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Deer Hunting Seasons

Hunting Regulations Icon Connecticut Hunting

Licensing and permit costs are listed
. 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 (Zones 1, 4B, and 5 through 12)
  • Sept. 15 – Dec. 30 – Private Lands (Zones 2, 3, 4A)
  • Sept. 15 – Nov. 14 – State Land
    Dec. 20 – Dec. 30
  • Sept. 15 – Dec. 30 – 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 and 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 Connecticut bowhunting permit purchased in 2002 or later also qualifies.

Legal Bows 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:
  • Private Land Permission: Signed written consent of the landowner on official forms for current season must be carried while hunting.
  • State Land 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. 15 – Dec. 19).
  • Fluorescent Orange: Bowhunters are required to wear 400 sq. in. of fluorescent orange from Nov. 15 – 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 cannot be used during the Nov. 15 – Dec. 31 time period.
  • Replacement Tags: Available for this permit type.
  • Notice: Saturday, November 4 through Saturday, November 11 (excluding Sunday) are Junior Deer Hunter Training Days and junior hunters with firearms deer permits may be hunting with firearms.
  • 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. Landowners hunting with a bow during the “Free Landowner Deer Season” on properties located within Deer Management Zones 1, 4b, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 may also hunt on Sundays. 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. 15 – Dec. 5

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:
  • Private Land Permission: Signed written consent of the landowner on official forms for current season must be carried while hunting.
  • Replacement Tags: Available for this permit type.
  • Junior Deer Hunter Training Days: Saturday, November 4 through Saturday, November 11 (excluding Sunday).

Private Land Muzzleloader

Season Dates Dec. 6 – Dec. 30

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:
  • Private Land Permission: Signed written consent of the landowner on official forms for current season must be carried while hunting.
  • Replacement Tags: Available for this permit type.

State Land Muzzleloader

Season Dates Dec. 6 – Dec. 19

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:
  • State Land Hunting:

Free Landowner Deer Season

Available for persons owning 10 or more acres of

land.

Season Dates

Nov. 1 – Dec. 30

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 and 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

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:
  • 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. 15 – Nov. 24 No-Lottery “A” Permits
  • Nov. 25 – Dec. 5 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:
  • Open Areas:
  • Junior Deer Hunter Training Days: Saturday, November 4 through Saturday, November 11 (excluding Sunday).

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

What is CWD? CWD is a naturally occurring disease of the brain and nervous system in deer and elk that attacks the brain, 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. 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.

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 New England, including Connecticut. 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, Arkansas, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The captive herds infected with CWD in Ohio, Montana, and Oklahoma have been eradicated and CWD has not been detected in either wild or captive populations in those states since.

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 CWD has been confirmed. The ban on importation does 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 and 2015, CWD testing resumed thanks to a cooperative effort between the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and the 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 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 Wildlife Division (860-424-3011) or 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. Hunters should continue to use 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.