Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut
The stocking of 20,000 adult pheasants will continue as planned for the 2020 fall season. Please check this web page frequently as additional last minute changes may occur due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saturday Program: The permit-based Saturday program will continue at Cromwell Meadows WMA, Durham Meadows WMA, Nathan Hale SF, Naugatuck SF, Simsbury WMA and Skiff Mountain WMA from October 17th - November 14th, however, hunting times will be shortened and fewer individuals will be allowed to hunt during each time period to increase safety during the pandemic. Areas will be stocked on Saturday morning and prior to each hunting group. Hunting times will be 8 am - 10 am; 10:30 am - 12:30 pm and 1 pm - 3 pm. 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 without permits may hunt these areas after 3:30 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 3:30 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, except that the final hunting group may stay past 3 pm. 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.
Compliance with these requirements is necessary in order for birds to be stocked between visits. If hunters are present, birds will not be stocked.
October 10, 2020, is Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day.
Birds will be stocked in the west at Goshen WMA, Naugatuck SF (Hunters Mnt), Skiff Mountain Coop WMA, Simsbury WMA and Suffield WMA.
Birds will be stocked in the east at Bartlett Brook WMA, Cromwell Meadows WMA, Mansfield Hollow Field Trial Area, Meadow Brook WMA, Nathan Hale SF, Pachaug SF (songbird area), Quinebaug River WMA (Hatchery and Sugarbrook FTA) and Wangunk Meadows WMA.
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 may 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.
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 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 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 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. 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 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 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.
Areas by County
Bristol Permit-Required Area, Bristol (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 175+ birds/season (+stocked by club)
East Windsor/Enfield Permit Required Hunting Area, East Windsor (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 575 birds/season - including late season birds
Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor (Map) On most weekends, this area is used for Field Trial events and is closed to public access. 470 birds/season
Simsbury WMA, Simsbury (Map) - Saturday Permit Required. 875 birds/season - including late season birds
Suffield Permit-Required Area, Suffield (Map) - Daily Permit Required. Some areas will be closed in 2020. Watch web page for new map and status of this area. 195+ birds/season. This area will be open starting Friday November 6th.
Suffield WMA, Suffield (Map) - A Massachusetts license is required if hunting in both states. 780 birds/season - including late season birds
Goshen WMA, Goshen (Map) 885 birds/season - including late season birds
Mad River Dam, Winsted (Map) 255 birds/season - including late season birds
MDC New Hartford, New Hartford (Map) 535 birds/season - including late season birds
Robbins Swamp WMA, Canaan (Map) 615 birds/season - including late season birds
Skiff Mountain Coop WMA Permit-Required Area, Kent (Map) - Daily Permit Required and Saturday Permit Required. 720 birds/season - including late season birds
Thomaston Dam, Thomaston - Maps available through the Army Corps Office. 365 birds/season - including late season birds
Cromwell Meadows WMA, Cromwell (Map) - Saturday Permit Required. 615 birds/season - including late season birds
Durham Meadows WMA, Durham (Map) - Saturday Permit Required. 515 birds/season - including late season birds
Higganum Meadows WMA, Haddam (Map) 475 birds/season - including late season birds
Meriden Permit-Required Area, Meriden (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 225+ birds/season (+stocked by club)
Wallingford Permit-Required Area, Wallingford (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 275+ birds/season (+stocked by club)
Wangunk Meadows WMA, Portland (Map) 730 birds/season - including late season birds
New Haven County
Naugatuck State Forest, Oxford, Beacon Falls, Naugatuck, Cheshire, Hamden (West Block, Mount Sanford Block). Saturday Permit Required on West Block/Hunter's Mnt. Block. 955 birds/season at Hunter's Mnt and 315 birds/season at Mount Sanford Block. - including late season birds
Seymour-Oxford Permit-required Area, Oxford (Map) - This area will be open starting Monday, November 2nd. Daily Permit Required. - including late season birds
New London County
Babcock Pond WMA, Colchester (Map) 530 birds/season - including late season birds
Barn Island WMA, Stonington (Map) 595 birds/season - including late season birds
Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon (Map) 705 birds/season - including late season birds
Bear Hill WMA, Bozrah (Map) 655 birds/season - including late season birds
Larson Lot WMA, Colchester (Map) 530 birds/season - including late season birds
Meadow Brook WMA, Colchester (Map) 710 birds/season - including late season birds
Norwich Permit-Required Area, Norwich (Map) - Daily Permit Required. Approximately 300 birds/season
Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown (Map) 610 birds/season
Pease Brook WMA, Lebanon (Map) 155 birds/season
Rose Hill WMA, Preston and Ledyard (Map) 575 birds/season
Sprague Town-Owned Permit-Required Area, Sprague (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 300 birds/season
Nathan Hale State Forest, Coventry (Map) - Saturday Permit Required. 600 birds/season - including late season birds
Spignesi WMA, Scotland (Map) 430 birds/season - including late season birds
Woodstock Permit-Required Area, Woodstock (Map) - Daily Permit Required. 40 birds/season
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 November 18, 2020.