DEEP: Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut

Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut

{Pheasant Illustration} Changes in 2013: This year the DEEP will purchase a total of 15,380 adult pheasants based on revenues from the sale of 4,464 pheasant stamps in 2012.  This will result in a decrease of 1596 birds from last year due to decreased revenue (284 fewer stamps sold) and an increase in the average price of adult pheasants (increased by .74¢).  As in past years, our efforts will be concentrated on the best quality areas by stocking these areas two to three days per week, including some Saturdays.  In order to keep the number of birds stocked per stocking at a high level we will concentrate our efforts during the first four weeks following opening day, Saturday October 19th.

PHEASANT TAGS: A reminder that Pheasant tags are no longer required, however, hunters will still need to purchase a pheasant stamp authorization for their Conservation License. The stamp will be valid until the end of February. 

Pheasant stamp authorizations can be purchased through the online Sportsmen Licensing System and from participating Town Clerks and Retail Agents including: 

  • Franklin Swamp WMA - Franklin, CT
  • Sessions Woods, WMA - Burlington, CT 
  • Marine Headquarters - Old Lyme, CT 
  • Eastern District Headquarters - Marlborough, CT 
  • Western District Headquarters - Harwinton, CT 
  • DEEP Headquarters - Hartford, CT
Note: Birds will not be stocked the week of November 18th on any state owned areas.
New in 2013: This year we will be offering Daily permits for a select group of Permit-Required Areas on-line.  Please check the on-line Sportsmen Licensing website for a complete list of areas available.  As in the past, permits will be available up to two days in advance, however, only one permit will be issued per day on-line to any one individual.
Area Changes: John Minetto State Park and Quinnipiac River State Park have been removed from the stocking list for 2013, however, we will be stocking the Laurel Rd. section of Roraback WMA for the first time.

Junior Program:  As in past years, Junior hunters and their adult mentors can apply for Seasonal permits to use the following Permit-Required Areas: East Windsor/Enfield, Hebron, NU- Maromas, NU-Skiff Mountain, Quinnipiac River State Park, Stanley Works, and Woodstock.

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 pheasant tags and hunting licenses.  The number of pheasants that are purchased is directly correlated to the number of pheasant tags sold in CT during the previous season, the revenue derived from pheasant hunters and the price paid for each pheasant.

The pheasant program relies heavily upon 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, Hebron, Meriden, Norwich, Seymour, Sprague, Suffield, Wallingford and Woodstock.  There are still several private hunting clubs throughout the state who add to our state program by providing public access to private land 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 1983-2013
(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)
  {birds per hunter}
Average Price of Birds
{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 ends the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. During that time frame, 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 not be stocked this year during the week of November 18th.

All pheasant hunters must purchase a resident or nonresident small game firearms license (Conservation License) and a pheasant stamp for $28. Daily bag limits are 2 birds per day and the season limit is 10 birds.  

 Connecticut Pheasant Hunting Areas

Recommended Areas

Some of the best pheasant hunting opportunities are located in Litchfield and Windham County. Our top 4 picks statewide include:

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 710 birds will be stocked at two locations (Field Trial Map and Pheasant Area Map).

Robbins Swamp WMA, Canaan - Litchfield County: Robbins Swamp is 1,569 acres of agricultural fields, forest and wetlands and it will receive approximately 510 birds this year. This site contains many areas inaccessible to hunters and it is not uncommon to find birds throughout the season (Map). 

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 530 birds during this season. (Overview Map, Southern Map, Northern Map)

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 650 birds this coming season. (West Block, Mount Sanford Block).

{Overview Map of Naugatuck State Forest}

Other top quality areas include: 

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 areas to visit! (On all weekends the area is used for Field Trial events and is closed to public access.) The state will be stocking nearly 360 birds here on weekdays only starting the week after opening day and ending on the week of Thanksgiving (Map). 

Suffield WMA was purchased in 2008 and shares a boundary with a corresponding Massachusetts hunting area.  The 195 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 420 birds will be released at this area in 2013 (Map).

Suffield Permit-Required Area, Suffield - Visit this area to enjoy some of the best quality hunting areas in the state and to take advantage of a unique opportunity to hunt on private land. This area is maintained by the Suffield Sportsmen’s Association in cooperation with local landowners. 460 state supplied birds will be stocked in addition to the birds purchased and stocked by the club. All hunters going to this area need to obtain a daily permit from Suffield Hardware and must be respectful of the detailed instructions for each area so that we can continue to maintain this cooperative relationship with the local landowners. (Map 1 of 7 Map 2, Map 3, Map 4, Map 5, Map 6, Map 7)

{Overview Map of Suffield Permit-Required Area}

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 470 birds being released at this area(Map).

Housatonic WMA, Cornwall & Kent - This area consists of various fields along the Housatonic River.  At least 360 birds will be released at this site (Southern Map, Northern Map).

MDC Greenwoods Pond, New Hartford - Enjoy the day along the Farmington River in this scenic town. This area offers nearly 400 acres of ideal habitat for the roughly 420 birds that are released on site (Map). 

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 485 birds will be stocked at this site.

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 CT River that offers excellent habitat for pheasant hunting. This site will receive nearly 450 birds (Map).

Wangunk Meadows WMA, Portland - With nearly 600 acres of field on the north side of the Portland Fairgrounds this is an ideal place to hunt pheasants. Enjoy a scenic walk along the CT River and work your way through fields planted with pumpkins as you look for one of the nearly 590 pheasants released here (Map). 

New London County

Barn Island WMA, Stonington - Look for nearly 360 pheasants in one of CT’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 400 birds that are released in this area (Map). 

{Map showing the location of Larson Lot in Salmon River State Forest.} Larsons Lot, Salmon River State Forest, Colchester - Approximately 75 acres of patch cuts within a deciduous forest. This area will receive nearly 440 birds this year (Map).

Rose Hill WMA, Preston & Ledyard, New London County - Offers over 50 acres of agricultural fields with nearly 420 birds released here (Map).

Windham County

Woodstock Permit-Required Area, Woodstock and Eastford - This area includes several farms with high quality hunting opportunities as well as other private properties. A daily permit is required to hunt here and can be obtained from the Woodstock Valley Country Store. Nearly 405 birds will be released on this area at the following sites:Kuper Farm, Reynolds PropertyYoung Farm #2 and the Belden Farm.

Hunting areas to be stocked with pheasants include:

Litchfield - Hartford Counties
Area Number of Birds
John Minetto State Park, Torrington   no birds
Housatonic River WMA, Kent  Southern Map, Northern Map
Mad River Dam, Winchester Map 235
Simsbury WMA, Simsbury   Map 385
Thomaston Dam, Thomaston 315
Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor Map
East Windsor/Enfield Permit-Required Area
Rorabeck WMA, Harwinton Map
Bristol Fish & Game Assoc., Bristol  Map 325 *
NU-Skiff Mountain, Sharon Map
Suffield WMA, Suffield Map
MDC New Hartford, New Hartford
Goshen WMA, Goshen Map
Suffield Permit-Required Area, Suffield
Robbins Swamp WMA, Falls Village Map
* Additional birds may be supplied through club releases.
Middlesex-Tolland Counties
Area Number of Birds
NU-Maromas Permit-Required Area, Middletown Map 225
Durham Meadows, Durham Map
Hebron Permit-Required Area, Hebron Map 130
Cockaponset State Forest, Haddam
            Overview Map, Aircraft Road Map
Cromwell Meadows, Cromwell/Middletown Map
Kollar WMA, Tolland Map
Nathan Hale State Forest, Andover/Coventry Map 375
Babcock Pond WMA, East Haddam/Colchester Map
Higganum Meadows, Haddam
Wangunk Meadows, Portland
Mansfield Hollow, Mansfield Map  Field Trial Area Map 710
Windham-New London Counties
Area Number of Birds
Franklin WMA, Franklin
Pease Brook WMA, Lebanon Map 290
Spignesi WMA, Scotland Map 300
Quinebaug River WMA, Canterbury/Plainfield  Sugarbrook Map  Hatchery Map
Norwich Fish & Game PR Area, Norwich Map 400 *
Bear Hill WMA, Bozrah Map 420
Larsons Lot, Salmon River State Forest, Colchester Map
Sprague Rod & Gun Club Permit-Required Area Map
Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown
Barn Island WMA, Stonington
Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon
Rose Hill WMA, Preston & Ledyard Map
Woodstock Permit-Required Area Map
West Thompson Dam, Thompson 530
* Includes 8 wk old allotment.
Fairfield-New Haven Counties
Area Number of Birds
Quinnipiac River P-R Area, North Haven Map no birds
Seymour Fish & Game P-R Area, Oxford 245 *
Meriden Permit-Required Area, Meriden/Cheshire Map 320 *
Wallingford Town-Owned P-R Area, Wallingford  Wallingford Map 320 *
Naugatuck State Forest, Oxford, Beacon Falls, Naugatuck, Cheshire, Hamden
Great Swamp Flood Control Area, Ridgefield
Paugussett State Forest, Newtown
Pootatuck State Forest, New Fairfield **
* Additional birds supplied through club releases.  Birds only stocked in 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
  • Remember HIP for woodcock, snipe, rail and waterfowl
  • Bring a Jr. Hunter to pass on the tradition
  • Report violations by calling the DEEP, Emergency Dispatch at 860-424-3333