Hunters and Other Outdoor Users Encouraged to Recreate Responsibly
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is reminding hunters and other outdoor users that the 2020 Connecticut spring wild turkey hunting season runs from April 29 through May 30.
All hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to recreate responsibly while dealing with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 health crisis and to follow federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in addition to guidelines detailed by CT DEEP.
“In addition to longer and warmer days, spring brings a special treat for many Connecticut hunters – turkey hunting,” Michael Gregonis, Wild Turkey Program Biologist for the DEEP Wildlife Division, said. “Our mixed hardwood forests and adjacent agricultural lands offer ideal habitat and plentiful forage, which in combination provide for quality turkey hunting.”
A healthy wild turkey population exists throughout Connecticut’s woodlands. During the 2019 spring turkey season, hunters harvested 1,324 bearded turkeys.
New wild turkey regulations have been adopted for the 2020 spring wild turkey season. Hunters may now harvest a total of 5 bearded birds, regardless of property type. Specific state and private land bag limits no longer apply. In addition, spring turkey hunting hours have changed from a noon closure to a sunset closure.
Due to COVID-19 and the closure of state and town offices and many businesses, hunting licenses and Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamps should be purchased from the Online Sportsmen Licensing System (https://ct.aspirafocus.com/internetsales).
Turkey hunters who hunt on private land are reminded that written landowner permission, on a form provided by DEEP, is required. All harvested turkeys must be tagged immediately and reported to the DEEP on-line (https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/CT-Hunting-and-Trapping) or by phone (1-877-337-4868) within 24 hours. Hunters must tag their turkeys with a 2020 Harvest Tag. Copies of the 2020 Harvest Tags and instructions are on page 34 of the 2020 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and also are available on the DEEP website at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/CT-Hunting-and-Trapping. After reporting their harvest via the Internet or by telephone, hunters will be given a confirmation number to write on their Harvest Tag. This confirmation number serves as proof that the harvest was legally reported.
Recommended safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Observe social distancing recommendations while traveling to your hunting site and while outdoors, and review your hunting plans to ensure you are following CDC’s recommendations to help prevent spread.
- Check the DEEP website for any local announcements or guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic (https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/Field-Notes).
- Take extra precautions to ensure safety while hunting as the availability of medical emergency services is even more restricted during these challenging times.
- Be kind in the field as more people look to the outdoors for relief from COVID-19 restrictions. Be a leader by showing responsible behavior and ensuring outdoor opportunities remain available for all during these trying times.
Recommended safety precautions for spring turkey hunting:
- Become familiar with two or more areas to hunt, so if someone is already hunting in one of those areas, you can move to another site.
- If another hunter is encountered in the woods, remain still and speak in a loud clear voice to announce your presence.
- Eliminate the colors red, white, blue, and black from your hunting outfit. These colors are associated with a gobbler and could be mistaken as a turkey.
- Hunters must be sure of their target and what is beyond it, prior to taking a shot.
“Spring turkey hunting requires preparation, patience, and persistence to help maintain a safe hunting experience and the opportunity to harvest a gobbler,” added Michael Gregonis. “Scouting, calling, and hunting techniques for turkeys can be learned by attending seminars, reading articles, watching videos, and talking with experienced turkey hunters.”
More information on the spring turkey season, hunting regulations, junior hunter training days, and tagging and reporting requirements is contained in the 2020 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide, which is available on the DEEP’s website at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/CT-Hunting-and-Trapping.
The 2020 Connecticut spring wild turkey hunting season opens on April 29 and runs through May 30. This year will mark the 39th consecutive year that sportsmen have hunted turkeys in Connecticut. Healthy wild turkey populations exist throughout the majority of Connecticut’s woodlands.
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