PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that small game hunting season opens this month.
The season for pheasant, cottontail rabbit, gray squirrel, bobwhite quail, red and gray fox opens Saturday, October 17 – Saturday, February 28, 2021. DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife will stock a total of 6,000 pheasant from October 17th through December 2020. This is a 2,000-bird increase from prior years. The season for woodcock also opens October 17 – November 30 and the second portion of the mourning dove season opens October 17 – November 29. Small game and upland game bird hunters are reminded that they must check in and out of check stations at Arcadia, Carolina, Great Swamp and Durfee Hill Management Areas on October 17 – 18, October 24 – 25, and October 31- November 1 when hunting those areas. Check stations hours are a half-hour before sunrise until sunset. More information including daily bag, possession limits, and fluorescent orange requirements is available in the 2020-2021 Hunting & Trapping Guide that is available online and at license vendors.
The season for hunting raccoon is open now through Saturday, February 28, 2021. The season for coyote on state land is open now through Saturday, February 28, 2021 and during the spring turkey season: April 29, 2021 – May 23, 2021, provided the hunter has a valid spring turkey permit in his/her possession. There is no closed season for coyote on private land.
Small game, upland game bird, and coyote hunters are reminded that they are required to wear a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange beginning October 17th and 500 square inches during the shotgun deer seasons. Fall turkey hunters are required to wear 200 square inches of fluorescent orange while traveling during the fall turkey season. All other users of state management areas and designated undeveloped state parks are required to wear a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange beginning on the second Saturday in September through the last day in February, except during the shotgun deer seasons in December when a minimum of 500 square inches is required.
DEM’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is stocking the Great Swamp, Durfee Hill, and Eight Rod Farm wildlife management areas for the Youth Pheasant Hunting Weekend on October 10 and October 11. The hunt is open to youths aged 12 to 15 who have completed a hunter education class; hunters under age 15 must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter aged 21 or older. A hunting license and game bird permit are required for all youth pheasant hunters. Registration is not required to participate in the youth pheasant hunt.
Hunting has a long tradition in Rhode Island, supporting family customs, connecting people with nature, and attracting tourism to the state. Hunters and anglers purchase around 70,000 licenses, permits, stamps, and tags each year and contribute more than $235 million to Rhode Island’s economy. Revenue generated from license and permit sales support Rhode Island fish and wildlife conservation programs. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars that support outdoor recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, and boating in Rhode Island.
Hunter education is offered as part of the DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter Education Program. Safety training is required by law in Rhode Island for beginning hunters. To date, more than 40,000 people have completed a hunter safety course in Rhode Island, helping to dramatically reduce related accidents in the state and elsewhere. A complete schedule of hunter educational offerings is available at www.dem.ri.gov
More information about Rhode Island’s hunting and fishing licensing system is available at www.dem.ri.gov/huntfish. The site also acts as a portal to help plan adventures that make the most of Rhode Island’s great outdoors. The site links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, trails, and natural areas through a variety of maps, as well as certification information for hunter safety and boating safety.