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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

November 21, 2000


Sally Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management will hold a public hearing on proposed regulations governing deer damage on Wednesday, December 6. The proposed regulations are designed to help landowners, particularly farmers, alleviate severe damage caused by an over-abundance of deer by allowing them the opportunity to hunt on their land out of season. They would replace the existing emergency regulations that have been in place since August.

The proposed regulations set forth the terms governing the issuance of special deer damage permits, which may be issued by DEM when circumstances warrant. Specifically, DEM Division of Agriculture staff must first verify the damage. Permits may only be issued in communities that allow hunting in season and only after alternative measures or in-season hunting on the land in question have not alleviated the problem. Under special circumstances, when deer damage to working farms is particularly severe and daylight damage permits have been ineffective, DEM may issue a special jacklight permit to hunt at night using artificial light.

Deer damage has been extensive in the farming community. The 1998 figures from the Rhode Island Farm Bureau show $350,000 in damage to agricultural products from deer.

The proposed regulations keep the administration of the program under DEM's Division of Agriculture, where it was transferred in August from the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Other administrative changes would ease the tagging and reporting process. Under the proposed regulations, when a deer is taken, it would be tagged immediately by the hunter, and a phone report made to the DEM enforcement office. The current regulations require a state conservation officer to respond to the site and tag the deer. The proposed regulations also streamline the application process and provide for an appeal process if a permit is denied.

Although DEM already held one hearing on the issue on October 17, turnout was poor due to lack of sufficient publicity. The December 6 public hearing, which includes regulatory changes recommended at the October 17 hearing, is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Room 300 at DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade Street in Providence. The Department encourages the submission of written comments prior to December 6, but will allow such comments to be submitted through 4 p.m. on Friday, January 5. Comments should be mailed to DEM's Division of Agriculture and Resource Marketing at 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908. The proposed regulations can be found online at DEM's website,, or can be obtained by calling the Division of Agriculture and Resource Marketing at 222-2781.

The hearing room is accessible to the disabled. DEM will provide interpreter services for the hearing impaired, provided a request is made at least 48 hours prior to the hearing date. A request for this service can be made in writing or by calling 222-6800 or (TDD) 222-4462.

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