Stay tuned for updates for the 2023 Pheasant Hunting Season as the season approaches; variations in stocking are expected due to rainwater volume.
Changes in 2023: This year, the DEEP will purchase a total of 21,160 adult pheasants. The Saturday permit-based program will continue at Naugatuck State Forest (Hunter's Mountain Block only) and Eversource Skiff Mountain Cooperative WMA. The Saturday permit program will be temporarily suspended at Durham Meadows WMA due to anticipated poor ground conditions, as well as at Simsbury WMA due to planned habitat modification that would limit permit numbers. All hunters wishing to use the 2 areas open for the Saturday program must have a Saturday permit and can only be present at the areas during the time specified on the daily permit. Saturday permits for these 2 areas will only be available on the Online Outdoor Licensing System the Monday preceding the Saturday hunts, starting at 7:00 AM. (More details)
As in past years, the third week of November (13th - 18th) will be an abbreviated week for stocking.
During November 13-18, 2023, birds will only be released at the following areas in the west:
- Cromwell Meadows WMA
- Housatonic WMA
- Mad River Dam
- MDC New Hartford
- Seymour Oxford Permit Required Area
- Simsbury WMA
- Suffield WMA
- Suffield Permit-Required Area
- Thomaston Dam
During November 13-18, 2023, birds will only be released at the following areas in the east:
- Bear Hill WMA
- Durham Meadows WMA
- East Windsor-Enfield Permit Required Area
- Flaherty FTA
- Higganum Meadows WMA
- Mansfield Hollow WMA/FTA
- Norwich Permit-Required Area
- Sprague Permit-Required Area.
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, 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 that stamp is $17. Both stamps can be purchased through the Online Outdoor Licensing System and from participating Town Clerks and Retail Agents.
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 Public Hunting Areas, the Online Outdoor Licensing System, or the CT Interactive Hunting Area Map. 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 Outdoor 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 by the sale of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps and hunting licenses and a Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration grant.
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 and municipalities. 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.
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 in early December. During that time-frame, pheasants are generally stocked 2-3 days each week on each area. No birds will be stocked during the third week of November when the Private Land Shotgun/Rifle and State Land Shotgun seasons open for deer hunters (though some areas closed to deer hunting may be stocked, depending on the number of weeks in a season for a given year).
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.
Junior Pheasant Hunter Day – October 14, 2023
Pheasants will be stocked for at select areas. Stay tuned for updates. Junior hunters wishing to hunt at junior day areas should secure a junior day daily permit for the area they wish to hunt at. Learn more about Junior Hunter Training Days
Saturday permits are required of any hunter wishing to hunt small game or pheasants on Saturdays between October 21 - November 11, 2023, at Naugatuck State Forest (Hunter's Mountain Block only) and Eversource Skiff Mountain Cooperative WMA*. Permits are available for three hunting periods: 8:00 AM-10:00 AM, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, and 1:00 PM-3:00 PM. These areas will be stocked on Saturday morning and prior to each hunting group. Hunters will only be able to make a total of three reservations for the Saturday permits and cancellations cannot be made. All hunters should check-in with the staff on site upon arrival. 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. Saturday permits for these 2 areas will only be available on the Online Outdoor Licensing System the Monday preceding the Saturday hunts, starting at 7:00 AM.
Hunters without permits may hunt these areas after 3:30 PM.
* Durham Meadows WMA and Simsbury WMA will not be part of the Saturday Permit Program in 2023.
Areas by County
Bristol Permit-Required Area, Bristol (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 200+ birds/season (+stocked by club)
East Windsor/Enfield Permit Required Hunting Area, East Windsor (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 595 birds/season
Dr. John E. Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor (Map) - 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 - see event schedule.) 660 birds/season.
Simsbury WMA, Simsbury (Map) - 920 birds/season
Suffield Permit-Required Area, Suffield (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 300+ birds/season (+stocked by club).
Suffield WMA, Suffield (Map) - 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. Sixty-seven acres was burned in early 2023 to ensure the area remains as grassland. A Massachusetts license is required if hunting in both states. 805 birds/season
Eversource Skiff Mountain Cooperative WMA Permit-Required Area, Kent (Map) - 83 acres of old fields and open grasslands make this a popular area for pheasant hunters. Daily Permit Required and Saturday Permit Required. 750 birds/season
Goshen WMA, Goshen (Map) - New in 2022: An additional 630 acres were purchased and will continue to be be stocked in 2023. See map of the new area. 1,150 birds/season.
Mad River Dam, Winsted (Map) 295 birds/season
MDC New Hartford (Greenwoods), New Hartford (Map) 575 birds/season
Robbins Swamp WMA, Canaan (Map) 1,569 acres of agricultural fields, forest, and wetlands. 630 birds/season
Thomaston Dam, Thomaston - Maps available through the Army Corps Office. 515 birds/season
Cromwell Meadows WMA, Cromwell (Map) 505 birds/season
Durham Meadows WMA, Durham (Map) - 575 birds/season
Higganum Meadows WMA, Haddam (Map) - 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. 650 birds/season
Wangunk Meadows WMA, Portland (Map) - With nearly 600 acres of fields on the north side of the Portland Fairgrounds, this is an ideal place to hunt pheasants. 630 birds/season
New Haven County
Meriden Permit-Required Area, Meriden (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 215+ birds/season (+stocked by club)
Naugatuck State Forest, Oxford, Beacon Falls, Naugatuck, Cheshire, Hamden (West Block, Mount Sanford Block).- Saturday Permit Required on West Block/Hunter's Mountain Block. 1,045 birds/season at Hunter's Mountain and 230 birds/season at Mt. Sanford Block.
Seymour-Oxford Permit-required Area, Oxford (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 550+ birds (+stocked by club)
Wallingford Permit-Required Area, Wallingford (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 300+ birds/season (+stocked by club)
New London County
Babcock Pond WMA, Colchester (Map) - 485 birds/season
Barn Island WMA, Stonington (Map) - With well over 300 acres of huntable land, you won’t be disappointed by making a visit to this coastal site. 590 birds/season
Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon (Map) - 120 acres of agricultural fields and old growth field habitat offer a great bird hunting setting. 635 birds/season
Bear Hill WMA, Bozrah (Map) - 695 birds/season
Franklin WMA, Franklin - 155 birds/season plus those released by nearby club.
Larson Lot WMA, Colchester (Map) - 470 birds/season
Meadow Brook WMA, Colchester (Map) - 161 acres with approximately 70 acres in open field or shrub vegetation. 705 birds/season
Norwich Permit-Required Area, Norwich (Map) - Daily Permit Required. Approximately 100 birds/season (stocked by club)
Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown (Map) - A 16-acre burn conducted in 2023 in the Shetucket Barrens stocking area has provided an excellent grassland hunting area. 570 birds/season
Pease Brook WMA, Lebanon (Map) - 155 birds/season
Rose Hill WMA, Preston and Ledyard (Map) - Offers over 50 acres of agricultural fields. 580 birds/season
Sprague Town-Owned Permit-Required Area, Sprague (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 50 birds/season (stocked by club)
Mansfield Hollow Lake State-Leased Hunting Area, Mansfield/Chaplin (Field Trial Map and Pheasant Area Map) - This state-leased area consists of over 2,000 acres of land and includes the Mansfield Field Trial Area. 905 birds/season
Nathan Hale State Forest, Coventry (Map) - 440 birds/season
West Thompson Dam, Thompson (Overview Map, Southern Map, Northern Map) - 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. 630 birds/season
- CT Interactive Hunting Area Map
- Hunting and Trapping Page
- 2023 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide
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 in August 2023.