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  • Writer's pictureMax Augliere

The Ultimate Guide for Hunting Rhode Island in 2023


Bow Hunter in camo.

Rhode Island may be a small state, but each year 2,200 whitetail deer are harvested by hunters, 300 turkeys, and 6,000 pheasants are stocked on public lands, not to mention some of the best fishing and spearfishing in the United States. With 55,000 acres of public wildlife management areas, and a population of 18,000 deer, Rhode Island is a premier destination for hunting and an amazing place to learn. If you're a Rhode Islander and you are interested in learning everything there is to know about hunting in the ocean state, keep reading.

 

What can you hunt in Rhode island


Male turkey

In Rhode Island, there are roughly 20 different species of animal you may hunt. The state boasts healthy populations of large game such as deer, turkey, waterfowl, small game, and even stocks 6,000 pheasants every year in huntable state wildlife management areas.

All species

  • Deer

  • Turkey

  • Pheasant and Qual

  • Coyote

  • Fox

  • Rabbit

  • Squirrel

  • Racoon

  • Morning Doves

  • Crowes

  • Woodcock

  • Snipe and Rails

  • Canadian Goose

  • Snow Geese

  • Brant

  • Ducks

  • Scaup

  • Mergansers

  • Coots

  • Sea Ducks

What you need for hunting rhode island

To hunt RI, you need a valid hunting license, and if you plan on hunting deer, turkey, or waterfowl and migratory birds, you will need an additional tag. In order to get your hunting license, you will need to pass a hunter's safety course for firearms or for archery, depending on which you choose. You can sign up for your hunter's safety course here.

 

Deer

White-tailed deer

Each year approximately 2,000 white-tailed deer are hunted in Rhode Island by archery (including crossbow), muzzleloader, and shotgun. There are 55,000 acres of wildlife management areas in the state, in addition to that, you may hunt private property with permission from the land owner. In order to hunt Deer in RI, you'll need the following.

  • Pass a hunter's safety course.

  • Purchase a Rhode Island hunting license.

  • Purchase a deer permit (deer tags).

If using archery, you must complete a bowhunter's safety course online and finish with an in-person written exam. You can sign up for that course here. Once you've done that, you must purchase your Rhode Island hunting license, if you're a nonresident the fee is $55.00. Deer tags become available in the summer for the Fall 2023 season for purchase. You can purchase both your hunting license and deer tags at https://rio.ri.gov/.


Deer hunting seasons

Archery

Zone 1

​September 15 - January 31, 2023

Archery

Zone 2

October 1 - January 31 , 2023

Archery

Zone 3

November 1st - January 31, 2023

Archery

Zone 4

October 11 - 14, 17-21, 24-28, 31

Where to Hunt Deer

Here's a list of the places where you can legally hunt Deer in Rhode Island. Some of these places require an additional permit, such as Providence Water Supply. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are closed 30 minutes after sunset until 5:00 am unless otherwise defined. Be sure to reference the area you want to hunt with the Rhode Island Hunting Zone map, which we've added below.


legal Deer hunting locations

  • Arcadia

  • Big River

  • Black Farm

  • Blac Hut

  • Buck Hill

  • Burlingame

  • Burlingame North Camp

  • Camp Nokewa

  • Carolina

  • Cocomcussoc Park

  • Cuttyhunk Brook Preserve, North TNC

  • Cuttyhunk Brook Preserve, South TNC (archery only)

  • Dave King Preserve TNC (archery only)

  • Diamond Hill

  • Durfee Hill

  • East Beach (archery only)

  • Eight Rod Farm

  • Francis Carter Preserve TNC (archery only)

  • Galilee Bird Sanctuary (archery only)

  • George Washington

  • Grass Pond Preserve TNC

  • Great Swamp

  • Hope Island

  • John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge (archery only)

  • Killingly Pond

  • Lake Road Hunting Are

  • Mary Donavan Marsh

  • Newton Swamp

  • Nicholas Farm

  • Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Barrier Beach Unit

  • Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Kettle Pond Unit (archery only)

  • Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Salt Pond Unit (archery only)

  • Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Lewis Unit

  • One Hundred Acre Cove

  • Patience Island (archery only)

  • Pocassett Ridge Conservation Area TNC (archery only)

  • Ponagansett River Corridor

  • Providence Water Supply

  • Prudence Island (archery only)

  • Queens River Preserve TNC (archery only)

  • Rockville

  • Rodman Hollow

  • Round Top

  • Sapowet Marsh (archery only)

  • Simmons Mill

  • Snake Den (archery only)

  • South Shore Wildlife Management Area, Feild #3 (archery only)

  • South Shore Wildlife Management Area, Feild #6

  • Succotash Marsh

  • Tillinghast

  • Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge (archery only)

  • Washington Grove

  • Wickaboxet

  • Woody Hill

Hunting Zone Map
hunting zone maps

Turkey

male turkey

262 Turkeys were harvested last year (2022) by hunters in Rhode Island. Most of those turkeys were taken on private lands, 39 of them were hunted in state wildlife management areas. Turkey can be hunted by shotgun and by archery except for crossbows. In order to hunt turkey in Rhode Island, you must purchase a Rhode Island hunting license and a turkey permit, this can be an all-lands turkey permit or private lands turkey permit. Turkey archery season is from October 1st to October 31st and either sex bird may be hunted. Shotgun season is in Spring from April 27th to May 21st and only bearded turkeys may be hunted.

Pheasant

To hunt pheasant in Rhode Island you must pass the hunter's safety course, and purchase your hunting license with a game bird permit. The daily limit for pheasant is two either-sex birds, with a total bag limit of 3. Hunting pheasant is done with a shotgun and the season is from October 15th - February 28th.

Ring neck pheasant

Where to hunt. Every week, pheasants and quail are stocked in: Arcadia, Black Hut, Big River, Buck Hill, Carolina, Durfee Hill, Great Swamp, Bicholas Farm, Sapowet Marsh, Simmons Mill Pond and Eight Rod Farm. Pheasant season is from October 15th - February 28th.

Rabbit

Cotton tailed rabbit

Rabbits may be taken in Rhode Island public lands from October 15 through February 28 with a daily bag limit of three. You must possess a valid Rhode Island hunting license and have passed the hunter's safety course. Muzzleloaders, air rifles, and archery may be used. Specific arrows are made for small game archery hunting.

Ducks

Rhode Island is the perfect environment to hunt ducks. 30% of the state is comprised of water, which is the 3rd highest in the US, and there are 400 miles of coastline. Several different species of ducks call the state home. Duck hunting season is October 7 - 10, November 23 - 27, December 3 - January 22. You're allowed to keep 6 ducks total, and no more than the following for each species:

Mallard duck pair

duck regulations

  • 2 Mallard Ducks (1 hen)

  • 2 Black Ducks

  • 1 Canvasback

  • 1 Pintail

  • 2 Redheads

  • 3 Wood Ducks

Additional migratory birds and waterfowl species you can hunt in Rhode Island are; Scaup, Sea Ducks, Mergansers, Coots, Brant, Snow Goose, and Canadian Goose.

 

Conclusion

If you're an avid hunter in Rhode Island or someone who is just started out, the state offers many chances for bow hunting, rifle hunting, muzzleloader, and shotgun. Spearfishing Rhode Island is an outfitter and spearfishing guide, teaching 1 on 1 courses for spearfishing in Rhode Island. If you'd like to learn more, you can read this article or visit our website at www.spearfishingRI.com. Happy hunting!

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