DEEP: Junior Hunter Training Days

Take a Youth Hunting

Help a new generation discover a passion for hunting and the outdoors!
{Junior deer hunter}
Connecticut designates specific days when experienced adult hunters are encouraged to take a youth hunting, helping them learn safe and effective hunting practices, develop observational skills, and gain confidence and a comfort level they need to discover a passion for hunting and the outdoors. Mentors usually come away from the experience knowing they have introduced a young person to a sport they love and inspired him or her to become an avid and successful hunter and conservationist.
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 must remain within physical contact in a position to provide direct supervision and instruction at all times.
Stay up-to-date on Junior Hunter events and activities on this webpage and the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources' Facebook page. You can also sign up to receive the monthly electronic newsletter, Wildlife Highlights.

2020 Junior Hunter Training Days

SPRING TURKEY - SATURDAY, APRIL 18 through SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2020 (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 are 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 Junior Hunters with turkeys}

State and Private Land: Youth participants (12 to 15 year olds) 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.

WATERFOWL - Two Saturdays, usually in October and/or November (the exact dates will be published in 2020-2021 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide by late summer 2020)
Junior hunters (ages 12 to 15) must have a valid small game junior hunting license and a 2019 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. Sixteen and 17-year-old hunters can participate in the training day, but they must have a valid hunting license, a 2020 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, and a 2020-2021 federal Migratory Bird Hunting and 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. More details about the migratory bird hunting seasons can be found in the 2020-2021 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide.

{junior waterfowl hunter with mentor}

The Connecticut Waterfowlers Association sponsors a Waterfowl Mentoring Program. View an article (PDF) in Connecticut Wildlife magazine that describes how this great program pairs experienced volunteer mentors with youths and even adult novice waterfowl hunters.
DEER - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7 through SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2020 (excluding Sunday)
Private Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must each have a valid private land shotgun/rifle deer permit and written consent from the 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-East Block, MDC Barkhamsted Reservoir-West Block, MDC Nepaug Reservoir-Valentine/Pine Hill Block, and MDC Nepaug Reservoir-Sweetheart Mt. 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}

{Junior hunters with mentor}
The Wildlife Division, along with volunteer instructors from the Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) Program and several Connecticut sportsmen's clubs, holds special events for junior pheasant hunters at various sportsmen's clubs throughout the state on Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day (October 10, 2020) and additional dates in the fall. These “no charge” events allow Junior Hunters to sharpen their shooting skills on a trap field before taking to the field for a mentored hunt. The mentored hunt is completed with a Certified Volunteer Hunter Safety Instructor or an experienced hunter, and a well-trained bird dog and its handler. Graduates of the CE/FS Program between the ages of 12 and 15 years old and who possess a valid Junior Hunting License are eligible to apply for a Mentored Hunt. Stay tuned for details on events planned for fall 2020.
"Hunt on Your Own" junior pheasant hunts are also available at designated state-owned locations for licensed junior hunters accompanied by a licensed adult hunter.
View photos to learn what a typical Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day is all about.

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 begins with a safety review by certified hunter safety instructors.
Before heading out to the field, junior hunters have the opportunity to sharpen their skills on the trap field.
Dog handlers explain to the hunters and safety officers about what to expect and safety considerations for the hunting dogs.

{image of hunting dog}
{junior hunter harvesting pheasant}
Well-trained hunting dogs wait with great anticipation for the hunt to begin.
Thanks to the assistance of the instructors/mentors and well-trained hunting dogs, junior hunters are usually able to harvest their first pheasant.


Content last updated on December 9, 2019.