Rhode Island Deer Season to Start December 2nd

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The Department of Environmental Management announces the seasons and general rules for shotgun deer hunting in Rhode Island.

The shotgun season for taking either-sex and antlerless deer on the mainland commences Saturday, December 2 and continues through December 10. Hunters can utilize both state and private land during that period. The shotgun season continues for taking both either-sex and antlerless deer, on private land only, from December 11 through December 17.

The muzzleloader deer-hunting season for taking either-sex and antlerless deer from both state and private land statewide is underway and will end on November 26.

The season for shotgun deer hunting on Block Island opens on November 27 and will be open on select weekdays through February 16th, as published in the 2006-2007 Rhode Island Hunting and Trapping Abstract.

A combined muzzleloader and shotgun season for taking antlerless deer on private land on the mainland will take place from December 22 through December 31. Small game hunting will not be permitted on private land during this extra deer-hunting season.

Permit Focus is on Reducing Overabundant Deer Herd

DEM is focusing on providing opportunities to harvest additional antlerless deer — female deer or male deer with antlers less than three inches long — as an effective method to reduce the state's overabundant deer herd, according to Michael Lapisky, Acting Chief of DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Hunters generally may purchase one permit to take a deer of either sex, and two permits to take antlerless deer. Conanicut/Aquidneck Island hunters may purchase an additional suite of permits for the Island hunts. The permits, which can be purchased at any time, may be used in any order. On Block Island only private land will be open, but hunters may take an unlimited number of deer, and may purchase up to five permits at a time.

Deer permits are available at DEM's Office of Boat Registration and Licensing at DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade Street in Providence on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and at selected hunting vendors throughout Rhode Island. The cost of each deer permit for residents is $12.50; for non-residents, the cost is $25.50 for each permit.

Fluorescent Orange Required by Hunters and All Users of State Management Areas

Hunters are required to wear a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange during the muzzleloader season, and 500 square inches of fluorescent orange during the shotgun and combined shotgun/muzzleloader seasons. Throughout the shotgun deer season, all other users of state management areas must also wear at least 500 square inches of solid, daylight fluorescent orange material.

Deer hunting hours remain one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. All deer taken must be tagged immediately, and checked within 24 hours at either a vendor-operated or state-operated check station, or by an authorized representative of DEM. Muzzleloader hunters are limited to using black powder or approved substitutes.

Hunters should check DEM regulations for specific regulations as to where hunting is allowed, and should also check with local authorities for additional hunting restrictions. For instance, in DEM's East Bay management areas, only archery hunting is permitted in Simmons Mill, no Sunday hunting is permitted in Eight Rod Farm, and no firearm deer hunting is permitted in Seapowet Management Area.

Opportunities for Hunters to Help

For the fifth year, DEM is joining much of the country in conducting a systematic Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance program, and will ask hunters at the state check stations to assist by donating heads of yearlings and adults harvested in state. However, hunters may also participate by contacting DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife's field headquarters at 789-0281 for approval to submit fresh samples labeled with the location of harvest. Hunters are also asked to call DEM's enforcement office at 222-3070 to report any sick or emaciated deer, or any deer displaying abnormal behavior.

Hunters can donate their surplus game, properly processed, packaged, and refrigerated, to a number of local food kitchens through the Hunters and Fishermen for the Hungry program, coordinated by the Division of Fish and Wildlife in cooperation with the Rhode Island Food Bank. The Division maintains a list of locations, updated regularly, where fish and game may be donated, and has also prepared a booklet with guidelines on handling game and fish for donations, as well as a collection of game and fish recipes for the food kitchens. All of this information is available on DEM's website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on "Topics", then "Wildlife/HunterEd", under "Outdoor Recreation/Fisheries". An information packet is also available by calling the Division at 789-0281.