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Thread: CT resident, New to Hunting

  1. #1
    Button Buck
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    CT resident, New to Hunting

    Hi guys,

    I'm sure you get these kinds of posts frequently, and hope you don't mind. I'm a 24 year old guy from Stamford, and I've always wanted to hunt, but never really had the time or money to get serious about it until this year. I've come to you today for advice on how to get started - especially concerning the local hunting conditions here in Connecticut.



    I've spent most of this year reading and researching hunting in general, so I think I have a basic grasp of some of the things I should be working towards. I've a lot of CT's DEEP regulations for hunting as well. As far as experience though, I'm pretty lacking. Frankly, I'm even lacking in time spent in true wilderness, which is concerning because I know scouting is a big part of planning for a successful hunt. I went on a canned pheasant hunt with a few work buddies last February, but I don't consider that practical hunting experience (I'm not even sure if I actually killed one of the pheasants, for example).

    First of all, I live in Stamford in Fairfield County, which puts me at a disadvantage as far public land hunting goes in the state. What are some state lands I should be looking at to plan a small game hunt? I know there are a few spots possibly nearer to me - the Great Swamp in Ridgefield and the area around Wooster Mountain in Danbury for example. I'm sure there are better areas though upstate, would you recommend any for a first time hunter going after squirrels?

    As of now, I don't have my hunting license, but I can probably get it and the necessary equipment ready before the close of the squirrel season at the end of February. Would you guys recommend anything else in terms of squirrel hunting?

    My goal is to eventually work my way up to a deer, hopefully by 2019. It seems from the regulations that this state is greatly geared towards bow hunters, and I would probably prefer to hunt with a rifle. How do hunters in CT generally go after deer? Is it mostly in tree stands or ground blinds? Is there anywhere in the state that allows public land rifle hunting? I have so many questions about this!

    Thanks for any help you guys can provide. I'm looking for tips and advice on how to get the ball rolling, and I'm sure I'll have more questions as this conversation continues.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye Logun S16 Champion, Backyard Shootout Champion TooManyHobbies's Avatar
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    Welcome to the site. We don't mind these introduction s at all and welcome them. The only rifle hunting allowed on state ( public) land is with a .22 caliber or smaller, including air rifles. Big game (deer) hunting on state land is bow or shotgun only. If you don't have a firearm already, I would recommend a 20 or 12 gauge shotgun, they are more versatile and can be used for everything from squirrels to deer. Get your firearms safety course done ASAP and get out there.
    NOBODY EVER SHOT BAMBI....they shot his momma.

  3. #3
    14 pointer Grizzlyadam's Avatar
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    Welcome, sounds like your are going about getting into hunting the right way. Definitly start small with squirrels and move your way up. Take the hunting course, and get your long gun eligibility cert. All you should need is a rimfire 22 for squirrels and a decent shotgun/slug gun will be adequate for hunting deer or anything else on both state and private land when you are ready for it. Squirrels are everywhere so the nearest public land to you will work out fine. The little buggers will help you develop the skills necessary for most any other hunting. Be patient, its not going to be easy, experience and patience will be what makes you more successful as time goes on.

  4. #4
    Button Buck
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    Thank you for the replies! This is such a great resource for a new, budding hunter like myself.

    A few more questions:
    If I'm going after squirrels with a .22, is it worth investing in a good quality scope?
    Should I scout public land areas for squirrels like I would for deer?
    When I get closer to being ready for a deer hunt, should I shell out for good quality outdoor clothing, such as from a company like First Lite? Or would camo street clothes properly layered, with blaze orange be okay?
    Would buying hunting licenses in neighboring states - such as New York or Pennsylvania - where perhaps rifle deer hunting is allowed on public land, be a good move? I am leaning towards it, but I fear I would have a problem scouting an area so far from home. Grizzlyadam's suggestion about buying a slug shotgun for deer in CT also makes a lot of sense to me.

    I'm really excited to try my hand here in my home state, I'm also not afraid to drive to more distant parts of the state in pursuit of (for now) small game. Is rabbit or hare hunting done in CT? I don't know the first thing about it, but rabbit sure is delicious!

  5. #5
    Welcome to the site, and good luck with this endeavor. Plenty of game here in CT...so go get em!!

  6. #6
    6 Point RABBIT HUNTER's Avatar
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    I live in milford so i understand the struggle with areas down this way to hunt. Your going to have to drive at least an hour to get to a good spot. You also have upstate new york and they let you hunt on sundays also for small game unlike ct. Sign up for a hunting class asap and either get your pistol permit or long gun cert. Its not easy takes up alot of time and money in this state but opening day can never come fast enough for me.

  7. #7
    14 pointer Grizzlyadam's Avatar
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    Yes get a halfway decent scope on a ruger 10-22 and it will be a hit anything gun inside of 75 yards. You don't have to scout for squirrels, just find a comfy spot to sit and don't move a muscle for about half an hour and the squirrels will start to materialize. Best in open hardwoods, especially oaks. Then when you see one you will have to learn to bring the gun into shooting position without them seeing you and make a good clean ethical shot. You can walk around looking for them, but its not as productive and you wont learn as much. Thats what scouting is for. Don't need any fancy name brand clothes, camo patterns make very little difference for small game and deer. Turkeys are another story. The biggest thing (and I cant stress this enough) is just to be still. Don't move, don't play with your phone, don't swat at skeeters, don't itch your nose, or anything. Look around by moving your eyes and not your head.

    Start small with everything and you will figure out what you want and need as you progress. Start with a 22 and get a few squirrels, see how that goes for you. Then worry about deer and rifle hunting if you still want to go that route. We can help with more advice on that when the time comes.

  8. #8
    Button Buck
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    You guys are awesome, thank you so much for this. All this advice is what I was hoping to hear! I am definitely going to start working towards a few squirrels before I try to go after bigger animals. What about rabbit or hare hunting? Is that similar? Also, does one generally wear blaze orange when hunting squirrel?

    Rabbit Hunter, as a fellow Fairfield Country resident, have you had any luck hunting anywhere local? Have you tried the public land areas in Ridgefield (Great Swamp) and Danbury (Wooster Mountain)?

  9. #9
    Button Buck
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    Welcome to the forum! Cheers!

  10. #10
    CTHS Supportor Horizontal Hunter's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard

    Bob
    Vegetarian: vejiˈte(ə)rēən/noun: old Indian word for lousy hunter.
    Excalibur Exocet, GT Laser II, 2" Bhoning Blazers 125g NAP Spitfire

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