Rhode Island 2008-09 Seasons Finalized

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The Department of Environmental Management announces the hunting regulations for the 2008-2009 seasons. There are several changes this year, primarily regarding deer hunting. The DEM remains committed to managing the growing deer population by focusing on the harvest of female deer. Most of the other changes are strictly date changes reflecting the calendar shift.

The Department is encouraging more private landowners to allow hunters to hunt on their property during deer-hunting seasons. As a reminder to deer hunters, annual written permission is required for all deer hunting on private lands. DEM has developed a courtesy card, available on the DEM website, for hunters and landowners to sign, which gives the dates for permissions and contains A Hunter's Pledge regarding principles of conduct.

This year the Department has modified the "All Outdoors" permit package. The package, which must be purchased from DEM's Division of Licensing, entitles hunters to buy all nine mainland deer permits at one time for $112.50, and receive two additional mainland permits free of charge. The two permits are valid for either sex or antlerless deer during their respective seasons. New this season, hunters may utilize the six antlerless permits in any combination during their respective deer seasons with the appropriate archery or firearm equipment. Hunters that wish to purchase the "All Outdoors" package must show previous Rhode Island firearm and archery permits or proof of both hunter and archery safety course cards. A limit of 250 "All Outdoors" permit packages will be printed this year, with availability on a first-come, first-serve basis. Order forms will be available on the DEM website, www.dem.ri.gov, by mid-August. Permits are not yet available.

Regarding deer hunting seasons and bag limits:

  • * Muzzleloader hunters can purchase one mainland either-sex deer permit and two antlerless permits. The season for either-sex and antlerless permits is November 8 - November 30 on both state and private land. The antlerless deer permit is also valid on private land December 22 - December 25. All deer harvested during the first three days of muzzleloader season, November 8 -10, must be checked at a state-operated station. Vendor check stations may check deer during the remainder of the season.
  • * Shotgun deer hunters can purchase one mainland either-sex deer permit and two antlerless permits. Both permits will be valid on state management areas and private land from December 6 to December 14; and from December 15 to December 21 on private lands. Antlerless deer permits will also be valid on December 27 to December 28, and from January 3 to January 4 on private land. All deer harvested during the first three days of the shotgun season, December 6 to December 8, must be taken to a state operated station. Vendors may check deer during the remaining dates.
  • * Mainland archery deer hunters will be permitted to take one either-sex and two antlerless deer from October 1 through January 31. Hunters who harvest two female deer or deer with no visible antlers will be given affidavits to purchase a special "Earn-a-Buck" permit, at the Division of Licensing.
  • * The suite of deer permits for Conanicut/Aquidneck Islands will stay the same as last season. Hunters can purchase a total of three permits, one either-sex and two antlerless, for each of the three season types - archery, muzzleloader, and shotgun - for a total of nine permits. This effort is being proposed to reduce the Island herds, without impacting the number of permits available to mainland hunters.
  • * Prudence Island bow hunters will be allowed to harvest one deer of either sex from state or private lands and one antlerless deer from private lands during the season, October 24 through January 4. The quota has been reduced from the 2007-2008 quota of 75 on state land to 50, to reflect the decrease in the number of deer in the management areas.

In other hunting regulations:

  • * Prudence: There will not be a lottery this year for hunts on state lands on Prudence and Patience Islands. However, permits will be required for all state land hunters. Requests for permits are available by sending a SASE to Prudence Permits, RI Division of Fish and Wildlife, 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston, RI 02892. As in the past, proficiency is required of all Prudence and Patience Island hunters. Counter-signed permission from the Portsmouth Chief of Police is also required on private land. A lottery will be conducted for the Heritage parcel. Requests for lottery applications are available by sending a SASE to Heritage Lottery, RI Division of Fish and Wildlife, 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston, RI 02892.
  • * The lottery will no longer be held for the TNC's Francis Carter Preserve. However, all hunters must obtain a permit. Requests for permits are available by sending a SASE to FRANCIS CARTER COOP, RI Division of Fish and Wildlife, 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston, RI 02892. Only archery deer hunting is permitted on this property with a current proficiency card.
  • * Muzzleloader hunters will be allowed to use their muzzleloader firearms during the shotgun deer season, provided they have a valid shotgun permit and use their shotgun permit to tag their deer. Hunters must adhere to the shotgun season fluorescent orange requirements of 500 square inches. This is on a trial basis only.
  • * Regarding the pheasant season, hunters will be allowed to purchase an unlimited number of pheasant permits this season. The bag limit is two per day. The Division plans to stock 11 state management areas for opening day, October 18.
  • * The Division of Fish & Wildlife will be offering a junior pheasant hunting weekend on October 11 and October 12. An orientation will be held at the Great Swamp Management Area on September 20, with demonstrations provided in firearm safety, game preparation, and other related hunting topics. Pre-registration by September 11 is required and space is limited. Contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife for registration requirements and details at 789-0281.
  • * Air gun rifles will be allowed this year, with restrictions, for selected small mammals. See the Hunting Abstract for firearm restriction and species.
  • * The bag limit for the early goose season - September 1 to September 30 - is 15 birds per day. Permits are required for this season. Requests for permits are available by sending a SASE to Early Goose, RI Division of Fish and Wildlife, 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston, RI 02892. Hunters are also required to purchase both federal and state ducks stamps and obtain a HIP permit.
  • * The Division hopes to offer deer hunters the opportunity to check their deer during the vendor check portion of the season by calling a toll-free number or via online check-in. More information will be provided as the season progresses.

The 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping abstract is available on the DEM website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on Regulations from the homepage, then Fish & Wildlife, then Hunting Regulations Abstract.