Hunting in Connecticut

The 1919 Winchester 94 & Rifle Hunting in Connecticut

When I was a young lad, back in the 1970s, I developed a deep regard for the big screen heroes of the time — especially the TV cowboys. The Lone Ranger, Clint Eastwood and all his spaghetti westerns and others deeply influenced my formative years. I spent hours each week, eyes glued to the TV, watching stories of the Old West and the timeless struggle between the good the bad and the ugly unfold in black and white and then, finally, in living color in the late 1970s. I was probably 10 when I finally got my first lever BB gun and spent countless hours in the mountains near my grandparents home, hunting down any vermin that crossed my path, real or imagined. That gun was the best friend a cowboy-crazed kid could have! But it wasn’t until 15 years later that I fulfilled my dream of becoming a real rifleman, when I inherited a close friend’s rifles, including an old Winchester Model 94 / .30 WCF. I then became the proud owner of my first lever action, the iconic Winchester Model 94, the rifle so often portrayed in Western movies and undoubtedly the most famous firearm in American history. With over 7,000,000 guns manufactured to date, it may even be the most famous in the world! I knew the rifle was old, but a check of the serial number revealed that it was made in 1919. The rifle, and several others, had been part of my late friends arsenal that he collected for over 78 years. This included a few collectables he brought from overseas during the time he served as a soldier in the US Army.

That same year (early 90s) I started hunting some private land and shot my first whitetail with the 1919 Win. 94 in the thickets of north-western Connecticut at 80 yards. It all started when I heard grunting sounds down at the bottom of a deep hillside… After slipping down a steep snowy trail to the bottom, I made eye contact with the massive 10 pointer and quietly stalked him for a few minutes. It was wet enough that the ferns and the fallen maple leaves were softly quiet. At the bottom, I scanned ahead across the creek where the big boy had been a few minutes before and continued to follow his tracks. The wind was perfect and after a few minutes… whoa! The buck and I met eyes. Before one of us could blink, he swapped ends and hit a fast trot. Quickly, I leveled the iron sights at the back of his neck. The way the land lay, his rear end blocked a clean neck shot, so I waited for him to turn a bit. At about 75 to 80 yards he trotted up a slow rise and turned the slightest bit… I took the shot, he was down. His antlers didn’t show it, but he was definitely an older buck, grey faced, roman nosed. The 150-grain, round-nosed lead bullet expanded perfectly as it penetrated the big buck’s chest, and he ran less than 5 yards before expiring in the deep snow. It was a good hunt, slipping through the woods with an aged Winchester and the memories of an old friend and his gift to me.

Many seasoned hunters rely on the old .30-30 or.30 WCF and with good reason. It works, and it works well. I enjoy shooting and hunting deer with other rifles and shotguns, but I make a point to take a .30-30 lever gun into the woods at least a few days each year. The attributes that make these guns so popular begin with their handling qualities. A lever action carbine handles like a good bird gun. It comes to the shoulder without thinking about it, and points naturally. They are light and handy, easy to carry and easy to shoot with a relatively light recoil, yet plenty of power to cleanly and quickly dispatch game. Another good thing about the old thirty-thirty is that just about anywhere that sells ammunition in North America will have a few boxes on hand. In my opinion, the carbines and rifles chambered for the .30-30 cartridge are plenty accurate for big game hunting, and some of these leverguns are surprisingly accurate, shooting right along with a good bolt action rifle, and handling much better than most. Yes, I must admit that I have an unusual fondness for the lever action rifle. It is all about the handling. Nothing carries as well, nor points as naturally. I have several, but never quite enough. Just three weeks ago I was gifted another Winchester model 94 by a customer and friend. It was built in 1963, and is chambered for the good old .30-30. I have several modern rifles that have superb scopes and sport much better ballistics, but they have nothing like the character of an old Winchester.

Looking at the ballistics of the .30 WCF or .30-30, most new shooters are unimpressed, to say the least. However, the cartridge and the guns are more than the sum of their parts. These rifles impart a different experience to the user. Somehow, the whole hunting experience is better with a thirty-thirty levergun. It defies explanation, but the meat tastes better and the trophy looks better on the wall when taken with one of these old fashioned and often derided leverguns. Some readers will understand what I mean, and others will think that I am nuts. However, in the hands of a good hunter, they kill the game every bit as dead as the latest and greatest rifle. Over the years I acquired a few more lever actions and depending on the situation, I still enjoy carrying my 1919 Winchester model 94 in pursuit of whitetails. For still-hunting through thick cover, where shots will be off-hand and close, it can’t be beat.

Unfortunately, hunting in Connecticut has changed drastically over the years, as many new regulations and crazy restrictions are imposed on hunters. I remember, not so long ago, when you could buy a rifle or shotgun from a private seller and all you needed was a bill of sale or in many instances a formal handshake was all it took. Unfortunately it is against the law to hunt with a rifle on state land except with a rim-fired .22. For someone like me who loves hunting with a rifle like a .30-30, we are very limited to hunting on private land (with 10+ acres), with signed permission from the land owner. If you are lucky to find such a gem or someone willing to allow you to hunt their land, you must treasure them and always reward them with a deer backstrap or tenderloin, a bottle of Chianti and a promise to help maintain the grounds….

Disabled Hunting Thoughts & Tips

An estimated 1.7 million people with severe physical handicaps enjoy hunting and shooting sports in the U.S. Some of the things that can be taken for granted by the able bodied sportsman are life-changing events for this segment of the population: learning to shoot again, being in the wilderness, or just witnessing animals in the wild. I understand, personally, the importance of outdoor recreation and how it can have a tremendous impact on the quality of life for people with disabilities. Dealing with a severe left hand injury I sustained in 2017 has taught me the true meaning of “adaptive shooting” and “adaptive shooting gear” because I’ve had to keep adapting my strategies and equipment to stay in the hunt as the injury and seven surgeries diminished my left arm & hand strength and flexibility.

Each year there are more people with disabilities enjoying nature. Government; on Federal, State and local levels, is providing easier access to thousands of acres of trails, parks and wilderness areas. There are organizations and clubs with programs for persons with disabilities who want to participate in hunting activities. A number of volunteers donate many thousands of hours each year so that others can enjoy areas that were once thought to be unreachable.

Depending on your injury or handicap, you will need to adapt to your circumstances. Thankfully, there are more and more technologically advanced vehicles, motorised wheelchairs and tools being developed every year to help you get outdoors. If you are someone who has difficulty holding a gun or bow, you are going to need some type of shooting platform that you are comfortable with.  If you are going to shoot recreational, this can be a saw-horse or anything like it that will enable you to handle the weapon effectively.  If you are going to hunt, you are going to need something that will be small enough for a ground blind. Because weapons are rarely accurate straight out of the box, using anchor points will allow you to discover how your weapon is shooting and make the proper adjustments and zero it in as they say.

Hunting facilities and target-shooting events are becoming more user-friendly for outdoorsmen with special needs

Does Connecticut offer any special considerations for hunters with disabilities?
A person who has permanently lost the use of a limb may be issued a hunting or trapping license free-of-charge (permits are not included).
Verification of disability signed by a licensed physician or an advanced practice registered nurse must be presented.
Paraplegics may also be eligible to hunt from an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle).
Some hunting areas are especially suited for hunters with disabilities and have access improvements to accommodate those hunters.
They are listed in the current Hunting and Trapping Guide and the Public Hunting Areas page on the DEEP’s website.

The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America (PCBA)

The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America is a nonprofit organization that was founded to help persons with disabilities who want to participate in bow-hunting training.
The PCBA provides newly injured and inexperienced sports-persons with information and services through its organization and members, demonstrating how to shoot a bow and hunt, regardless of a person’s impairment.

The PCBA also serves as a national clearinghouse on the opportunities, techniques, and adaptive equipment for archers with disabilities. They provide information to individuals, organizations, manufacturers, and archery dealers at no charge upon request. The PCBA promotes fellowship through promoted social events and hunting opportunities. They continuously seek the assistance of manufacturers, hunting and archery organizations, as well as from experienced hunters, so that they can work together in order to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities through bow-hunting. The PCBA works with rehabilitation facilities and hospitals and the people who work in these institutions in order to introduce bow-hunting in a positive manner. You can visit the Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America website at: https://physicallychallengedbowhuntersofamerica-inc.org

These resources are not intended nor implied to be an endorsement of any company or product.

Hunting Equipment and Devices

Access to Recreation Field Tripod and Quad Mounts (Archery & Gun)
Adaptive Outdoorsman In-Line Draw-Loc, Mounts (Archery & Gun)
Battenfeld Technologies Stands (Gun)
Be Adaptive Mounts (Archery & Gun)
Big Sky Imagination Stands, Binoculars and Rests (Gun)
Bow-Ster Bow Holsters
Draw-Loc Crossbows (Archery)
Mouth Tab Making An Easy Mouthtab Out of Parachute Cord
NOS360 Wheelchair Platform
Parker Bows Self-Cocking Crossbow (Archery)
Sidestix Stabilizing Crutch Poles
Sport Aid Battery Operated Tree Stand
TenPoint Dampeners, Crossbows (Archery)
SR 77 Hands free shooting rest (Gun)

Offroad Chairs, Scooters, & Walkers

Action Trackchair Offroad Power Chair
All Terrain Medical & Mobility Extreme 4×4 All Terrain Power Chair
Cajun Mobility Offroad Power Chair
Eagle Sports Chairs Offroad Manual Chairs
Freedom Trax Offroad Power Chair
Grit Offroad Manual Chair
Inovation in Motion Extreme 4×4 All Terrain Power Chair
Magic Mobility Extreme 4×4 Power Chair
Magic Mobility LTD Offroad Power Chair
Mobility Technologies Offroad Walker
Motion Concepts Offroad Manual Chair
Mountain Trike Offroad Manual Chair
Outdoor Extreme Mobility Offroad Power Chairs
Outrider USA Offroad Manual Chairs
SportAid Offroad Manual Chairs
Terrain Hopper Offroad Power Cart
Titan Hummer XL Offroad Power Scooter
TopEnd Offroad Manual Chair
TRiONiC Offroad Walker
Walk’n’Chair Offroad Walker
Walk’n’Chair Offroad wheelchair, transport chair
Zoom 4×4 Offroad Power Scooter

Offroad Chair Add-Ons

disABILITY Work Tools Powerhorse Wheelchair Driver
Freewheel Offroad Third Wheel
Quickie Offroad Third Wheel
Rio Mobility Offroad Power Third Wheel
Spokes’n’Motion Offroad Third Wheel
Rough Roller Offroad Third Chair

Find Disabled Groups In Your Area

National Groups

Alabama

Arizona

Arkansas

Colorado

Connecticut

  • Ct Sportsmen With Disabilities – Steve Kutzo 203-384-8226

Florida

Georgia

  • North Georgia Wheelers – 3638 Looper Circle, Gainesville, GA 30506, (770) 536-9256
  • Southern Disabled Outdoors -4176 US Hwy. 41 South, Tifton, GA 31794, E-mail:rollingwild@friendlycity.net
  • Kidz Outdoors

Indiana

Iowa

Kentucky

Louisiana

Manitoba

  • Field and Stream Association for Manitobans with Disabilities, President: Terry Lindell – PO Box 246, Warren, Manitoba ROC 3E0, Phone: (204) 322-5672;fax: (204) 322-5236, Email:tlindell@man.net

Massachusetts

  • Wheelchair Sports and Rec. Association – Charles Ekizian – 2001 Marina Drive, North Quincy, MA 02171, (617) 773-7251

Michigan

  • Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors – Tom Jones – 734-612-6677

Minnesota

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

  • Sporting Chance – Ron Yeager, President, 737 N. 34th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501 – Phone (701) 258-1865 / Karla I. Engelhart, Secretary, 815 N. 12th, Bismarck, ND 58501 – Phone (701) 222-8516

Ontario

  • Physically Challenged Outdoor Association – Bruce MacCullum – PO Box 642, Madford, Ontario NOH 1Y0, (519) 538-4390

Oregon

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

  • South Carolina Disabled Sportsmen, Inc – c/o Bobby Harrell, 7449 Hendersonville Highway, Yemasee, SC 2994
  • Cimarron
  • Kidz Outdoors

South Dakota

  • South Dakota Disabled Adventures – 711 E. Wells Ave., Pierre, SD 57501

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Washington

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Turkey Hunting

There is no doubt about it… Turkey hunting as to be one of the most addicting hunting experiences here in Connecticut and all over the US. Every year when spring rolls around, hunters return to their green fields and woods, dressed head-to-toe in proper turkey hunting attire looking for the biggest bearded gobbler in the local state forest or private hideout. They are chasing the flop, and it is addicting, to some even more so than deer hunting. What makes it so enjoyable? Turkey hunting can go right, or it can go wrong fast…it’s difficult and easy at the same time, all depending on your actions. Communicating with and decoying in a Tom is extremely satisfying. Add the gobble, spit, and drumming into a hunting situation and it’s one of the most thrilling experiences a hunter will come across. The one thing about turkey hunting that we come to love is that it directly tests your ability as an outdoorsmen and turkey hunter.

For some, like me, the turkey hunting itch begins as early as February. When it comes, don’t ignore it…scratch that itch! The best way is with pre-season scouting. Earlier in the year during the late winter, start looking for the flock. Scout food sources such as mast bearing (acorn filled) hardwood flats, cut grain fields, and pastures for tracks, droppings, and scratching. Set up some trail cameras in some areas where you think they might be feeding. Locating the flock with this tactic gives you the general area, but later in the year you will focus more on locating gobblers to hunt. Take advantage of days off work, weekend days, and any hours you get free. If you’re off work on a rainy day, use it to scout! In my opinion, the easiest way to kill a gobbler in the spring is by finding his roost the night before. Use your pre-season scouting observations to key in on a general area where the turkey might be spending the night. When you get off work, head to the woods. Without spooking the bird get within earshot, and listen for wings flapping and light calling as turkeys fly up on their roosts for the night. Wake up early and walk in the cover of darkness, not using a light, and set up close to the tree. Call to the tom lightly after he begins to talk on the roost. If you let him know there is a hen below in your direction he will come and investigate.

Using “turkey talk” is the number one way to kill a big long beard. Turkey calling is turkey hunting 101 and pairing the calls up with the real thing or at least make them think it is by using a decoy is how you bring a tom (or a lot of them) into range!

You wouldn’t hunt deer without trying to figure out their movement patterns. Use the same scouting skills and tools to unlock turkey habits in the area you hunt. Google Maps, on-the-ground reconnaissance, and discreet glasswork from a good vantage point will all help tell you what the birds are doing. Does feed hard, and bucks follow. Hens feed hard, and gobblers follow. Just as you would hunt fields and food plots for whitetails, hunt where the turkeys are chowing down. Get set for a long wait. Build a blind from natural materials, use camouflage fabric, or erect a pop-up tent. Evening birds are jittery, suspicious, and ultra-alert. A good hide provides some forgiveness if you stretch or make an errant movement.

Hunting Partner

One great benefit of hunting with a partner is that each hunter brings a different skill set to the hunt. Each hunter can scout and roost birds in two different areas as options for the best hunt.
Then, by morning, you can meet up to exchange ideas, decide on the best one and execute different calling styles. A two-person setup is also advantageous: As one hunter serves as a caller, the shooter can run a good distance ahead, even throwing out a few yelps and preparing to shoot once the turkey enters the shooting range.

Don’t Be Picky

A lot of those midday birds were wrinkled old gobblers, but that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to longbeards. If a yearling jake or 2-year-old answers your calls and comes into range, by all means shoot him, especially if there’s only a few weeks or days left in the season. The late-season is no time to be picky. Longbeards are nice, but any legal bird is meat in the freezer. Besides, tender young jakes taste a whole lot better than a worn-down, old boss tom whose energy reserves are depleted by weeks of breeding.

Turkey Calls

Mouth Calls: Turkey mouth call diaphragms are made by stretching latex rubber (often described as a reed) across a horseshoe-shaped frame centered inside a plastic skirt. You blow air across the latex reed (or reeds) to make turkey sounds. They’re inexpensive. A diaphragm, as they’re often called, offers hands-free operation. Just ounces to carry, you can hide one in your mouth.

Pot and Peg Calls: A striking surface attached to a hollow pot — often with drilled holes underneath to create sound resonance with the inner chamber — and a peg (often called a striker) form this two-piece, hand-held turkey caller. Striking surface materials often include slate, glass and aluminum. Pegs are made of wood, carbon, plastic, glass and even turkey wing bone.

Box Calls: Most box calls are made of wood. When you scrape the paddle bottom against a side panel lip he hollow chamber inside the narrow, rectangular box makes a sound — ideally one a wild turkey would like to hear.

Weather is often a major influence on turkey hunting success as it affects bird behavior. Fog can keep turkeys on the morning roost later. Extreme heat may find midday birds loafing in shaded areas near water. Heavy spring snow may keep turkeys from regular feeding and strutting patterns. Clear and calm spring mornings with a bright rising sun often result in good roost gobbling, allowing you to find birds. These mornings are often the most pleasant for you to hunt as well. Still this favorable weather trend can challenge turkey hunters, especially if hens are still around and not nesting. Gobbling pulls female turkeys to a male turkeys roosting location.

Finally, your shotgun or bow needs to do the job when a strutting longbeard steps into the killing zone.Just as finding the right gun for turkey hunting is important, finding the right shotshell is equally important. Be sure to pattern your gun and make note of how the load performs before you go afield. You’ve earned this moment. Your heart is racing. Calm down if you can. Enjoy the scene; it’s what you’ve worked so hard for. Now take the shot.

Quick Tips

1. Scout: Get out in the woods and listen. Don’t call, but get up early and find where they roost.

2. Roost a bird: Once you consistently find early-morning gobblers, start putting them to bed. As your season gets closer, it’s even more important to have idea of patterns the turkeys around you are following. If you can roost a bird, you know where to hunt the next morning.

3. Find the hens: Find the hens and you’ll find the toms. If you can find where hens are feeding, you’re right where the toms are going to be strutting.

4. Shock and awe: Use shock gobbles to help you find toms.

5. Use an Owl hooter: If you hunt pressured birds try an owl hooter. Buy one and learn how to use it.

6. Less is more: It’s really easy to get caught up in the calling. This is never more true than when you have a responsive tom that gobbles with your every cluck. Don’t make the same mistake. Nothing will drive a tom mad like a hen playing hard to get. Let him think his gobbles fell on deaf ears.

7. The purr and cluck: Just don’t. This particular sound and call is made only when a hen is mad. If you have a hen you’d like to keep around, then this call will make her mad and likely keep her around a little longer.

8. Hens make the best decoys: You want to know where the hens are located, and you want to keep them around. Toms are looking for hens, so find the hens and a tom will eventually show up.

9. Use a diaphragm call: It’s no secret that turkeys rely on their impeccable sight. Nothing will blow a hunt faster than reaching for a call, or using a call that requires movement. Learn to operate a diaphragm call and keep it in your mouth.

10. Use more than one call: You never know what a tom will respond to.

11. Use the weather: Weather patterns change bird behavior. Snow will slow down breeding behavior, but they still need to eat. Rain will work against a bird’s sight, and in my experience, they then seek open fields. Wind will do the opposite, sending them to low, wooded areas. Calm, sunny days will make for the best hunting.

12. Check your pattern: Shoot your gun to make sure it’s on target. Not all loads will pattern the same with your gun, so test them all.

13. Decoy or Decoys: Based on your hunting location, make sure you’re using the right decoy setup. Where turkeys can see a good distance, use more decoys. In thicker cover, stick to the less-is-more mentality.

14. Get aggressive: Don’t be too afraid to run and gun. If you’re within earshot range of a tom, move, get closer and use cover to your advantage.

15.  Hunt in the afternoon: Some of the most productive times to hunt can be first thing in the morning or late in the evening. Definitely hunt these times, but don’t miss a chance to get out in the afternoon. Later in the season, hens will be on the nest and toms will be cruising for receptive hens.

Get Out There

We began this discussion with patience and we end it with another equally important turkey-hunting virtue: perseverance. It’s an absolute fact that you won’t get anything if you’re not out there hunting. Be persistent. I know, it gets difficult as the season winds down and other interests and chores compete for your time. The early-morning, wake-up calls have also long since ceased being fun. But don’t give up. Get out there in the woods and hunt, even if it’s just for an hour or two.

20 Tips To Make You A Better Deer Hunter

Whether you’re a veteran buck hunter or a newbie heading to the woods for the first time, the tips below can help you see more success this season.

Tip 1
Human odor spooks deer. Shower with a scent-free soap before every hunting trip, and try not to contaminate your hunting clothes on the way to the field. Keep them sealed in a plastic container or bag with leaves, dirt and other ground debris from around your stand until you arrive at your hunting location. Doing so will allow your hunting clothing to take on the naturally occurring scents that permeate your hunting location.

Tip 2
Most hunters think that doe estrous is the be-all and end-all of big buck attraction. Though estrous is a wonderful tool, it’s simply that. Wise hunters know that during the early-season it’s important to take advantage of a buck’s territorial instincts. The scent of an estrous doe during early October simply doesn’t make sense to a buck, but buck scent is always worth checking out.

Tip 3
During the peak-rut, try a drag rag soaked in doe estrous. Often a buck will follow the trail right to your stand.

Tip 4
Many hunters spray down with odor eliminator just after suiting up, and prior to the trek into the stand, but experienced hunters will bring an odor eliminator with them to the tree stand. After the walk to the stand, apply an odor eliminator to your body, paying special attention to your hat and hair.

Tip 5
When muzzleloader hunting in wet weather, a piece of electrical tape over the end of the barrel will keep out moisture. You simply shoot through the tape when it’s time to harvest that buck.

Tip 6
One of the deadliest scent set-ups defies the accepted rule of playing the wind. Locate a long strip of timber or cover with the wind blowing along the length of it (blowing from one end to the other). At the windy end, pour some deer scent at several areas, then set up high in a tree stand just on the edge of the timber. If you’re set up high enough, your human odor should flow above the deer.

Tip 7
Practice setting up and taking down your tree stand before the season, and do so low on the tree. Getting into and out of your spot as quietly as possible is key to having a look at a good buck.

Tip 8
You don’t have to own your own plane, or even by an airline ticket, to check out aerial photos of your hunting area, and there are no better scouting aids than aerial photos. Just search Google Maps for your hunting area.

Tip 9
Avoid trimming shooting lanes and otherwise disturbing your hunting area during the season. The time to clear shooting lanes is during summer. Wise old bucks can become conditioned to the smell of freshly cut timber, and begin to associate it with human predation.

Tip 10
If some concealment is good, then maximum concealment is better. Tree stand blinds help to fool the wary eye of a deer, and provide the added benefit of shelter from harsh winds.

Tip 11
You’ve got a buck on adjacent land patterned, but it doesn’t cross over to your hunting area until after shooting time is over. What to do? Try tempting the buck to come over to your side with a deer decoy or by calling.

Tip 12
Be sure to douse yourself with tick repellant when scouting during summer and early fall. Tick-borne diseases can shut down your hunting season, and you don’t want it to be over before it’s begun!

Tip 13
Don’t underestimate the importance of being able to get to your tree stand undetected, and don’t think that going in under the cover of darkness will help. Make sure to use a creek or curtain of forest to cover your entry.

Tip 14
Wash all hunting clothes in a non-scented detergent each time you’re heading to the woods. Keep them in a plastic bag until arriving at your hunting area.

Tip 15
Try making a mock scrape. First, put on surgical gloves to prevent human odor contamination. Using a stick, scuff the leaves off of an area about the size of a hubcap.

Tip 16
During the late season, scout for reopened scrapes in deep cover. Surviving bucks are reluctant to get in the open country, but still look for the last hot does in cover.

Tip 17
When there’s snow on the ground, look for leaves strewn across an area where deer have pawed for mast. If there’s still some mast around, that might be a good spot to set up and wait for the deer’s return.

Tip 19
You’ve taken the shot, now what? If you find brown hair and pink or red blood with bubbles in it, most likely you got a heart or lung hit. Brown hair and thick, dark-red blood indicates a hit too far back, possibly a liver shot. White hair and watery blood with stomach matter indicate a bad hit.

Tip 20
Most falls from the tree stand happen while climbing into or out of the stand. That’s why it’s important to always wear a full-body safety harness when hunting from a tree stand.

Deer hunting predictions for 2018

Estimated population: The state has no current population estimate, but deer densities range from about 15 to 45 deer per square mile.

Fall 2017-18 harvest: 12,080 (13 percent increase from the 2016 harvest)

Overall outlook: Howard Kilpatrick, deer program biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said the 2018 outlook is good. “Most populations are stable,” he said. “Older bucks are found throughout state but (are) best in areas adjacent to large tracts of lands closed to hunting.”

Potential Fall 2018 hotspots: Kilpatrick said the southwestern and northeastern deer management zones tend to be productive for hunters.

Quick tip: “Look for productive oak trees with an abundance of acorns,” Kilpatrick said. “In the absence of acorns, focus on green fields. Don’t overscout your hunting area, to minimize human disturbance.”