DEEP Announces Opening Days of Fall Firearms Hunting Seasons
Firearms Turkey Season Opens Oct. 3, Other Season Details Available on DEEP Website
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has announced the Opening Days of turkey and small game hunting seasons. A variety of hunting seasons are available each fall. Their opening dates are:
- The firearms turkey season opens on Saturday, October 3, and continues through October 31.
- Small game hunting season opens at a ½-hour before sunrise on Saturday, October 17.
- A variety of migratory bird hunting seasons are open on different dates. The 2020-21 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide contains specific details.
- Firearms deer hunting season begins Wednesday, November 18.
Peak hunting occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily from mid-October through mid-December. Specific season details are on the DEEP website at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEPHunting.
New Hunters: Those new to hunting are required to complete Hunter Safety prerequisites online prior to registering for a Modified Firearms Hunting Field Day. For further information, go here. For more information about Connecticut's Conservation Education/Firearms Safety Program, visit https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/CEFS/CEFS-Program.
“Hunter Highlights”: Hunting is not only an excellent outdoor activity that is conducive to being socially distant, but it provides participants the opportunity to obtain locally sourced, sustainable food. Looking for recipes, how to sign up for a hunter safety course, or other information for both new and seasoned hunters? Sign up for the DEEP Wildlife Division’s new quarterly electronic newsletter, “Hunter Highlights,” at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/Hunter-Highlights-Newsletter.
Junior Hunter Training Days: Junior hunters have the opportunity to hunt on special designated days for pheasants (October 10), waterfowl (October 3 and 31), and deer (November 7-14, excluding Sunday). More information is available at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP-Junior-Hunting. “Hunt on Your Own Pheasant Hunts” are scheduled for Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day on October 10 at several state areas. A list of areas that will be stocked for junior hunters can be found at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/Pheasant-Hunting.
The Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp is required to hunt all upland game birds (pheasants, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, chukar and Hungarian partridges, and quail), and replaces the pheasant stamp and all wild turkey permits. The stamp costs $28 for resident and non-resident adults and $14 for Connecticut hunters ages 12 to 17. All revenues from the sale of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps are deposited into a dedicated, non-lapsing account to use exclusively for game birds and their habitat.
Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp: The Connecticut Duck Stamp has been merged with the HIP permit into a single Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, which costs $17 ($9 for resident 12 - 17 year olds). It is required for anyone hunting waterfowl, rails, snipe, woodcock, and crows. All proceeds from the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp go into a dedicated account that is used solely for wetland habitat management and acquisition or improving hunter access.
The 2020 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and the 2020-21 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide, which contain additional information on laws, regulations, and season dates, can be obtained at outdoor equipment vendors, town clerk offices, or on the DEEP website at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEPHunting. Maps denoting many state-owned hunting areas and most permit-required hunting areas also may be obtained from the DEEP website at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP-Public-Hunting-Areas.
2020 hunting licenses, permits, and stamps can be purchased directly online at www.ct.gov/deep/sportsmenlicensing or at one of the many participating town halls or outdoor equipment retailers.
Pheasant Prospects Remain Good
This year, DEEP will purchase a total of 20,000 adult pheasants. The permit-based Saturday program will continue at Cromwell Meadows Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Durham Meadows WMA, Nathan Hale State Forest, Naugatuck State Forest, Simsbury WMA, and Skiff Mountain WMA from October 17 - November 14; 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 a.m. - 10 a.m.; 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. All hunters wishing to use these areas on Saturdays before 3:30 p.m. 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. Please check the Pheasant Hunting webpage (https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/Pheasant-Hunting) frequently as last-minute changes may occur due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This webpage also contains additional details, such as area allocations and an updated listing of all major pheasant stocking areas.
Hunters: Take Precautions Against Mosquitoes and Be Aware of “Hazard Trees”– The State Mosquito Management Program has warned Connecticut residents about the risk of infection by Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV) this season. Residents are being advised to take proper precautions against mosquito bites and to avoid being outdoors from dusk to dawn. Precautions include applying insect repellent and covering bare skin.
Several years of storms, drought, and insect infestations have severely damaged a significant number of Connecticut’s trees. A "hazard tree" has a structural defect that makes it likely to fail in whole or in part. Such a tree can fall without warning!
Follow these guidelines to manage risks associated with hazard trees:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead or distressed trees.
- Be particularly watchful when it is windy or when branches are covered with snow.
- Look up while on trails.
- Avoid parking, picnicking, camping, hiking, and hunting in areas where dead trees or dead limbs could fall.
Ring-necked pheasant – Photo Credit: Paul J. Fusco / CT DEEP-Wildlife Division
The small game hunting season, which includes pheasant hunting, opens on Saturday, October 17.
Turkey– Photo Credit: Paul J. Fusco/CT DEEP Wildlife Division
The fall firearms turkey season runs from October 3-31. 3 birds of either sex can be taken on private land or state land, or a combination of both.
Mallard – photo credit: Paul Benjunas/CT DEEP Wildlife Division
The regular duck hunting season opens on October 10. Season details and bag limits are in the 2020-21 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEPHunting. Junior Hunter Waterfowl Training Days are scheduled for Oct. 3 and Oct. 31. More information: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/Junior-Hunter-Training-Days.