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Deer Hunting Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon Connecticut Hunting

Replacement Tags

In deer management zones 11 and 12, two types of supplemental tags are available: Replacement Antlerless Tags and Earn-a-buck Tags.

Replacement Antlerless Tags: For a hunter to receive a replacement antlerless tag, he or she must go to one of several vendor Replacement Tag Deer Check Stations. A current list of check stations is available on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting or by calling the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011. Hunters must also complete the following:

  1. Report the deer harvest and obtain a confirmation number within 24 hours of harvest;
  2. Bring the antlerless deer carcass or head to a check station within 72 hours of harvest;
  3. Submit the deer harvest tag with a confirmation number to the vendor;
  4. Sign the replacement antlerless tag that is received from the vendor.

“Earn-A-Buck” Tags: If you register a total of 3 antlerless deer from private land during the same season, you may qualify for a replacement either-sex tag.

Note: Antlerless deer harvested in other zones may be brought to a check station for the purpose of receiving replacement tags; however, the replacement tags (both Antlerless and Earn-a-buck) may ONLY be used in zones 11 or 12. Replacement tags are available in zones 11 and 12 during the private land archery season, shotgun/rifle season, and muzzleloader season. Consult the Private Land Deer Management Zone Map for a description of zones (see Deer Hunting). All replacement tags will be issued in limited numbers based on a zone’s deer population management goals.

Deer Hunting Prohibited Activites

  • Hunting with or allowing any dog in your charge to hunt, pursue, or kill deer.
  • Hunting deer or any other wildlife while in or on a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or all terrain vehicle (See Hunting Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities for special exemptions).
  • Hunting deer by aid or use of a light.
  • Taking or attempting to take any deer with the aid of real or artificial bait in Zones 1 to 10, or on state lands in Zones 11 and 12. (Any food, mineral, or chemical product designed to be eaten by deer is considered bait.)
  • Use of a decoy during the shotgun/rifle and muzzleloader deer seasons.
  • Taking of spotted fawns.

Baiting and Use of Attractants

Attractants allowed during the statewide deer hunting seasons.

  • Deer decoys during the early and late archery seasons only.
  • All types of scent attractants (i.e., doe in heat, buck lure, urine, tarsal glands, food smells, smoke pole) that provide no substance for deer to consume.
  • All types of sound attractants (i.e., doe calls, buck calls, antler rattling, electronic calls).
  • Hunting over planted fields where normal agricultural planting, harvesting, or post-harvest manipulation is used.

In addition to the attractants listed above, the following are allowed ON PRIVATE LANDS ONLY in Deer Management Zones 11 and 12 during the archery, shotgun/rifle, and muzzleloader deer seasons.

  • Minerals or chemicals that may be safely consumed by deer (i.e., salt lick)
  • Artificial or natural foods placed, scattered, distributed or deposited (i.e., hay, grains, fruit, nuts–any foods that may be safely consumed by deer)

NOTE: It is strongly recommended that individuals hunting on private lands in Zones 11 and 12 consult with landowners prior to placing bait.

Definition of Antlerless Deer

Some deer tags allow the harvest of antlerless deer only. An antlerless deer is defined as any deer which has no visible antlers. “Button Bucks” are considered antlerless deer. Either sex deer tags allow the harvest of antlered or antlerless deer.

Tagging and Transporting Deer

Immediately upon killing a deer, complete and sign a Harvest Tag and keep it with the carcass at all times until it is cut up and packaged for consumption. Deer do not have to be open to view during transport. See Tagging & Reporting for more information on Kill Tags and reporting.

Deer Hunter Survey

Anybody who obtains a deer permit may be asked to respond to a survey concerning their deer hunting activities. Even if you did not hunt, you should complete the survey. Information gathered from the survey is important to the management of Connecticut’s white-tailed deer population. Surveys may be conducted by mail, telephone, or the internet.

Tree Stands on State Properties

The construction or placement of permanent tree stands involving damage to any tree or shrub is prohibited. The use of portable tree stands (climber, ladder or hang-on) is permissible. The use of a full-body safety harness when using a tree stand is strongly recommended.

Hemorrhagic Disease

In October 2017, the DEEP Wildlife Division received confirmation from the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study group that a sick deer, which was euthanized, tested positive for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), the first ever case reported in Connecticut. More than 50 dead deer were reported in Portland, Middletown, Chester, Haddam, and Lyme all displaying symptoms associated with EHD.

Usually in a new outbreak, the very rapid form occurs and kills the animal within one to three days of infection. Symptoms of hemorrhagic disease in deer include swollen head, neck, tongue, or eyelids with a bloody discharge from the nasal cavity; erosion of the dental pad or ulcers on the tongue; and hemorrhaging of the heart and lungs, causing respiratory distress. The virus also creates high feverish conditions, causing infected deer to sometimes be found near water sources. Not all symptoms are necessarily present in every infected deer.

Hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by tiny biting flies (midges). All documented outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease tend to occur during late summer and early fall due to an increase in midge numbers and will cease with the onset of a hard frost, which kills the midges carrying the virus.

The DEEP encourages anyone who observes deer appearing emaciated, behaving strangely, or lying dead along the edge of waterbodies to report the information, along with the closest address, to DEEP’s 24-hour Emergency Dispatch Center at 860-424-3333, the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-418-5921, or send an email to Andrew.labonte@ct.gov.