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Now Available: 2019 CT Hunting & Trapping Guide
The 2019 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.

2019 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.

2019 Deer Lottery: Deer hunters can apply for the 2019 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. 
Volunteer for the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey
Photo courtesy of Kristen Landen Flagg
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!

This year, the nationwide survey will take place the morning of January 12, 2019.  We will assign volunteers a stretch of river or lake shore to monitor for wintering bald eagles during the survey window. This makes a great group activity. If you are interested, contact 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. Our Bald Eagle Webpage details results of the 2018 Midwinter Eagle Survey and the 2018 bald eagle nesting season.
Watch Bald Eagles Soar
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 Wednesday, December 19, 2018, through Sunday, March 10, 2019. During the viewing season, admission is FREE but reservations are required. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-800-368-8954 (Tuesdays through Fridays, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM from early December through early March).

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

Please be sure to observe bald eagles from a distance and avoid disturbing roosting eagles so that they do not use up precious energy reserves during cold weather.
2018 Year of the Bird - Share Your Love of Birds Over the Holidays
Black-capped chickadee
The holidays are a time to celebrate! While it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, there are great ways to incorporate your care for the environment and birds. All the choices you make, and all the actions you take do make a difference. Over the past year hundreds of thousands of people have taken action as part of the 2018 Year of the Bird  --planting native plants, avoiding plastic, participating in community science, and making your home bird friendly. Together, it all adds up. So, this year what better way to celebrate the holidays than to share your love of birds with others.
2018 Deer Harvest Tally
Keep track of the deer season harvest and see how it compares to the harvest in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The tally will be updated regularly, so check back often. 
First Day Hike at Sessions Woods
Begin 2019 with fresh air and a hike at the Wildlife Division's Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Burlington, beginning at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, January 1. The 5.5-mile loop hike will be led by Friends of Sessions Woods Director Jan Gatzuras, and  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 bear, bobcat, fisher, or 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.
Old New-Gate Prison: A Haunted Haven for Bats
A view from the Old New-Gate Prison where former prisoners spent their days and nights, surrounded by darkness.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region regularly publishes blogs highlighting state fish and wildlife agency accomplishments through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration partnership. A recent blog, Haunted Havens for Bats, detailed efforts to protect hibernating bats at historic prisons, including the Old New-Gate Prison in East Granby, Connecticut (the other being Fort Delaware near Wilmington, DE). Check out the blog and learn how important this Connecticut historic site is for bats (see second story)!

Nanotags Aid in Rail Research
In 2016, the DEEP Wildlife Division partnered with the University of Connecticut to initiate a study to assess clapper rail nesting success and adult survival in Connecticut. The study relies on nanotag technology to gather data. Don't know what a nanotag is? Read a detailed article (PDF) with amazing photos in our bimonthly magazine, Connecticut Wildlife, to find out!

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).
Connecticut State of the Birds Report 2018
For the scores of migratory and nesting bird species in Connecticut to survive and thrive, the state's cities and suburbs must create, maintain, and improve their local habitats in everything from small neighborhood parks to larger nature preserves.  That's the key finding of the Connecticut Audubon Society's 2018 State of the Birds report.

Titled "In Cities and Suburbs: A Fresh Look at How Birds Are Surviving in Connecticut," (PDF) the report shows how the most heavily-developed areas are crucial to the survival of the state's and region's birds. Some of the most vulnerable species nest in Connecticut's cities, and research shows that city parks are more important to migrating birds than previously known.

The report recommends several ways to protect habitats locally, including passing the federal Recovering America's Wildlife Act to redirect federal funds to the states for conservation planning and implementation; expanding a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Program in which local partners maintain designated habitat areas in cities; and increasing the use of Motus Wildlife Tracking System to help researchers follow when and where migratory birds travel.

The report includes articles by researcher and Pulitzer-nominated author Scott Weidensaul; Robert Klee, the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP); Chad Seewagen, executive director of the Great Hollow Nature Preserve in New Fairfield; Chelsi Burns and Shaun Roche of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Laura Saucier of the Connecticut DEEP Wildlife Division.
Species of the Month: Fisher
The fisher is a large member of the Mustelidae (weasel) family. Its name is misleading because unlike the closely related river otter, fishers seldom eat fish.

In the nineteenth century, fishers became scarce due to forest logging, clearing for agriculture, and overexploitation. By the 1900s, the mammal was considered extirpated from the state. Reforestation and changes in land-use practices have restored the suitability of the fisher's habitat in part of its historic range, allowing a population to recolonize the northeastern section of the state. A population was reintroduced into the northwestern part of the state in the late 1980s by the DEEP Wildlife Division. As a result of the reintroduction project, a viable, self-sustaining population of this native mammal is now established in western Connecticut.

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