Hunting in the State of Connecticut

Below are summaries of information that every hunter will need in order to have meaningful hunting experience in Connecticut. We recommend hunters use our extract along with the official information from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment Protection’s (DEEP) website. On the latter platform, hunters can find up-to-date information, related to hunting license fees and hunting seasons.

How to Get a Connecticut Hunting License, Permit, and Stamp

Hunters interested in buying a Connecticut Hunting License normally have a number of options available to them. Firstly, the hunters can purchase licenses or permits online using Connecticut’s Online Sportsmen Licensing System. Additionally, the system allows for hunters to purchase a variety of permits and stamps such as Small Game/Deer Archery Permits, Deer Firearms Permits, Bird Hunting Stamps, and Licenses. Online transactions can be conducted using Master and Visa Credit Cards only. There is no transaction fee for all online purchases.

Secondly, hunters can apply for the license at any licensed agent or dealer in Connecticut. To view the entire list of licensed agents, please click this link.

The third option comes in the form of physically walking into any one of the following DEEP field offices:

In all three options, buyers of a Connecticut’s Hunting License require a Connecticut Conservation ID. This ID is a unique permanent number that is used by the hunter in all future transactions with the department or licensed agents. Alternatively, a social security number or driver’s license can be used in place of the Conservation ID.

In cases of lost licenses, hunters can reprint them at the Online Sportsmen Licensing System. Or they can get them from an agent or DEEP offices.

There two main categories of Hunting License in Connecticut are Resident Hunting License and Nonresident Hunting License.

Resident Hunting License

Connecticut residents aged 12 and above are required to have a license before embarking on a hunting expedition in the state. Connecticut defines a resident as persons who have maintained a predominant physical presence in Connecticut for at least 183 days.

To prove one’s residency, the state requires the individual to provide any one of the following: a valid Connecticut driver’s license, or Social Security number, or voter’s registration, or vehicle registration, or even tax return forms.

Active-duty personnel of the military stationed in Connecticut is considered as residents. Therefore, they can purchase a Resident Connecticut Hunting license at DEEP or any licensed agent.

All persons other than a resident must acquire a non-resident license.

Nonresident Hunting License in Connecticut

  • Nonresidents are people who have not legally resided in Connecticut for more than one year prior to applying for the license or permit. These hunters qualify for a non-resident hunting license.
  • It means that nonresidents age 12 or older are mandated to have a non-resident hunting license.

Connecticut requires hunters to have additional permits and stamps in order to hunt specific game animals such as deer and migratory game birds. Examples are the Connecticut Resident Game bird Conservation Stamp (this stamp has replaced the turkey permits). There is also the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp and the Federal Migratory bird Conservation Stamp.

Note: Upon the demand of a wildlife officer or other law enforcement officer, hunters are mandated to produce their hunting license, or hunting gear, or vehicles for inspection. Failure to do so, or refusal to do so, will attract punitive sanctions. Hunters could have their hunting licenses stripped off them or suspended, or be liable to fines.

Eligibility Requirements for a Connecticut Hunting License

In all of the above, the State of Connecticut requires that first-time license applicants provide either a Connecticut Hunter Education Certification or an IHEA-USA approved Hunter Education Certification (the International Hunter Education Association). The Hunter Education classes in Connecticut come in two forms: “traditional” classroom format and an online-based format.

The traditional classroom option is made up of 16-hour instructions and a host of ethical safety topics.

All students under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to register. To find an available Connecticut traditional hunter course, please click on this link. 

The online session can be completed at your own discretionary pace. The minimum age requirement for the online hunter education course is 10 years. It requires a minimum of 8 hours to complete. Upon completion, students have to attend a field day exercise that takes an additional 8 hours to complete. There are two options under the online study format: the free NRA Hunter Education and Hunteredcourse.com. After completion, they must come along with a signed Certification of Completion on the Field day.

In both online and classroom formats, students must obtain a passing grade (80% correct) on a 50-multiple choice question.

Connecticut takes completed Hunter Education Certifications from all states or provinces in the U.S. that follow IHEA-USA (the International Hunter Education Association) requirements. Equally, all U.S. states and provinces that have obligatory hunter education requirements must accept the Connecticut Hunter Education Certificate.

Note: the minimum age to enroll in the Hunter Education certification is 10 years.

For more details about the various Conservation Education certifications in Connecticut, please click on this link.

How much is a Connecticut Hunting License and permit?

Resident and nonresident Hunting Licenses in Connecticut have varying fees and application requirements.  For more details about the fee of these licenses and permits, please visit this link.

Other notable Hunting Licenses and Stamps in Connecticut

The following are some famous hunting licenses in the State of Connecticut:

  • The 3-day out-of-state Bird Hunting license allows nonresident hunters to hunt migratory and resident game birds for 3 consecutive days. This requires a Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp or a Connecticut Resident Bird Stamp.
  • Junior Firearms hunting license is given to residents and nonresident between 12 and 15 years old. They must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years or older.
  • Senior Hunting License are given free of charge to Connecticut residents 65 years or older
  • Disability Licenses are given to people with a physical disability. For example, hunters who have permanently lost a limb get to have a Connecticut hunting license for free. Permits and stamps are not included. For a nonresident of Connecticut, the license is free so long as the applicant’s state provides the same privileges to Connecticut residents.
  • Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp is needed to hunt resident game birds such as pheasant, quail, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, and partridge.
  • The military and veterans get to buy a hunting license at the same price as residents of Connecticut. They must come with proof of membership.
  • Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp is meant for migratory bird hunting in terms of waterfowl, snipe, woodcock, rails, and crows.
  • Small Game and Deer Archery Permit requires the hunter to have completed the Connecticut bowhunting course or any recognized one from another state.
  • Federal Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp allows hunters to hunt tundra, ducks, geese, swan, and merganser. These stamps can be bought from any local U.S. Postal Office and/or online. The stamp must be in the possession of the hunter at all times while hunting those species. Both residents and non-residents require the Federal Waterfowl Stamp. However, junior hunters between the ages of 12 to 15 are exempt.

Where to Hunt in Connecticut

There are sizeable numbers of wildlife areas and management zones for hunting across Western and Eastern Connecticut, especially for game animals such as deer, pheasant, turkey, and waterfowl. The State of Connecticut has an interactive CT DEEP Interactive Hunting Maps that show all every one of the following DEEP Public hunting areas and properties:

Western Connecticut

This region comprises Farfield, Harford, Litchfield, and New Haven counties. Collectively there are about 50 Wildlife areas, state forest, and state parks. The state-leased, flood control and other public areas are about 18 in total. There is about 19 permit required areas in Western Connecticut. Examples of such famous areas are Centennial Watershed State forest in Easton and Weston Town. It has about 3,479 acres of land.

Some famous wildlife management areas are Goshen, East Swamp, Great Habor, Cedar Swamp, and Newgate WMAs. Sunnybrook, Wooster Mountain, and Mount Riga State Parks are examples of state parks in Western Connecticut.

Eastern Connecticut

The Eastern Connecticut enclave includes Middlesex, New London, Tolland & Windham Counties. In total, there are about 65 wildlife management areas (WMAs), state forest and parks. Famous WMAs are Assekonk Swam WMA and Barn Island WMA.  The former has about 699 acres of land, and the latter has about 1039 acres of land.

Examples of state forests here are Cockaponset (16,456 acres) and Natchaug State Forests (12,596 acres).

To view the individual maps of all the above public hunting places in Connecticut, please visit this link. On the other hand, hunters can visit pages 40 and 41 of DEEP’s Hunting and Trapping Guide to view the various game animals and regulations that govern those hunting areas.

Private Lands and access programs

Connecticut DEEP partners a host of private and federal agencies to meet the ever-evolving needs of hunters and trappers in the state. In all of these public-private partnerships, hunters must get official permission (Private Land Consent Form) from these private landowners before entering into their properties. A signed and dated consent form is particularly needed for deer and turkey hunters (firearm and archery) on private land. Before a landowner can authorize the use of rifle or revolver for deer hunting, the landowner must have a minimum of 10 acres.

Private land Consent is also applicable to trappers. Click on this link to download the trappers Private Land Consent Form.

Hunters must properly stay abreast with the private property’s ground rules and regulations. If a private owner does not charge a fee for recreational use of their property, they shall be protected from liability by Connecticut law.

Access to Permit-Required Hunting Areas (APRHA)

Many of these areas are available from mid-fall to the end of winter. Small game and waterfowl are the typical game animals that hunters can take on those lands.

Again, these public-private partnerships require the hunters to get official permission from the landowners before hunting. Hunters must properly stay abreast with the property’s ground rules and regulations. For more information about APRHA vendors in Connecticut, please visit this link.

General Hunting Regulations in Connecticut

The following are a handful of regulations that govern hunting activities in the State of Connecticut. These were scraped together from the latest edition of DEEP’s Hunting Guide and website.

  • It is forbidden to destroy the nest, lair, or den of a game animal.
  • All hunters who intend to hunt deer or turkey must have applicable permits in addition to the hunting licenses.
  • Drones or remotely operated unmanned aircraft is prohibited.
  • Connecticut prohibits the usage of arrows with explosive heads or drugs or poison is forbidden.
  • Hunting shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • It is forbidden to hunt or shoot from a motor vehicle.
  • All Mourning doves are considered migratory birds and are therefore subject to conditions federal regulations. For example, the possession of more than ten mourning doves in a hunting area is forbidden.
  • All hunters must wear a fluorescent orange above their waist when hunting.
  • The use of rifles and handguns that have larger than .22 caliber is prohibited on State-leased and permit-required hunting areas.
  • Rifles cannot be used to hunt turkeys, waterfowl or any other federally regulated migratory game bird.
  • Hunting, chasing or possession of a game bird or mammal not authorized by the state is forbidden.
  • Before a landowner can authorize the use of rifle or revolver for deer hunting, the landowner must have a minimum of 10 acres. This acreage rule is not applicable to the use of muzzleloader, shotgun or archery equipment.
  • The State of Connecticut prohibits the discharge of any firearm or archery device from outside into a public hunting area.
  • Every killed game must come with a filled game tag. The kills should not be left untagged by the person who killed it.
  • It is unlawful to use artificial light, especially from a motor vehicle, for hunting.

Note: The above regulations were sampled from the DEEP’s Hunting and Trapping Guide. Readers are advised to read the guide very carefully in order to avoid breaching any Connecticut laws and regulations.

Hunting Seasons in Connecticut

Below are the various hunting seasons for turkey, deer, waterfowl, and small game animals in the Constitution State:

Deer Hunting Seasons

Dear seasons in Connecticut are Deer Bowhunting, Deer Shotgun (State Lands), Deer Lottery, Deer Shotgun (private lands), and Deer Muzzleloader seasons. The Deer Bowhunting Season runs all year long in specific months of winter and fall. The Shotgun (state lands) season mainly occurs in the latter part of fall and early winter. Deer hunting lottery winners can usually hunt in early winter. Deer Shotgun (private lands) and Muzzleloader seasons often occur from fall to early winter. Hunters can click on this link to view current deer maps, special conditions, legal firearms and bows, and bag limits.

Small Game Mammals Seasons

Small game mammals that can be hunted in Connecticut are a gray squirrel, cottontail rabbit, European hare, snowshoe hare, and Woodchuck. Gray squirrel season often occurs in winter and fall. Hunters can hunt cottontail rabbit and European Hare in the late part of fall all through to winter. However, the woodchuck season occurs for a very long period of time. Hunters can hunt them from spring all through to the latter part of fall. Read page 16 of DEEP’s Hunting and Trapping Guide to see all the bag limits.

Game Birds

The small game birds in Connecticut are pheasant, ruffed grouse, quail, chukar and Hungarian partridge. Pheasant and Chukar and Hungarian Partridge seasons occur in fall and winter. Quail often takes place in mid-fall to late fall. Crow season is in winter and fall. Hunters can revel in ruffed grouse around about mid-fall.

Turkey Seasons

Turkeys have three main seasons. The Spring Turkey Season occurs for a relatively short period. The Fall Turkey Archery Season can be a bit more extensive and can span in winter and fall. Finally, the Fall Turkey Firearms Season occurs in mid-fall. The bag limits for state land and private lands are 2 bearded and 3 bearded birds respectively. The Fall Archery Turkey Season’s bag limit is 2 either sex. Legal firearms here are shotguns (20 gauge or larger) and bows. See page 18 of the DEEP DEEP’s Hunting and Trapping Guide to view all other information about Turkey Seasons in Connecticut.

Furbearers Season

Examples of furbearers in the State of Connecticut are River otter, beaver, mink, muskrat, weasel, coyote, gray fox, red fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk, and fisher. The season for coyote occurs in early winter. For red and gray foxes, raccoon and opossum, hunters can hunt them in both mid-winter and fall. On page 44 of DEEP’s Hunting and Trapping Guide, hunters can get information pertaining to bag limits for all furbearers in the state

Migratory Birds Hunting Seasons

The game animals under this category are duck and geese, merganser, coots, sea ducks, Canada Geese, Snow Geese, and brant. To view up-to-date information related to the migratory bird’s regulations, maps, season dates, bag limits, and hunting zones, please visit this link.

Snapping Turtle Seasons

This season occurs from mid-summer to early fall. Hunters can hand capture, dip net, floating or non-floating turtle trap, and hook and line. Eggs cannot be taken. Their nest cannot be destroyed. The bag limit is 5 daily and 10 seasonally.

Youth Hunting Seasons

This season is meant for the Junior hunters between the ages of 12 to 15. Junior hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years or older. An adult hunter cannot carry a firearm at any time. Must be in close proximity and contact with the youth. The seasons are Junior Hunting pheasant, deer, waterfowl and turkey seasons. Interested hunters can visit this link to find out more about the Junior Hunting Season.

Hunting Guides & Outfitters in Connecticut

Hunting outfitters play a very vital role in the hunting industry across continental America. Their services are patronized by both amateur and experienced hunters. Hunters are advised to secure the services of some of the following hunting guides and outfitters when exploring unfamiliar areas in the state:

Accommodation for Hunters in Connecticut

Here are some possible hotels and inns that can accommodate hunters in this state:

 The Farmington Inn
827 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06032, USA
Telephone: 860-677-2821
Website: farmingtoninn.com

Circlce Hotel Fairfield
417 Post Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824, USA
Telephone: 203-255-0491
Website: circlehotelfairfield.com

Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd, Uncasville, CT 06382, USA
Telephone: 888-226-7711
Website: mohegansun.com

Litchfield Inn
432 Bantam Rd, Litchfield, CT 06759, USA
Telephone: 860-567-4503
Website: litchfieldinnct.com

Tagging and Reporting Hunting Harvests in Connecticut

Game animals must be appropriately tagged immediately they are killed. This tag must be affixed the kill until the kill is ready for processing or consumption. Within 24 hours, all turkey or deer must be reported online or via telephone at the toll-free number 1-877-337-4868. Hunters are advised to pay attention to the harvest tag forms and tagging and reporting instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What type of hunting licenses does the DEEP have for senior citizens?

A. Senior residents of Connecticut, 65 and older, get to have the hunting license for free.

Q. I own a parcel of land in Connecticut but I spend most of my time in another state. Do I qualify for a resident license?

A. No. Simply owning land in Connecticut does not qualify you for residency. You must maintain domiciliary in Connecticut for at least 183 days.

Q. I have 3 kids between the ages of 12 and 15. Can I supervise all of them at the same time on a hunting exercise?

A. No. The State forbids adult from supervising more than 2 minors at the same time.

Conclusion

The simplified hunting information above will come handy whenever you make a hunting trip to Connecticut. There is no doubt, whatsoever, that this state is bound to maintain its current steady habit of managing wildlife areas effectively. And it is a Nutmeg State, you can rest assured that your hunting expedition will be spiced up.



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