DEEP: Discover Outdoor CT

Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day

This FREE event is sponsored by the DEEP Bureaus of Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation
Sunday, September 15, 2019
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Rain or shine
Where: Hammonasset Beach State Park (Meigs Point Area), Madison (directions) Parking will be on-site.
Spend a FREE, fun-filled day exploring Connecticut's fish and wildlife resources and legacy of outdoor traditions, with live animals, demonstrations, fish casting, fly tying, archery, kid's activities, outdoor skills, a photo contest, and more. Bring a picnic lunch (concessionaire also on site) and stay for a few hours or the whole day!
Register and let us know you are coming (suggested but not required).
Discover Outdoor Connecticut Photo Contest:
Enter your favorite wildlife, scenery, and outdoor Connecticut photos in our annual contest! All entries will be on display in the Meigs Point Nature Center during Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day. Entry deadline is August 16, 2019. (more details; official entry form PDF)
All Day Activities for All Ages
  • {A Place Called Hope} Live Raptor Program with Christine's Critters: Featuring Christine Peyreigne, the youngest falconer in Connecticut, with a red-tailed hawk, barred owl, American kestrel, and a Cooper's hawk.
  • Live Raptor Program with A Place Called Hope.
  • Dog Demonstrations: See various breeds of hunting dogs and watch them in action. Jennifer Broome from Quinebaug Kennels (located in Canterbury, CT) will be giving bird dog demonstrations throughout the day.
  • Axe Throwing: Learn about the sport of axe throwing, receive pointers, and test your throwing skills with representatives from Blue Ox Axe Throwing from Wallingford.
  • L.L. Bean Outdoor Skills Demonstration: Learn about various skills for enjoying the outdoors, such as knot tying, water filtration, and outdoor survival skills.
  • REI Outdoor Skills Demonstration: Learn how to pitch a tent, about alternative uses for your sleeping pad, and what NOT to do with camp food.
  • View the Discover Outdoor Connecticut Photo Contest entries and winners in the Meigs Point Nature Center, and vote for the People's Choice Award.
  • Metacon Junior Rifle Team: Learn how to be proficient at marskmanship.
  • Archery Shooting: Learn about bowhunting safety and how to effectively hone shooting skills. 
  • Live Reptile Program: Learn about Connecticut reptiles from Meigs Point Nature Center naturalists and see snakes and turtles up close.
  • Visit the Meigs Point Nature Center 
  • Fly Tying: Practice your fly tying skills and then practice casting. {Backyard fishing activity}
  • Fly Casting: Instruction and skills challenge. Practice your fly casting and explore different casting techniques.
  • Moose Calling Demonstration: Learn about deer and moose, and practice your moose calling skills with the Moose Man of Connecticut, Jake Harton.
  • Bird Walks: Hammonasset Beach State Park is an important stopover site for migrating birds. Take one of several bird walks led by experienced birders to see what bird species you can find. Bring your own binoculars or borrow a pair.
  • Build a Bluebird Nest Box: Volunteers will help kids build their very own bluebird nest box.
  • Hunting and Fishing Tips: Visit with experts who will give you some great tips on hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors. 
  • WHAMM Program: Wetland Habitat and Mosquito Management marsh restoration equipment.
  • Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education Trailer: Explore the fisheries education traveling exhibit and see live fish.
  • TIP Trailer and DEEP Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police K9: View the CT law enforcement educational traveling exhibit and explore various wildlife artifacts.
  • Old School Flint Sharpening and Fire Starting Demonstrations: by Vern Hussey
Just for Kids
  • Wildlife and Nature Craft Activities
  • Face Painting and tattoos 
  • Build a bluebird nest box
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Wildlife quiz
  • Live animals
  • And, much more!
{Discover Outdoor Connecticut Photo Contest} {Hunting Dog} {Christine}
Who Will Be There (more to be added)
  • A Place Called Hope
  • Blue Ox Axe Throwing
  • Christine's Critters
  • Connecticut Audubon Society
  • Connecticut Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
  • Connecticut Falconers Association
  • Connecticut Furharvesters Association
  • Connecticut Trappers Association
  • CT Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) Instructors
  • CT Conservation Education/Firearms Safety Instructors
  • CT DEEP - Boating Division
  • CT DEEP - Environmental Conservation Police Division
  • CT DEEP - Forestry Division
  • CT DEEP - Goodwin Conservation Center
  • CT DEEP - Inland Fisheries Division
  • CT DEEP - Marine Fisheries Division
  • CT DEEP - Wildlife Division
  • CT DEEP - Wetland Habitat and Mosquito Management Program
  • CT DEEP - State Parks and Public Outreach
  • Delta Waterfowl
  • Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
  • Flaherty Field Trial Association
  • Friends of Hammonasset
  • Hammonasset Chapter of Trout Unlimited
  • Kayak Fishing Country
  • L.L. Bean (Danbury)
  • Lyman Hall High School Agriculture and Technology Program (Wallingford)
  • Metacon Junior Rifle Team
  • Meigs Point Nature Center Staff and Volunteers
  • Moose Man of Connecticut, Jake Harton
  • Nutmeg Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society
  • Quinebaug Kennels (Jennifer Broome)
  • REI (West Hartford)
  • South Central Regional Water Authority
  • The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge
  • Vern Hussey (old school flint sharpening and fire starting demonstrations)
  • Voices Against Lyme Disease
  • White Memorial Conservation Center
{Photo contest promo} Have you taken an amazing wildlife photo? Did you spot a pollinator up close? Have you spent some time in a park or out on the water? Did you watch the leaves turn brilliant oranges and reds? Show us! The Discover Outdoor Connecticut photo contest is open through August 16, 2019. Contestants have a chance to win some great prizes. Photographers may enter one photo in each category: 1) wildlife (including fish and insects); 2) people enjoying the natural world; and 3) scenic landscapes and flora. Judges will select first, second, and third place winners for each category, plus winners in a separate youth category (ages 15 and younger). There will also be a “People’s Choice” award selected by popular vote when all entries are displayed at Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day. Photographers from any state may participate, but all photos must have been taken in Connecticut.
ENTRY IS BY MAIL ONLY: Entries must be postmarked by August 16, 2019. Instructions, rules, prizes, mailing instructions, and other details are on the official entry form (PDF).
{Kid} {Hunting Dogs} {Tying flies}
Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day is also part of the National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration. This year, National Hunting and Fishing Day is observed on Saturday, September 28. Hunters and anglers have been at the forefront of the conservation movement for over 100 years. They showed their support by requesting taxes and special fees on hunting and fishing equipment to help pay for wildlife and fish management, habitat restoration, and other conservation programs through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program.
Each new hunter and angler created helps fund conservation. Every time someone buys firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, motorboat fuel, or fishing tackle, they contribute to habitat conservation and science-based wildlife management through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program.
Visit the National Hunting and Fishing Day website to learn the history of National Hunting and Fishing Day.
{Partnering to fund conservation and connect people with nature.}
Content last updated on July 19, 2019.