Volume 3 Issue 4 - December 2022

We hope you had a safe and successful time hunting this year, and we look forward to the adventures that await us in 2023! Don't forget to share your harvest photos with us so we can highlight your success in future editions of this newsletter. You can share your photos to deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov. Happy New Year from the DEEP Wildlife Division!
Hunter Calendar:
Small Game:
  • Gray squirrel: 9/1/22 - 2/28/23
  • Rabbit and hare: 10/15/22 - 2/28/23
  • Snowshoe hare: 11/19/22 - 1/31/23

  • Archery: 9/15 See guide for area-specific closing dates.
Upland Birds and Turkey:
  • Pheasant: 10/15/22 - 2/28/23
  • Chukar and Hungarian Partridge: 10/15/22 - 2/28/23

Migratory Birds:

For complete hunting season dates and regulations, please see the 2023 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide.
General News
• Earlier this month, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced its new agency seal. More details can be found HERE.

• Yale Forest season permits for the 2023 season are now available in the Online Outdoor Licensing System. Small Game/Waterfowl and Turkey permits are also available. Please note: Permits will not be issued after March 31, 2023.

• The recently purchased 284-acre Fracchia parcel of Bishop Swamp WMA (see below for details) will be added to the State land Shotgun Deer Lottery in 2023. The property will be open for the State-land muzzleloader season in 2023 as well.

Questions about public hunting areas? We've got you covered! Our interactive hunting area map includes State Forests, Wildlife Management Areas, State Parks, Permit-Required Areas, Waterfowl Closures, and other areas managed or leased by DEEP.

2023 Hunting and Trapping Guide Now Available
The 2023 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide is now available online on the DEEP website. Limited quantities of the printed version will be available at town halls and vendors that sell hunting and fishing licenses in January 2023. A downloadable PDF version of the guide can be found HERE. This PDF can be downloaded to a mobile device and accessed while out in the field.

2023 licenses, permits, and stamps are currently on sale on DEEP's Online Outdoor Licensing System.

Hunters and trappers are encouraged to use the online guide to keep up to date with any regulation changes that might occur during the year.

Share Your Harvest
As the holidays near and the year draws to a close, it is time to enjoy the fruits, or more specifically the meats, of our labors hunting. Hunters know and appreciate the value of having a freezer full of meat that has been locally harvested. Not only does that full freezer go a long way feeding you throughout the year, but it is also an excellent way to introduce your non-hunting friends and family to the tradition of hunting through Venison Diplomacy. Venison Diplomacy is a catchy moniker that refers to using all harvested game and fish, not just venison, to unite hunters and non-hunters alike through the universal language of food. 

When participating in Venison Diplomacy, we encourage you to follow some simple tips to be most successful. 

  • Cook it, don’t just give it away: Many people are afraid of cooking game meats because they have no experience preparing game, and they don’t want to cook it poorly. Take that element out of the equation. If you know how to cook the meat properly, cook it for them so their first experience is a positive one. In addition to cooking it, explain to them how you prepared it and what to expect when eating it. 

  • Use game as a substitute: Recreate your guest’s favorite dish but make the locally harvested protein the star. Instead of chicken, make the same dish using pheasant. Instead of beef, try venison as a substitute. Introduce them to one new flavor at a time; don’t attempt to alter their entire palate all at once.  

  • Make it presentable: We eat first with our eyes before we ever taste the food. If the food looks good on the platter, then your guest will be more apt to try it. Add a splash of color and plate it properly. 

  • Start small: Many people don’t like to waste food, and filling an entire plate with new food experiences may be too overwhelming for some. Start small with bite-sized appetizers and finger foods. This allows the opportunity for your guest to try a small morsel and then go back for more. 

  • Focus on the positives: Avoid sharing the details of the harvest, as this may turn some away. Instead, focus on the positive elements of what they are eating. Buzz words such as local, fresh, sustainable, healthy, and organic will convey the benefits of hunting. If they want to get closer to their meal and know more about the harvest, they will ask. 

Food is an integral part of our lives. We need it for sustenance, but we also benefit socially from food, as communal meals are often used to bridge gaps between people. Use the social, communal, and healthy benefits of eating to your advantage as you introduce your non-hunting family and friends to hunting and eating local. Remember, there is no one better to recruit new hunters than hunters themselves; and there’s no better way to do it than through food.
Connecticut Hunters from the Field
Got bucks?! These hunters certainly enjoyed the 2022 hunting season!

Congrats to Cheri Rentz (left) on her first ever muzzleloader harvest! "I've tracked, found, gutted, dragged, butchered and vacuum packed meat to contribute to our family freezer! It's exhilarating, nerve wracking, but oh so rewarding."

Congrats are also extended to Alexa Bednarz (right) who took advantage of Junior Hunter Training Days and connected on this gorgeous buck. Her father enjoyed a "proud dad moment" for sure!

Would you or someone you know like to be a featured hunter in our next issue? If so, please send a photo and brief write-up to deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov.
Habitat and Hunting Area Update
The Wildlife Division recently completed habitat management at Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. Forestry mowing was conducted across 26 acres of former pastureland in order to sustain shrubland habitat and create more young forest habitat. This work will help benefit a variety of wildlife species, including over 50 species of greatest conservation need.

The timber harvest at Franklin Swamp WMA is nearing completion. The work is expected to be completed this winter.

The Nassahegon State Forest W-432A timber harvest has also resumed on Stone Road in Burlington. Be aware that the public parking area is closed from 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. on weekdays while work is underway.

Work on a culvert replacement on Del Reeves Road within Meshomasic State Forest is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Del Reeves Road is closed during the project. Local signage provided by the contractor may provide status updates.

A habitat management project has begun in Natchaug State Forest in Ashford. Forestry mowing and invasive plant control will be conducted across 18 acres of formerly cleared land to sustain shrubland habitat and create young forest.

Details of these projects and further information can be found on the DEEP Habitat Management Page.

Please note: Recently acquired parcels need to be border marked and so indicated as open before hunting can take place. If you have any questions, please contact the district biologist for the area (East: 860-295-9523; West: 860-424-3011).

If you or someone you know is aware of land for sale or donation that would benefit the hunters and trappers of Connecticut, please visit The Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program webpage for more information.
Acreage Added to Bishop Swamp Wildlife Management Area
Approximately 284 acres in Hebron, formerly the Fracchia property, have been added to the 752-acre Bishop Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Andover and were opened for hunting during the 2022 small game, waterfowl, deer (fall archery only), and turkey (fall archery only) seasons. Shared boundaries between Meshomasic State Forest, Gay City State Park, and the new acquisition have been marked with appropriate signs, which indicate property boundaries and where hunting is permitted. Hunters should park at a pull-off parking area located at 239 North Street (Route 85) in Hebron to access the new section of the WMA (located east and west of Route 85) and Meshomasic State Forest. See map HERE.

In 2023, both sections of Bishop Swamp WMA will be open to all forms of hunting, including shotgun deer hunting as part of the State Land Deer Lottery and muzzleloader deer hunting. Hunters can apply for the 2023 Deer Lottery at Bishop Swamp on January 3, 2023, starting at 9:30 AM. . More details on how to apply for the deer lottery.

The 284-acre Fracchia property was acquired in two phases with funding from the State Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program and Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program. The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program is the nation's oldest and most successful wildlife restoration program. Funds from taxes paid by sportsmen and women on ammunition, firearms, and archery equipment go toward projects to restore, conserve, manage, and enhance wild birds and mammals and their habitats.

2023 CT Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition Welcomes Entries
Entries are now being accepted for the 2023 Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition, part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) environmental education program administered since 1987 by the Connecticut Waterfowl Association (CWA).

As part of a concerted effort to encourage more young people to explore the natural world and increase conservation awareness, the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp “Best in Show” winner will be featured as the 2024 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp! The "Best in Show" winner will also be an entry for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

This contest is open to all students, kindergarten through grade 12, who are Connecticut residents. To enter, students create and submit a drawing or painting featuring native waterfowl (ducks or geese). There is no cost, and submissions must be postmarked by March 15, 2023.

Seasonal Recipes: Kentucky Burgoo
We introduced our take on a classic Kentucky Burgoo recipe at a small game hunting seminar, and it was a big success! Burgoo is a stew that typically uses 3 or more meats. We chose squirrel, beaver, and pheasant, but you can easily replace the beaver with venison or goose; rabbit is also a great substitute. Be adventurous and use locally harvested game of your choice. 


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 to 2 squirrels, cut into serving pieces
  • 2 to 3 pounds beaver, 3 to 4 inches wide, cut into large pieces
  • 4 to 6 pheasant legs/thighs, bone-in
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 bag of frozen corn
  • 1 bag of frozen green beans
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

Cooking Instructions:

Pour the oil into a large Dutch oven or soup pot, and set the heat to medium-high. Working in batches, brown all the meats. Do not crowd the pan, or the meat will not brown well. Salt the meat as it cooks. As they brown, move the various meats to a bowl.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, and green pepper to the pot, and turn the heat to high. Cook the vegetables until they are well browned; add oil as needed to brown vegetables. When the vegetables have browned, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add back the meats, along with the chicken and beef stock and the tomatoes. Stir to combine and add salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 2 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat pieces and strip the meat from the bone. Tear the large pieces of beaver into bite-sized pieces. Return all the meat to the pot, and return the stew to simmer.

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks about the same size as the meat pieces. Add them to the stew and simmer until they are tender. Add the Worcestershire sauce, mix well, and taste for salt. Add more Worcestershire sauce to taste if needed.

Finally, add the corn and green beans. Mix well and cook for 15 minutes, or until the corn and beans are warmed. Enjoy!

Hunter Profile: Samantha Ismail
Would you like to be our next featured hunter?! If so, please send us a short write-up (less than 500 words) about yourself and a photo to deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov, and you may be featured in our next issue!

As someone who didn’t grow up spending time in a tree stand, I appreciate every hunting experience I am given. I was raised in a family where firearms are used for recreation and self-defense, but not necessarily to put food on the table. My passion for firearms was put into action when a few of my friends invited me on a duck hunt. From there, my love for hunting blossomed.

Luckily, my experience shooting made me an easy hunting apprentice for the people who took me under their wing. I have enjoyed the challenge of taking what I learn from mentors and applying it to when I am out in the woods on my own. I was always ecstatic harvesting an animal under the guidance of others, but it is even more rewarding to do so on your own!

My favorite part about hunting is eating. I enjoy cooking a wide array of different foods with wild game. “Local foods” these days are all the rage, but it doesn’t get much more local than being able to walk out of the woods with meat to feed your family.

Conservation and hunting are more than just a hobby, they make up a lifestyle. I love this lifestyle for the fact I am constantly learning. If a person says they know all there is to know about hunting, they are wrong. If one is willing, there is always more knowledge to be had.
Hunting and fishing equipment purchases and license fees fund hunting and fishing programs and wildlife conservation.

You are making a difference and we thank you for your support!
Quick Links
Need to contact the DEEP Wildlife Division? Send email to deep.wildlife@ct.gov or call 860-424-3011
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to complying with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are seeking a communication aid or service, have limited proficiency in English, wish to file an ADA or Title VI discrimination complaint, or require some other accommodation, including equipment to facilitate virtual participation, please contact the DEEP Office of Diversity and Equity at 860-418-5910 or by email at deep.accommodations@ct.gov. Any person needing an accommodation for hearing impairment may call the State of Connecticut relay number - 711. In order to facilitate efforts to provide an accommodation, please request all accommodations as soon as possible following notice of any agency hearing, meeting, program or event.

This program receives Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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