DEEP: Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut

Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut

{Pheasant Illustration}

ATTENTION PHEASANT HUNTERS (as of NOVEMBER 9): We will be making an effort to stock pheasants at Higganum Meadows WMA in Haddam for this weekend (Nov. 11) and next weekend (Nov. 18). Wet conditions prohibited the stocking of pheasants in the previous week. 
 
As of November 2, 2017, downed power lines and trees at Naugatuck State Forest Mount Sanford Block have been cleared/repaired. Pheasant stocking activities have resumed.

Changes in 2017: This year, the DEEP will purchase a total of 15,000 adult pheasants. Seven areas will also be stocked on Saturday morning and afternoon and will only be open to hunters with a Saturday AM (9:00 AM -12:00 noon) or Saturday PM (1:30 PM - 4:30 PM) permit. These select areas will be stocked prior to the morning permit and during the afternoon break to assure hunters that birds will be available at these areas on the weekend. These areas include:

  • Cromwell Meadows WMA Map 
  • Durham Meadows WMA Map  
  • Housatonic WMA Southern Map, Northern Map  
  • Nathan Hale State Forest Map  
  • Naugatuck State Forest (Hunter's Mountain Block only) West Block 
  • Simsbury WMA Map
  • Skiff Mountain Coop WMA Map 
All hunters wishing to use these areas on Saturdays must have a Saturday permit and will only be able to be present during the specified time on the daily permit. Saturday permits for these areas will only be available on the Online Sportsmen Licensing System the Monday preceding the Saturday hunts starting at 12:01 AM.
 
Daily Permits will be needed at these areas on the following Saturdays for either the morning (9:00 AM - 12:00 PM) or afternoon (1:30 - 4:30 PM):
  • Saturday, October 21
  • Saturday, October 28
  • Saturday, November 4
  • Saturday, November 11
  • Saturday, November 18 (Does not include Nathan Hale, Naugatuck SF, and Skiff Mnt.)
Compliance with these requirements is necessary in order for birds to be stocked prior to 9:00 AM and again between 12:00 -1:30 PM.  If hunters are present, birds will not be stocked
 
As in past years, the third week of November (13 - 18) will be an abbreviated week. During that week, birds will only be released in the beginning of the week at all areas except: Cromwell Meadows WMA, Durham Meadows WMA, East Windsor/Enfield PR Area, Higganum Meadows WMA, Housatonic WMA, Mansfield Hollow, MDC New Hartford, Simsbury WMA, Suffield WMA, and Thomaston Dam.
 
Jr. Hunter Opportunities: October 14, 2017 is Jr. Pheasant Hunter Training Day.  On this day, four state areas in northwestern CT will be stocked thanks to the Northwest Connecticut Sportsman's Council.  The areas include Goshen WMA, Housatonic WMA, NU-Skiff Mountain Cooperative WMA and Robbins Swamp WMA.  All Jr. Hunters must secure a Jr. Hunting Day reservation on the on-line Sportsmen Licensing site to participate.  
 
A number of clubs around the state are offering Jr. Pheasant Hunts.  Please see the Wildlife Junior Hunting page for instructions and details about the various events being offered. 
 
CONNECTICUT RESIDENT GAME BIRD CONSERVATION STAMP: All pheasant hunters must purchase a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp, along with a hunting license. The Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp is also required for those who wish to hunt wild turkey, ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail, chukar and Hungarian partridge. The stamp costs $28 for adults and non-residents. Connecticut resident youth hunters (ages 12-17) can purchase the stamp for a discounted price of $14. All revenues from the sale of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps will be deposited into a separate, non-lapsing account to use exclusively for the purchase and management of game birds and their habitat.

Hunters who wish to enjoy hunting woodcock while pursuing pheasant are required to also purchase a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp rather than a HIP permit. The cost of the stamp is $17.

Both stamps can be purchased through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System and from participating Town Clerks and Retail Agents including: 

  • Franklin Swamp WMA - Franklin
  • Sessions Woods, WMA - Burlington
  • Marine Headquarters - Old Lyme
  • Eastern District Headquarters - Marlborough
  • Western District Headquarters - Harwinton
  • DEEP Headquarters - Hartford
Three-day Non-Resident License: (as of July 1, 2016) Non-resident hunters wishing to take advantage of the vast bird hunting opportunities that Connecticut has to offer can now purchase a three-day non-resident bird hunting license, which is good for 3 consecutive privilege days (Sundays not included). The license will cost $35. In addition to the three-day non-resident license, hunters wishing to pursue wild turkey, pheasant, quail, and partridge will also need to purchase a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp. Visitors wishing to hunt woodcock, snipe, rails, crows, and waterfowl will need to purchase a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp in addition to their three-day non-resident license. 
 
Daily Permits Online:  Daily permits for a select group of Permit-Required Areas will be available online. To see which areas have online permitting and/or vendor permitting, consult the Online Sportsmen Licensing System, the Public Hunting Area Maps, or this updated list for 2017 (PDF; changes are not reflected in the printed version of the 2017 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide). Permits will be available three-five days in advance; with only one permit issued per day online to any one individual. Online permits can be obtained through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System. Instructions for Online Purchases (PDF
 
AREA Changes:
We will not be stocking Cockaponset SF, Franklin WMA, Mad River Dam, Pease Brook WMA, Pootatuck SF, Roraback WMA, and Woodstock PR Area.
 
The parking area on the Thomaston Dam will be closing at 3:00 PM on weekdays and will be closed during the weekends. The only parking area that is open after 3:00 PM and on weekends is the picnic area parking lot on Route 222.

{waynepheasant}
Pheasant release by Wayne Labrecque at Pachaug State Forest
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROGRAM:
Each year pheasants are purchased and distributed throughout the state on state-owned, state-managed, and Permit-Required Areas. The Pheasant Program is funded solely by the sale of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps and hunting licenses. The number of pheasants that are purchased is directly correlated to the number of Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps sold in Connecticut during the previous season and revenue derived from pheasant hunters.

The Pheasant Program relies heavily on cooperative relationships with hunting clubs and landowners. Many of our Permit-Required Hunting Areas are available due to agreements with private landowners. Thanks to these landowners, pheasants are released in the towns of Bristol, East Windsor, Enfield, Meriden, Norwich, Seymour, Sprague, Suffield, and Wallingford.

There are still several private hunting clubs throughout the state who add to our state program by providing public access to private lands and by purchasing and stocking birds. These clubs participate in a statewide Cooperative Liberation Program. Through this program, hunters have the opportunity to hunt on private areas where both the state and the clubs are purchasing birds.  While some clubs are provided with adult birds for stocking, others receive 8-week-old birds and raise them for release. Through the 8-week-old Cooperative Program the state is able to purchase birds at a reduced fee and the club then incurs the cost of raising and releasing birds on areas that the public can access.

If you are out on a Permit-Required Area, please be respectful of our cooperating landowners and club members who are working hard to provide additional hunting opportunities!

 # of Pheasant Hunters and Birds
Purchased 1983-2015
(The price of pheasant tags from 1983-1989 was $5, from 1990-2002 $10, and from 2003-2009 $14, starting on Oct. 1, 2010 tags were sold at $28)

{hunters and birds}
 
Average Price of Birds
1983-2015
  {price per bird}

SEASON DATES AND BAG LIMITS: Pheasant stocking activities begin each year just prior to the third Saturday in October, "Opening Day," and end the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. During that timeframe, pheasants are generally stocked 2-3 days each week, except during the third week of November when the Private Land Shotgun/Rifle season opens for deer hunters. Pheasants will be stocked this year on a limited basis during the week of November 13.  During that week, birds will only be released in the beginning of the week at all areas except: Cromwell Meadows WMA, Durham Meadows WMA, East Windsor/Enfield PR Area, Higganum Meadows WMA, Housatonic WMA, Mansfield Hollow, MDC New Hartford, Simsbury WMA, Suffield WMA, and Thomaston Dam.

All pheasant hunters must purchase a resident or nonresident small game firearms hunting license (Conservation License) and a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp for $28 ($14 for ages 12-17). Daily bag limits are 2 birds per day and the season limit is 10 birds.  

 
 Connecticut 2017 Pheasant Hunting Areas
 
 

{state pheasant areas}

Recommended Areas by County

Hartford County

Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor  - This is undeniably one of the very best pheasant hunting areas the state has to offer. If you are a weekday hunter, this area must be on your list of places to visit! (On most weekends, the area is used for Field Trial events and is closed to public access.) The state will be stocking nearly 340 birds here on weekdays only starting the week after opening day and ending the week of Thanksgiving (Map).  {Bear Hill}

Suffield WMA was purchased in 2008 and shares a boundary with a corresponding Massachusetts hunting area. The 250-acre area was formerly used for growing tobacco and contains more than 100 acres of open or managed field habitat and is contiguous to an additional 250 acres in Southwick, Massachusetts. Sportsmen should consider purchasing a non-resident Massachusetts license so that they can enjoy the entire site. At least 575 birds will be released at this area in 2017 (Map).

Litchfield County

Goshen WMA, Goshen  - This area consists of over 900 acres of land and includes several large fields with ideal cover for pheasants. Stocking activities will result in nearly 555 birds being released at this area (Map).

Housatonic WMA, Cornwall & Kent - This area consists of various fields along the Housatonic River. At least 410 birds will be released at this site (Southern Map, Northern Map). New: Saturday AM or Saturday PM permit required.

Northeast Utilities Skiff Mountain Permit-Required Area, Kent - 83 acres of old fields and open grasslands make this a popular area for pheasant hunters. A daily permit is needed and can be obtained at Backcountry Outfitters in Kent, CT (Map). Nearly 470 birds will be stocked at this site. New: Saturday AM or Saturday PM permit required.

Robbins Swamp WMA, Canaan - Litchfield County: Robbins Swamp is 1,569 acres of agricultural fields, forest, and wetlands and it will receive approximately 500 birds this year. This site contains many areas inaccessible to hunters and it is not uncommon to find birds throughout the season (Map).  New: In 2016 a new parcel was purchased along Route 7 with a Pittman-Robertson grant.  This area will be newly available for pheasant hunting in 2017.

Middlesex County

Higganum Meadows WMA, Haddam - If you are up for the hike, you’ll be pleased to find a 56-acre field along the Connecticut River that offers excellent habitat for pheasant hunting. This site will receive nearly 550 birds (Map).

Wangunk Meadows WMA, Portland - With nearly 600 acres of fields on the north side of the Portland Fairgrounds, this is an ideal place to hunt pheasants. Enjoy a scenic walk along the Connecticut River and work your way through fields planted with pumpkins as you look for one of the 525 pheasants released here (Map). 

New Haven County

Naugatuck State Forest, Oxford, Beacon Falls, Naugatuck, Cheshire, Hamden - New Haven County: This property consists of nearly 3,000 acres of mixed hardwoods with patch cuts, power line clearings, and small fields. Choose from one of two hunting areas. The two areas together will receive approximately 630 birds this coming season. (West Block, Mount Sanford Block). New: Saturday AM or Saturday PM permit required on West Block/Hunter's Mnt. Block.

New London County

Barn Island WMA, Stonington - Look for nearly 415 pheasants in one of Connecticut’s most beautiful coastal sites. With well over 300 acres of huntable land, you won’t be disappointed by making a visit to this site (Map).

Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon - 120 acres of agricultural fields and old growth field habitat offer a great setting for nearly 480 birds that are released in this area (Map). 

{Meadow Brook WMA}
Pheasants released by Chris Gillette

Meadow Brook WMA, Colchester - 161 acres with approximately 70 acres in open field or shrub vegetation. This new area will receive 515 birds this year (Map).

Rose Hill WMA, Preston & Ledyard, New London County - Offers over 50 acres of agricultural fields with nearly 425 birds released here (Map).

Tolland County

Mansfield Hollow Lake State Leased Hunting Area, Mansfield/Chaplin - Tolland and Windham County: This state-leased area consists of over 2,000 acres of land and includes the Mansfield Field Trial Area. Approximately 665 birds will be stocked at two locations (Field Trial Map and Pheasant Area Map).

Windham County

West Thompson Dam, Thompson - Windham County: Is a federally-owned and managed property under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This area spans along over 5 miles of the Quinebaug River and ends at West Thompson Lake. This flood control area offers several fields that are ideal for pheasant hunting and it will receive approximately 455 birds during this season. (Overview Map, Southern Map, Northern Map)      

Hunting Areas to Be Stocked with Pheasants Include:

Litchfield - Hartford Counties
Area Number of Birds
Simsbury WMA, Simsbury Map  Saturday Permit Required 595
Suffield WMA, Suffield Map
575
Goshen WMA, Goshen Map
555
MDC New Hartford, New Hartford Map
490
NU-Skiff Mountain, Sharon Map  Saturday Permit Required
470
Robbins Swamp WMA, Falls Village Map
465
Housatonic River WMA, Kent  Southern Map, Northern Map    Saturday Permit Required 410 *
Thomaston Dam, Thomaston 360
East Windsor/Enfield Permit-Required Area
     Map
350
Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor Map
340
Suffield Permit-Required Area, Suffield Map
340
*
Bristol Fish & Game Assoc., Bristol  Map
250
*
Mad River Dam, Winchester No Birds in 2017
0
Roraback WMA, Harwinton No Birds in 2017
0
* Additional birds may be supplied through club releases.
 
Middlesex-Tolland Counties
Area Number of Birds
Mansfield Hollow, Mansfield Map  Field Trial Area Map
665
Higganum Meadows, Haddam Map
550
Wangunk Meadows, Portland Map
525
Cromwell Meadows, Cromwell/Middletown Map 
Saturday Permit Required
505
Nathan Hale State Forest, Andover/Coventry Map  Saturday Permit Required
465
Babcock Pond WMA, East Haddam/Colchester Map
445
Durham Meadows, Durham Map 
Saturday Permit Required
340
Cockaponset State Forest*, Haddam No Birds in 2017
0
 
* Additional birds may be supplied through club releases.
 
Windham-New London Counties
Area Number of Birds
Bear Hill WMA, Bozrah Map
515
Meadow Brook WMA, Colchester Map
515
Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon Map
480
Larsons Lot, Salmon River State Forest, Colchester Map 465
Quinebaug River WMA, Canterbury/Plainfield  Sugarbrook Map  Hatchery Map
460
Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown Map 460
West Thompson Dam, Thompson Map   North   South 455
Spignesi WMA, Scotland Map
445
Rose Hill WMA, Preston & Ledyard Map
425
Barn Island WMA, Stonington Map
415
Norwich Fish & Game PR Area, Norwich  Map
400
*
Sprague Town Owned PR Area Map
400
*
Franklin WMA, Franklin Map No Birds in 2017
0
Pease Brook WMA, Lebanon  No Birds in 2017
0
Woodstock Permit-Required Area Map   Reynolds   Young Farm No Birds in 2017- still open for Small Game Hunting 0
* Includes 8 wk-old allotment.
 
Fairfield-New Haven Counties
Area Number of Birds
Naugatuck State Forest,Naugatuck, Cheshire, Hamden West Block  Mnt Sanford Saturday Permit Required-West Block ONLY
710
Seymour Fish & Game P-R Area, Oxford Map 325 *
Meriden Permit-Required Area, Meriden/Cheshire Map 300 *
Wallingford Town-owned P-R Area, Wallingford  Wallingford Map 300 *
Pootatuck State Forest, New Fairfield No Birds in 2017 0
* Additional birds supplied through club releases.
   Birds only stocked in Meriden and Wallingford 1 day per week until early December.
** A small number of birds may be released by cooperative Sportsman's club.

Additional Information:

Reminders on Hunting Safety and Hunter Ethics

  • Be Safe - wear 400 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing above the waist that is visible from all sides. An orange hat, in addition to an orange coat/vest is strongly recommended. 
  • Leave the field or stay inactive while pheasant stockers are on the area.
  • Respect landowners and others using the property.
  • Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp required for hunting woodcock, snipe, rail, crows, and waterfowl.
  • Bring a junior hunter to pass on the tradition.
  • Report violations by calling the DEEP Emergency Dispatch at 860-424-3333.
Content last updated on November 9, 2017.