Even though Rhode Island is one of the smallest states in the USA, it still offers great hunting opportunities. The eastern part of the state has great game options, with hunters enjoying decent bag limits. Two of the most common games in the state are deer and turkeys. There are also many small game animals to be hunted.
Rhode Island Hunting Regulation
Hunting is well controlled in Rhode Island. Like in most regions of the USA, there are regulations, requirements, and laws that hunters must abide by while trying to take a game in the state. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is in charge of hunting laws, rules and regulations, as well as specifying hunting seasons and some licenses.
Some of the most important hunting regulations, requirements, and laws in Rhode Island include the following:
Hunter Safety Requirements
Rhode Island requires that if you are born after the 1st of June 1975, then it is compulsory that you complete a hunter education course before buying any of the Rhode Island hunting licenses that will make you take part in hunting activities without supervision.
However, children that are not yet 16 years old, do not have to take a hunter education course and can hunt with the aid of supervision from a licensed hunter.
But there is an exception to this regulation for those that are 16 years or more who want to purchase a Rhode Island hunting license without completing a hunter education course. They will require a deferral from the hunting course certificate. But after purchasing the license, they will only be able to hunt under the supervision of a licensed adult hunter whose minimum age is 21 years old.
Game Taking Regulation
According to this regulation, the word "taking" when it comes to hunting in Rhode Island refers to, trying to take, chasing, harassing, hunting, killing, or capturing games, wildlife, fishes in any possible way, as long as it results in the possession of the games, wildlife, or fishes.
Taking of Game Mammals and Birds
For the taking of game birds and mammals in Rhode Island, the following hunting weapons are legal:
- Recurve bows
- Compound Bows
- Air Guns
You can also make use of prey for bird games like Owls, falcons, and hawks.
For bow weapons, the least draw weight they can have is 35 pounds. It is also lawful to make use of handheld releases. Furthermore, if you are making use of arrows and bolts for deer and turkey hunting in Rhode Island, then you must equip them with broadheads that have a minimum of 2 sharp ends with widths not less than 7 or 8 inches.
It is a prohibition to make use of Precharged Pneumatic air guns that discharge more than one bullet. It is also a prohibition to make use of arrows and bolts with less than .30 calibers for deer hunting in Rhode Island, but the minimum allowed for turkey hunting is .20 calibers.
In this regulation, Precharged Pneumatic air guns are those that are designed commercially and charged with the aid of an external compression source to help them discharge bolts, arrows, and other types of projectiles for hunting.
Using Muzzle Loaders to Take Deer
Muzzleloaders that discharge just one bullet must have a minimum of .30 calibers before it can be used for the taking of deer. Muzzleloaders that discharge a minimum of 2 bullets must have at least .20 gauge before they can be used for the taking of deer.
Prohibited Ways to Take Games and Wildlife in Rhode Island
- It is a prohibition to make use of a centerfire semi-automatic rifle that possesses an ammunition capacity of more than 5 rounds.
- It is a prohibition to take deer in Rhode Island with non-expanding military ball ammunition.
- It is a prohibition to hunt any game with automatic firearms.
- It is a prohibition to make use of air guns that are not PCP charged to take deer and turkeys.
- It is a prohibition to make use of PCP air guns that discharge a bullet with less than .30 calibers for hunting deer, and less than .20 calibers while hunting turkeys.
- It is a prohibition to make use of arrows that are explosive or arrows that will inject drugs into games and wildlife.
- It is a prohibition to hunt games with artificial lights, chemicals, traps, snares, nets, drugs, live decoys, prerecorded sounds and calls for games, poison, etc.
- It is a prohibition to fire at games from vehicles including, motorboats, powerboats, or sailboats while they are powered on. An exception is made for vehicles that have been completely shut off or sails at the anchor. Hunters must ensure that vehicles are not moving before they try to hunt animals from there.
- It is a prohibition to herd games with vehicles, including aircraft, drones, and boats.
- It is a prohibition to take turkeys with the help of hunting dogs.
- It is a prohibition to take a roosting turkey.
- It is a prohibition to take turkeys from around 100 yards of its feeding station.
- It is a prohibition to hunt a deer when it is swimming or fawning.
- It is a prohibition to make use of any hunting bow weapon with a draw weight smaller than 35 pounds.
- It is a prohibition to make use of hunting dogs without collars. Dog collars must contain details such as the name and address of the owner.
- It is a prohibition to make use of hunting dogs on lands that are privately owned without obtaining permission to do so from the landowner.
- It is a prohibition to expose substances like chemicals, anesthetic, drugs, baits, tranquilizers, etc. to an area where it will affect game birds and animals.
- It is a prohibition to release fire or attempt to release fire, harass fish and birds from aircraft, including drones. Exceptions are allowed for those who obtain either a valid state or federal license to do so.
Trespassing While Hunting
Even if you have any Rhode Island hunting license, you are under no obligation to trespass into private lands in the state. Before hunting on private land, you must first obtain permission from the management in charge or the landowner.
Rhode Island law sees trespassing with the possession of a firearm or any weapon used for hunting as a felony. This is punishable by either a fine of about $5000 or about 5 years’ prison term or both.
Open Carry While Hunting.
You can open carry while hunting in the state, and this includes bow hunting.
However, it is illegal to use a firearm to take an animal while bow hunting, and the maximum gun per hunter is just one.
Rhode Island has hunter harassment, and they include the following:
- Nobody shall disturb or interfere with hunting activity while in a licensed location.
- Involving is any of the following is a violation of this law:
- Pursue or disturb wildlife just to prevent a licensed hunting activity by a person lawfully taking games.
- Restrict, disturb, or harass a hunter who is taking part in legal hunting activity.
- Using any form of stimuli to disturb wildlife in such a way prevents or makes hunting more difficult.
- Build barriers to restrict movement and access to a property licensed for hunting or trapping of animals.
- Place himself or herself in line with a hunter’s live fire.
- Impact the atmosphere of a privately or publicly owned property used for a legal hunting activity.
- Trespass on any privately or publicly owned property in the state, without permission from the appropriate authority or the owner of the property.
Rhode Island Hunting License Permits and Tags
There are a lot of licenses, permits, and tags available for hunting in Rhode Island. Rhode Island hunting licenses are issued based on age and residency, and they all cost different prices.
Hunting licenses, permits, and tags available in Rhode Island include the following:
Rhode Island Residents Hunting License
These are licenses available to only residents of Rhode Island. They include the following:
Gold Sportsman’s License
This hunting license comes with various game permits for animals like deer, turkeys, waterfowls, lobsters, etc. The license also allows fishing in Rhode Island saltwater and freshwater. There are 2 types of gold sportsman licenses in Rhode Island, the one valid for a year and the one valid for 5 years. Annual license costs $100, while 5 years’ license costs $494.
Youth Gold Sportsman’s License
This license carries the same benefit as the normal Gold Sportsman’s License, but it is available for only youth residents that are between the ages of 8 to 15. They must have also completed a hunter safety course. The permit will remain valid until they are 17 years old. It costs $100.
Military Gold Sportsman’s License
This license carries the same benefit as the ordinary Gold Sportsman’s License, but it is only available for residents of Rhode Island who are either retired or active members of the military or those who are part of the US armed forces or Rhode Island National Guard. The license costs $20.
Ordinary Sportsman’s License
This license comes with a Turkey and waterfowl permit in Rhode Island. It also allows holders to fish in Rhode Island freshwater. It costs $80.5
Silver Sportsman’s License for Older Residents
This license comes with Turkey and Waterfowl permits and also allows fishing in Rhode Island freshwaters. It is available to only residents of the state that are 64 years or older. Silver Sportsman’s License in Rhode Island is of 2 types. The one valid for a year costs $13.5 and the one valid for 5 years costs $67.5.
Rhode Island Annual Hunting License
This license is available for residents to take part in various hunting seasons. But they may also require permits to hunt game with the license. There are 2 types of Rhode Island annual licenses. The one valid for a year costs $17 while the one valid for 5 years costs $79.
Youth Hunting License
This hunting license is for youths within the age of 8 and 15 who have completed a hunting safety certification. The license will remain valid until they are 17 years old. It costs $17.
Hunting and Freshwater Fishing License
This license allows holders to hunt and also fish in Rhode Island freshwaters. It costs $32.5.
Hunting Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing License
This license allows holders to hunt and also fish in Rhode Island saltwater and freshwater. It costs $48.
Disability Hunting and Fishing License
This license gives disabled residents of Rhode Island the permission to hunt and fish on both Rhode Island saltwater and freshwater. They will also have access to some game permits, and all this comes at no cost.
Hunting and Fishing License for Seniors
This license is only available to residents of the state that are 65 years old or more, and it comes at no cost.
Rhode Island Non-Residents Hunting License
These are Rhode Island out-of-state hunting licenses for non-residents. They include the following:
Nonresidents Annual Hunting License
This license will allow Non Residents to take part in various Rhode Island hunting seasons. However, they may need to purchase a game permit based on the animal season. It costs $151.5
Nonresidents 10 Day Hunting License
This license will allow nonresidents to take part in Rhode Island hunting for just a period of 10 days. It costs $46.5.
Rhode Island Fishing License Permits and Tags.
Just like hunting in Rhode Island, the state issues fishing licenses, permits, and tags based on residency, type of water body, and age of the applicant. They include the following:
Residents Saltwater Fishing License
This fishing license will cover saltwater fishing from shorelines and watercraft in Rhode Island. However, it does not cover fishing when a person is diving or swimming.
It is available for residents of Rhode Island, and there are three types. The first one valid for just a year will cost $17. The second one valid for 5 years costs $79. The third one available for resident’s youths until they reach 17 years old costs $17.
Nonresidents Saltwater Licenses
This will allow nonresidents to fish in Rhode Island saltwater. There are 3 types of Nonresidents Saltwater License. The first one is valid for 3 days and it costs $17. The second one is valid for 7 days and it costs $30. The third one is valid for a year and it costs $47.
Saltwater Permits and Tags for Residents and Nonresidents.
Some of Rhode Island fishing permits available for residents and non-residents in the state include the following
Annual Snook Permit
This is the permit required to take Snook in Rhode Island and it is valid for one year. It is available for residents and nonresidents, and it costs $10.
5 Year Snook Permit
This permit is available for only residents of Rhode Island, and it is valid for 5 years. It costs $50.
Annual Spiny Lobster Permit
This is the permit required to take Spiny in Rhode Island and it is valid for one year. It is available for residents and nonresidents, and it costs $5.
5 Year Spiny Lobster Permit
This is another resident-only permit in Rhode Island and it is valid for 5 years. It costs $25.
You can only make use of tarpon tags to fish tarpons in Rhode Island. They are available for residents and nonresidents, and they cost $51.5.
Residents Combination Licenses
Rhode Island has 2 types of fishing combination licenses for residents of the state. The first one will allow them to fish in both saltwater and freshwater, and it costs $32.5. The second one is a combination of saltwater and freshwater fishing and also annual hunting in the state. It costs $48.
Rhode Island Hunting Season
Rhode Island like other western parts of the USA has a great climatic condition and weather that favors hunting. Hunting seasons in the state vary based on the type of game, and the firearm or hunting weapon used to take them.
The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Rhode Island includes the following:
Rhode Island Deer Hunting Season
- Archery Season (15th of September to 31st of December)
- Shotgun and Rifle Season (For Public Land: 18th of November to 8th of December and for Private Lands: 2nd of November to 31st of December)
- Muzzleloader Season (For Private Land: 9th of December to 31st of December and for State Lands: 9th of December to 22nd of December)
Rhode Island Turkey Hunting Season
- Fall Archery Season (15th of September to 31st of September)
- Fall Firearm Season (3rd of October to 31st of October)
Rhode Island Small Games Hunting Season
- Cotton Rabbit Season 19th of October to 31st of December)
- Squirrel Season 1st of September to 31st of December)
- Woodchuck Season (16th of March to 16th of November)
- Chukar Partridge Season (17th of October to 31st of December)
- Quail Season (17th of October to 2nd of November)
- Pheasant Season (17th of October to 31st of December)
- Grouse Season (17th of October to 30th of December)
Season dates for each species season may vary based on the different hunting zones in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Wildlife Game and Fish
Some of the wildlife and games available for hunting in Rhode Island include the following:
Rhode Island Deer Hunting
Whitetail deer hunting in Rhode Island is not in itself a revered sport, but the deer horns serve as trophies for hunters. Deer hunting in Rhode Island is common because of the delicious deer meat called venison.
Rhode Island Turkey hunting
Turkey hunting is fun in Rhode Island. The game is very special in the state. They are quite difficult to hunt because they blend well with their environment and are very effective games.
Rhode Island Duck Hunting
Duck hunting in Rhode Island is usually a lively event. Ducks are quite fast and have a speed that can cover a distance of 1 mile in 1 minute. During their yearly migration, ducks can move as far as South America and come back again.
Rhode Island Goose Hunting
There are various geese available for hunting in Rhode Island. It is one of the states favored by goose hunters in the US. The popular species of goose found in the state are Snow geese, Blue geese, and Canadian geese.
Rhode Island Pheasant Hunting
Pheasant hunting in Rhode Island is not a walk in the park. Pheasants blend well with their environment and make use of this to guise from hunters. Like in most parts of the nation, pheasants are abundant in Rhode Island. They inhabit regions of the state like meadows, wooden and field areas.
Rhode Island Quail Hunting
Quail hunting in Rhode Island is a famous sport. They inhabit fields and farming settlements in the state. They come in mixtures of various colors like black, grey, browns, etc. They are very difficult to hunt too.
Rhode Island Grouse Hunting
Grouse know how to blend into their surroundings and hide from hunters because of their colors. They occur in large numbers in Rhode Island and inhabit farming lands, wooden areas, meadows, and fields.
Rhode Island Shooting Ranges
Some of the shooting ranges available to the public in Rhode Island include the following:
- East Warren Rod and Gun Club
- Great Swamp Range
- Peace Dale Shooting Preserve
Rhode Island Hunting Land for Sale and Lease
- Hunting lands for sale in Rhode Island include the following:
- South Kingstown, Rhode Island (Washington County) 4.16 acres.
- South Kingstown, Rhode Island (Washington County) 3.13 acres.
- Narragansett, Rhode Island (Washington County) 1.8 acres.
- Foster, Rhode Island (Providence County) 42.8 acres.
- Coventry, Rhode Island (Kent County) 5.4 acres.
- North Kingstown, Rhode Island (Washington County) 1.84 acres.
- Warren, Rhode Island (Bristol County) 0.96 acres.
- Coventry, Rhode Island (Kent County) 0.11 acres.
- Westerly, Rhode Island (Washington County) 0.46 acres.
- Richmond, Rhode Island (Washington County) 2 acres.
There are no hunting lands available for lease in Rhode Island at the moment.