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Making It Last
This wood turtle, a state species of special concern, enjoys some sun along the muddy bank of a Connecticut stream. State Wildlife Grants have helped us learn more about this colorful turtle and funded the creation of a strategic conservation plan for wood turtles in the Northeast. By proactively working together to reverse regional population declines, the DEEP Wildlife Division and other fish and wildlife agencies in the Northeast hope to keep this species from being listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
2019: Make a Difference for Wildlife
There are plenty of simple ways people can help wildlife, and each month we will highlight an action everyone can take to benefit the species that call Connecticut home.

If you care, leave it there! Every year, the lives of many wild animals are disturbed by people who take young animals from the wild in a well-intentioned attempt to "save" them. These well-meant acts of kindness have the opposite effect. Young animals may appear to be "abandoned" but an adult is likely close by, waiting for you to leave. The best thing you can do for young wildlife is to leave them alone. If you are certain that a wild animal has been injured or orphaned, before touching it or moving it, contact the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 or DEEP's Emergency Dispatch Center at 860-424-3333.

This Spring, Be Bear Aware
With the arrival of spring, black bears are leaving their winter dens, and Connecticut residents are reminded to take steps to reduce encounters and potential conflicts with bears. Taking such steps are important because the state's bear population continues to grow and expand. The primary contributing factor to bear nuisance problems is the presence of easily-accessible food sources near homes and businesses. Fed bears can become habituated and lose their fear of humans. Bears should NEVER be fed, either intentionally or accidentally.

Donate to the Connecticut Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-off Fund to protect wildlife and habitat.

Little Brown Bat Colony Discovered at White Memorial Conservation Center
Through extensive acoustic monitoring, White Memorial Conservation Center staff, in collaboration with DEEP Wildlife Division biologists, recently discovered a little brown bat colony at the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield. This is truly an important discovery, given that the little brown bat population has been hit hard over recent years by white-nose syndrome. To boost the area's potential to host little brown bats, the Wildlife Division donated and helped install a large bat house in the vicinity, bringing the total number of bat houses on the property to 16. 

To learn more, read a detailed article  (PDF), with amazing photos, in our bimonthly magazine,  Connecticut Wildlife.  

Connecticut Wildlife  is for anyone who wants to stay informed about fish, wildlife, and natural resource issues and events in our state. The magazine is published six times a year and is available by subscription ( more details ). 
April is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month
The emerald ash borer is a small, green, invasive beetle that continues to devastate ash trees in Connecticut. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proclaimed April to be Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. Invasive species are plants, animals, or microorganisms that are not native, and their existence in the ecosystem causes or is likely to cause harm to the economy, environment, or human health. If left unchecked, invasive species can also threaten native species, ecosystem services, recreation, and property values. Simple steps can be taken to avoid the introduction or spreading of invasive species. 

Reminders for the Spring Turkey Hunting Season
Junior Turkey Hunter Training Week is from April 13-20 (excluding Sunday). New this year, two daily permits per day will be available for junior hunters to hunt turkeys on April 13-20 (excluding Sunday, April 14) at Trout Brook Valley in Easton and Sessions Woods WMA in Burlington. The permits will be issued through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System starting on April 8, 2019. The permits for junior hunter training week are available under the tab labeled OTHER and are listed under JUNIOR HUNTER TRAINING DAYS.

The regular Spring Turkey Hunting Season is from April 24 to May 25. Daily permits (4 to 5 each day) to hunt at Trout Brook Valley and Sessions Woods WMA will be   issued through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System s tarting on April 19, 2019. These permits will be listed under tabs OTHER or BIRDS AND WATERFOWL and then under DAILY PERMITS.
Safety Tips for Spring Turkey Hunting
With the 2019 spring turkey hunting season only a few weeks away, the Wildlife Division emphasizes the importance of safe hunting practices. Turkey hunting requires a great deal of skill and advance planning to be safe and successful. Each year, the Conservation Education/Firearms Safety Program offers two to three free spring wild turkey hunting clinics annually. 

Creating Cottontail Habitat May Benefit Ruffed Grouse
Smaller than the introduced eastern cottontail, the native New England cottontail depends on the same young forest - or "early successional" - habitat as the ruffed grouse, a habitat that has been smothered by the canopy as forests have expanded. The State of Connecticut owns about a quarter of the forestland in the state with the rest in private hands. Both are the focus of New England cottontail restoration. The most promising area is Pachaug State Forest, the state's largest at 24,000 acres. Foresters have maintained what is called "even-aged management" of two plots totaling about 200 acres by harvesting and clear-cutting trees to allow new growth to arise. The area supports a healthy New England cottontail population. Areas like this, which already support native cottontails, could also welcome grouse "if they are around," according to Lisa Wahle, a biologist working on early successional habitat projects for the Wildlife Division.

Join us for a Venomous Reptile Program at Sessions Woods WMA
The 2019 Friends of Sessions Woods Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, April 28, beginning at 12:30 pm. At 1:00 pm, this year's program will be "Venomous Reptiles" presented by Rainforest Reptiles. The program will also include information on the harmful effects of releasing non-native reptiles into the wild. This free program is suitable for all ages. Please register by calling 860-424-3011 or email

Upcoming Hunter Education Courses for May 2019
Conservation Education/Firearms Safety courses are administered by the Wildlife Division and taught throughout the year by a dedicated corps of certified volunteer instructors. Certifications are offered in the disciplines of firearms hunting, bowhunting, and trapping. Following is a list of upcoming courses for the month of May. These courses post for registration 30 days prior to their start date.  Please note: Courses can be scheduled at any time, and this may not be a complete list of May's  offerings.

Firearms (self-study):
- Marlborough: May 11
- Meriden: May 11

- Montville: May 4
- Meriden: May 25  

DEEP Land and Water Resources Division Releases Draft of Long Island Sound Blue Plan
The Blue Plan is a planning document that crafts a vision for the future of Long Island Sound. The goals of the Plan include protecting the Sound's natural resources and traditional human uses, while allowing for compatible future use and development. The Blue Plan is meant to be inclusive of all Long Island Sound stakeholders and perspectives, as the Blue Plan Advisory Committee is composed of representatives from the historical and cultural, recreational, marine transportation and industry, fishing and aquaculture, academic, and environmental advocacy communities.  The Blue Plan was released for a 90-day public comment period starting March 20, 2019. All who have an interest in Long Island Sound are encouraged to provide feedback and comment, as this Plan can only be made better with public involvement and input.

Species of the Month: Spotted Salamander
On warm rainy spring nights, many amphibians, including the spotted salamander, travel to vernal pools (temporary bodies of water) to breed. The spotted salamander is dark brown or black, and as the name implies, covered with yellow or orange spots on its back and sides. Adult spotted salamanders have a sticky tongue used to catch earthworms, snails, spiders, and other invertebrates that make up their diet. When threatened, spotted salamanders can secrete a sticky white liquid through their skin, making them less palatable to predators. You can help spotted salamanders and other amphibians by slowing down on suburban and rural roads during rainy nights in spring. 

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