Photo by Dean Birch

DEM Reminds Hunters to Bring Harvested Deer to Check Stations at Opening of Muzzleloader and Shotgun Seasons

The Rhode Island DEM is reminding deer hunters that all deer taken during the first two days of the muzzleloader deer season – Saturday, Nov. 4, and Sunday, Nov. 5 – and the first two days of shotgun deer season – Saturday, Dec. 2, and Sunday, Dec. 3 – must be physically checked at one of five state-run biological check stations. This includes deer taken with archery equipment. Exempt from this requirement are deer taken on Patience Island, Prudence Island, and Block Island; these must be reported using DEM’s online licensing system.  

Operating Hours are 8 AM until 6 PM daily. The five check stations are located at: 

o  Arcadia Management Area: Route 165, Ten Rod Road, at Wood River, Exeter. Phone: 401-539-7117 

o  Carolina Management Area: Pine Hill Road, Richmond. Phone: 401-364-3483 

o  Durfee Hill Management Area: Reynolds Road (Route 94), Glocester. Phone: 401-568-6753 

o  Great Swamp Management Area: 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston, Phone: 401-789-1636 

o  Tiverton Rod and Gun Club: 1529 Fish Road, Tiverton. Phone: 401-624-3959  

Hunters are reminded that although the check station will be open, Durfee Hill Management Area remains closed. In September, DEM announced that it has temporarily closed recreational areas in Glocester, including Durfee Hill Management Area and George Washington Management Area, until further notice to lessen the risk of visitors and staff being bitten by mosquitoes potentially carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). This closure remains in effect until the first hard frost of autumn occurs and kills adult mosquitoes, allowing DEM to reopen the closed areas.

Check stations allow biologists and volunteers to collect samples and take data that provides insight into the overall health of Rhode Island’s deer herd. Outside of check stations, hunters are required to report their deer harvest online within 24 hours of harvest. Deer must be tagged in the field, with a valid deer tag for the appropriate season, immediately upon taking. Those who do not have internet service or cellular data access may call DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) at 401-789-0281 between 8:30 AM and 4 PM Monday through Friday to report their harvest.

Deer hunters are required to obtain written permission annually for all deer hunting on private lands. DFW has developed a courtesy card, available on the DEM website, for hunters and landowners to sign that gives the dates for permissions and contains A Hunter’s Pledge regarding principles of conduct. DEM encourages private landowners to allow hunters to hunt deer on their property, where feasible, during deer hunting seasons as this is a sound management technique that benefits deer habitats and regulates population growth. Regulated hunting has proven to be the most cost-effective, efficient, and successful method of controlling deer populations, which helps ensure that the population remains in balance with ecological and social factors. Hunter education is offered as part of DFW’s Hunter Education Program. Safety training is required by law in Rhode Island for beginner hunters. To date, more than 40,000 people have completed a hunter safety course, helping to reduce accidents here and elsewhere. A complete schedule of hunter educational offerings is available here

DEM works to protect and enhance wildlife habitat in Rhode Island forests and management areas to ensure healthier, more diverse, and abundant wildlife populations. Hunting has a long tradition in Rhode Island, supporting family customs, connecting people with nature, and attracting tourism to the state. Hunters provide funding for wildlife conservation through their purchase of firearms and ammunition through the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program, and through the purchase of their state hunting licenses. Hunters and anglers purchase around 70,000 licenses, permits, stamps, and tags each year and contribute more than $235 million to Rhode Island’s economy. Without the contribution of legal and responsible hunters, DEM would not be able to conserve and protect our state’s wildlife.

To purchase a hunting license, or for more Information about Rhode Island’s hunting and fishing licensing system, visit DEM’S Rhode Island Outdoors (RIO) portal. RIO acts as a portal to help plan adventures that make the most of Rhode Island’s great outdoors. It links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, trails, and natural areas through a variety of maps, as well as certification information for hunter safety and boating safety. For more information on seasons, bag limits, zones, and regulations, review the Rhode Island Hunting and Trapping 2023-2024 Regulation Guide.

DEM reminds hikers, bike riders, horseback riders, and all other visitors of state management areas and undeveloped state parks that, for safety reasons, they must wear solid, daylight fluorescent orange during hunting seasons. From the second Saturday in September to the last day of February and the third Saturday in April to the last day in May, except during the shotgun deer seasons in December when a minimum of 500 square inches is required, hunters and all other users of management areas and designated undeveloped state parks must wear a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange, such as a hat. During the shotgun deer seasons in December, a minimum of 500 square inches of solid, daylight fluorescent orange clothing – a hat and vest – is required. Waterfowl hunters hunting from a boat or blind, over water or field, and when done in conjunction with decoys are exempt from the orange requirements. Archers are exempt from wearing orange in areas of the state that are limited to hunting by archery-only. For more details, please visit




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