Rhode Island Accepting Requests for Prudence/Patience Island Archery Deer

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The Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish and Wildlife is accepting requests for applications for 2006 Prudence/Patience Island archery deer reservations. The applications must be postmarked no later than August 30.

A reservation must be obtained in order to hunt deer with bow and arrow on Prudence and Patience Islands' management areas during the first two weekend and weekday periods of the special season, which begins on October 20. Only those hunters who returned their mandatory harvest record cards from last year and first time applicants are eligible. One hundred ten reservations for each weekend and weekday segment are available and will be issued via a computer-generated lottery system. Applicants will receive their reserved dates by mail in early September. Others may hunt during the remainder of the season, beginning on November 4.

A quota of 100 deer has been set for state land. This does not include the special paraplegic season or private land hunting. The quota was lowered this year on the state land following two successive seasons of high harvests, according to Michael Lapisky, Deputy Chief for Wildlife Management. "While the Prudence Island population is above management goals, hunting on state land has been very successful in lowering the herd," he says. "Therefore, hunting pressure now needs to be shifted to private parcels."

The Division has developed a strategy to maintain interest in hunting on Prudence Island and increase incentive on private land by allowing hunters to take two deer from private lands — one either-sex and one antlerless — but only one either-sex deer from state land. Hunters may purchase both permits at any time. All permits will be valid throughout the season, which ends on January 7, or earlier on state land if the quota has been reached. The Division may alter quotas or dates if conditions warrant.

Lapisky says, "It is critical that private property owners encourage hunting on their land in order to make the program successful. The Division, with the assistance of the Narragansett Bay Estuarine Research Reserve staff, will be working with Island residents during the summer and fall to help with this transition."

Prudence Island archers must also have a valid archery proficiency card. Written permission to hunt on private land, countersigned by the chief of police or his island representative is also required.

In addition to the state land lottery, the Division will issue applications for hunting on the Heritage unit on Prudence Island. The Heritage unit is a 163-acre conservation easement from the Prudence Conservancy that is part of the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve managed by DEM and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Heritage unit hunt will take place from December 1 through December 15. If demand exceeds available spaces, a lottery will be used to assign hunters. Hunters may obtain both applications; however, applicants for the Heritage hunt have until October 20 to return their applications. Hunters may take only antlerless deer on the Heritage parcel, regardless of whether they are using the either sex permit or the antlerless one.

Reservation applications can be obtained in person from DEM's Office of Boat Registration and Licensing at DEM Headquarters at 235 Promenade St. in Providence; at the Fish and Wildlife Division's main office at the Stedman Government Center in Wakefield; and at the Division's Great Swamp Field Office in West Kingston. Applications are also available online at www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on "Publications", then "Application Forms". The forms may also be obtained by mail by sending a business size (9 1/2" by 4") self-addressed, stamped envelope to Deer Lottery, DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife, 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston, RI 02892.

Hunters must postmark and return completed applications along with a self-addressed, stamped business-sized envelope to the West Kingston address by August 30. Duplicate, inaccurate, incomplete, or illegible forms will not be accepted.

For more information, contact DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife field office at 789-0281.