Opening days of hunting seasons start Saturday

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has announced the opening days of the upcoming fall firearms hunting seasons. Peak hunting occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily during the period from mid-Oct. through mid-December, said the DEEP in a press release.

The fall firearms turkey season opens statewide on Saturday, Oct. 4, and continues through Oct. 31. The regular waterfowl season opens statewide on Wednesday, Oct. 8, in both the north and south hunting zones. Small game hunting season opens at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, for pheasant, quail, ruffed grouse, chukar partridge, and cottontail rabbit. The statewide firearms deer hunting season begins Wednesday, Nov. 19. A junior hunter training day for pheasants is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11, on private land only. Two junior hunter training days are scheduled for waterfowl; the first day will be on Saturday, Oct. 4, and the second is planned for Saturday, Nov. 1. Junior deer hunters have the opportunity to hunt for deer starting on Saturday, November 8, and extending through Saturday, Nov. 15.

The 2014 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and the 2014-2015 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide, which contain additional information on laws, regulations, and season dates, can be obtained at any town clerk or Wildlife Division office, or they can be found on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting. Maps denoting many state-owned hunting areas and most permit-required hunting areas also may be obtained from the DEEP website.

Small Game Season and Permit-required Information

With the exception of opening day (Oct. 18), small game hunting is allowed for most species from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. Waterfowl hunting is permitted from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

In addition to most state forests and wildlife management areas, small game and waterfowl hunting will be available on a number of areas established under the permit-required hunting program. Permit-required areas are open to public hunting via a daily permit system and are made available through the cooperation of private landowners and local sportsmen’s clubs. A designated number of daily permits are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for each day of the season. Permits may be requested from vendors up to two days in advance of the day that you wish to hunt and up to five days in advance of opening day. A special “seasonal” access permit for junior hunters, aged 12 to 15, and their mentors will continue to be available for select areas. The permit allows access during any day of the season for a junior hunter and accompanying adult licensed hunter without the need to obtain daily hunting permits. Further details and permit forms are available from the DEEP website (www.ct.gov/deep/hunting). Sportsmen wishing to hunt any designated permit-required hunting area should consult the 2014 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide for locations of vendors issuing daily permits. Daily permits are available on-line for most of the permit-required areas, except for Sessions Woods WMA, NU King’s Island, Lebanon Coop goose fields, Yale Forest, and Trout Brook Valley. Please note that Norwich permits are now only available on-line and Stanley Works permits will again be available at Northwest Lumber-Hardware in Cornwall. Please check the online Sportsmen’s Licensing website (www.ct.gov/deep/sportsmenlicensing) for further details and a complete list of available areas. Permits will be available up to three days in advance; however, only one permit will be issued per day on-line to any one individual.

Pheasant Prospects Remain Good; Stamps Required

This year the DEEP will purchase a total of 15,585 adult pheasants based on revenues from the sale of 4,621 pheasant stamps in 2013. As a result of the increased revenue collected in 2013 (157 additional stamps sold) and a slight decrease in the average price of adult birds, DEEP will be purchasing 205 additional birds this year. The newly-acquired Meadow Brook Wildlife Management Area in Colchester and a section of Pootatuck State Forest in New Fairfield will be added to the stocking distribution areas for the upcoming season. Please note that pheasants will not be stocked the week of November 17 on any state-owned areas.

Pheasant Tags: A reminder that pheasant tags are no longer required; however, hunters still need to purchase a pheasant stamp authorization for their Conservation License. The stamp will be valid until the end of February.

Pheasant stamp authorizations can be purchased through the on-line Sportsmen’s Licensing System at www.ct.gov/deep/sportsmenlicensing and from participating town clerks and retail agents, including Franklin Swamp WMA (Franklin), Sessions Woods WMA (Burlington), DEEP Marine Headquarters (Old Lyme), DEEP Eastern District Headquarters (Marlborough), DEEP Western District Headquarters (Harwinton), and DEEP Headquarters (Hartford).

For additional details, such as area allocations and an updated listing of all major stocking areas, visit the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting.