Rhode Island DEM Announces Changes for 2007-2008

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The Department of Environmental Management announces that there are several changes to the hunting regulations for the 2007-2008 season, 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 is offering a new "All Outdoors" permit package. The package, which must be purchased before September 15 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. Hunters wishing 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 500 "All Outdoors" permit packages will be printed this first year, on a first come first serve basis. Order forms will be available on the DEM website, www.dem.ri.gov, by mid-August.

Regarding individual deer-hunting permits and seasons:

  • * Muzzleloader hunters can purchase three permits: one to take a deer of either sex and two to take antlerless deer. The season to take a deer of either sex will be from November 3 through November 25 on both state and private land. An extended season for taking antlerless deer on private land only will take place from December 22 through December 25. All deer harvested on the opening weekend of muzzleloader season, November 3 and 4, 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 three deer permits: one to take a deer of either sex and two to take antlerless deer. Both permit types will be valid on private land and state management areas on the following dates: from December 1 to December 9 on state management lands and from December 1 to December 16 on private lands. An extended season for taking antlerless deer on private lands will take place on December 29, December 30, January 5 and January 6. All deer harvested on the opening weekend of the shotgun season, December 1 and 2, must be taken to a state operated station. Vendors may check deer during the remaining dates.
  • * Archery deer hunters will be permitted to take three deer during the archery season: one either sex and two antlerless from October 1 through January 31. DEM has made a slight change in the "Earn-a-Buck" permit this season. Those who harvest two female deer or deer with no visible antlers will also be eligible to then purchase a special "Earn-a-Buck" permit to harvest a buck.
  • * 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, muzzle loader, 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 management areas and two deer, one of either sex and one antlerless, from private lands, during the season, October 19 through January 6. The quota has been reduced from the 2006-2007 quota of 100 on state land to 75, to reflect the decrease in the number of deer in the management areas.

DEM conducts several controlled hunts with special permits that will be available later in the fall. However, two hunts are conducted by lottery – Prudence Island and Francis Carter reserve – with limited application timeframes. Completed applications for Prudence Island must be returned by August 31; those for Francis Carter must be returned by September 15. Both applications are available on line at DEM's website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on "Fish and Wildlife" under "Offices and Divisions", then "Wildlife Management and Hunter Education". They also can be requested by mail, by sending a stamped, self addressed envelope to DEM's Fish and Wildlife Great Swamp field office at 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston, RI 02892.

New this year, the 1,782-acre Tillinghast Management area, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Town of West Greenwich, will be available for fishing, small game hunting, and deer hunting. No pheasants will be stocked in that area.

The 2007-2008 Hunting and Trapping abstract should be available on the DEM website in late July.