Connecticut Deer Hunting

Written By John VanDerLaan 


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Deer hunting in Connecticut continues to shine as an extremely long archery season with very liberal bag limits, and a peak rut gun season make the nutmeg state a great place to bag a trophy buck.

The general trophy hunting hotspots are the northeastern and northwestern parts of the state, due largely to an abundance of quality habitat and relatively low hunting pressure, along with some of the states largest tracts of public land. However, trophy bucks can be found all over the Nutmeg State. Seven counties have produced ten or more 150 class bucks in the past 5 years. Tolland county led the way with 17, followed by Windham, Middlesex, Litchfield, Hartford, New Haven, and our favorite...Fairfield County. Click on the link for maps of hunting land open to the public.

RELATED: How Many Hunters In The US?

The key to finding trophy deer in Connecticut may lie in your ability to gain access to small tracts of private land. Permission may be easier to get in Fairfield and lower New Haven counties due to the huge numbers of deer found there. The state has implemented special regulations in these areas in order to curtail the burgeoning deer population, including allowing the use of deer attractants.

Archery deer hunters in these hunting areas are offered replacement tags, also called Earn A Buck tags. For every antlerless deer that you harvest, you are issued a replacement tag. If you harvest three antlerless deer, you are issued a bonus buck tag. It is a great way of reducing the deer herd, as some archers harvest upwards of 20 deer.

I know what you are thinking, what do they do with 20 deer? In order to make use of such a large harvest, a new program has been established called, Hunt To Feed. This innovative program allows a hunter to donate the venison from his harvest to the Connecticut Food Bank at no cost to the hunter...As a matter of fact...The hunter can keep the tenderloins and the backstraps at no charge, while the rest goes to feed the hungry!

The program is paid exclusively through fundraising, grants, and other direct contributions from the public. The primary fundraiser is their annual Awareness and Fundraising Banquet. You can find out more about Hunt To Feed on their website HTF believes that "no child or family should go hungry with the overabundance of deer in the state of Connecticut".
Thank you Hunt To Feed for stepping up and providing a solution to the never ending problem of hunger here in the Nutmeg State. Our hats are off to you!

Connecticut Deer Hunting Season

The deer hunting season in Connecticut is one of the most liberal in the United States with 120 days of possible time afield. Bowhunters have an incredibly long season.

The bowhunting season on private lands, depending on the deer management zones that you hunt, runs from September 15 through January 31, that is a lot of time in the woods and reason enough to take up bowhunting. There are also state land bowhunting only areas that are open September 15 through December 31. You are allowed 4 deer with a bow in Connecticut with the exception of zones 11 and 12. In those zones you are issued replacement tags and you may harvest as many deer as you can. The firearms deer hunting season on private land in Connecticut begins on November 19 and lasts for two weeks. The state land shotgun season is broken up into an A season and a B season and permits are done by a lottery. Deadline for entrance into the lottery is March 15. "A" season dates are November 19 - November 28, "B" season dates are November 29 - December 9.
Click on the link for complete regulations regarding the
Connecticut hunting season.

New to deer hunting? Visit our Beginners Guide To Deer Hunting.

EHD In Connecticut

EHD, or Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease has been confirmed in at least four deer management zones in Connecticut. Zones 1, 2, 10 and 12 have had confirmed cases of this disease and deer hunters should be on the lookout for any animals that appear to be sick,

Signs of the disease in deer include swelling of the  head, neck, tongue, or eyelids. Bloody discharge from the nasal cavity, and hemorrhaging of the heart and lungs, which causes labored breathing and respiratory distress. 

The disease also causes high fever, which makes infested deer search out water in an effort to cool themselves.

If you see deer with any of the symptoms, contact the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Looking For Deer Hunting Land In Connecticut?

Check out the Find a Hunter Program sponsored by Whitetail Solutions. It is a free service to landowners who are seeking safe and ethical hunters to manage their property. You can sign up as a hunter and landowners can then review your posted profile and contact you directly. Sign up today…It really works!

ct deer hunting

 Connecticut's peak rut firearms season and long archery season make it a great state to harvest a trophy whitetail like this one!

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John VanDerLaan

John VanDerLaan is the managing editor here at He oversees a team of editors, writers and pro staff that are subject matter experts in hunting and hunting gear. John's expertise includes thoroughly testing all types of hunting gear, as well as hunting all over the U.S. and Canada. While his hunting expertise includes game birds, small game and large game, his favorite game animal is the whitetail deer and he loves to share the knowledge that he has gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail with both archery gear and firearms. John is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

4 thoughts on “Connecticut Deer Hunting”

  1. Hi John, I’m a first time hunter and am wondering if there are any butcher shops around the Naugatuck valley area… or anywhere in Connecticut for that matter.

    • Hi Rob,

      There is the Large Game Company in Oxford, Lee Sabo 203-888-3860.

      There is also Custom Cuts in Watertown, John Gordon 203-558-5929.


  2. John, I’m a NH resident looking for good management deer hunting closer to home traveling to upstate NY or PA.

    I’m not having a lot of luck finding CT outfitters or any means to get through to CT landowners to hunt. Do you have any ideas on how I can access CT as a new place to bow/shotgun/rifle hunt for me and my two sons? We currently suffer the wildly unsuccessful deer hunting of NH.

    Thanks….contact info below.
    -Gary Dennis
    Walpole, NH

    • Hi Gary,

      Unfortunately, the only way to find good private land to hunt in Connecticut is by knocking on doors and you will get many more no answers than you will yes.



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