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Do I need a license to shoot in my backyard?

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Do I need a license to shoot in my backyard?

Old 10-25-2020, 02:35 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2020
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Default Do I need a license to shoot in my backyard?

Hi, I'm new here. I have almost no previous hunting experience, so wanted to ask some people more experienced.

I recently bought a house in West Haven, CT and I have a pesky groundhog that is eating my vegetables. I read somewhere that it was totally ok to do so if they are causing a nuisance. But wanted to verify.

1. Is it legal to shoot groundhogs and squirrels on my property (backyard in West Haven) with a BB gun and/or pellet rifle without a hunting permit/license?

2. Second question - Can I shoot squirrels on private property without a license for food purposes?

3. If it's not legal, what would be the legal way to hunt them? Thank you so much.

I would greatly appreciate any written CT laws and statutes that explicitly pertain to my questions so that I know what I am doing is legal. I tried looking at the hunting laws in CT but its so long and convoluted. Can someone please help me understand and explain? Thanks
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Old 10-26-2020, 03:29 AM
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Location: Wisconsin
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Call your area's Conservation Warden. They will be glad to explain in detail what you ask.
I am not from CT so I searched your states regulations.

Season Dates

  • Gray Squirrel: Jan. 1 – Feb. 29 and Sept. 1 – Dec. 31
  • Cottontail Rabbit: Jan. 1 – Feb. 29 and Oct. 17 – Dec. 31
  • Snowshoe Hare: Jan. 1–31 and Nov. 21 – Dec. 31
  • European Hare: Jan. 1 – Feb. 29 and Oct. 17 – Dec. 31
  • Woodchuck: March 16 – Nov. 16

Bag Limits

  • Gray Squirrel: Daily (8); Season (40)
  • Cottontail Rabbit: Daily (3); Season (25)
  • Snowshoe Hare: Daily (2); Season (10)
  • European Hare: Daily (1); Season (10)
  • Woodchuck: No Limit
Gray Squirrel has specific season dates. That means during that time Gray Sqirrel can be harvested. You are allowed to shoot 8 per day until you reach 40 total. Eat one or 2 or give away 1 or 2 so they are not on your premises and you can shoot 1 or 2 more. But your possession limit is 40.
Woodchucks, shoot all you want No limit!

But do call your game warden
Your CT regulations say nothing less than a .22 cal (the .17 hmr is considered a .22 in your state)
So any air rifle .22 or .17 can be used to hunt squirrel or woodchuck
You DO NEED a hunting license on your OWN property from what I could find. In some states this varies. In my home state squirrels and woodchucks are considered a nuisance and I dont need a license on my property.
But we do have a squirrel season. Quite frankly my Red Squirrels disappear year round.

Last edited by JW; 10-26-2020 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 10-26-2020, 05:51 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Nov 2014
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another thing to check is your towns zone and regulations, some towns have laws that say its Illegal to discharge even an air gun, or firearm! and there also are restrictions on how far away from houses and such you have to be to HUNT or shoot, so, you need to be talking to your town zoning officer and the state game dept here to know for sure what is legal to be doing or not,
Asking on a forum is NOT the way to get real ANSWERS!
AS folks here even with good intentions can be wrong and that can lead you to getting into legal troubles!
better way to get correct answers is talk to the officials in YOUR area! and get correct and ACCURATE info on things for YOU!
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:32 AM
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Location: Northern California
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JW gave you some good advice. CT's game agency seems to be called DEEP. Call the Game Warden. They enforce the laws and will know them best. I was able to find a season summary and Woodchuck sheet on their website (see links below). It looks like CT requires a Hunter Safety course to obtain a hunting license but you can complete that online. CT does not appear to have a caliber restriction on airguns but check with the Game Warden. When you speak with the warden, explain that this is on your own property and the woodchucks are destroying your garden and are a nuisance animal. There may be some additional exceptions in that situation. Good luck and let us know how it goes.



Edit--I would strongly advise you to research CT's Dangerous Weapons law (Section 53-206). Apparently CT regards BB guns (which would include air guns) as dangerous weapons and has restrictions on carrying/transporting them in public and specifically in a town. You may want to check with your local police department on this. And I thought CA was restrictive.


Last edited by CalHunter; 10-26-2020 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:05 AM
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A much safer way and legal in most places is to trap them. I've been trapping all summer, Rats, Mice, and Racoons with success. We had a really mild winter and were overrun with critters.
The downside was Racoons have seasons and nobody in multiple agencies could tell me what to do with any I trapped, legally.
The upside to a live trap is you can let loose the critters you didn't intend to trap, The downside is you have to figure out a way to kill the undesirables.
They say fruit works for Chucks, I've found Peanut butter works for most everything. I've even caught Cats with Peanutbutter bait.

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Old 10-31-2020, 08:53 AM
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Is it just me or do a lot of first time posters seem to ask questions and then never return for the answers?
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Old 10-31-2020, 01:37 PM
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We do occasionally get 1-time posters who don't return for whatever reason. If the topic and post ask a legitimate question or bring up an issue of interest, the topic and post(s) stand. FWIW, HNI does not like to delete topics that have lots of posts or responses as a general practice. If it's considered of legitimate interest, the topic can function as research for others even if the OP doesn't return or appear to do so.
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Old 11-16-2020, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Norther IL, but want to leave
Posts: 38

In IL and WI I'm allowed to stop damage from a nuisance pest in the act of damaging my home or garden for some animals. Squirrels, groundhogs, (not the same as ground squirrels or gophers) coons, foxes, skunks, opossums yotes all get sent to Jesus, if I catch them in the act. If I shoot one out of a tree 10 ft away I'm poaching and they can take my gun, truck ect... I shoot gophers all the time and that's an easy one due to them being so damaging, we set up a table with 17hmr's and make those little bastards explode, it's a day activity, due to the issue of what to do with their diseased bodies. We can't just leave them there and can't put them in a trash bag. They can have fleas and more so mange, and that can be a real pickle. I'd put a call into the DNR and ask how to handle it. If your in a city I'd try to trap it and if you need to hit it with a powerful pellet gun, but most city's think of pellet guns as real guns and you could get charged with a crime. Other animals like deer need a nuisance permit and they give me tags, They are super strict about taking deer that are doing crop damage. That's probably more than you wanted to know. I'd shoot it and move on, but don't get caught
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