A Way of Life in the USA

Hunting is a way of life in the United States, and we are here to help you be as successful on the hunt as possible.

Rhode Island Deer Hunting Season

  • May 23, 2013 /

Individuals in Rhode Island preparing for their first deer hunt are about to experience memories that will last a lifetime. There is no excitement which measures up to your first kill, and the State of Rhode Island includes some of the highest widespread deer populations throughout the country. To ensure your best experience, it is wise to educate yourself on the rules, regulations and hunting methods for the State of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island is home to an abundant White Tail deer population with estimates reaching over 16,000 in 2012. Identifiable by small ears, white tipped tail and seasonal gray coat, this species feeds on fruits, acorns and leaves of woody plants and may be located in swamps, fields, and dense woods where optimal shelter is provided.

Hunting License/Permit Regulations:

  • First Time Hunters:

All first time applicants seeking hunting licenses/archery permits must produce a Hunter Safety certificate. Applicants are required to complete a Safe Hunt or Archery Practice course for certificate issuance.

  • Deer Permits:

Deer Permits for the 2012-2013 hunting season will now be sold as Antlered (Buck) and Antlerless permits. Each tag must coincide with the harvested deer.

  • Junior Hunting License:

Junior Hunting Licenses (12-14 of age) require completion of Hunting Safety Courses and all junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult (21 yrs. or older) holding a valid Rhode Island hunting license.

  • Exceptions:

Rhode Island residents age 65 or older may obtain free permit licensing.

  • Harvested Deer

Deer harvested during November 3 through November 6, 2012 must be checked at State operated stations. After this time-period, hunters must report any harvested deer within 24 hours of kill, using a postage-paid RIDEM (Rhode Island Harvest/Kill Report Card).

Deer Hunting Methods

  • Cross Bow/Archery:

Completion of the Rhode Island Bow Hunter Education Course for obtaining an Archery Deer Permit is required. Long bow, re-curve bow, compound bow or crossbow only. Archers may use broad head tipped arrows with two cutting edges. Mechanical and broad head requirements are 7/8 inches or greater.

  • Shotgun:

Only 10, 12, 16 and 20 gauges, plugged to 5 shell maximum. Ammunition should be single lead or alloy, including rifle slug and sabot round.

  • Muzzleloader:

Only single or double barrel flintlock, cap lock, inline ignition system muzzle loading shotgun or rifle. Muzzle loading are permitted .45 calibers or larger. Smoothbore firearms are limited to .50 calibers or 20 gauges or larger; ammunition of single-lead or same caliber to equivalent firearm. Only jacketed and lead sabot round of .43 calibers or larger. Only black powder or State approved equivalent.

Additional Information

  • Hunting Hours:

All deer hunting begins no earlier than 1/2 hour before sunrise and ends no later than 1/2 after sunset.

  • Season Duration:

Archery/Crossbow runs from mid September through the end of January; Muzzleloader (antlerless only) runs through November. Shotgun season is open in early December.

For a list of Check Station locations, State-managed hunting maps, mandated courses and license/permit costs please go to http://www.demi.ri.gov.