All About Hunting In Connecticut

Connecticut, a small state in the Northeast region of the US, is a paradise for hunters. Connecticut has more than 60% of forestland thus offering an ideal opportunity for catching prey.

It is a state with plenty of open space for catching big and small game animals. Turkey, white-tailed deer, waterfowl are popular choices for hunters.

Hunting in Connecticut has a special advantage for Junior hunters as it receives discount prices on permits, stamps and tags. Connecticut no longer requires separate tags for pheasant hunting.

If you want to become a successful hunter in this region you must spent time scouting an area and talking with locals to identify good hunting opportunity.

So, you can easily make Connecticut as your hunting destination. It will not disappoint you.

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1. Species To Hunt in Connecticut

1.1 Pheasant

Pheasant is one of the species found in Connecticut. There is no requirement for separate tags for pheasant hunting. January- February, mid-October to December are the ideal seasons for Pheasant hunting.

For pheasant hunting, daily bag limit is 2 and season bag limit is 10. You can hunt half hour before sunrise and half hour after sunset.

1.2 Quail

Quail is another resident game bird, can be hunted from October 17 to November 31.It has daily bag limit of 2 and season bag limit of 10.

Quail can be hunted at the Nod Book WMA, Flaherty Mansfield, Sugarbrook Field Trial Areas.

1.3 Waterfowl

Waterfowl species like ducks, mergansers, geese, and brants are found in Connecticut. For hunting waterfowl, shotgun firearms or archery hunting license and Connecticut migratory bird conservation stamp are needed.

Non-toxic shot is required for waterfowl hunting. Waterfowl hunters have to go through all federal laws and regulations.

1.4 Gray Squirrel

These are small game mammals found in Connecticut. They prefer upland hardwood forest but are often seen in urban parks. Gray squirrel eats tree nuts, beech nuts and acorns.

These can be hunted from January- February, and from September to December. Hunters have bag limits of 8 in daily basis and seasonal 40.

Hunters need to take firearms or archery hunting license. There is no special condition for gray squirrel hunting.

1.5 Red and Gray Fox

These are small game species found in Connecticut. January- February, and from October to December are the season for hunting these species.

Hunters can hunt 3 in one go, and seasonally 30 in total as their bag limits.

Hunters must have firearms or archery hunting license. For hunting foxes, there is a special condition. Hunters must report telephonic or through online.

1.6 Raccoon and Opossum

These species have no limit to hunt. Hunting instruments and permission of license are same as mentioned earlier. It is illegal to take Raccoons or Opossums with the use of light from motor vehicle.

Raccoon hunting season is mid-January – February, and mid-October to December. There is no bag limit in hunting.

There is no restriction for hunting in state-owned lands and on private lands, land owners have already given permission.

1.7 White-Tailed Deer

Among big game hunting species, white-tailed deer are found in large number in Connecticut. They have brown coats with white fur on their belly inside ears and under the tail.

White-tailed deer weigh about 100 to 300 lbs. and stand almost everywhere, except for a region in the south-west. Numerous laws enacted to protect this species.

1.8 Coyotes

Another big game animal in the land is coyotes. It is one of the dangerous animals. Coyotes use a variety of habitats including wooded suburbs, parks, beach fronts etc.

Coyotes kill animals like squirrels, rabbits, turkey and there are reports of killing poultry and pets in recent years.

It is legal to hunt and trap coyotes in Connecticut. Hunters have to follow strict laws and regulations.

After trapping, hunters have to report and tag coyotes’ pelts before they are sold, tanned and mounted. There is no bag limit for coyotes hunting.

2. Seasons

Hunting season refers to particular season for hunting. It varies year by year and depending on species. There are certain rules and regulations regarding hunting in particular season.

2.1 Small Game Hunting Season

It differs land wise. Generally for small game species like gray squirrel, cotton tail, European hare, snowshoe hare, and woodchuck, hunting season fall between January to February 29 and October to December with some exceptions.

2.2 Big Game Hunting Season

Season falls between 1st to mid-January and mid-October to December 31.

Legal coyotes hunting starts from January 1 to April 28 and from June 1 to December 31.

Woodchucks hunting ranges from March 16 to November 16.

Deer hunting season varies depending on the land and hunting equipment used. Mostly January and February, September to December are the ideal time for both private and public land.

3. Hunting Areas

3.1 Public Lands

There is less than six percent of Connecticut is public lands. Within ranges from just a few hundred acres to several thousand offer respectable public hunting and fishing access.

Natchaung State Forest, Nipmuck, Tunxis state Forest offer deer and turkey hunting options. Thomaston Dam offers waterfowl and pheasant hunting option. Salmon River State Forest provides deer, Turkey and small game hunting option.

With some specific rules and regulations hunters can access those public lands.

3.2 Private Lands

Some of the best hunting opportunities can be found on private property. However, there are a number of rules to follow when hunting on privately owned land.

Hunters must take permission from land owners. In addition, hunters must be licensed and within 10 acres land shot gun, muzzleloaders or archery have to be used.

Only if there is more than 10 acres land, rifles can be used with special permission. Small game hunters have to take verbal permission and big game hunters have to obtain written permission from the land owners.

4. License Requirements

In order to hunt legally in Connecticut, you must have a hunting license from the state. Various types of licenses are required for hunting in both public and private land.

You can purchase license online or from vender, such as sporting goods stores or can be purchased directly from many town clerks and retail agents.

  • Any active, full time member of the armed forces may issue small game fire arms license for the resident fee
  • Free license is provided to the blind or intellectually disabled person
  • Free life time fire arm license for seniors (65 and above) is also available
  • To participate in the archery deer seasons, hunters must purchase a small game and deer archery permits
  • Sportsmen and women are able to purchase licenses, permits and stamps online through Connecticut’s online sportsmen licensing system
  • A person must be 12 years of age or older to hunt and must be licensed. Junior hunter must accompany licensed hunter 18 years or older in age.
  • A person using a handgun for hunting must possess state/town permits to carry

5. Rules and Regulations

Hunters and trappers are abided by certain rules and regulations in case of hunting. There are different rules set up for hunting in private as well as public lands.

5.1. Distance Regulation

Trap or target shooting on any public hunting area is prohibited. Hunters are exempted rather say it is prohibited to hunt or shoot from or across the travelled area of any public road way.

Shooting towards any person, building or domestic animals is prohibited.

5.2. Hunting Hours

Connecticut allows hunting half hour before sunrise till half hour after sunset. Archery deer hunting is allowed on private land only on Sundays.

Sunday hunting is allowed on licensed private shooting preserves and permitted field trial events.

5.3. Bag Limits

Hunters must not exceed daily bag limit for a particular species. There are certain bag limits for each species. Hunters also cannot exceed season bag limit arranged for particular species. Different bag limits are there for public and private lands.

5.4. Orange Requirements

All hunters are required to wear 400 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing above the waist. Hunters must wear an orange hat, in addition to a coat or vest, bow hunters are exempted from 400 square inches of orange cloths during fire arms and muzzleloader deer seasons.

6. Prohibited Practices 

  • No person is allowed to take intoxicating liquor or any drug while hunting in Connecticut
  • Electronic game call devices are prohibited while hunting wild turkeys and migratory birds
  • Hunting or shooting from a motor vehicle is prohibited
  • The use of all-terrain vehicles except person with disabilities is prohibited on state lands
  • Hunting within Westport town borders is prohibited
  • Possession of a firearm while archery hunting is prohibited
  • 22 caliber rimfire to hunt raccoon or opossum at night is prohibited in Connecticut

7. Hunting Education

For hunting in both public and private land hunter education is the foremost criteria. A student must be 10 years old, with written permission from parents. There are options available for hunting safety courses.

7.1 Traditional Firearms Hunting Safety Course

This course usually takes a minimum of 16 hours and involve 3 or 4 evenings and a weekend day.

7.2. Self-Study Firearms Courses

It requires students to complete online training course of minimum 8 hours and attend a field day consisting of minimum 8 hours of instruction.

7.3. Online Course

It is for hunting certification only. After completion of course, students are given a full day class room instruction, firearms handling exercises in field situations.

7.4. Bow-Hunting Safety Education Course

Connecticut Department of energy and environmental protection approve bow-hunting course.

Student must be at least 10 years old to take online course and a resident of Connecticut. A minimum of 6 hours and a full day of instruction is needed.

After passing the online course, students are required to allow the modified Bow hunting field day.

8. Archery Requirement

8.1. Legal Bows

Legal bows including, long, recurved or compound bows are permitted for the purpose of hunting deer and turkey. Minimum draw weight is 40 pounds.

8.2. Cross Bows

For hunting deer, turkey and all other species, cross bow is permitted. Legal Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds.


Connecticut is a state though small in size of land have plenty of destination for adventures people. Hunters every year well attract towards this place for varied species to hunt.

By following terms and condition people may easily scout every hunting destination of the state. Hunting and trapping are carefully regulated. Mandatory hunter safety course and trapper training courses ensure that hunting heritage in Connecticut remain strong.

Every hunter must know the current year’s regulations. Rules and regulations may change year to year.

For further information about hunting in Connecticut you may visit Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website:


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