Migratory Bird Hunting

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Waterfowl Seasons and Bag Limits



Daily Bag Limit


Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days*

October 26 – 27

Same as regular season, listed below

Open to youth hunters age 12-15 accompanied by a licensed adult, 21 years of age or older and may take ducks, sea ducks and geese
Canada Goose
Early Season

September 1 – 30


Shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset for September season only
Canada Goose
Regular Season

November 23 – December 1 and December 7 – January 26, 2020


Special permits are required for the South Shore Management Area and may be obtained through the online licensing system or the DFW. Field reservations are required. See Goose Hunting for more information.
Canada Goose Late Season**

February 1 – 15, 2020


Limited to Providence, Bristol and Kent counties and portions of Washington County as described in RIHR §9.11(B)(3)(d). A map depicting the area open to hunting is available on the Department of Environmental Management’s website.
Snow Goose
(Including Blue Goose)

October 12 –
January 26, 2020


No possession Limit


December 28 – January 26, 2020


Sea Ducks1

November 28 – January 26, 2020


Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Scoter (only 4 of any one species per daily bag limit)

October 11 – 14

November 27 – December 1

December 7 – January 26, 2020


The daily bag limit shall contain no more than:

Mallard 2 (1 hen)

Black Duck 2

Canvasback 2

Pintail 1

Redhead 2

Scaup 2

Wood Duck 3


Same As Ducks



Same As Ducks


Hooded merganser 2

No Season

Harlequin Duck


Caution: Harlequin ducks are found in sea duck hunting areas along rocky coastal shores, specifically in the vicinity of Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown and Beavertail Pt., Jamestown. The female Harlequin duck is similar in appearance to female bufflehead, goldeneye, or scoter, and can be mistaken for the latter species.

Migratory Shore and Upland Game Bird Seasons and Bag Limits



Bag Limits


August 9 – September 29 (Fri, Sat, Sun Only)

October 19 – December 9 (inclusive)

December 20 – April 4, 2020 (Fri, Sat, Sun Only)


King/Clapper Rail

September 1 – November 9


Sora/Virginia Rail

September 1 – November 9



September 1 – November 9


Mourning Dove

September 14 – October 13

October 19 – December 1

December 14 – 29



October 19 – December 2


2019-20 Waterfowl Highlights:

  1. Mallard daily bag limit has been reduced to two (2), of which one (1) may be a hen.
  2. Brant season has been reduced to thirty (30) days.
  3. Pintail daily bag limit has been reduced to one (1) bird per day.
  4. Permit and reservations are required to hunt geese at the South Shore Management Area during the regular season. Permits will be issued online and at the DFW Great Swamp Field office (see Goose Hunting for details).
  5. All migratory bird hunters must possess a Rhode Island Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit, available through the online licensing system.
  6. All waterfowl hunters sixteen (16) years of age and older must possess a RI State Waterfowl Stamp and Federal Duck Stamp.
  7. Discharge of a firearm within five hundred (500) feet of an occupied dwelling is prohibited.
  8. Cripples may be pursued, shot and retrieved from a boat under power in tidal waters seaward of the first upstream bridge; crippled birds must be immediately killed.
  9. All regulations pertaining to migratory bird hunting also pertain to falconry hunting (special permit required, contact the DFW for more details).
  10. Non-toxic shot is required per Federal regulation for all dove, duck and goose hunting in Field 1 at South Shore Management Area.

Migratory Bird Hunting And Conservation Stamp

The law requires that each waterfowl hunter sixteen (16) years of age and over must carry on his or her person a valid Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (“Federal Duck Stamp”) signed in ink across the face. Waterfowl hunters must also possess a RI State Waterfowl Stamp, signed in ink across the face, or a State Waterfowl Stamp Certification obtained through the web-based online licensing system ri.gov/dem/huntfish. Those wishing to obtain a RI waterfowl stamp ($7.50) may do so at the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Great Swamp Field Headquarters: 277 Great Neck Rd, West Kingston, RI 02892, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. A limited number of “hunter” edition stamps will be printed and available for purchase.

Harvest Information Permit – HIP

All migratory bird hunters are required by Federal Law to obtain a RI Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit, obtainable through the online licensing system www.ri.gov/dem/huntfish, at hunting license vendors and participating town clerks statewide. For more information, call 401-789-0281. A HIP certification must be included on your license document to hunt migratory birds.

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Non-Toxic Shot Requirements

No person shall hunt, pursue, shoot or attempt to take waterfowl, rails, or snipe within the State of Rhode Island, including associated jurisdictional tidal waters which extend from mean high water to the seaward limit of three miles, while possessing shells loaded with any shot other than non-toxic shot (e.g., steel, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix, and tungsten-nickel-iron-shot) and other shot as approved by United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). All shot larger than BB is prohibited; including duplex loads containing shot larger than BB. Tin shot is prohibited.

Hunting Restrictions

No person shall take migratory game birds:

  • With a trap, snare, net, crossbow, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger tan 10-gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance.
  • With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler that is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.
  • From a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of water).
  • From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land conveyance or any aircraft, except that paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance.
  • From or by means of any motor boat or sail boat unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sail furled, and its progress therefore has ceased.
  • By the use or aid of live decoys. All live, tame or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting, and confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.
  • Using records or tapes of migratory bird calls or sounds, or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls.
  • By driving, rallying or chasing birds with any motorized conveyance or any sail boat to put them in the range of hunters.
  • By the aid of baiting (placing feed such as corn, wheat, salt, or other feed to constitute a lure or enticement), or on/over a baited area. Hunters should be aware that a baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after removal of the bait, and it is not necessary for the hunter to know an area is baited to be in violation.
  • Dual Violation: Violation of State migratory bird regulations is also a violation of Federal regulations.

Closed Areas

Providence, East Providence, Pawtucket – That portion of the Seekonk River north of the railroad bridge to a line across the Seekonk River running between the intersection of Gulf Road and River Drive (Providence side) to the southerly abutment of the railroad bridge at the outlet of Omega Pond (East Providence side), shall be closed to waterfowl hunting. The discharge of firearms while waterfowl hunting on the Seekonk River is restricted to discharge toward open water (seaward).

Warwick – Brush Neck Cove, so-called, in its entirety. Mill Cove, so-called, in its entirety, including the beachfront. Buttonwoods Cove, so-called, in its entirety.

North Kingstown – Mill Cove, Wickford, so called, in its entirety. Fishing Cove, Wickford, area west of a line to be determined bisecting Cornelius Island. All discharge of firearms while waterfowl hunting is restricted to discharge in an easterly direction from the above line. The Division of Fish and Wildlife will establish the line of demarcation.

Charlestown – Watchaug Pond and Poquiant Brook, or hunting within 100 yards upland of the shore or bank of same.

Tiverton – That unnamed estuary in Tiverton, north of Seapowet Avenue and east of Jack’s Island, bounded on the west, south, and east shore by the Audubon Society of RI’s Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge, and as posted by Audubon Society of RI and Department of Environmental Management signs. The affected area includes the inlet of this estuary and marshland on the north side of this outlet.

Middletown – Sachuest Point (NWR) shoreline below mean high water to mean low water surrounding the National Wildlife Refuge property is closed to all hunting: No hunting along shoreline.

Lincoln/Central Falls – Pursuant to RIGL 11-47-49.1, discharge of a firearm within the Blackstone Valley Flood Plains or Marshes, also known as “Valley Marshes” is prohibited.

Additional Restrictions

Barrington – The Barrington River between Central Bridge at Massasoit Avenue and Barrington Bridge #123 at County Road is closed to hunting, except for that section on the river east of Puritan Avenue (41.745873° N, -71.309876° W) and west of the point southwest of Seabrook Court (41.744189° N, -71.306622° W). Hunting shall be restricted to the water areas below the vegetation line. Discharge of firearms while waterfowl hunting is restricted to discharge toward open water (seaward).

Bristol – Walker Island – discharge of firearms while waterfowl hunting is restricted to discharge toward open waters (seaward).

East Providence – Check local ordinances for restrictions. The discharge of firearms while waterfowl hunting is restricted to discharge toward open water (seaward).

Warwick – Rock Island and its adjacent groin extending northward off Narragansett Parkway. The discharge of firearms while waterfowl hunting is restricted to discharge toward open water (seaward).

Cranston – Washouset Point (Pawtuxet Cove) north to Fields Point including Stillhouse Cove, the discharge of firearms while waterfowl hunting is restricted to discharge towards open water (seaward). No hunting within five hundred (500) feet of occupied buildings (RIGL 20-13-7) from the shoreline or from a watercraft.

Little Compton – All waterfowl hunters must have the following to hunt the Simmons Mill Pond only in the Simmons Mill Management Area: (a) waterfowl decoys; (b) retrieving breed of hunting dog, and/or a boat without motor, or canoe without motor.

North Kingstown – Waterfowl hunting on Belleville Pond is restricted to the northwest segment of the large pond as designated by DEM signs. The discharge of firearms is restricted toward open waters. Waterfowl hunting is permitted after November 15 by town ordinance. Firearms must remain cased until individual reaches hunting area (blind or boat).

Check local ordinances for shooting or hunting restrictions.

Wanton Waste

All migratory game birds killed or crippled shall be retrieved, if possible, and retained in the custody of the hunter in the field.


No person shall give, put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information:

  1. The hunter’s signature
  2. The hunter’s address
  3. The total number of birds involved, by species
  4. The dates such birds were killedNo person or business shall receive or have in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another unless such birds are properly tagged.

    Possession Of Live Birds

    Wounded birds reduced to possession shall be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.


    No person shall completely field dress any migratory game bird (except doves and band-tailed pigeons) and then transport the birds from the field. The head or one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all such birds while being transported from the field to one’s home or to a migratory bird preservation facility.


    No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with: (a) the name and address of the person sending the birds, (b) the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent, and (c) the number of birds, by species contained in the package.


    For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, hunters should consult 50 CFR 20.61 through 20.66. One fully-feathered wing must remain attached to all migratory birds being transported between the port of entry and one’s home or to a migratory bird preservation facility. No person shall import migratory game birds killed in any foreign country, except Canada, unless such birds are dressed (except as required in 20.63), drawn, and head and feet are removed. No person shall import migratory game birds belonging to another person.


    Federal regulations related to migratory game birds are located in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.

    Hunting On National Wildlife Refuges

    More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on Federal regulations, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agent, 401-364-9124.

    Avian Disease

    Since the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in North America in 2015, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has participated in a nationwide surveillance effort of wild birds. To date, there have been no positive detections of HPAI in wild birds in Rhode Island. The Department and cooperators have scaled back HPAI surveillance efforts and appreciates the past support of hunters in providing specimens for sampling. Despite scaled back surveillance efforts, the Department encourages hunters to remain vigilant and report unusual or suspected mortality events.

    Due to the presence of HPAI in North America, the DFW strongly advises hunters to adhere to the following procedures when handling wild birds to avoid possible exposure to themselves, pets or domestic poultry:

    • Do not handle or butcher game animals that are obviously sick or are found dead.
    • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning game.
    • Wear rubber gloves or cover hands with plastic when cleaning game.
    • Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds after handling game.
    • Carry disinfecting wipes or an alcohol-based gel into the field with you for immediate use after handling game.
    • Wash tools and working surfaces with soap and water, then disinfect with a 10% solution of chlorine bleach.
    • Cook game meat thoroughly—reaching an internal temperature of 165° F.
    • Clean birds in an area that poultry and pet birds cannot access. There should be a solid barrier between your game cleaning area and where birds are housed.
    • Keep a separate pair of shoes to be worn only in the game cleaning area. Clean and disinfect all footwear when coming in and out of the cleaning area.
    • Use dedicated tools for cleaning game, do not mix tools that you use around poultry or pet birds.
    • Double bag offal and feathers, tying both bags shut.
    • Place bags in a container that poultry, pet birds, children, or other pets cannot access.

Contribute to the RI Waterfowl Programs

You can contribute to the RI waterfowl programs by investing in a limited edition stamp set for your home or office. Order forms for collector and signed governor edition 2019 Rhode Island Waterfowl Stamps may be obtained by contacting the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife at 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston, RI 02892, 401-789-0281. The RI Division of Fish and Wildlife thanks waterfowl stamp and print collectors for your past support in funding our Waterfowl and Wetland Conservation Programs, and hope you contribute by adding RI’s 2019-2020 stamp to your collection

If you are concerned about the future of waterfowling, the best way to support adequate waterfowl populations is to:

  • Purchase federal and RI waterfowl stamps
  • Join and participate in private conservation organizations
  • Educate and train youth hunters and introduce them to waterfowling
  • Learn to identify ducks and proper shooting distances to eliminate sky busting and crippling losses.