Mentor a Junior Hunter
Help a new generation discover a passion for hunting and the outdoors!
Connecticut designates specific days when experienced adult hunters are encouraged to take a youth hunting, helping them learn safe and effective hunting practices, develop observational skills, and gain confidence and a comfort level they need to discover a passion for hunting and the outdoors. Mentors usually come away from the experience knowing they have introduced a young person to a sport they love and inspired him or her to become an avid and successful hunter and conservationist. On these days, licensed junior hunters (12 to 15 years of age) may hunt when accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years of age or older. The adult mentor may not carry a firearm and must remain within physical contact in a position to provide direct supervision and instruction at all times.
Stay up-to-date on Junior Hunter events and activities on the DEEP website at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP-Junior-Hunting.
Junior Hunter Training Days
April 17 through April 24, 2021 (excluding Sunday)
Private Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must both have a valid Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp and written consent from landowner. State Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must both have a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp. Adult mentor may assist in calling turkeys. Hunting hours for Junior Turkey Hunter Training Days only are 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset.
Report Your Harvest: Immediately upon harvest, complete a Deer/Turkey Harvest Tag (Private Land Consent Form). All turkey and deer taken must be reported within 24 hours via the DEEP’s website (https://portal.ct.gov/DEEPHunting) or by telephone at 1-877-337-4868.
See the 2021–2022 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide for the designated Junior Waterfowl Hunter Training Days (usually two Saturdays in the fall). The Guide should be available in mid- to late summer 2021 at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEPHunting.
Junior hunters (ages 12 to 15) must have a valid small game junior hunting license and a 2021 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. Sixteen and 17-year-old hunters can participate in the training day, but they must have a valid hunting license, a 2021 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, and federal 2021–2022 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. Adults must possess a valid hunting license; however, they are not allowed to carry a firearm. Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots may be hunted. Bag limits and shooting hours are the same as for the regular duck and goose hunting seasons.
In 2014, the Connecticut Waterfowl Association (CWA), in conjunction with the DEEP Wildlife Division, developed a Waterfowl Hunter Mentoring Program to help out hunters who have no one to mentor them. CWA’s program pairs up experienced volunteer mentors with youths and adult novice hunters. Learn more at http://www.ctwaterfowlers.org/mentoring-information.html.
Saturday, October 9, 2021
State and Private Land: Youth participants must possess a current junior hunting license and a Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp. There may be exceptions if hunting on a private shooting preserve or a hunting club property with a Resident Game Bird Stamp exemption. Adults must possess a valid hunting license; however, they are not allowed to carry a firearm.
Saturday, November 6 through Saturday, November 13, 2021 (excluding Sunday)
Private Land: Licensed junior hunter and adult mentor must each have a valid private land shotgun/rifle deer permit and written consent from landowner. State Land: Licensed junior hunter must have a state land shotgun deer permit (Lottery or No-Lottery). Adult mentor must have a valid deer permit of any type. Deer hunting on Junior Deer Hunter Training Days is permitted on any Lottery or No-Lottery Deer Area, regardless of area designated on the permit, with the following exceptions:
1. Yale Forest, MDC Barkhamsted Reservoir East Block, MDC Barkhamsted Reservoir West Block, and MDC Nepaug Reservoir-Valentine/Pine Hill Block are not open during Junior Deer Hunter Training Days.
2. Centennial Watershed State Forest and Bristol Water Company are only open to junior hunters and mentors who have both been awarded a permit for these areas.
Report Your Harvest: See instructions under Junior Turkey Hunter Training Days.
Special Junior Hunting Events
The CT DEEP Wildlife Division, with the help of volunteer instructors from the Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) Program and several sportsmen’s clubs, holds special events for junior pheasant hunters at various sportsmen’s clubs throughout the state on Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day (October 9) and additional dates in the fall. These mentored events allow junior hunters to sharpen their shooting skills on a trap range and then take to the field to hunt with either a certified volunteer hunter safety instructor or experienced hunter, as well as with well-trained bird dogs with their handlers.
“Hunt on Your Own” junior pheasant hunts are also available at designated state-owned locations for licensed junior hunters accompanied by a licensed adult hunter.
Check out the Junior Hunter webpage on the DEEP website (https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP-Junior-Hunting) to learn about special events and activities, see photos from events, and obtain more information for junior hunters.