The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has announced the Opening Days of the upcoming fall firearms hunting seasons. Peak hunting occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily during the period from mid-October through mid-December.
The fall firearms turkey season opens statewide on Saturday, October 6, and will continue through October 31. The regular waterfowl season opens statewide on Wednesday, October 13, in both the north and south hunting zones. Small game hunting season opens at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 20, for pheasant, bobwhite quail, ruffed grouse, chukar partridge, crow, and cottontail rabbit. The statewide firearms deer hunting season begins Wednesday, November 14. Junior hunter training days are scheduled for pheasants on Saturday, October 13, on private land only; waterfowl on Saturday, October 6, and Saturday, November 3; and deer on Saturday, November 3, and Saturday, November 10.
The 2012 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and the 2012-2013 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide, which contain additional information on laws, regulations, and season dates, can be obtained at any town clerk or Wildlife Division office, or they can be found on the DEEP Web site at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting
. Maps denoting many state-owned hunting areas and most permit-required hunting areas may be obtained from the DEEP Web site.
Small Game Season and Permit-required Information
With the exception of opening day (October 20) small game hunting is allowed for most species from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. Waterfowl hunting is permitted from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.
In addition to most state forests and wildlife management areas, small game hunting will be available on a number of areas established under the permit-required hunting program. Permit-required areas are open to public hunting via a daily permit system and are made available through the cooperation of private landowners and local sportsmen’s clubs. A designated number of daily permits are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for each day of the season. Permits may be requested up to two days in advance of the day that you wish to hunt. A special “seasonal” access permit for Junior Hunters, aged 12-15, will continue to be available for selected areas. The permit allows access during any day of the season for a Junior Hunter and accompanying adult licensed hunter without the need to obtain daily hunting permits. Further details and permit forms are available from the DEEP Web site (www.ct.gov/deep/hunting
). Sportsmen wishing to hunt any designated permit-required hunting area should consult the 2012 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide for locations of vendors issuing daily permits.
Increased opportunities for small game hunting on some of the highest quality state-owned areas occur at Babcock Pond Wildlife Management Area (WMA; Colchester), Bear Hill WMA (Bozrah), Goshen WMA (Goshen), Higganum Meadows WMA (Haddam), and Nathan Hale State Forest (Coventry) where daily hunting permits are not required.
Pheasant Prospects Remain Good; Tags No Longer Required
The pheasant stocking program, one of the DEEP’s most popular user pay/user benefit programs, was initially considered for elimination during this year’s legislative session. Thanks to an overwhelming response from fees–paying hunters and others, the program is funded for the 2012-2013 season.
This year, the DEEP will purchase a total of 17,000 adult pheasants based on revenues from the sale of 4,748 pheasant stamps in 2011. This will result in a slight increase compared to the 16,789 adult pheasants contracted in 2011. As in past years, efforts will be concentrated on the best quality areas by stocking these areas three days per week and several high quality areas will be stocked on occasional Saturdays throughout the season. The distribution period will be shortened by one week this fall due to an earlier date for Thanksgiving. This will result in more birds overall for each stocking, which should result in good opportunities. In order to keep the number of birds stocked per stocking at a high level, efforts will be concentrated on four of the six weeks between opening day (Oct. 20) and Thanksgiving.
Pheasant Tags: Hunters are reminded that pheasant tags are no longer required. However, hunters will still need to purchase a pheasant stamp authorization for their Conservation License. The pheasant season has also been extended until the end of February.
Pheasant stamp authorizations can be purchased through the online at www.ct.gov/deep/sportsmenlicensing
and from participating Town Clerks and Retail Agents, including Franklin Swamp WMA (Franklin), Sessions Woods, WMA (Burlington), DEEP Marine Headquarters (Old Lyme), DEEP Eastern District Headquarters (Marlborough), DEEP Western District Headquarters (Harwinton), and DEEP Headquarters (Hartford).
Pheasants will only be stocked in limited numbers during the week of November 12-17 at the following sites: Babcock Pond, Barn Island, Bartlett Brook, Bear Hill, Cromwell Meadows, Durham Meadows, East Windsor/Enfield, Flaherty FTA, Goshen WMA, Higganum Meadows, Kollar WMA, Mad River Dam, Mansfield Hollow, MDC New Hartford, Naugatuck State Forest, Pease Brook, Quinnipiac River, Robbins Swamp, Rose Hill, Seymour/Oxford PR Area, Simsbury WMA, Suffield WMA, Wangunk Meadows, West Thompson Dam, and Woodstock Permit-required Area.
For additional details, such as area allocations and an updated listing of all major stocking areas, visit the DEEP Web site at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting