Connecticut DEP Announces Opening Days of Upcoming Fall Firearms Hunting Seasons
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has announced the Opening Days of upcoming fall firearms hunting seasons. Peak hunting occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily during the period from mid-October through mid-December.
The fall firearms turkey season opens statewide on Saturday, October 4 and will continue through October 31. The regular waterfowl season opens statewide on Wednesday, October 15 in both the north and south hunting zones. Small game hunting season opens at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 18 for pheasant, bobwhite quail, ruffed grouse, chukar partridge, crow and cottontail rabbit. Statewide firearms deer hunting season begins Wednesday, November 19. The 2008 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and the 2008-2009 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 DEP website at www.ct.gov/dep. Maps denoting many state-owned hunting areas and most permit-required hunting areas may be obtained, free-of-charge, from the DEP Wildlife Division’s office at the DEP Headquarters, located at 79 Elm Street in Hartford. Maps can also be found on the DEP website.
Small Game Season and Permit-required Information
With the exception of opening day (October 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 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. Hunting access to some state-owned properties also is controlled on a daily basis through the permit-required program. 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 up to two days in advance of the day that you wish to hunt. A special “seasonal” access permit for Junior Hunters, aged 12-15, will continue to be available for selected 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 DEP website or designated permit agents.
Sportsmen wishing to hunt any designated permit-required hunting area should consult the 2008 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide for locations of vendors issuing daily permits. Changes in permit vendor locations include the following:
Hebron Area – DEP Eastern District HQ, 209 Hebron Road, Marlborough
East Windsor/Enfield – Riverview Sales, 4 Prospect Hill Road, East Windsor
NU-Kings Island – Riverview Sales, 4 Prospect Hill Road, East Windsor
Permit Restrictions Removed for Some Permit-required Areas
In an effort to increase opportunities for more sportsmen on quality hunting areas, daily permit restrictions have been removed on five areas under DEP ownership. Continuing this fall, daily permits are not required for small game hunting on Babcock Pond WMA (Colchester), Bear Hill WMA (Bozrah), Goshen WMA (Goshen), Higganum Meadows WMA (Haddam), and Nathan Hale State Forest (Coventry). This change is reflected in the 2008 Hunting Guide.Pheasant Prospects Remain Good; Tags Now Available for Sale
The DEP will purchase 14,742 adult ring-necked pheasants for the upcoming fall season; a decrease of 1,115 birds from the previous year’s purchase. Most stocking areas will receive adjustments in allocations as a result of the decrease in the number of birds purchased. In addition to adult pheasants, 844 eight-week-old pheasants were purchased and delivered to Norwich Fish and Game and Sprague Rod and Gun Clubs for eventual release on permit-required hunting areas.
Revenue collected from pheasant hunters in the previous year determines the annual budget for purchasing pheasants. The 2008 stocking program was directly affected by a decrease of approximately $4,000 in the net revenue collected from pheasant hunters in 2007, combined with a substantial annual increase in average pheasant costs. Rising fuel and grain costs continue to impact commercial growers.
Despite the reduction in the number of pheasants stocked, sportsmen should recognize that the ratio of pheasants stocked per hunter has actually increased over the years and the prospects for pheasant hunting are as good as they have been in several years.
Stocking Areas Maintained – Limited Stocking During Deer Season Opener
A total of 44 major public hunting areas will be stocked with pheasants during the 2008 fall season. A number of lower quality/lower public use areas were removed from the stocking list in 2007 in an effort to maintain sufficient allocations on the higher quality sites. The Natchaug State Forest in Eastford, Nye Holman State Forest in Ellington, Shenipsit State Forest in Stafford, and the Tanney Hill Block of Nehantic State Forest in Lyme will not be stocked in 2008.
A limited number of pheasants and areas will be stocked during the week of November 17, which includes opening day (November 19) of the statewide firearms deer hunting season. Stocking will occur two to three times per week during the other six weekly distribution periods. Pheasants will be nearly evenly distributed with one-half of the allocations released in October and one-half during November. All stocking will conclude by Thanksgiving Day.
To provide opportunities for weekend/family and youth hunters, volunteers for the DEP will release pheasants on Friday evenings and variable Saturdays on selected sites.
Cooperative sportsmen’s clubs that provide public hunting access to permit-required hunting areas will continue to stock state-purchased birds on several areas.
For additional details, such as area allocations and an updated listing of all major stocking areas, visit the DEP website at www.ct.gov/dep. Sportsmen are reminded that, in addition to their firearms hunting license, a Pheasant Harvest Tag Series ($14 for 10 tags) is required to hunt pheasants on public lands. Tags have been available since September and can be purchased at town halls and some license agents. Tags may also be ordered through the DEP’s on-line licensing system www.ct.gov/dep/sportsmenlicensing, but hunters should allow at least one week for the tags to be mailed to them.