Rhode Island Hunting
There are over 55,000 acres of land designated as state management areas in Rhode Island. Maps of management areas are available from the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife at the Great Swamp Field Office or online at: www.dem.ri.gov. Regulations are designed and enforced to allow all outdoor enthusiasts to safely enjoy these land holdings. Hunting and trapping is allowed during the open seasons. In order to effectively manage and safeguard these open areas for people, wildlife, and habitat, the following regulations are to be followed:
- Except for fishing, hunting, launching, and/or mooring of boats, all management areas are closed ½ hour after sunset to 5:00 a.m., except by written permit. (RIGL 32-2-4)
- Camping is prohibited on all areas with the exception of portions designated at Arcadia and George Washington Management Areas. Contact the Division of Forest Environment for camping information (539-2356).
- The use of motorcycles is prohibited except in designated portions of Arcadia Management Area.
- The use of ATVs is prohibited statewide.
- The blocking of any gate, road, or access in State Management Areas is prohibited and subject to fines (RIGL 8-8.2-2).
- Horseback riding is prohibited in the Great Swamp Management Area during small game and shotgun deer season (RIGL 32-2-4).
- Groups consisting of 10 or more persons must obtain a group use permit available from the Division of Forest Environment, 539-2356.
- Galilee Bird Sanctuary is open for Archery deer hunting.
Hunting is permitted in these Undeveloped State Parks:
- Cocumcussoc and Washington Grove
- Burlingame North Camp is open to deer and turkey hunting only (special permit required)
- Snake Den is open to archery hunting only.
- Ninigret Conservation Area/East Beach is open to small game hunting and archery deer hunting only.
- J.L. Curran is open to shotgun and archery hunting only, within the posted designated areas; this area is closed to Mourning Dove hunting.
Dogs on Management Areas
No dogs shall be trained, run, exercised or be permitted to run at large on state management areas from March 15 – August 15, inclusive, without written permission of the State Lands Management Council , except in specified dog training areas (below). Walking of dogs on a leash of not more than twenty-five (25) feet in length shall be permitted on roads and trails only. All dogs being utilized in hunting or training activities must wear a collar bearing the name and address of the owner and the handler must hold in possession a valid dog license or tag but it does not need to be on the dog.
Special Dog Training Areas:
Dog training is allowed in designated areas located within Arcadia Management Area (Midway Trail) in Exeter, Nicholas Farm Management Area (north of Trestle Trail) in Coventry, and Black Farm Management Area in Hopkinton from January 1 to September 30, from sunrise to sunset. The use of live birds is by special permit only. A hunting license is required when training dogs on wild game on state management areas, except when participating in state sanctioned field trials.
Written permission of the landowner, countersigned by the police chief, must be obtained to hunt private property on Prudence Island. South Prudence is closed to small game hunting. The small game season on Prudence Island is November 1 – 30, except on North Prudence, where the small game season is January 1 – 31 ; North Prudence is located north of the State gate, at the northern terminus of Neck Farm Road. Raccoon open season for Prudence Island is the first day of January through the last day of February with written permission of the landowner. Bow hunters with a valid archery deer permit may take raccoon on Prudence Island during legal deer hunting hours beginning on the first day of November and ending on the last day of January.
Waterfowl hunting is permitted no more than 10 feet above mean high water on Prudence Island, except during the early waterfowl season, as established by federal regulation, and during November 1 – 30. Special deer season for disabled hunters limited to paraplegic and double amputee deer hunters only by special permit available at the RI DEM Office of Boat Registration and Licensing (401-222-3576).
Big Gould: No Trespassing April 1 – August 15, for nesting birds.
Dutch Island: Closed to hunting and all other access.
Dyer Island: No Trespassing April 1 – August 15, for nesting birds
East and West Island: No Trespassing April 1 – August 15, for nesting birds.
Hope Island: No Trespassing April 1 – August 15, for nesting birds. All domestic animals prohibited except hunting dogs during small game and waterfowl season.
Patience Island: Closed to Small Game hunting
South Shore Management Area Goose Hunting Cooperative
- Required for all goose hunters during the regular Canada Goose season (November 18 – 26, December 2 – January 29, 2018).
- Must be obtained from the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Great Swamp Field Headquarters, 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston.
- Permits must be carried while goose hunting at the SSMA and must be shown to any DEM Environmental Police Officer or Division of Fish and Wildlife employee upon request.
- Required for Canada goose hunting during the regular goose season (November 18 – 26, December 2 – January 29, 2018).
Additional SSMA Goose Hunting Regulations
- See information packet provided with the goose hunting permit for additional rules and regulations for goose hunting in the SSMA.
- SSMA is CLOSED during the late (February) goose season: February 3 – 9, 2018.
- All regular season Canada goose hunters are required to report their harvest using the hunting activity and harvest record included with their SSMA permit. Failure to do so may result in a loss of hunting privileges for the 2018-19 season.
- Destruction of fencing, equipment, farm property, or standing crops
- Possession or use of alcoholic beverages
- Shooting within 500 feet of an occupied building; shooting near or otherwise disturbing person working in the area
- Urinating or defecating in pit blinds
Additional Hunting Restrictions at SSMA
Dove hunting is allowed in fields 1, 3, 5 and 6 during early dove season. Doves may be taken by permitted goose hunters while goose hunting when the field reservation system is in place during the open Dove season. Possession of lead shot for taking doves while goose hunting is prohibited.
Upland game hunting is allowed only in fields 5 and 6 during the upland game season except during the regular Canada goose seasons. All upland hunting is prohibited during regular goose season, including Youth Waterfowl Weekend.
Deer hunting during the archery season is allowed ONLY in the wooded portions of field 3, 5 and 6 throughout the archery season, including during the regular Canada goose season when the field reservation system is in place.
Deer hunting during the muzzleloader season is allowed ONLY in the wooded portions of field 5 and 6, EXCEPT during the regular Canada goose season
Deer hunting during the shotgun season is allowed ONLY in field 6 and its wooded portions EXCEPT during the regular Canada goose season.
Waterfowl hunting is allowed outside of the regular Canada goose season but within legal waterfowl seasons and without special hunting permits, reservation, or decoy restrictions, once crops are harvested. The taking of ducks during legal duck seasons is permitted while goose hunting.
Violations of any SSMA regulations, state management area regulations, and/or any state or federal hunting laws will result in loss of hunting privileges on the SSMA for a period of one year, beginning from the date of the violation.
For additional information see the R.I. 2017-2018 Hunting Regulations or call the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 401-789-0281.