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RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462
WITH SMALL GAME HUNTING SEASON OPEN, DEM REMINDS ALL USERS OF MANAGEMENT AREAS TO WEAR FLUORESCENT ORANGE
Seasons, Bag Limits, for Hunting Small Game and Migratory Birds Detailed
PROVIDENCE –With Rhode Island’s small game hunting season open, the Department of Environmental Management has issued a safety reminder that all users of state management areas, and all hunters statewide, must wear at least 200 square inches of solid daylight-fluorescent orange material through the end of the season, February 28. The fluorescent orange has to be worn above the waist, and must be visible from all directions. Hunters during the shotgun deer season (December 2 – December 14) must wear a total of 500 square inches of fluorescent orange. Examples of fluorescent orange that meet the requirements are a hat covering 200 square inches or a combination hat and vest covering 500 square inches.
Hunting licenses, as well as abstracts that summarize the hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits by species, are available at various license vendors throughout the state and at DEM's Licensing Office at 235 Promenade Street, Providence. A resident hunting license is $9.50, with all money collected going into a special restricted account used specifically to fund the state's wildlife restoration program. These funds benefit both game and non-game species. Hunters are advised to check with local authorities before hunting in unfamiliar areas, as municipalities may impose additional restrictions on hunting within their boundaries.
Small Game Hunting
The legal shooting hours for most small game, which includes ruffed grouse, pheasant, bobwhite, rabbits, hare, squirrel, and fox, are sunrise to sunset. However, there are exceptions. Raccoons can be hunted at any hour. Hunting hours for coyotes, which have no closed season, are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Season end dates differ. For ruffed grouse and quail the end date is December 1; for pheasant, December 31; for rabbits, hare, squirrel, raccoon, and fox, February 28, 2001. As in past years, the small game hunting season is closed in Providence, Kent and Washington counties during the shotgun deer season, which runs from December 2 to December 14, except in state management areas, which will remain open to small game hunting during the private land portion of the shotgun season, December 11 – December 14. In Bristol and Newport counties the small game season will remain open. Daily bag limits for small game are consistent with previous years: pheasant (2), bobwhite (3), ruffed grouse (1), rabbits (3), hare (2), and gray squirrel (5). There is no bag limit for fox or raccoon. This year, for reasons of research and restoration, the Arcadia Management Area is closed to ruffed grouse hunting.
Under its pheasant stocking program, DEM will release about 4000 pheasants at major wildlife management areas through the third week of December. Pheasant stocking will occur at Arcadia, Great Swamp, Carolina, Durfee Hill, Black Hut, Buck Hill, Sapowet, Nicholas Farm, and Big River Management Areas.
Upland Migratory Bird Season
Season and bag limits for Rhode Island migratory game birds are established following guidelines set by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The mourning dove season will run until November 13 and again from December 11 to January 10, from sunrise to sunset. . The daily bag limit for dove is 12 birds. Woodcock hunting opens November 2 and closes on December 1, with a daily bag limit of three birds. The season for rails, already open, runs to November 17. The snipe season, also already open, runs to December 1 The Federal law requires migratory bird hunter to use a shotgun capable of holding no more than three shells.
Federal law also requires all hunters to carry a Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit while hunting migratory game birds this season. HIP permits are available at all hunting license vendors in the state at no cost.
Check Stations Open
To assist DEM in gathering information on hunter effort and game harvested, all hunters using Arcadia, Great Swamp, Carolina and Durfee Hill Management areas on weekends through November 12 must check in and out of check stations at those management areas and record their harvest. Special permits are required to hunt waterfowl at Great Swamp and the Burlingame North Camp area.
Hunters may contact the main office of DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife in Wakefield at 789-3094 or the Great Swamp field office in West Kingston at 789-0281 for further information.