Rhode Island DEM Announces Muzzleloader Deer Season

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The Department of Environmental Management announces that the muzzleloader deer-hunting season on state and private land will take place from November 3 to November 25 for either-sex and antlerless deer. From December 22 to December 25, deer may be taken on private land with antlerless deer permits only. All deer taken during the first weekend of the muzzleloader season - November 3 to November 4 - must be checked at a state-operated check station. State stations are located at Arcadia, Carolina, Durfee Hill, and Great Swamp Management Areas. The Fort Wetherill Marine Laboratory in Jamestown will also be open for checking deer on November 3 and November 4. In addition, for the convenience of hunters in Tiverton and Little Compton, Main Bait and Tackle on South Main Street in Fall River will be permitted to accept deer for checking during the first weekend of the muzzleloader season. All deer may be checked at vendor stations during the remainder of the season.

The mainland muzzleloader deer-hunting season allows for the taking of either-sex and antlerless deer on both state and private land. Hunters are required to wear a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange during this portion of the muzzleloader season. Hunters 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, one either-sex and two antlerless. The permits, which can be purchased at any time, may be used in any order.

Deer permits are available at DEM's Office of Boat Registration and Licensing at DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade Street in Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and at select hunting venders throughout the state. The cost of each deer permit for RI residents is $12.50; for non-residents, the cost is $25.50 for each permit. The deadline has been extended for hunters to purchase the new "All Outdoors" permit package. The package 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.

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 as provided by regulation. 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.

Fin and Feather Lodge has recently closed its business and is therefore no longer a check station. Please refer to the hunting abstract for the other available vendors.

For the sixth 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. 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 Law Enforcement office at 222-3070 to report any sick or emaciated deer, or any deer displaying abnormal behavior.

DEM reminds hunters that they 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 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.