Rhode Island Discusses Hunting Seasons

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The Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish and Wildlife will discuss the proposed 2007-2008 freshwater fishing seasons and the 2007-2008 hunting seasons and bag limits. A public hearing on the proposed regulations will be held on Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. in the Warwick Police Department's Community Room at 99 Veteran's Memorial Drive in Warwick.

Except for calendar shift date changes, there are no proposed regulatory changes for the freshwater fishing season.

Regarding the pheasant season, the Division is proposing to allow pheasant hunters to purchase an unlimited number of pheasant permits. DEM plans to stock 11 state management areas from opening day, October 20, until January 13, 2008.

There are several proposed changes to the hunting regulations, 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.

Muzzleloader hunters would be allowed to purchase three permits: one to take a deer of either sex and two to take antlerless deer — deer of either sex with antlers measuring less than three inches. The proposed season to take a deer of either sex would be from November 3 through November 25 on state and private land. DEM is proposing an extended season for antlerless deer permits in later December.

Shotgun deer hunters would also be allowed to purchase three deer permits: one to take a deer of either sex and two to take antlerless deer. Both permit types would 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. DEM is proposing an extended season for the take of antlerless deer by shotgun after the extended muzzleloader period, in late December and January.

Archery deer hunters would again be permitted to take three deer during the archery season: one either sex and two antlerless from October 1 through January 31. Those who harvest two female deer would 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 would stay the same as last season. Hunters would be permitted to 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 would again 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 proposed season, October 19 through January 6. The quota would be 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.

Copies of the proposals will be available later this week on DEM's website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on "Fish and Wildlife" under "Office and Divisions". They are also available on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife office at the Stedman Government Center at 4808 Tower Hill Road in Wakefield.