on the Online Sportsmen Licensing System to participate. A number of clubs around the state will be offering Junior Pheasant Hunts on this day and other fall dates. Please see the Junior Hunter webpage for instructions and details about the various events being offered.
CONNECTICUT RESIDENT GAME BIRD CONSERVATION STAMP: All pheasant hunters must purchase a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp, along with a hunting license. The Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp is also required for those who wish to hunt wild turkey, ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail, and chukar and Hungarian partridge. The stamp costs $28 for adults and non-residents. Connecticut resident youth hunters (ages 12-17) can purchase the stamp for a discounted price of $14. All revenues from the sale of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps will be deposited into a separate, non-lapsing account to use exclusively for the purchase and management of game birds and their habitat. Hunters who wish to enjoy hunting woodcock while pursuing pheasant are required to also purchase a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp (which includes the HIP permit). The cost of the stamp is $17.Both stamps can be purchased through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System and from participating Town Clerks and Retail Agents including:
- Franklin Swamp WMA - Franklin
- Sessions Woods, WMA - Burlington
- Marine Headquarters - Old Lyme
- Eastern District Headquarters - Marlborough
- Western District Headquarters - Harwinton
- DEEP Headquarters - Hartford
Three-day Non-Resident License: Non-resident hunters wishing to take advantage of the vast bird hunting opportunities that Connecticut has to offer can now purchase a three-day, non-resident bird hunting license, which is good for 3 consecutive privilege days (Sundays not included). The license costs $35. In addition to the three-day, non-resident license, hunters wishing to pursue wild turkey, pheasant, quail, and partridge will also need to purchase a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp. Visitors wishing to hunt woodcock, snipe, rails, crows, and waterfowl will need to purchase a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp in addition to their three-day, non-resident license.
Daily Permits Online: Daily permits for a select group of Permit-Required Areas will be available online. To see which areas have online permitting and/or vendor permitting, consult the list of Permit-Required Area Vendors, the Online Sportsmen Licensing System, or the Public Hunting Area Maps. Permits will be available three to five days in advance, with only one permit issued per day online to any one individual. Online permits can be obtained through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System. Instructions for Online Purchases.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROGRAM: Each year pheasants are purchased and distributed throughout the state on state-owned, state-managed, and Permit-Required Areas. The Pheasant Program is funded solely by the sale of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps and hunting licenses. The number of pheasants that are purchased is directly correlated to the number of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps sold in Connecticut during the previous season and revenue derived from pheasant hunters.
The Pheasant Program relies heavily on cooperative relationships with hunting clubs and landowners. Many of our Permit-Required Hunting Areas are available due to agreements with private landowners. Thanks to these landowners, pheasants are released in the towns of Bristol, East Windsor, Enfield, Meriden, Norwich, Seymour, Sprague, Suffield, and Wallingford.
There are still several private hunting clubs throughout the state who add to our state program by providing public access to private lands and by purchasing and stocking birds. These clubs participate in a statewide Cooperative Liberation Program. Through this program, hunters have the opportunity to hunt on private areas where both the state and the clubs are purchasing birds. While some clubs are provided with adult birds for stocking, others receive 8-week-old birds and raise them for release. Through the 8-week-old Cooperative Program the state is able to purchase birds at a reduced fee and the club then incurs the cost of raising and releasing birds on areas that the public can access.
If you are out on a Permit-Required Area, please be respectful of our cooperating landowners and club members who are working hard to provide additional hunting opportunities!
SEASON DATES AND BAG LIMITS: Pheasant stocking activities begin each year just prior to the third Saturday in October, "Opening Day," and end the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. During that timeframe, pheasants are generally stocked 2-3 days each week, except during the third week of November when the Private Land Shotgun/Rifle season opens for deer hunters.
All pheasant hunters must purchase a resident or nonresident small game firearms hunting license (Conservation License) and a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp for $28 ($14 for ages 12-17). Daily bag limits are 2 birds per day and the season limit is 10 birds.
Recommended Areas by County
Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor - This is undeniably one of the very best pheasant hunting areas the state has to offer. If you are a weekday hunter, this area must be on your list of places to visit! (On most weekends, the area is used for Field Trial events and is closed to public access.) The state will be stocking nearly 430 birds here on weekdays only starting the week after opening day and ending the week of Thanksgiving (Map).
Suffield WMA was purchased in 2008 and shares a boundary with a corresponding Massachusetts hunting area. The 250-acre area was formerly used for growing tobacco and contains more than 100 acres of open or managed field habitat and is contiguous to an additional 250 acres in Southwick, Massachusetts. Sportsmen should consider purchasing a non-resident Massachusetts license so that they can enjoy the entire site (Map).
Goshen WMA, Goshen - This area consists of over 900 acres of land and includes several large fields with ideal cover for pheasants. Stocking activities will result in nearly 880 birds being released at this area (Map).
Northeast Utilities Skiff Mountain Permit-Required Area, Kent - 83 acres of old fields and open grasslands make this a popular area for pheasant hunters. A daily permit is needed and can be obtained at Backcountry Outfitters in Kent, CT (Map). Nearly 670 birds will be stocked at this site. New: Saturday AM or Saturday PM permit required.
Robbins Swamp WMA, Canaan - Litchfield County: Robbins Swamp is 1,569 acres of agricultural fields, forest, and wetlands and it will receive approximately 625 birds this year. This site contains many areas inaccessible to hunters and it is not uncommon to find birds throughout the season (Map).
Higganum Meadows WMA, Haddam - If you are up for the hike, you’ll be pleased to find a 56-acre field along the Connecticut River that offers excellent habitat for pheasant hunting (Map).
Wangunk Meadows WMA, Portland - With nearly 600 acres of fields on the north side of the Portland Fairgrounds, this is an ideal place to hunt pheasants. Enjoy a scenic walk along the Connecticut River and work your way through fields planted with pumpkins as you look for one of the 680 pheasants released here (Map).
New Haven County
Naugatuck State Forest, Oxford, Beacon Falls, Naugatuck, Cheshire, Hamden - New Haven County: This property consists of nearly 3,000 acres of mixed hardwoods with patch cuts, power line clearings, and small fields. Choose from one of two hunting areas. The two areas together will receive approximately 1150 birds this coming season. (West Block, Mount Sanford Block). New: Saturday AM or Saturday PM permit required on West Block/Hunter's Mnt. Block.
New London County
Barn Island WMA, Stonington - Look for nearly 555 pheasants in one of Connecticut’s most beautiful coastal sites. With well over 300 acres of huntable land, you won’t be disappointed by making a visit to this site (Map).
Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon - 120 acres of agricultural fields and old growth field habitat offer a great setting for nearly 695 birds that are released in this area (Map).
Meadow Brook WMA, Colchester - 161 acres with approximately 70 acres in open field or shrub vegetation. This new area will receive 685 birds this year (Map).
Rose Hill WMA, Preston and Ledyard, New London County - Offers over 50 acres of agricultural fields with nearly 650 birds released here (Map).
Mansfield Hollow Lake State Leased Hunting Area, Mansfield/Chaplin - Tolland and Windham County: This state-leased area consists of over 2,000 acres of land and includes the Mansfield Field Trial Area. Approximately 845 birds will be stocked at two locations (Field Trial Map and Pheasant Area Map).
West Thompson Dam, Thompson - Windham County: Is a federally-owned and managed property under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This area spans along over 5 miles of the Quinebaug River and ends at West Thompson Lake. This flood control area offers several fields that are ideal for pheasant hunting and it will receive approximately 530 birds during this season. (Overview Map, Southern Map, Northern Map)
Reminders on Hunting Safety and Hunter Ethics
- Be Safe - wear 400 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing above the waist that is visible from all sides. An orange hat, in addition to an orange coat/vest is strongly recommended.
- Leave the field or stay inactive while pheasant stockers are on the area.
- Respect landowners and others using the property.
- Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp required for hunting woodcock, snipe, rail, crows, and waterfowl.
- Bring a junior hunter to pass on the tradition.
- Report violations by calling the DEEP Emergency Dispatch at 860-424-3333.
Content last updated on March 2, 2020.