Connecticut – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/08/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
Tags: , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.


Is the information easy to find?

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website is at the top of the search results. It seems odd that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is in charge of hunting, but that’s what the search results bring up, and the hunting regulations are there.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

The hunting regulations are presented in a well thought out format, every link leads to the information directly, and once there, the information was easy to read and understand, with little or no ambiguity.  The information is concise and to the point, well done Connecticut.

Grade: A

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

Connecticut’s lottery is not mandatory.  The way the system is presented, you may apply for a lottery license, and if you do not get drawn you may then purchase a non-lottery license OR you can simply purchase a non-lottery license.  The difference is in which public hunting lands you can hunt if this information is correct.  This would be an ‘A,’ but having location pivot on a lottery makes planning more difficult for a nonresident hunter.

Grade: B

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Connecticut hunting licenses seem to be split by weapon, with resident firearms licenses priced at $19.00, and nonresident firearms hunting licenses priced at $91.00.  Resident archery licenses are $41.00, nonresident archery licenses are $135.00, however please note that the archery license includes tags for two either sex deer and two antlerless, with two more deer, one antlerless and one either sex, in January on private land in zones 11 and 12. $135.00 for potentially six deer is very good pricing compared to the states analyzed so far.  There are no short term licenses; however the price for the yearlong license is less than the short term license in other states.

Grade: A

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

The hunting seasons are easy to follow, with a well formatted chart detailing method (i.e. ‘bowhunting’), location, dates and bag limit in a one-page list.

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

Connecticut uses a searchable system for locating public hunting areas within the state.   There are three searchable fields, ‘counties,’ ‘hunting area type,’ and ‘deer lottery area.’  As a quick test ‘Middlesex-Tolland Counties’ and ‘Deer Bowhunting Hunting Areas’ were selected.   The results of the search contain area size in acres, the nearest towns, what species are legal to hunt in that area and a PDF map link if available.  The PDF maps are nice, with roughly the same detail level that can be generated using National Geographics Topo 4 software.  No specific regulations that would change hunting on public land compared to private land within the Public Hunting Areas page were found.

Grade: A

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Chronic Wasting Disease has not been found in Connecticut at this time.

Connecticut requires all hunters to show proof of a hunter’s safety course however the state further requires bowhunters to show proof of a bowhunting-specific hunter’s safety course, and while there are specific differences between firearm and bowhunting for deer, how many hunters can show that they have completed a bowhunting course?  Here is the wording of the requirement:

All bowhunters must show proof when purchasing a small game/deer archery permit that they have completed the CE/FS bowhunting course (since 1982) or its equivalent from another state or country. Certifications from another state or country must specify Bowhunter Education.

Even more frustrating, the description of the bowhunting requirements:

Description of the Basic Bowhunting Course

To meet the license requirements to bowhunt, applicants must successfully pass a specialized course. The course is approximately six hours long and consists of both classroom study and field work.

That actually tells the nonresident NOTHING about what is required other than ‘six hours long and consists of both classroom study and fieldwork.’  My best guess is ‘these are the parts of a bow, this is the kinetic energy equation, this is the KE required to hunt in Connecticut, this is a broadhead, this is how a broadhead kills deer, this is where to shoot them, don’t cut yourself, those are sharp (brief pause to pass around Neosporin and band-aids), here is how you set up a bow, don’t forget to tune the bow for broadheads, lets shoot, here is what a blood trail looks like, here is how you follow a blood trail, make sure you mark your back trail, always use a safety harness in a treestand, always hunt with a partner or let somebody know where you will be and when you will be back, and this is what you do with the deer if you get one, now lets go outside and shoot.’   Did I miss anything?  The one bright light of this system is that the classes are offered free of charge.

Grade: C

Summary: Final Grade: A-

Connecticut has a well presented web site for nonresident hunters and friendly pricing, friendly licensing system with both lottery and non-lottery type permits readily available.  The public land system is easy to access and provides user-friendly topographic maps along with secondary information such as what towns are nearby and what else you can hunt. The only negative I can find is the bowhunter safety requirement, which wouldn’t be a negative if it was a more wide-spread requirement, however even as a former instructor there isn’t any way I can think of to fulfill this requirement without taking a new safety course, and one that meets Connecticut’s approval.  Since I cannot FIND what that approval consists of, that would mean either traveling to the state in advance of hunting season or planning my trip around one of the courses, which aren’t during hunting season, defeating the purpose of the trip to begin with.  I would suggest reading the Conservation Education and Firearms Safety officers and asking directly what the requirements are.

(I contacted the organization that tracks hunter safety courses and bowhunter safety courses, not only did the person who responded not read my entire email, the link they sent back was to a ‘dead’ web page. When I responded with that information, I was given another link that led to useless page.)

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