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Now Available: 2018 Connecticut Hunting Guide 
The   2018 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide is now published on the DEEP website. The printed version is available at select DEEP facilities, town halls, bait and tackle shops, and outdoor equipment stores.

2018 hunting and fishing licenses, stamps, and permits are currently available for purchase through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System and at select DEEP offices, town halls, and various outdoor equipment vendors.

2018 Deer Lottery: Deer hunters can apply for the 2018 deer lottery starting on January 1 at 12:01 AM. Please be reminded that hunters have until February 28 to purchase lottery permits. After that date, all unsold lottery permits will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis starting March 15 until they are sold out. 
Birders: Participate in Connecticut's Bird Atlas
Scarlet Tanager
If you have a passion for birds and would like to have a role in collecting important data on Connecticut's bird life, then you should volunteer for an extensive new project -- The Connecticut Bird Atlas This project will map all species found in the state during both nesting and non-nesting seasons. Starting in 2018, we will be seeking the help of birdwatchers to document the distribution, abundance, and breeding activities of birds at sites throughout the entire state. The resulting data will help document changes since the last comprehensive survey of the state's birds, which happened in the early 1980s; inform the Connecticut Wildlife Action Plan ; and determine priority areas for bird conservation and land protection.  The overall objectives of the Project are:
  • Population estimates for dozens of species for which this information has never been collected.
  • Contemporary data on bird distributions throughout the year to better inform land use decisions by federal, state, and municipal government, land trusts, and Audubon and conservation groups.
  • A better understanding of the habitat needs of Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
  • Development of environmental metrics that can be used to monitor health of the environment, particularly as we experience climate change.
  • Developing the basis for predicting the effects of future development and climate change on individual species, enabling biologists to better deliver conservation actions.
  • More efficient conservation planning.
This project will not be accomplished without the assistance of birders! Please help us insure a bright future for Connecticut's birds and critical habitat by volunteering to survey one or more Atlas blocks. Visit www.ctbirdatlas.org to sign up. The site will be fully up and running by January 2018.
Beach Day for Puritan Tiger Beetles
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The largest-ever reintroduction of a rare tiger beetle happened quietly in the morning of October 19, 2017, on a foggy beach along the Connecticut River. Connecticut hosts a remaining population of the state endangered and federally threatened Puritan tiger beetle, and the CT DEEP Wildlife Division is helping other states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recover this unique species in New England. 


Read an article about the project in the July/August 2016 issue of Connecticut Wildlife magazine.
Do Not Feed Deer or Waterfowl this Winter
Severe winters cause people to be concerned about the  welfare of white-tailed deer or waterfowl and their ability to survive challenging weather conditions. However, white-tailed deer and waterfowl both have biological adaptations to help them survive. 

The DEEP Wildlife Division discourages providing supplemental food during winter. Feeding deer often makes them more vulnerable to starvation, predation, disease, and vehicle collisions. Feeding waterfowl can delay their natural migration, harbor diseases, increase conflicts, and weaken the gene pool. 

More information:  Do Not Feed Deer      Do Not Feed Waterfowl (PDF)

Volunteers Needed for 2018 Midwinter Eagle Survey
Since 1979, dedicated volunteers have helped the Wildlife Division participate in a midwinter eagle survey conducted in January.  Connecticut is again participating in this survey coordinated nationally by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and we need volunteers!

The dates for the 2018 Midwinter Eagle Survey are January 12 and 13 (Friday and Saturday). We would like to target the 4-hour window of time between 7:00 AM and 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 13, 2018.

If you would like to participate, please email Wildlife Division biologist Brian Hess at brian.hess@ct.gov.

The Midwinter Eagle Survey remains a vital long-term baseline data set and provides an important glimpse into an essential part of the eagles' life history, which is difficult to study.

Bald Eagle Viewing at its Best!
Winter is the best time to view bald eagles that spend the season along the waterways in Connecticut. 

A great place to go is FirstLight Power's Shepaug Eagle Observation Area in Southbury. FirstLight Power has operated this eagle viewing facility, with its viewing blind, telescopes, and binoculars, each winter for over 30 years.  The viewing area will be open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, starting on Saturday, December 16, 2017, through Sunday, March 11, 2018. Visitation to the observation area is by reservation only . To schedule a FREE visit, go their  website  or call 1-800-368-8954 .

You can also check into a river cruise that will take you along the Connecticut River to view wintering bald eagles for a fee:  RiverQuest Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises.

When viewing eagles during winter, make sure you observe them from a distance and avoid disturbing roosting eagles so they do not use up precious energy reserves during cold weather.
Christmas Bird Count: Dec. 14, 2017 - Jan. 5, 2018
Black-capped Chickadee
According to the National Audubon Society
"beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition - a 'Christmas Bird Census' that would count birds during the holidays."  This survey is vital to collecting long-term data that gives biologists insights into how movements and population sizes of birds have changed over time, along with other parameters. 

To participate in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC), you will need to join an existing CBC circle by contacting the compiler in advance of the count day; individual data will not be accepted. 

The Hartford Audubon Society has an "All Day" Christmas Bird Count event on December 17. Contact Steve Davis at 860-242-2135 or stevesuedavis@comcast.net, or Jay Kaplan at 860-693-0157 or jaybrd49@aol.com for more information.

Connecticut has about 19 additional Christmas Bird Count surveying dates. To see locations, dates, and contact information, open this map

Give the Gift of  Connecticut Wildlife Magazine
Are you looking for the perfect holiday or birthday gift?
Give a gift subscription to the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resource's 24-page, full-color, bimonthly magazine.

Connecticut Wildlife
is the perfect gift for those who like to stay informed about fish, wildlife, and natural resource issues and events in our state. It is published six times a year, and is available by subscription for $8 a year, $15 for two years, or $20 for three years.

To receive a subscription or order a gift subscription, send a check or money order payable to: Connecticut Wildlife, P.O. Box 1550, Burlington, CT 06013-1550. Credit card orders can be taken through the DEEP Store via the DEEP website. Recipients of gift subscriptions will be sent a postcard to notify them of their gift.
First Day Hike at Sessions Woods WMA
Begin 2018 with fresh air and a hike at 10:00 A.M. on January 1 led by Friends of Sessions Woods Director Jan Gatzuras. 

The 5.5-mile loop hike will include The Great Wall and the backside of the Beaver Marsh. The terrain is moderately difficult but the pace will be comfortable. If participants are lucky, they may even see some river otter tracks!  Please meet at the kiosk in the Sessions Woods parking lot. Registration is not necessary but recommended in case of a cancellation due to severe weather. Sessions Woods WMA is located at 341 Milford Street (Route 69) in Burlington.
 
More events at Sessions Woods WMA . . .
DEEP 2017-2022 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan: Available for Public Comment
The DEEP's draft of its 2017-2022 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) is now available for public review and comment through December 28, 2017.

The draft includes four key goals and action items that represent a commitment by the DEEP to continue to be responsive to the recreation needs of residents while responsibly managing the available resources in order to realize the greatest return on investments made to outdoor recreation.
The four goals include:
  • Protect, conserve, and manage Connecticut's natural, cultural, and historical resources as they support outdoor recreation.
  • Provide clean, safe, well-maintained outdoor recreation areas and facilities.
  • Ensure that all residents and visitors can locate and access all outdoor recreation areas and facilities.
  • Promote healthy lifestyles through increased participation in outdoor recreation.
Feedback submission options include: email to deep.scorp@ct.gov , or mail to DEEP SCORP c/o Doug Jann, Environmental Analyst, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, 79 Elm Street Hartford, CT 06106.

Press Release
Draft SCORP 2017-2022 (PDF)
Species of the Month: Wood Duck
An incredible diversity of wildlife species can be found in our state. Take some time to discover Connecticut's wildlife!
The wood duck is one of the most beautiful of the North American ducks. In the early 1900s, the species was considered in danger of extinction throughout its range due to market shooting, habitat loss, and hunting seasons that extended into the breeding season. With the implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918 between the United States and Canada, market shooting was outlawed and judicious hunting season lengths and bag limits were instituted. These changes, together with the construction and placement of nest boxes during the last seven decades, have resulted in a dramatic comeback of wood duck populations.

In preparation for the start of the wood duck nesting season in March, Waterfowl Program biologists and volunteers are currently conducting annual nest box checks to ensure boxes are cleaned out and in good shape. So far, 308 boxes have been checked statewide (240 in eastern CT and 68 in western CT) and there are about 300 more boxes to go!  The Waterfowl Program also replaced 49 boxes and raised 30 more boxes, while staff installed 18 boxes in new locations.  
 
Wood duck factsheet . . .
Deer Season Tally

Keep track of the deer season harvest throughout the hunting season. The tally will be updated regularly, so check back often. 

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