Volume 4, Issue 1 - March 2024

Upcoming Hunting Season Dates:

Upcoming 2024 Youth Training Days:

  • Wild Turkey: April 13-20, 2024 (excluding Sunday)

Wild Turkey

  • Spring Turkey: State and private lands: April 24-May 25 (excluding Sundays)

Small Game:

  • Woodchuck: March 15 - November 15

For complete hunting season dates and regulations, please see the 2024 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Habitat and Hunting Area Update

Habitat Management

A 32-acre forestry mowing project has been completed at Quinebaug River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to enhance a pitch pine and dry grassland community while controlling invasive plants. Eight acres were mowed to maintain young forest habitat at Salmon River State Forest (SF) in January 2024. Five acres were mowed for the same purpose at Little River WMA. A 32-acre understory mowing with invasive plant control was also completed in the Wyassup Block of Pachaug SF in early December 2023.

Ten acres of old field are being restored at Sessions Woods WMA. Fecon mowing is being used to mulch small trees and heavy brush.

Forestry mowing is due to start on an eight acre stand at Franklin Swamp WMA.


In September 2022, 79 acres were acquired through donation from the Arnhold Foundation, Inc., and added to Collis P. Huntington State Park.

In March 2023, 51 acres were acquired through the purchase of the Estate of John Bario, Jr., and added to Nipmuck SF. Per Mr. Bario’s wishes, proceeds to the estate from the acquisition were donated to Ducks Unlimited.

In June 2023, 2 acres were donated as an addition to Cockaponsett SF on Ruth Hill Rd. in Haddam. Twenty-eight acres were also added to Cockaponsett SF in Westbrook in November 2023.

In November 2023, 15 acres were added to Goshen WMA, better joining the 627 acres acquired in 2021 to the parcel on East St. N.

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.

Glastonbury Range Opening for 2024

The Glastonbury Public Shooting Range will be open weekends in 2024 from Saturday, April 6 through Sunday, December 1. Reservations can be made through the Online Outdoor Licensing System starting on Monday, April 1, 2024. Please be sure to view the range webpage and range usage rules before signing up.

Federal funding for site improvements, range equipment, and seasonal staffing is provided through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, now known as the Office of Conservation Investment.

More on the Glastonbury Range . . .

DEEP Releases 2024 State of the Bears Report

Connecticut’s black bear population continues to increase, and it is important to know how to best coexist given their continued range expansion. The State of the Bears report provides the most up-to-date information on Connecticut’s growing black bear population.

As we make the transition to spring, black bears are becoming more active. It is important to remove birdfeeders in March and properly manage garbage and other attractants with bears in mind. Access to these attractants directly leads to bears getting comfortable around people and thinking homes and backyards are places to get food.

View the 2024 State of the Bears report . . .

Turkey Hunting Tips from the National Wild Turkey Federation

For many, the start of longer days and warmer temperatures harken thoughts of blooming flowers and the twittering of songbirds as nature welcomes spring back to New England. But for the turkey hunter, our thoughts are consumed with the anticipation of the hunt; hearing thunderous gobbles and the flap of wings in the pre-dawn light; and mornings spent in the fields and woods as we witness fantastic displays and use every bit of knowledge and skill (don’t forget luck!) we possess to lure a gobbler into range of our shotgun or bow. Make no mistake, turkeys are not easy prey. Their keen eyesight makes up for their lack of smell and they can detect even the slightest amount of movement. You are encouraged to learn all you can before hitting the woods to begin your turkey hunting adventures – a safe and successful hunt depends on it.

The mission of the National Wild Turkey Federation is the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage. For more information visit nwtf.org.

Tips for a successful turkey hunt . . .

Be on Target: Patterning Your Shotgun

One of the most important pre-season preparations, and often the most overlooked, is patterning your gun for spring turkey hunting. Hunting without patterning your shotgun is akin to hunting deer without sighting in your rifle. Hunters have a responsibility to ensure their firearms are properly set to make an ethical shot.

The idea of patterning is to make sure your gun shoots reliably and consistently throughout your ethical kill range, and also help determine what that range is. When starting the process of patterning, have a good supply of targets. You need at least one target for each manufacturer, shot size, and distance. You can use a turkey target that is readily available for this purpose or simply take a piece of 2x3 foot poster paper and place a dot in the middle.

More on patterning your shotgun . . .

Provide Your Input for Connecticut's State Wildlife Action Plan

Every 10 years, state fish and wildlife agencies identify their Species of Greatest Conservation Need as a first step in developing their State Wildlife Action Plan.

Connecticut's 2025 Wildlife Action Plan will set the path forward for the next decade of conservation within the state, and we would like your feedback!

Over the last six months, Connecticut’s wildlife and plant experts, with input from the public, created a draft list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need, and it is now available for public review.

Provide your input . . .

Fisher Research Project Update

The DEEP Wildlife Division is conducting a statewide study of Connecticut’s fisher population. Despite having very suitable habitat in Connecticut, the fisher population is gradually declining, and biologists are hoping to learn why.


The project is off to a great start! Currently, 20 lightweight GPS collars have been placed on 9 males and 11 females, allowing biologists to track the fishers across the landscape. The collars are specifically designed to detach after about a year. 


Information collected from the GPS collars will give biologists a much better understanding of fisher movement patterns, habitat use and preferences, den selection, reproduction rates, and mortality. While the fishers are being briefly handled, biologists also collect a variety of samples from each individual, allowing them to survey for disease (i.e., distemper) as well as toxins. Biologists also hope to gain valuable insight into the genetics of the Connecticut fisher population.


The DEEP Wildlife Division would like to extend a special thanks to all of the local Connecticut trappers who assisted with capturing fisher during the first trapping season. The collaboration with trappers is expected to continue for future trapping seasons and any trappers not yet involved are encouraged to reach out for more information.


As always, Connecticut residents are also encouraged to report their fisher sighting(s)!

Report fisher sightings . . .

Connecticut Trappers Association Grant Available

The Connecticut Trappers Association (CTA) is looking to award $1,000 through the Jim Critchley Education Grant to a high school senior (class of 2024) in pursuit of a post-secondary degree within wildlife management or conservation with a sincere desire to further one’s education at an accredited institution.

Applications must be received by May 13, 2024. Please visit the CTA website for the Jim Critchley Education Grant Application. Please contact Donna Peck (860-933-8254) with any additional questions.

Connecticut Trappers Association . . .

Fred Becker of Connecticut Trappers Association Honored

Fred Becker, President of the Connecticut Trappers Association, was recently honored by the National Trappers Association as Trapper of the Year – East for his “outstanding efforts on behalf of trappers and trapping.” The award was presented to Fred by John Daniel, President of the National Trappers Association, at their 64th Annual Convention, which was held in Escanaba, Michigan, in 2023.

When Fred was presented with the award, John Daniel said, “The Becker family has been a stable force in trapping and conservation in Connecticut for decades and Fred is no exception to that tradition. Fred has been instrumental in promoting, defending, and educating the public about the need for meaningful trapping in modern times on both the state and national levels. The National Trappers Association is truly grateful to have Fred as a part of our team.”

Fred’s father, Fred Becker Sr., was instrumental in the establishment of the Connecticut Trappers Association (CTA) in 1967, along with several other founding members. Both father and son have played key roles in the organization. CTA is a non-profit organization of Connecticut sportsmen and women dedicated to the conservation of fur bearing animals and practical wildlife management. The CTA’s motto of “Conservation Through Association” is the foundation of the organization.

The Beckers and the CTA were the creators of the Trapping Course that exists to today. New trappers are required to take this course to be eligible to obtain a trapping license in Connecticut. Fred actively serves as a volunteer instructor and has helped train and introduce more than 1,200 new trappers! Throughout his tenure as an instructor, he has attended more than a dozen workshops to help ensure the program provides the best information possible to get new trappers into the field.

Congratulations to Fred on his award and acknowledgement!

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

2024 CT Hunting and Trapping Guide

CT Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

Pheasant Hunting

Hunting Information

Main Hunting and Trapping webpage

Buy Your License Online

Licenses and Permits

Junior Hunter Training Days

Conservation Education/Firearm Safety Program

Public Hunting Areas

Hunting FAQs

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Need to contact the DEEP Wildlife Division? Send email to deep.wildlife@ct.gov or call 860-424-3011
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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.

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