DEEP: Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant Hunting in Connecticut

{Pheasant Illustration}

Look for updates for the 2019 season in mid- to late summer.
Changes in 2018: This year, the DEEP will purchase a total of 20,000 adult pheasants. 

We will be stocking 4 extra weekends this year. The first will be for Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day on October 13, 2018. On this weekend, approximately half of the areas statewide will be stocked (see below for a complete list).  Based on pheasant hunter survey results, we also will be stocking birds for the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the first two Saturdays in December, weather permitting, on roughly half of our areas each week.

The permit-based Saturday program will continue on the six hunting areas listed below. Like last year, these areas will be stocked on Saturday morning and afternoon and will only be open to hunters with a Saturday AM (8:00 AM -11:00 AM) or Saturday PM (12:00 PM - 3:00 PM) permit. These select areas will be stocked prior to the morning permit and during the afternoon break to assure that birds will be available at these areas on the weekends. Hunters without AM or PM permits may hunt these areas after 3:00 PM. Hunters who secure an AM or PM permit may bring along one junior hunter.  The junior hunter does not need a separate permit if they accompany an AM/PM permit holder.  Permit holders who do not bring a junior hunter as a guest, can not bring an adult guest, this option is for juniors only.

The areas for the permit-based Saturday program include:

  • Cromwell Meadows WMA Map 
  • Durham Meadows WMA 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 before 3:00 PM must have a Saturday permit (or be a junior hunter accompanying a permitted hunter) and will only be able to be present during the specified time on the daily permit. Saturday permits for these areas will only become 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 (8:00 AM - 11:00 AM) or afternoon (12:00 - 3:00 PM):
  • Saturday, October 20
  • Saturday, October 27
  • Saturday, November 3
  • Saturday, November 10
  • Saturday, November 17 (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 8:00 AM and again between 11:00 AM -12:00 PM. If hunters are present, birds will not be stocked.
As in past years, the third week of November (12 - 17) will be an abbreviated week for stocking. During that time, 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.
Junior Hunter Opportunities: October 13, 2018, is Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day. On this day, the following state areas will be stocked with pheasants for Junior Hunters:
  • Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon
  • Bear Hill WMA, Bozrah
  • Cromwell Meadows WMA, Cromwell
  • Goshen WMA, Goshen
  • Higganum Meadows WMA, Haddam
  • Meadow Brook WMA, Colchester
  • Nathan Hale SF, Coventry
  • Naugatuck SF Hunter's Mountain Block, Naugatuck
  • Skiff Mountain Coop WMA, Sharon
  • Quinebaug WMA, Plainfield
  • Rose Hill WMA, Ledyard
  • Simsbury WMA, Simsbury
  • Suffield WMA, Suffield
  • Wangunk Meadows WMA, Portland
All Junior Hunters must buy a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp and secure a Junior Hunter Training Day reservation on the Online Sportsmen Licensing System to participate.  
A number of clubs around the state will be offering Junior Pheasant Hunts on this day and other fall dates. Please see the Junior Hunter webpage 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, and 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 (which includes the 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: 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 costs $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 list of Permit-Required Area Vendors, the Online Sportsmen Licensing System, or the Public Hunting Area Maps. Permits will be available three to 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:
Some birds will be stocked at Franklin WMA, Mad River Dam, Pease Brook WMA and Woodstock PR Area.  Like last year, birds will not be stocked at Cockaponset SF, Pootatuck SF or Roraback WMA.
The parking area on the Thomaston Dam will likely close at 3:00 PM on weekdays and may be closed during the weekends. If the main parking area is closed, please park at the picnic area parking lot on Route 222.

{Releasing pheasants}
Pheasants released by Wayne Labrecque at Pachaug State Forest.
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 1983-2018
(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 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 12, 2018. During that time, 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 2018 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 370 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 760 birds will be released at this area in 2018 (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 705 birds being released at this area (Map).

Housatonic WMA, Cornwall & Kent - This area consists of various fields along the Housatonic River. At least 465 birds will be released at this site (Southern Map, Northern 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 680 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 550 birds this year. This site contains many areas inaccessible to hunters and it is not uncommon to find birds throughout the season (Map). 

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 630 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 650 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 1060 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 595 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 655 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 695 birds this year (Map).

Rose Hill WMA, Preston and Ledyard, New London County - Offers over 50 acres of agricultural fields with nearly 600 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 830 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 650 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 825
Suffield WMA, Suffield Map
Goshen WMA, Goshen Map
MDC New Hartford, New Hartford Map
NU-Skiff Mountain, Sharon Map  Saturday Permit Required
Robbins Swamp WMA, Falls Village Map
Housatonic River WMA, Kent  Southern Map, Northern Map    525 *
Thomaston Dam, Thomaston 530
East Windsor/Enfield Permit-Required Area
Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor Map
Suffield Permit-Required Area, Suffield Map
Bristol Fish & Game Assoc., Bristol  Map
Mad River Dam, Winchester 
Roraback WMA, Harwinton No Birds in 2018
* Additional birds may be supplied through club releases.
Middlesex-Tolland Counties
Area Number of Birds
Mansfield Hollow, Mansfield Map  Field Trial Area Map
Higganum Meadows, Haddam Map
Wangunk Meadows, Portland Map
Cromwell Meadows, Cromwell/Middletown Map 
Saturday Permit Required
Nathan Hale State Forest, Andover/Coventry Map  Saturday Permit Required
Babcock Pond WMA, East Haddam/Colchester Map
Durham Meadows, Durham Map 
Saturday Permit Required
Cockaponset State Forest*, Haddam No Birds in 2018
* Additional birds may be supplied through club releases.
Windham-New London Counties
Area Number of Birds
Bear Hill WMA, Bozrah Map
Meadow Brook WMA, Colchester Map
Bartlett Brook WMA, Lebanon Map
Larsons Lot, Salmon River State Forest, Colchester Map 515
Quinebaug River WMA, Canterbury/Plainfield  Sugarbrook Map  Hatchery Map
Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown Map 595
West Thompson Dam, Thompson Map   North   South 655
Spignesi WMA, Scotland Map
Rose Hill WMA, Preston & Ledyard Map
Barn Island WMA, Stonington Map
Norwich Fish & Game PR Area, Norwich  Map
Sprague Town Owned PR Area Map
Franklin WMA, Franklin Map 
Pease Brook WMA, Lebanon  
Woodstock Permit-Required Area Young Farm  95
* 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
Seymour Fish & Game P-R Area, Oxford Map 500 *
Meriden Permit-Required Area, Meriden/Cheshire Map 300 *
Wallingford Town-owned P-R Area, Wallingford  Wallingford Map 300 *
Paugusett State Forest **
Pootatuck State Forest, New Fairfield No Birds in 2018 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 March 15, 2019.