HARTFORD — 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 2, 2021, and continues through October 30, 2021.
Small game hunting season opens at a ½-hour before sunrise on Saturday, October 16, 2021.
A variety of migratory bird hunting seasons are open on different dates. The 2021-2022 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide contains specific details.
Firearms deer hunting season begins Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
Peak hunting occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily from mid-October through mid-December. Specific season details are on the DEEP website here.
New Hunters: Those new to hunting or who are interested in learning more about hunting should refer to the Hunting Roadmap on the DEEP website. New hunters 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 (CE/FS) Program, go here.
“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 quarterly electronic newsletter, “Hunter Highlights,” here.
Junior Hunter Training Days: Junior hunters have the opportunity to hunt on special designated days for pheasants (October 9, 2021), waterfowl (October 2 and November 6, 2021), and deer (November 6-13, 2021, excluding Sunday). The DEEP Wildlife Division, along with volunteer instructors from the CE/FS Program and several Connecticut sportsmen’s clubs, holds special events for junior pheasant hunters at various sportsmen’s clubs throughout the state on Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day (October 9, 2021) and additional dates in the fall. These “no charge” events allow Junior Hunters to sharpen their shooting skills on a trap field before taking to the field for a mentored hunt. In addition, “Hunt on Your Own Pheasant Hunts” are scheduled for Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day on October 9 at several state areas. More information is available here.
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 2021 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and the 2021-2022 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.
2021 hunting licenses, permits, and stamps can be purchased directly online at https://portal.ct.gov/CTOutdoorLicenses or at one of the many participating town halls or outdoor equipment retailers.
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 16 – November 13. Areas will be stocked on Saturday morning and prior to each hunting group. 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 Outdoor Licensing System the Monday preceding the Saturday hunts starting at 7:00 AM (this new time is not reflected in the printed version of the 2021 CT Hunting and Trapping Guide). Please check the Pheasant Hunting webpage (https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/Pheasant-Hunting) frequently as last-minute changes may occur. This webpage also contains additional details, such as area allocations and an updated listing of all major pheasant stocking areas.
Wear Fluorescent Orange: During the period September 1 through the last day of February, hunters (with some exceptions; see the current hunting guide for details) are required to wear at least 400 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing above the waist and visible from all sides. An orange hat, in addition to a coat or vest, is strongly recommended. All outdoor users are encouraged to wear fluorescent orange clothing or a hat while visiting state forests and wildlife management areas where hunting is known to occur (check the DEEP website for information on hunting 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 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.