The Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish and Wildlife has established the 2011-2012 waterfowl hunting season regulations. The three-way split season for waterfowl begins on October 7, and the season for snow geese and sea ducks opens on October 8.
All waterfowl hunters, age 16 and older, are required to carry a valid federal waterfowl stamp (duck stamp) available for purchase at post offices and a Rhode Island waterfowl stamp signed in ink across the face. The Rhode Island stamp may be purchased for $7.50 at licensed vendors. Hunters are also required to obtain the free migratory bird harvest information program (HIP) permits. Federal law requires all migratory bird hunters to carry a state-issued HIP permit.
Waterfowl hunters are reminded that Rhode Island state law prohibits the discharge of firearms within 500 feet of occupied buildings; this prohibition covers all activities, including those conducted on land, along the shoreline, or in a watercraft.
Dates of the waterfowl hunting three-way split are October 7 to October 10, November 23 to November 27, and December 3 to January 22, 2012.
In addition to the ongoing September resident goose season, the regular Canada goose season will encompass 60 days, split into two segments: one nine-day segment beginning on November 19, and a second segment beginning on December 3. State goose hunting fields are available in the South Shore Management Area at the Matunuck Hunter/Landowner Cooperative Area during the regular goose season by special permit, which will be available after October 1. Those holding permits for the South Shore Management Area are required to complete and return a Harvest Record report, whether or not they hunted and regardless of success, to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by March 1, 2012.
There will also be a 17-day late resident Canada goose season beginning on January 27, 2012, limited to restricted areas and by special permit, which will be available from the Division after October 1. The season for Brant is 50 days and runs from December 4 - January 22, 2012.
The special permits may only be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped, legal-size envelope labeled with the appropriate permit(s) - SSMA Goose Permit/Late Goose Season - to: DEM, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston, RI 02892. Hunters must include their telephone number in their requests. Reservations to hunt the South Shore Management Area must be made no earlier than seven days in advance of the hunt by calling 789-0964 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information, contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife Great Swamp field headquarters at 789-0964.
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days are October 22 and October 23. Youth hunters must be 12 to 14 years of age, and an adult at least 21 years of age must be in the immediate company of the youth hunter. The accompanying adult and all adults are prohibited from hunting on Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days. Both the youth hunter and the accompanying adult are required to have current RI hunting licenses and state HIP permit.
The waterfowl regulations are available on the DEM website at www.dem.ri.gov  by clicking on "Regulations " from the home page , then "Fish & Wildlife ", then "Hunting Regulations for 2011-2012 Waterfowl Season ".