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Discover Outdoor Connecticut Photo Contest
1st place in the Wildlife category taken by Bill Canosa of Branford.
The DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources recently held its first Discover Outdoor Connecticut Photo Contest. Photographers were invited to submit photos taken in Connecticut in four categories: Wildlife, Scenic (including flora), People Enjoying the Outdoors, and Youth (ages 15 and younger). Over 330 photographs were received. Judging was extremely difficult due to the number of high-quality images submitted for the contest.

All of the photographs, including the winning entries, were on display during Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day on September 22, 2018, at the Franklin Swamp Wildlife Management Area in North Franklin. A steady stream of event participants viewed the photos and were asked to vote on one photo to receive a "People's Choice" Award. The photo contest was well received by the contest entrants and also by the attendees to the event.

Winners received various prizes and ribbons, which were donated by the non-profit volunteer group, Friends of Sessions Woods. Winning photographs will also be featured in an upcoming issue of Connecticut Wildlife magazine.

Various Fall Hunting Seasons Set to Open
Photo courtesy of Phil Furtak.
The fall hunting season is here and several seasons are set to open in October and November.
  • The fall firearms turkey season opens on Saturday, October 6, and continues through October 31.
  • Small game hunting season opens at 7:00 AM on Saturday, October 20 (CORRECTED).
  • A variety of migratory bird hunting seasons open on different dates. The 2018-2019 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide contains specific details.
  • Firearms deer hunting season begins on Wednesday, November 14.
Peak hunting during these seasons occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily during the period from mid-October through mid-December.

Reminder: Due to a new public act which became effective on October 1, 2018, 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.

Pheasant Hunting: This year, DEEP will purchase 20,000 adult pheasants for stocking at various pheasant hunting areas throughout the state. Details on pheasant stocking, such as area allocations and an updated listing of all major stocking areas, are on the  Pheasant Program webpage .

Similar to last year, six areas will be stocked on Saturday mornings and afternoons and will only be open to hunters with a Saturday AM (8:00 AM -11:00 noon) or Saturday PM (12:00 PM - 3:00 PM) permit from October 20 through November 17 at Cromwell Meadows WMA, Durham Meadows WMA, and Simsbury WMA, and from October 20 through November 10 at Nathan Hale State Forest, Naugatuck State Forest (Hunter's Mountain Block only), and Skiff Mountain Coop WMA. Permits can be obtained through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System.

Look Up and Watch Out for Hazardous Trees
Several years of storms, drought, and insect infestations have severely damaged a significant number of Connecticut's trees. A "hazard tree" has a structural defect that makes it likely to fail in whole or in part. Such a tree can fall without warning!

Follow these guidelines to manage risks associated with hazardous trees:
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead or distressed trees.
  • Be particularly watchful when it is windy or when branches are covered with snow.
  • Look up while on trails.
  • Avoid parking, picnicking, camping, hiking, and hunting in areas where dead trees or dead limbs are more likely to fall.
2018 Year of the Bird - Actions for  September  and October
September's featured action for 2018 Year of the Bird wasn't available when the September newsletter was sent out, but you can still make an effort to help migrating birds this fall. Learn about the three ways you can help:
1) Make your windows more obvious;
2) Go lights out; and
3) Become an advocate.

October's featured action is to participate in October Big Day on October 6.
Mentor a Youth Hunter
Connecticut designates specific days when experienced adult hunters are encouraged to take a youth hunting, helping them learn safe and effective hunting practices, develop observational skills, and gain confidence and a comfort level they need to discover a passion for hunting and the outdoors. Mentors usually come away from the experience knowing they have introduced a young person to a sport they love and inspired him or her to become an avid and successful hunter and conservationist.

Junior Hunter Training Days for fall 2018 include:
  • October 13 for pheasants
  • October 27 for waterfowl
  • November 3-10 (excluding Sunday) for deer
DEEP, in cooperation with local sportsmen's organizations, will be holding several special Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Events in October and November. Interested youths must register for these hunts through the Online Sportsmen Licensing Center.  " Hunt on Your Own Pheasant Hunts" are also scheduled for Junior Pheasant Hunter Training Day on October 13 at several state areas, which will be stocked with pheasants.
Motorists, Watch for Deer and Moose this Fall
Motorists are reminded to be watchful of increased deer and moose activity along roadways, especially during early morning and evening hours. Fall is the peak of the breeding season for Connecticut's small moose population in the northern part of the state. The breeding season (also known as "the rut") for white-tailed deer closely follows the moose breeding season, running from late October through late December.

Motorists should be aware of and heed "Deer Crossing" signs along state highways. Slow down and drive defensively should a deer or moose be spotted on or by the road. Because moose are darker in color and stand much higher than deer, observing reflective eye-shine from headlights is infrequent and, when struck, moose often end up impacting the windshield of vehicles. All moose and deer vehicle collisions should be reported to local, state, or DEEP Environmental Conservation Police Officers (860-424-3333).

Upcoming Programs at Sessions Woods
Some interesting and informative programs are scheduled at the Wildlife Division's Sessions Woods Conservation Education Center in Burlington. The programs are free and open to the public. 

We hope to see you there!

More on events at Sessions Woods WMA . . .
Recovering America's Wildlife Act: Update
For over 100 years, state fish and wildlife agencies have successfully shouldered the primary responsibility of managing America's fish and wildlife. While these agencies and their partners have celebrated major conservation victories, many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and even the iconic monarch butterfly are in decline. With adequate, dedicated funding, agencies can focus their management and conservation efforts on the full array of species at risk of becoming endangered by habitat loss, disease, invasive species, and other threats.

The Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA), which was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives, is a creative bipartisan initiative to conserve at-risk wildlife species in every state. The bill currently has 100 co-sponsors in the House; 54 Democrats (including  Congressman Joe Courtney) and 46 Republicans. A bill has also been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

The bill empowers state fish and wildlife agencies to proactively protect species and habitat without the costly "emergency room" interventions of the Endangered Species Act. From hikers to hunters, boaters to birders, anglers to archers, as well as farmers, ranchers, and the growing cohort of businesses engaged in eco-tourism, a broad coalition supports this effort to leverage revenues from federal lands to support state wildlife plans.

You can support RAWA by writing to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and asking them to co-sponsor this important act.

Learn more about the Alliance for Fish and Wildlife and RAWA . . .
EEE Virus Detected in Mosquitoes in Hampton and North Stonington
The State Mosquito Management Program recently announced that mosquitoes trapped in Hampton on September 19 and North Stonington on September 26 have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus. This represents the first detection of EEE-positive mosquitoes identified in the state by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year. In addition, West Nile Virus (WNV) infected mosquitoes have been identified in 65 sites in 53 Connecticut towns. There are no reported human or equine cases of EEE virus this season but 17 human cases of WNV infection have been reported in the state so far this year. 

For more information on West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis viruses and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website.

First Evidence of Human Biting by East Asian Longhorned Tick in CT
The Tick Testing Laboratory at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) has reported the first evidence of human biting by the exotic east Asian longhorned tick in a resident in Fairfield County. The longhorned tick is an invasive species that was initially discovered on a farm in New Jersey in 2017 and has subsequently been found in eight other states (AK, CT, MD, NY, NC, PA, VA, and WV). It was most recently detected in Connecticut in July 2018. This newly-discovered tick is a major livestock pest that feeds on a wide variety of mammals, including humans, but it is not clear how often. Longhorned ticks have been found to carry several human pathogens in Asia, but it is unknown if this tick will be capable of transmitting native pathogens, such as those that cause Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, or Powassan virus.

Species of the Month: Wild Turkey
Photo courtesy of George Zeller.
The restoration of the wild turkey in Connecticut is a wildlife success story!  Turkeys were abundant when the first settlers arrived, but had disappeared from the state by the early 1800s due to a combination of forest clearing and a series of severe winters. From the 1950s through the early 1970s, attempts at wild turkey restoration through artificial propagation were largely unsuccessful. In the mid-1970s, the Wildlife Division successfully reintroduced turkeys through a trap and transfer program in cooperation with other Northeastern states. As a result of restoration efforts and the increase in forest habitat in Connecticut, sportsmen have been able to hunt wild turkeys since 1981, and landowners and others have enjoyed observing them in their natural state.

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