Frequently Asked Questions About Hunting

General Hunting  |  Deer Hunting  |  Licensing and Permits  |  Hunter Education Courses and Requirements  |  Hunter Education Certificates  |  Hunting Safety  |  Target Practice  |  Hunters with Disabilities

New to hunting or interested in taking up the activity again? The Hunting Roadmap helps you get started!

General Hunting and Trapping

Can I hunt on Sunday in Connecticut?
Licensed archery deer hunters can hunt on private land only on Sundays in all Deer Management Zones (zone map). Wild turkeys CANNOT be taken on Sunday anywhere in the state. All archery deer hunting on Sundays must take place at least 40 yards away from blazed hiking trails. Sunday hunting is also allowed on licensed private shooting preserves and regulated dog training areas when the operator has permission from the town. Hunting may also take place on Sunday at permitted field trial events.

If you hunt and wound an animal during legal hunting hours, then follow the blood trail after legal hunting hours, can you still search for and harvest the animal?
Hunters can track and recover game after legal hunting hours, but cannot carry a loaded firearm or bow, or discharge a firearm or bow after legal hunting hours. If a hunter needs to dispatch an animal after hunting hours, contact the State Environmental Conservation Police at 860-424-3333  for guidance. 

Do I need permission to hunt on private land in Connecticut?
All deer and turkey hunters must obtain written permission, dated for the current season, from the landowner on a DEEP Private Land Consent Form, which is included in the Hunting and Trapping Guide, and must carry this form with them at all times while hunting. All small game and waterfowl hunters must at least have verbal permission from the landowner. 

Can I use a handgun for hunting?
In Connecticut a handgun used for hunting small game on state-owned land must be no larger or heavier than .22 caliber rimfire. Handguns of any caliber are prohibited on state-leased land and Permit-Required Hunting Areas. Revolvers of .357 caliber or larger may be used to hunt deer on private land during the private land shotgun/rifle deer season if the landowner has authorized such use on the private land consent form. Revolvers may also be used by persons hunting with a free landowner deer permit during the landowner deer season. A person using a handgun for hunting must possess any required permits to carry. The use of handguns to hunt turkey or migratory game birds is prohibited.

Can a centerfire rifle be used for hunting?
Rifles using ammunition larger or heavier than .22 caliber rimfire are prohibited on state-owned land. Rifles of any caliber are prohibited on state-leased and Permit-Required Hunting Areas. It is prohibited to hunt on private land with ammunition larger than .22 caliber rimfire during the private land shotgun/rifle deer season. There are two private land exceptions. During private land deer season a centerfire rifle that fires 6mm (.243 caliber) or larger ammunition may be used for deer or coyote hunting only if the landholding is 10 or more contiguous acres and the landowner has authorized rifle use on the DEEP consent form. An individual with written consent from the landowner and a valid private land shotgun/rifle deer permit may also legally harvest coyotes during this season with a shotgun or muzzleloader legal for deer hunting. Remember, during the shotgun/rifle deer private land hunting season, coyote hunters are restricted to ammunition not larger than .22 caliber rimfire without deer permits and written consent. For coyote hunting outside of private land deer season, any legal centerfire rifle may be used, but the hunter must have verbal permission from the landowner. 

Can I use a .17 caliber rimfire or a .22 caliber Magnum rifle to hunt small game on state lands?
It is legal to use .17 caliber rimfire or .22 caliber Magnum firearms in all situations where it is legal to use rimfire .22 caliber firearms.  

Can I hunt with an “Other” in Connecticut?
An “Other” is not a rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, or revolver/pistol. It does not fit the definition of a legal hunting implement in the state.

Are there any hunting-related opportunities for youth hunters?
Junior hunter training days are established annually for firearms hunting during specified seasons. On these occasions, only a licensed junior hunter may hunt when accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years of age or older. The adult hunter may not carry a firearm or participate in the hunt. These training days provide junior hunters with an opportunity to learn safe and effective hunting practice from experienced hunters. All hunters must observe regulations regarding permits and stamps for hunting on private and state land, including adults. Junior Hunter Training Days are provided during the following seasons: Spring Turkey, Pheasant, Waterfowl, and Deer. Check out the Junior Hunter webpage to learn about special events for junior hunters. 

Where can I find huntable state land in Connecticut?
Consult the Hunting and Trapping Guide or visit the CT Interactive Hunting Area Map. Maps of most hunting areas are available online. 

Can I use an ATV for hunting in Connecticut?
ATVs are not permitted on any state-owned or controlled properties, except by special permit. The use of ATVs for transportation on private lands is not restricted as long as landowner permission is obtained and the vehicle is properly registered. Hunters cannot shoot from any motorized vehicle. Special accommodations are made for handicapped individuals. Please email for guidance. 

Can a hunter use electronic calls?
Electronic calls can be used for all species except turkeys and migratory game birds. Electronic calls can be used to hunt crows.

Where do I find/print my harvest tags?
Harvest tags and all the information related to reporting harvests can be found on the Tagging and Reporting Deer and Turkey Harvests webpage.

What do I need to land trap in Connecticut?
You can only land trap coyotes in Connecticut. A land trapping certification is required and is included as part of the basic trapping course after June 2022. Land trapping certifications are specific to Connecticut. Out of state trapping courses may qualify you to trap in Connecticut, however you will still need to attend a trapping course to land trap in Connecticut.

Deer Hunting

What is the minimum acreage required for deer hunting?
There is no minimum acreage required for hunting with shotguns, muzzleloaders, or archery equipment. A centerfire rifle 6mm (.243 caliber) or larger may be used for deer hunting on private land if the landholding is 10 or more contiguous acres and the landowner has authorized rifle use on the DEEP consent form. Rifles cannot be used on any state land. Hunters must observe the 500-Foot Buffer Zone whenever using firearms for hunting. Regardless of the hunting implement used, a hunter must not shoot toward any person, building, or domestic animal when within range.  

Is it legal to bait animals in Connecticut?
Baiting is illegal on all public land statewide, and on private land in Zones 1-10. Baiting for deer is permitted on private land in zones 11 and 12 only. (Zone Map)

Can scent attractants be used while hunting deer in Connecticut?
Most types of scent attractants (i.e., tarsal glands, food smells, smoke pole) may be used that provide no substance for deer to consume. For the safety of Connecticut's deer herd, a state regulation prohibits all use of natural deer urine products. No person shall possess or use, for the purposes of taking or attempting to take or attract deer or for the surveillance or scouting of deer, any product bought or sold that is manufactured or refined that contains or purports to contain deer urine. Products labeled as "synthetic" may still be used. Products with vague descriptions about their contents are not recommended for use. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) can spread through exposure to infected deer urine.

Licensing and Permits

How do I obtain a hunting license?
You must complete a course that is provided by the Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) Program or its equivalent from another state OR have a Connecticut RESIDENT license for firearms hunting that was issued within the past five years. There are special courses for firearms hunting, bowhunting, and trapping. After successfully completing a hunter safety course, your certification will be uploaded to your online license profile and will print directly at the bottom of your hunting or fishing license (you may print your certification without making a purchase). To print your certificate, go to the Online Outdoor Licensing System. Hunting licenses, stamps, and permits may be purchased online or from a vendor, such as a sporting goods store, or from a town hall or certain DEEP offices.

What happens if I have multiple Conservation IDs?
Multiple conservation IDs will inhibit your ability to purchase a hunting license. If you know you have multiple conservation IDs, please email us at with the numbers, and we will rectify it for you. 

How do I create a Conservation ID?
Conservation IDs can be created by navigating to the Online Outdoor Licensing System and clicking the “Create An Account” button under New Customer. Please search for a pre-existing Conservation ID prior to creating a new one. If you are sure you have a Conservation ID but cannot find it, contact the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011.

I have an NRA Hunter Education certificate issued prior to 1982. Is this valid for obtaining a hunting license?
The old NRA course does not meet international standards for hunter education and is not valid to obtain a hunting license. 

I have a pistol permit. Do I still have to take the firearms hunter education course?
Pistol permits have no bearing on hunter safety and are not an acceptable form of training to obtain a hunting license. Although a pistol permit course covers general firearm safety and handling, a hunter safety course covers additional information as it relates to safe, ethical, and responsible hunting that is not covered in pistol permit courses. 

I am a Connecticut non-resident hunter. What do I need to hunt in Connecticut?
If you took your hunter education out of state and would like to submit it for approval in Connecticut, please submit the following in a single email to a copy of your hunter safety certificate issued by another state, a picture of your current driver’s license, and your CT Conservation ID number. Emails that are received with missing information will not be processed. Certificates from online hunter education will not be accepted. All hunter safety certificates will be verified with the issuing state to ensure the class meets Connecticut requirements. The process for verification can take multiple weeks. Please do not wait until the hunting season begins to get your information verified.  

How do I get an Archery Deer and Small Game Permit?
To purchase an Archery Deer or Small Game Permit you must have proof of completion of the CE/FS bowhunting course (since 1982) or its equivalent from another state or country. Certification cards from other states or provinces must specify "bowhunter education" to qualify. Connecticut does not accept certificates obtained through online courses or combination firearm and bowhunting classes. 

What is the minimum age to hunt in Connecticut?
The minimum age to hunt is 12 years old with proof of completed hunter education and valid licenses and permits.

If I have already purchased a junior hunter license for the current calendar year, do I need to buy one when I turn 16 this hunting season?
The Junior Hunting License is valid for a calendar year, as are other hunting licenses. At age 16, the youth may hunt alone with the Junior Hunting License. 

If I do not plan on hunting, but wish to accompany others while they hunt, is this allowed? Do I need a hunting or trapping license to accompany a hunter or trapper?
As long as you are not engaged in the pursuit of hunting or trapping game or providing any act of assistance in taking game, you do not need a hunting or trapping license. A hunting license is not needed to assist in the recovery of game. Pursuit is defined as actively hunting, operating calls, and working a dog while hunting. 

I took a hunter safety course in another state that included an introduction to bowhunting. Is this certificate acceptable for a Connecticut Archery Permit?
Unless the certification specifies "Bowhunting" from a separate bowhunting course that meets the International Bowhunter Education Program content standards, it would not qualify. Connecticut does not accept combination firearms/bowhunting/trapping courses or online hunter safety courses. 

Do I have to buy a Firearms Hunting License to hunt on land that I own?
Landowners are exempt from buying a Firearms Hunting License if they permanently reside on the property and the property is 10 or more contiguous acres if they possess a Free Landowner Permit. The proper deer permits are required to hunt deer and a Free Landowner Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp are required to turkey on personally owned land. Hunting on any land other than your own requires the proper licenses and permits. The Free Landowner Permit must be obtained yearly. 

What is the minimum age to hunt or purchase a firearms hunting license or an Archery Deer and Small Game Permit in Connecticut or a trapping license?
A person must be at least 12 years old to hunt or purchase a firearms hunting license or Archery Deer and Small Game Permit in Connecticut. Persons 12 to 15 years old must purchase a Junior Hunting License and be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is 18 years old or older while hunting. A licensed adult may not supervise more than 2 minors at one time while hunting. Junior Hunters are entitled to their own bag limits. There is no minimum age requirement for trapping in Connecticut, but persons under 16 years old must purchase a Junior Trapping License.

Hunter Education Courses and Requirements

How do I find where and when courses are held?
Consult the Hunter Education Registration page on the DEEP's website for a list of available classes. Classes are added as they are scheduled by our volunteer instructors.

Do I have to pay a fee for hunting and trapping classes?
There are no fees for in person classes and materials.

Can I bring someone else along to accompany me in class?
Parents and guardians are encouraged to take the courses with their children. Anyone that plans on taking the course for certification must be officially registered for the class prior to attending. Any student under 18 years of age must have a parent/legal guardian present at the start of the class to sign the registration card. 

Are accommodations made for students that have difficulties learning and/or taking tests?
Anyone who experiences difficulties learning or taking tests is encouraged to let the instructor know privately. Instructors can provide one-on-one assistance taking the test.

How old do I have to be to take the hunter education course?
A student must be at least ten (10) years old or reach the age of 10 by the end of the class. A parent/guardian must be present to sign the registration card for any student under the age of 18. 

I am on active duty with the armed services in Connecticut. What do I need to obtain a resident firearms hunting license? Do I have to take the course?
You will need a certificate of completion for a hunter education course from Connecticut, or a certificate of completion from another state that meets Connecticut requirements. If you do not possess a Certificate of Completion, you must complete the appropriate course for the license you seek to obtain. Any active, full-time member of the U.S. armed forces may purchase a Connecticut hunting, fishing, or trapping license at the same fees as a resident. Proof of full-time membership during calendar year must be carried while using the license. 

What equipment do I need to bring to a hunter safety class?
No personal firearms or ammunition is allowed in our classes. You are encouraged to bring your personal bow and 5 field tipped arrows (no broadheads) to a bowhunting course. Students should also bring a pencil or pen, eye and ear protection for firearms courses, and a notepad to firearms hunter education courses. Be prepared for the weather as all courses have an outdoor component. For full day classes, students should bring a lunch or be prepared to obtain lunch if it is available from a nearby food service vendor for full day classes. 

Will I shoot a gun or a bow in the course?
Students must conduct live fire exercises in both firearms and bowhunting classes. In the firearms hunter education courses, all firearms and ammunition will be provided, and every student must complete live fire exercises with a .22 caliber rifle or a 20 gauge shotgun. In bowhunter education courses, students are encouraged to bring their personal bow and arrows (equipped with field points). Personal firearms and ammunition are not allowed in any hunter safety course, including bowhunting. 

Who teaches the courses?
Courses are taught by certified volunteer instructors with substantial experience in hunting and who are dedicated to sharing their skills and knowledge to promote safe hunting. 

What is the best time to take my hunter education course?
Hunter education courses should be taken well before a hunting season is set to begin. Classes fill up quickly as hunting season approaches and we cannot guarantee a class is offered in your general area, on a specific day, or at a specific time.

Do you accept walk-ins at your classes?
We do not accept walk-in students at our classes. This is due in part to our registration system and our ability to process certifications in a timely manner. All sites are already operating at max capacity for the buildings, instructors, and equipment. Do not put our instructors in the uncomfortable position of denying you entry into the class. 

Hunter Education Certificates

What should I do if I cannot find or if I have lost my original hunter education certificate?
Once you have completed hunter education, your certificate will reside in your online profile. Log onto the Online Outdoor Licensing System and select "Reprint License". Print the document, even if you have not purchased anything. You may also visit a vendor or select DEEP office to reprint your license. Do not create a second Conservation ID, as this may hinder your ability to purchase a license in the future. Certifications may take up to a week to appear in the profile for recent course graduates. If it has been longer and your credentials do not appear in your Conservation ID profile, please contact the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011.

How do I submit out of state hunter education?
If you took your hunter education out of state and would like to submit it for approval in Connecticut, please submit the following in a single email to a copy of your hunter safety certificate issued by another state, a picture of your current driver’s license, and your CT Conservation ID number. Emails that are received with missing information will not be processed. Certificates from online hunter education will not be accepted. All hunter safety certificates will be verified with the issuing state to ensure the class meets Connecticut requirements. The process for verification can take multiple weeks. Please do not wait until the hunting season begins to get your information verified.

Another state is requiring proof of hunter education. Where can I get it?
Proof of your hunter education can be reprinted anytime by going to our online sportsmen’s licensing system and reprinting your license. You do not need to purchase a current license to reprint your certifications. Your firearm, bowhunting, trapping, and boating certifications will all appear on the license if you have them. 

Hunting Safety

What should I do when I see another hunter while out hunting?
You should never assume that another hunter is aware of your presence when you are hunting. For everyone’s safety, always speak in a clear, loud voice. Do not rely on sounds or other noises that can be misconstrued for animal movement to get their attention.

What should I do when I am approached by an Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Officer or any law enforcement officer when I am hunting with a firearm?
Do the following: (1) keep your firearm or bow pointed in a safe direction; (2) let the law enforcement officer determine what you will do next; (3) do not attempt to unload the firearm by opening the action or removing the magazine, if so equipped. Let the officer take control of the situation.

Is it legal to use a tree stand on state property?
The use of portable tree stands is permissible. Hunters who use tree stands should always wear a full-body safety harness or fall arrest system to help prevent injuries. Leaving any personal property unattended is not recommended. The Wildlife and Forestry Divisions advise hunters to remove tree stands from all state properties at the end of the deer hunting season every year. The construction of permanent of tree stands involving damage to a tree or shrub is prohibited. 

Does the 500-foot rule apply to bowhunting?
The safety buffer of 500 feet only applies to hunting with firearms or carrying of a loaded firearm when a reasonable person would conclude that the individual was engaged in hunting. 

Does the 500-foot rule apply to use of an air rifle (BB or pellet gun)?
Air rifles are defined as firearms for the purpose of hunting and the 500-foot rule does apply.

What is the specific requirement for wearing fluorescent orange when hunting in Connecticut?
All hunters must wear hunter orange (fluorescent orange) from September 1 through the last day in February. Please see the Hunting and Trapping Guide for exceptions. When fluorescent orange is required, the hunter must wear an article of clothing that has 400 square inches of fluorescent orange material visible above the waist and visible from all sides. Camouflage fluorescent orange is permitted as long as it satisfies the above requirements. Hunters are encouraged to wear a fluorescent cap as an additional safety measure.

Target Practice

Where can I go to practice my shooting skills?
The DEEP provides public shooting ranges for firearms target practice at three locations: Glastonbury, High Rock, and Wooster Mountain. The Nye Holman Archery Range provides opportunity for archery shooting practice. These shooting ranges are open for limited hours and may require reservations or a fee. Consult the Hunting and Trapping Guide or the Hunting and Trapping page on the DEEP website for more information about these ranges. Many private sportsmen's clubs, which are located throughout the state, have private ranges that are available for a fee to members and guests. No target practice can be conducted on state land.  

Is it legal to conduct target practice on private property?
Consult local regulations which may prohibit discharge of firearms within the municipality’s limits. Additionally, the location of the property for target shooting must satisfy concerns for down range safety per local regulations. If local regulations allow target practice, and the property satisfies concerns for down range safety, noise from gunfire may disturb neighbors. To help prevent alarm and misunderstanding, notify neighbors and local law enforcement officials when and where the target practice will occur. 

Hunters with Disabilities

Does Connecticut offer any special considerations for hunters with disabilities?
A person who has permanently lost the use of a limb may be issued a hunting or trapping license free-of-charge (permits are not included). 

Verification of disability signed by a licensed physician must be presented. 

Paraplegics may also be eligible to hunt from an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle).

The CT DEEP and MassWildlife have finalized a Memorandum of Understanding which establishes that both states (Connecticut and Massachusetts), pursuant to their respective authorities (Section 26-29b of the CGS and Massachusetts GL c 131 Subsection 11), agree to issue free inland fishing and hunting, or combination inland fishing and hunting licenses to a resident of the other state who is the holder of a valid hunting, fishing, or combination inland fishing and hunting license issued to them by their state of residency that specifies that said individual is paraplegic. The individual must, however, still purchase any necessary permits or stamps required by either MA or CT.

Some hunting areas are especially suited for hunters with disabilities and have access improvements to accommodate those hunters. They are listed in the current Hunting and Trapping Guide and the CT Interactive Hunting Area Map.

Content last updated in February 2024.