DEEP: Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut

Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut

{Pheasant Illustration} Changes in 2016: This year, the DEEP will purchase a total of 14,935 adult pheasants. This is the same number of birds that were stocked in the 2015 season. Similar to previous years, our efforts will be concentrated on the best quality areas and will be focused on late week stockings and birds for Saturdays. As in past years, birds will not be stocked the week of November 14 on any state owned areas.

CONNECTICUT RESIDENT GAME BIRD CONSERVATION STAMP: (NEW as of July 1, 2016)*  All pheasant hunters who did not purchase a Pheasant Stamp before July 1, 2016, must purchase a new Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp, along with a hunting license. The new stamp replaces the Pheasant Stamp. The Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp is also required for those who wish to hunt wild turkey, ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail, and chukar and Hungarian partridges. 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 now required to also purchase a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp in place of 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: (New 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 on-line:  Daily permits for a select group of Permit-Required Areas will be available on-line. Please check the online Sportsmen Licensing System 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 online to any one individual.

AREA Changes:
The Roraback WMA pheasant area has moved. Birds will be released off of South Rd. and not on Laurel Rd.  Please refer to the map to find the new 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.
We will not be stocking Hebron PR Area, Kollar WMA, NU-Maromas Coop WMA, the Weber's Block of Cockaponset, and the stone house area at Pachaug SF.

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 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, the revenue derived from pheasant hunters, and the price paid for each pheasant.

{Bear Hill}

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 1983-2015
(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
  {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 16th.

All pheasant hunters must purchase a resident or nonresident small game firearms 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 2016 Pheasant Hunting Areas

{state pheasant 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 680 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 465 birds this year. This site contains many areas inaccessible to hunters and it is not uncommon to find birds throughout the season (Map).

Pheasant release by Wayne Labrecque at Pachaug State Forest

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 460 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 565 birds this coming season. (West Block, Mount Sanford Block).

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 places 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 275 birds here on weekdays only starting the week after opening day and ending the week of Thanksgiving (Map). 

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 500 birds will be released at this area in 2016 (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 Sportsmenís Association in cooperation with local landowners. A total of 360 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, or our online Sportsmen Licensing System. Hunters must be respectful of the detailed instructions for each area so that we can continue to maintain this cooperative relationship with the local landowners. (Maps)

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 465 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 habitat for the roughly 445 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 430 birds will be stocked at this site.

Middlesex County

Higganum Meadows WMA, Haddam - If you are up for the hike, youíll be pleased to find a 56-acre field along the Connecticut River that offers excellent habitat for pheasant hunting. This site will receive nearly 460 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 575 pheasants released here (Map). 

New London County

Barn Island WMA, Stonington - Look for nearly 365 pheasants in one of Connecticutís most beautiful coastal sites. With well over 300 acres of huntable land, you wonít 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 430 birds that are released in this area (Map). 

Larsons Lot, Salmon River State Forest, Colchester - Approximately 75 acres of patch cuts within a deciduous forest. This area will receive nearly 445 birds this year (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 475 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- This area includes several private properties in Woodstock. A daily permit is required to hunt here and can be obtained from the online Sportsmen Licensing System or the Woodstock Valley Country Store. Nearly 355 birds will be released on this area at the following two sites: Reynolds Property and Young Farm.         

Hunting Areas to Be Stocked with Pheasants Include:

Litchfield - Hartford Counties
Area Number of Birds
Housatonic River WMA, Kent  Southern Map, Northern Map
Mad River Dam, Winchester Map 165
Simsbury WMA, Simsbury   Map 470
Thomaston Dam, Thomaston 315
Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor Map
East Windsor/Enfield Permit-Required Area
Roraback WMA, Harwinton NEW: South Rd. Map
Bristol Fish & Game Assoc., Bristol  Map 280 *
NU-Skiff Mountain, Sharon Map
Suffield WMA, Suffield Map
MDC New Hartford, New Hartford Map
Goshen WMA, Goshen Map
Suffield Permit-Required Area, Suffield Map
Robbins Swamp WMA, Falls Village Map
* Additional birds may be supplied through club releases.
Middlesex-Tolland Counties
Area Number of Birds
Durham Meadows, Durham Map
Cockaponset State Forest*, Haddam
             Aircraft Road Map
Cromwell Meadows, Cromwell/Middletown Map
Nathan Hale State Forest, Andover/Coventry Map 410
Babcock Pond WMA, East Haddam/Colchester Map
Higganum Meadows, Haddam Map
Wangunk Meadows, Portland Map
Mansfield Hollow, Mansfield Map  Field Trial Area Map
* Additional birds may be supplied through club releases.
Windham-New London Counties
Area Number of Birds
Franklin WMA, Franklin Map
Meadow Brook WMA, Colchester Map
Pease Brook WMA, Lebanon Map
Spignesi WMA, Scotland Map 330
Quinebaug River WMA, Canterbury/Plainfield  Sugarbrook Map  Hatchery Map
Norwich Fish & Game PR Area, Norwich  Map 400 *
Bear Hill WMA, Bozrah Map 475
Larsons Lot, Salmon River State Forest, Colchester Map
Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown Map
Barn Island WMA, Stonington Map
Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon Map
Rose Hill WMA, Preston & Ledyard Map
Woodstock Permit-Required Area Map   Reynolds   Young Farm
West Thompson Dam, Thompson Map   North   South 460
* Includes 8 wk-old allotment.
Fairfield-New Haven Counties
Area Number of Birds
Seymour Fish & Game P-R Area, Oxford Map 280 *
Meriden Permit-Required Area, Meriden/Cheshire Map 320 *
Wallingford Town-owned P-R Area, Wallingford  Wallingford Map 320 *
Naugatuck State Forest,Naugatuck, Cheshire, Hamden West Block  Mnt Sanford
Paugussett State Forest, Newtown
Pootatuck State Forest, New Fairfield Map 120
* 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 (NEW FOR 2016)
  • 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 October 18, 2016.