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Deer Hunting Seasons

Hunting Regulations Icon Connecticut Hunting

Licensing and permit costs are listed on Licenses & Permits. Specific laws and regulations for each deer season are below.

Archery Deer

Season Dates

  • Jan. 1 – Jan. 31 – Private Lands (Zones 11–12)
  • Sept. 15 – Dec. 31 – Private Lands (All Zones)
  • Sept. 15 – Nov. 15 – State Land
    Dec. 21 – Dec. 31
  • Sept. 15 – Dec. 31 – State Land Bowhunting Only Areas

Bag Limits 2 Either Sex and 2 Antlerless (4 Total); additional bag of 1 Either Sex and 1 Antlerless (2 Total) during the Jan 1–31 season on private lands in Zones 11 and 12.

Hunting Hours ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

License & Permits Small Game & Deer Archery Permit. Must show proof of completion of the CE/FS bowhunting course (since 1982) or its equivalent from another state or country when purchasing a small game/deer archery permit. A previous CT bowhunting permit purchased in 2002 or later also qualifies.

Legal Bows See Hunting Laws & Regulations for a description of legal bows and arrows for deer hunting. Mechanical string release devices are permitted. There is no minimum acreage requirement for bowhunting.

Special Conditions

  • Possession of a Firearm: Possession of a firearm while bowhunting for deer is prohibited.
  • Tagging and Reporting: See Tagging & Reporting for information on tagging and reporting.
  • Private Land Permission: Signed written consent of the landowner on official forms for current season must be carried while hunting (see Private Land Consent Form).
  • State Land Hunting: See tables on Public Hunting Areas for listing of lands open to archery deer hunting. Certain state lands that do not allow firearms deer hunting are designated as bowhunting only areas. These lands are open to deer bowhunting during the state land shotgun and muzzleloader deer seasons (Nov. 16 – Dec. 20).
  • Fluorescent Orange: Bowhunters are required to wear 400 sq. in. of fluorescent orange from Nov. 16 – Dec. 31. Bowhunters may remove fluorescent orange clothing while in a tree stand at least 10 feet off the ground.
  • Decoys: Decoys may be used during the early and late archery deer seasons, but must be covered with 400 sq. in. of fluorescent orange during transport. Decoys can not be used during the Nov. 16Dec. 31 time period.
  • Replacement Tags: Available for this permit type. See Deer Hunting for details.
  • Notice: Saturday, November 5 through Saturday, November 12 (excluding Sunday) are Junior Hunter Training Days and junior hunters with firearms deer permits may be hunting with firearms. See Hunting Laws & Regulations for details.
  • Sunday Archery Deer Hunting: Archery deer hunters can hunt on Sundays on private land only in Deer Management Zones 1, 4b, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 (see zone map below). Deer Management Zones 2, 3, and 4a are NOT open to Sunday archery deer hunting. All archery deer hunting on Sundays must take place at least 40 yards away from blazed hiking trails.

Private Land Shotgun/Rifle

Season Dates Nov. 16 – Dec. 6

Bag Limits 1 Either Sex and 1 Antlerless (2 total); Zone 7: 1 Additional Antlerless; Zones 11 and 12: 2 Additional Antlerless; “Antlerless Only” tag not valid in Zones 2 and 4a. Only the “Either-sex” tag will be valid in Zones 2 and 4a.

Hunting Hours ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

License & Permits Firearms hunting license and Private Land Shotgun/Rifle Deer permit. Note: Revolver Deer Endorsement is also required if using a revolver.

Legal Firearms 12, 16, or 20 gauge breech loading shotgun loaded with single soft alloy projectile ammunition. Rifled or smoothbore barrels allowed. Centerfire rifle 6mm (.243 caliber) or larger or revolver .357 caliber or larger may be used if the landholding is 10 or more acres and the landowner has authorized use on the consent form. To use a revolver, you must also have Revolver Deer Endorsement for the current season. Muzzleloading rifle or shotgun, .45 caliber minimum. Single projectile loaded from muzzle end. Telescopic sights and shotgun converters are permitted. No minimum acreage required for shotguns or muzzleloaders.

Special Conditions

  • Tagging and Reporting: See Tagging & Reporting for information on tagging and reporting.
  • Private Land Permission: Signed written consent of the landowner on official forms for current season must be carried while hunting (see Private Land Consent Form).
  • Replacement Tags: Available for this permit type. See Deer Hunting for details.
  • Junior Hunter Training Days: Saturday, November 5 through Saturday, November 12 (excluding Sunday). See Hunting Laws & Regulations for details.

Private Land Muzzleloader

Season Dates Dec. 7 – Dec. 31

Bag Limits 1 Either Sex and 1 Antlerless (2 total); Zone 7: 1 Additional Antlerless; Zones 11 and 12: 2 Additional Antlerless; “Antlerless Only” tag not valid in Zones 2 and 4a. Only the “Either-sex” tag will be valid in Zones 2 and 4a.

Hunting Hours ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

License & Permits Firearms hunting license and private land muzzleloader deer permit.

Legal Firearms Muzzleloading rifle or shotgun, .45 caliber minimum. Single projectile loaded from muzzle end. Telescopic sights and shotgun converters are permitted. No minimum acreage required for muzzleloaders.

Special Conditions

  • Tagging and Reporting: See Tagging & Reporting for information on tagging and reporting.
  • Private Land Permission: Signed written consent of the landowner on official forms for current season must be carried while hunting (see Private Land Consent Form).
  • Replacement Tags: Available for this permit type. See Deer Hunting for details.

State Land Muzzleloader

Season Dates Dec. 7 – Dec. 20

Bag Limits 1 Either Sex

Hunting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

License & Permits Firearms hunting license and state land muzzleloader deer permit.

Legal Firearms Muzzleloading rifle or shotgun .45 caliber minimum. Single projectile loaded from muzzle end. Telescopic sights and shotgun converters are permitted.

Special Conditions

  • Tagging and Reporting: See Tagging & Reporting for information on tagging and reporting.
  • State Land Hunting: See tables on Public Hunting Areas for listing of state lands open to muzzleloader deer hunting.

Free Landowner Deer Season

Available for persons owning 10 or more acres of land.

Season Dates

Nov. 1 – Dec. 31

Bag Limits

1 Either Sex and 1 Antlerless (2 total)

Hunting Hours

½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

License & Permits

Free Landowner Deer Permit. Appropriate hunting license required if landowner does not live on qualifying property. Note: Revolver Deer Endorsement is also required if using a revolver. For hunting with a bow, a Small Game & Deer Archery Permit is required even for landowners living on the property.

Legal Firearms

12, 16, or 20 gauge shotgun loaded with single soft alloy projectile ammunition. Rifled or smoothbore barrels allowed. Centerfire rifle 6mm (.243 caliber) or larger, revolver .357 caliber or larger, or muzzleloader (.45 caliber minimum). To use a revolver, you must also have Revolver Deer Endorsement for the current season.

Legal Bows

See Hunting Laws & Regulations for a description of legal bows and arrows for deer hunting. Mechanical string release devices are permitted.

Special Conditions

Free Landowner Permits are available only to persons owning 10 or more contiguous acres of land. Additional permits are available for their spouses, lineal descendants, parents, grandparents and siblings.

  • Tagging and Reporting: See Tagging & Reporting for information on tagging and reporting.
  • Fluorescent Orange: Landowners hunting deer on their own land are not required to wear 400 sq. in. of fluorescent orange, but their spouse, lineal descendants, parents, grandparents and siblings are required to do so.

State Land No-Lottery

Season Dates

  • Nov. 16 – Nov. 25 No-Lottery “A” Permits
  • Nov. 26 – Dec. 6 No-Lottery “B” Permits

Bag Limits 1 Either Sex

Hunting Hours ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

License & Permits Firearms hunting license and either a State Land No-Lottery “A” Permit or a State Land No-Lottery “B” Permit. You may buy only one type of State Land Shotgun Deer Permit. So, you should not purchase a State Land No-Lottery Permit if you plan on applying for a State Land Lottery or Controlled Hunt Lottery Permit.

Legal Firearms 12, 16, or 20 gauge breech loading shotgun loaded with single soft alloy projectile ammunition. Rifled or smoothbore barrels allowed. Shotgun must not be capable of holding more than 3 shells. Muzzleloading rifle or shotgun, .45 caliber minimum. Single projectile loaded from muzzle end. Telescopic sights and shotgun converters are permitted.

Special Conditions

  • Tagging and Reporting: See Tagging & Reporting for information on tagging and reporting.
  • Open Areas: See Public Hunting Areas for areas open for the No-Lottery “A” and “B” seasons.
  • Junior Hunter Training Days: Saturday, November 5 through Saturday, November 12 (excluding Sunday). See Hunting Laws & Regulations for details.

See Tagging & Reporting for how to tag and report Deer and Turkeys.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

What is CWD? CWD is a naturally occurring disease of the brain and nervous system in deer and elk. It attacks the brain of deer and elk, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. CWD was first recognized in the late 1960s in a herd of captive mule deer in Colorado. Although the disease was discovered over 30 years ago, it recently has received much media attention because of its discovery in free-ranging deer in southern Wisconsin and western Colorado. Only four species, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose and elk, appear to be naturally susceptible to CWD. Domestic livestock and humans are not known to be susceptible to CWD.

Where is CWD found? Prior to 2005, the disease had only been found in North America west of Illinois. In 2005, CWD was documented in captive and free-ranging herds in New York and in free-ranging herds in West Virginia. Since then, it has also been discovered in several other states. CWD has not been found in Connecticut or New England. States and Canadian provinces where CWD has been confirmed include: Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New York, West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

What is CT doing about CWD? Connecticut, along with many other states, banned the importation of live cervids (species in the deer/elk family) across state lines. In 2005, Connecticut passed an emergency regulation banning the importation of whole carcasses or parts thereof of any deer or elk from wild or captive herds from other states or Canadian Provinces where Chronic Wasting Disease has been confirmed. The ban on importation did not apply to meat that was de-boned, cleaned skullcaps, hides or taxidermy mounts. The regulation became permanent in 2007.

From 2003 to 2011, the DEEP Wildlife Division tested hunter and vehicle-killed deer as part of a nationwide CWD monitoring and surveillance program. Due to a loss of funding, only deer exhibiting symptoms of CWD were tested from 2012-2013. In 2014, CWD testing resumed thanks to a cooperative effort between the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and the DEEP Wildlife Division, and with financial assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System.

How do I know if an animal has CWD? As the disease advances, infected animals begin displaying abnormal behavior, such as staggering or standing with very poor posture. Infected animals become emaciated and appear to be in very poor health. The only efficient method to diagnose CWD is to dispatch the animal and examine the brain tissue for lesions. Anyone observing a deer exhibiting symptoms of CWD should notify the DEEP Wildlife Division (860-424-3011) or the DEEP’s 24-hour line (1-800-842-HELP). If the animal is dispatched, the head should be kept intact so that a brain sample can be collected for testing.

Should hunters be concerned? No known link exists between CWD and humans, however, health officials advise hunters not to consume meat from animals known to be infected with CWD and recommend boning out meat. As usual, hunters should continue to employ normal precautions when field dressing deer, such as wearing rubber gloves. Concerns about CWD should not keep hunters from participating in Connecticut’s deer seasons.