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Small Game Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Connecticut Hunting

SMALL GAME HUNTING SEASONS

Licensing and permit costs are listed. Specific laws and regulations for each season are below. Remember, you must have verbal permission to hunt small game on private lands.

RESIDENT GAME BIRDS

Species: Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Quail, Chukar and Hungarian Partridge, Wild Turkey

Season Dates

  • Pheasant Jan. 2 – Feb. 28 and Oct. 21 – Dec. 30
  • Ruffed Grouse: Oct. 21 – Nov. 30
  • Quail: Oct. 21 – Nov. 4
  • Chukar and Hungarian Partridge: Jan. 2 – Feb. 28 and Oct. 21 – Dec. 30.

Bag Limits

  • Pheasant: Daily (2); Season (10)
  • Ruffed Grouse: Daily (1); Season (8)
  • Quail: Daily (2); Season (10)
  • Chukar and Hungarian Partridge: Daily (2), Season (10)

Hunting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset, except on Oct. 21 (7:00 a.m. until ½ hour after sunset)

License & Permits: Firearms or Archery Hunting License and Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp

Legal Firearms:

Special Conditions

  • NEW! Extended Quail Season: Quail may be hunted at the Nod Brook WMA and the Flaherty, Mansfield, and Sugarbrook Field Trial Areas from Jan. 2 – Feb. 28 and from Oct. 21 – Dec. 30.
  • Landowners hunting game birds on their own land must obtain a Free Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp and are restricted to daily and season bag limits. Private hunting clubs can apply for exemption from stamp requirements. Contact Wildlife Division for details. Members and guests of such exempt clubs are not subject to seasonal bag limits when hunting on club lands. They are also exempt from daily bag limits if they use club tags on all released game birds taken on such club lands. Club tags must be applied immediately upon kill and contain club name, hunting license number, and date taken. Game birds identified in this manner do not count towards the statewide daily limit.
  • Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day: Saturday, October 14, 2017.

Woodcock, Snipe, Rail, & Crow Hunting

Season Dates See Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

  • Crow: Hunting only on certain days.
    Jan. 14 – Mar. 25: Mon through Sat,
    Aug. 12 – Oct. 13: Wed, Fri, Sat,
    Oct. 21 –Nov. 29: Wed, Fri, Sat

Bag Limits See Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

  • Crow: No limit

Hunting Hours See Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

  • Crow: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset, except on Oct. 21 (7:00 a.m. until ½ hour after sunset)

License & Permits Firearms or Archery Hunting License and a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp.

Legal Firearms Shotguns are the only firearms which may be used. Shotguns must be capable of holding no more than 3 shells.

Special Conditions

  • Federal Regulations: in addition to Connecticut hunting laws, migratory bird hunters are subject to all Federal Laws and Regulations.
  • Crow Hunting: While crow hunting from a stationary position a hunter is exempt from the fluorescent orange clothing regulation.
  • Non-Toxic Shot: Non-toxic shot is required for hunting rails. The maximum size shot allowed is BB for steel and #2 for other federally approved non-toxic shot types.

Waterfowl Hunting

Species Duck, Merganser, Goose, Coot

Season Dates See Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

Bag Limits See Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

Hunting Hours See Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

License & Permits Firearms or Archery Hunting License and Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. Junior Hunters (ages 12–15) are no longer exempt and must now obtain the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp also required for hunters 16 years or older. Note: federal waterfowl stamps are not valid unless signed in ink on the face of the stamp.

Legal Firearms Shotguns are the only firearms which may be used. Refer to the Migratory Bird Hunting Guide for regulations regarding the number of shells a shotgun may hold.

Special Conditions

  • Non-Toxic Shot: Non-toxic shot is required for hunting waterfowl, coot, and rails. The maximum size shot allowed is BB for steel and #2 for other federally approved non-toxic shot types.
  • Possession of Lead Shot: possessing lead shot while waterfowl hunting is a violation.
  • Federal Regulations: in addition to Connecticut hunting laws, waterfowl hunters are subject to all Federal Laws and Regulations.
  • No Hunting Buffer Zone: while hunting in tidal areas from land or from floating blinds anchored to land or rock positions, the no hunting buffer zone around permanent buildings is 250 feet.
  • Fluorescent Orange Clothing: while hunting waterfowl from boats or stationary positions a hunter is exempt from the fluorescent orange clothing regulation.
  • Junior Waterfowl Hunter Training Days: See Migratory Bird Hunting Guide.

Small Game Mammals

Species Gray Squirrel, Cottontail Rabbit, Snowshoe Hare, European Hare, Woodchuck

Season Dates

  • Gray Squirrel: Jan. 2 – Feb. 28 and Sept. 1 – Dec. 30
  • Cottontail Rabbit: Jan. 2 – Feb. 28 and Oct. 21 – Dec. 30
  • Snowshoe Hare: Jan. 2–31 and Nov. 18 – Dec. 30
  • European Hare: Jan. 2 – Feb. 28 and Oct. 21 – Dec. 30
  • Woodchuck: March 15 – Nov. 15

Bag Limits

  • Gray Squirrel: Daily (8); Season (40)
  • Cottontail Rabbit: Daily (3); Season (25)
  • Snowshoe Hare: Daily (2); Season (10)
  • European Hare: Daily (1); Season (10)
  • Woodchuck: No Limit

Hunting Hours ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset, except on Oct. 21 (7:00 a.m. until ½ hour after sunset)

License & Permits Firearms or Archery Hunting License

Legal Firearms

Special Conditions None

Fox & Coyote Hunting

Species Red Fox, Gray Fox, Coyote

Season Dates

  • Red & Gray Foxes: Jan. 2 – Feb. 28 and Oct. 21 – Dec. 30
  • Coyote: Jan. 2 – Dec. 30

Bag Limits

  • Red & Gray Foxes (combined Daily and Season Limits): Daily (3); Season (30)
  • Coyote: Daily (No Limit); Season (No Limit)

Hunting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset, except on Oct. 21 (7:00 a.m. until ½ hour after sunset)

License & Permits Firearms or Archery Hunting License

Legal Firearms

Special Conditions Foxes and coyotes taken by hunting must be reported by telephone (1-877-337-4868) or online at www.ct.gov/deep/Hunting. Or, they can be pelt tagged.

Raccoon & Opossum Hunting

Season Dates Jan. 2–21 and Oct. 21 – Dec. 30

Bag Limits

  • Raccoon: Daily (5); Season (No Limit)
  • Opossum: Daily (No Limit); Season (No Limit)

Hunting Hours No restrictions on state-owned lands open to hunting and on private lands where landowners have given permission.

License & Permits Firearms or Archery Hunting License

Legal Firearms Also, when hunting at night, rifles or handguns using ammunition larger than .22 caliber rimfire or shotgun shells larger than #2 shot may not be used.

Special Conditions It is illegal to take raccoons or opossums with the use of a light from a motor vehicle.

Got Wildlife?

Share your passion for wildlife by ordering a subscription to Connecticut Wildlife magazine.

www.ct.gov/deep/wildlifemagazine