7 Reasons Rhode Island Offers the Best Deer Hunting in the Country
Despite the state’s diminutive size, there are plenty of reasons to go deer hunting in Rhode Island. The island has only one species of deer – white-tailed deer – but it occupies the area in abundance. Besides this, the state boasts a number of hunting benefits including a healthy hunting culture, access to public hunting lands, and inexpensive licenses. Read on to discover seven reasons Rhode Island offers the best deer hunting in the United States!
1. Deer Population Density
Deer hunting in Rhode Island is greatly improved by its deer population density. For its size, Rhode Island has an abundance of deer. The state has an area of only 1,214 square miles (3,144 square kilometers), but it has a deer population of approximately 18,000. That may not seem like a lot compared to other states, but it works out to about 15 deer per square mile. That’s more than the area’s natural resources can healthily support, meaning hunters are a welcome breed in the state.
White-tailed deer were once extinct in Rhode Island. Today, they roam across virtually every part of this tiny state including its upland hills, oceanic shorelines, and urban areas. Because deer tend to frequent urban areas and intrude on lawns and gardens, many homeowners are willing to allow hunters on their private land.
2. Habitat Quality
Because Rhode Island is so small and densely populated with just over one million people, it can be difficult to find public land for hunting. However, the land that is available is of excellent quality. White-tailed deer roam a number of different habitats including mature forests, thickets, fields, and swamps.
3. Access to Public Hunting Lands
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management maintains several thousand acres of public land dedicated to conservation efforts and outdoor recreation. Here, deer hunters will find ample opportunities to pursue their passion and bag some deer. Take a look at the department’s Wildlife & Hunting webpage for more information on deer hunting in Rhode Island, including a map of public lands. And remember that many homeowners are willing to allow hunters on their private land in the interest of getting rid of pesky deer in their yards.
4. Season Dates and Length
Rhode Island has a generous deer hunting season divided into three types: Archery, Muzzleloader, and Shotgun. The island is also divided into four zones: zone 1, zone 2, zone 3, and zone 4.
Generally speaking, archery season begins in mid-September or early October in zones 1 and 2. In zones 3 and 4, it typically begins in October or early November. It finishes across the state by January 31st. Muzzleloader season begins in zones 1 and 2 in November while shotgun season takes place during select days in December. Zones 3 and 4 may or may not allow muzzleloaders or shotguns depending on the year. Authorities prohibit the use of modern handguns or rifles in all seasons. Check your local deer hunting dates for the current season before heading out.
5. Weather Conditions
Rhode Island’s climate in autumn tends to be pleasant and moderate without excessive precipitation. The state typically experiences cold winters with variable amounts of snow. Although this can make hunting a chilly business, the presence of snow also means that deer leave distinctive tracks behind.
6. License Costs and Availability
Deer hunting in Rhode Island is made easier by the affordability and availability of hunting licenses. Current license fees include $21-$23 for a resident hunting license and $55-$58 for a non-resident hunting license. Deer permits cost $13.00-$13.50 for residents and $26.50-$27.50 for non-residents. Residents aged 65 or older and/or with a permanent disability may obtain a permanent hunting license for free. The license year in Rhode Island begins on March 1st and concludes on the last day of February the following year.
7. Local Culture
Rhode Island offers a wide range of hunting clubs across the state for hunters who want to share their experiences with others and improve their skills. In addition to this, the Boone and Crockett Club preserves state deer hunting records, which the public can view for free. The Department of Environmental Management also offers courses and other educational opportunities for junior or untrained hunters. See its online Course Schedules for current educational offerings and requirements.
Summary Table of the 7 Reasons to Go Deer Hunting in Rhode Island
|1||Deer population density|
|3||Access to public hunting lands|
|4||Season dates and lengths|
|6||License costs and availability|
For more information on deer hunting in Rhode Island, check out this article.