DEEP: Junior Hunter Training Days

Junior Hunting

{Junior hunters with mentor}
One Saturday each October is designated as Junior Hunter Training Day for pheasants on state and private land. The DEEP Wildlife Division, in cooperation with various sportsmen's clubs, hold several special hunting events for junior hunters on Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day and other days during the pheasant hunting season.
Graduates of Connecticut’s Conservation Education/Firearms Safety Program that are between the ages of 12 and 15 years old and who possess a valid Junior Hunting License for the calendar year are eligible to participate in these free events. Stay tuned for junior pheasant hunter events planned for 2017.
View photos from the 2015 Junior Pheasant Hunting events and learn what a typical training day is all about.
Junior Hunter Season Access Permits
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. These permits allow licensed junior hunters and their accompanying adult licensed hunter to hunt small game on the designated Permit-Required Hunting Area without having to obtain the normal daily permits required of other hunters on these areas.

2017 Junior Hunter Training Days

Regulations designate certain days for youth hunting in Connecticut. On these days, licensed junior hunters (12 to 15 years of age) may hunt when accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years of age or older. The adult mentor may not carry a firearm and at all times must remain within physical contact in a position to provide direct supervision and instruction. These training days will provide junior hunters with an opportunity to learn safe and effective hunting practices from experienced hunters.
Participants must be between 12-15 years of age, possess a valid small game junior hunting license, and a 2017 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. Adults must possess a valid hunting license; however, they are not allowed to carry a firearm. Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots may be hunted. Bag limits and shooting hours are the same as for the regular duck and goose hunting seasons.

{junior waterfowl hunter with mentor}

The Connecticut Waterfowl Association sponsors a Waterfowl Mentoring Program. View an article (PDF) in Connecticut Wildlife magazine that describes how this great new program pairs experienced volunteer mentors with youths and even adult novice waterfowl hunters.

State and Private Land: Youth participants must possess a current junior hunting license and a Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp. There may be exceptions if hunting on a private shooting preserve or a hunting club property with a stamp exemption. Youth must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. Adults must possess a valid hunting license; however, they are not allowed to carry a firearm.

DEER - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4 through SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2017 (excluding Sunday)
Private Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must have a valid private land shotgun/rifle deer permit and written consent from landowner.
State Land: Licensed junior hunter must have a state land shotgun deer permit (Lottery or No-Lottery). Adult mentor must have a valid deer permit of any type. Deer hunting on Junior Hunter Training Days is permitted on any Lottery or No-Lottery Deer area, regardless of area designated on the permit, with the following exceptions:
 1. Yale Forest, MDC Barkhamsted Reservoir-Barkhamsted East Block, MDC Barkhamsted Reservoir-Hartland East Block, MDC Nepaug Reservoir-Valentine Block, and MDC Nepaug Reservoir-Pine Hill Block are not open during Junior Deer Hunter Training Days.
 2. Centennial Watershed State Forest and Bristol Water Company are only open to junior hunters and mentors who have both been awarded a permit for these areas.

Report your deer harvest either by telephone (1-877-337-4868) or

{image of junior deer hunter with deer}


SPRING TURKEY - SATURDAY, APRIL 15 through SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 2017 (excluding Sunday)
Private Land:
Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must have both a valid Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp and written consent from landowner.
State Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must have a valid Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp.
Adult mentor may assist in calling turkeys. Hunting hours for Junior Hunter Training Days only: 1/2 hour before sunrise to 5:00 pm. Harvested turkeys must be tagged and reported (more info).

{image of junior turkey hunter with two turkeys} {image of junior turkey hunter with two turkeys}
{Jr. Hunter carrying turkey} {Two Jr. Hunters with turkeys}

2015 Junior Pheasant Hunt Recap
The junior pheasant hunter training day events held in 2015 were a huge success. Some of the events allowed junior hunters to hunt with certified volunteer Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) instructors over well-trained bird dogs and their handlers.

On September 19, 21 junior hunters participated in the pheasant hunt training at Bozrah Rod and Gun Club in Lebanon, 29 participated on October 4 at the Torrington Fish and Game Association, and 18 participated at the Flaherty Field Trail Area Clubs Association in East Windsor on October 10. The CE/FS instructors and countless volunteers, including dog handlers, club members, and cooks, helped provide junior hunters with a great experience and many were able to harvest their first bird.

Read an article (PDF) about the Junior Pheasant Hunting events in the November/December 2015 issue of Connecticut Wildlife magazine.

A Typical Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day

{Hunter safety instructors addressing Jr. hunters} {Jr. hunters at the trap field} {Hunter safety instructors and Jr. hunters before pheasant hunt}
Each hunt began with a safety review by certified hunter safety instructors.
Before heading out to the field, junior hunters had the opportunity to sharpen their skills on the trap field.
Each dog handler explained to the hunters and safety officers about what to expect and safety considerations for their hunting dog.

{image of hunting dog}
{junior hunter harvesting pheasant}
Well-trained hunting dogs waited with great anticipation for the hunt to begin.
Thanks to efforts of many well-trained hunting dogs, junior hunters were able to harvest their first pheasant.


Content last updated on April 28, 2017.