Small Game and Bird Hunting Regulations in Rhode Island

General Shooting Hours

  • Legal shooting hours for game species: Sunrise to sunset.
  • Exceptions: Coyote and raccoon have different specified hours.

Small Game Seasons and Limits

  1. Season Duration:
    • From the third Saturday in October to the end of February.
  2. Cottontail Rabbit:
    • Daily bag limit: Three.
  3. Red and Gray Squirrel:
    • Daily bag limit: Five, either species or combined.
  4. Fox Hunting:
    • Daily bag limit: Unlimited.
  5. Restricted Areas:
    • Patience Island: Closed for small game, open for coyotes and raccoons.
    • Prudence Island: Heritage property closed during open archery deer season.

Bird Hunting Seasons and Limits

  1. Bobwhite Quail and Ring-Necked Pheasant:
    • Season: Third Saturday in October to the end of February.
    • Daily bag limits: Pheasant - Two; Bobwhite Quail - Three.
  2. Youth Pheasant Weekend:
    • Second full weekend in October.
  3. Ruffed Grouse:
    • Season: Closed.
  4. Game Bird Permit:
    • Required for hunting quail and pheasant.
  5. New Shoreham (Block Island):
    • Special pheasant season dates for 2023-2025.
    • Daily bag limit: Two male pheasants.
    • Steel or other non-toxic shot required.

Youth Pheasant Hunting Weekend

  1. Eligibility:
    • Hunters aged 12 to 15.
  2. Permit Requirements:
    • All hunters must have a game bird permit.
  3. Junior Hunters:
    • Ages 12 to 14 require adult supervision.
    • One adult can accompany up to two junior hunters.
    • Accompanying adults cannot hunt.
  4. Independence at Age 15:
    • Fifteen-year-olds may hunt without adult supervision.
  5. Designated Hunting Areas:
    • Great Swamp, Durfee Hill, and Eight Rod Farm Management Areas.
  6. Bag Limit:
    • Two pheasants per day

Compliance with State Laws

  • All shooting preserves and hunters must adhere to R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 20-17-1 through 20-17-11 and 20-19-2.

Importation of Game Birds

  • Compliance with Part 40-05-1 of Title, governing the importation of domestic animals, is mandatory for all imported game birds, including chicks and eggs.

Game Propagation Permit Requirements

  1. General Permit Rules:
    • Possession of a valid game propagation permit is compulsory for possessing, releasing, or hunting artificially propagated game birds.
    • Permits are obtainable from the RI DEM Office of Boat Registration and Licensing.
  2. Hunting Clubs:
    • Permit fee: $5.00.
    • Proof of ownership of 25+ acres required.
    • Record keeping of game birds is mandatory.
    • Health and disease certification of game birds is a prerequisite.
    • Restrictions on the release and hunting of game birds.
    • Bag limits: 2 pheasants or 3 bobwhite quail per hunter per day; no limit for chukar.
    • Penalties for false information or non-compliance.
  3. Shooting Preserves:
    • Permit fee: $25.00.
    • Proof of ownership of 120+ acres required.
    • Similar record-keeping and health certification requirements as hunting clubs.
    • Unlimited bag limit for released game birds.
    • Specific documentation requirements for hunters.
    • Revocation penalties for false information or violations.

Enforcement and Adjudication

  • Detailed processes for handling revocations and appeals are outlined, including deadlines for filing a request for an adjudicative hearing with the Administrative Adjudication Division in Providence, RI.

Woodchuck Hunting

  • Private Lands: No closed season.
  • State Lands: Season from the third Saturday in October to the end of February.
  • Bag Limit: Unlimited.

Small Game Hunting: Methods of Take

  1. Shotgun: Use of shot not larger than No. 2.
  2. Muzzleloader: Maximum caliber of .40 for small mammals.
  3. Air Rifles: Minimum caliber of .177 and maximum of .22, with a minimum velocity of 750 FPS for specific small mammals.
  4. Archery Equipment: Use of field points, small game blunts, or judo points; broadhead arrows require a valid archery deer tag.
  5. Crossbow: Permitted for small game mammals; not for birds.
  6. Education Requirement: Bow hunter education course completion required.

Upland Game Bird Hunting: Methods of Take

  1. Shotgun: Use of bird shot not larger than No. 2.
  2. Archery Equipment: Minimum draw weight for deer hunting, using small game blunts or judo points.
  3. Crossbow Prohibition: Birds cannot be taken with a crossbow.
  4. Education Requirement: Bow hunter education course completion required.

Coyote Hunting Regulations

  • Private Lands: No closed season.
  • State Lands: Season from September 15 to the end of February and during the open spring turkey hunting season.
  • Prudence and Patience Islands: During Zone 3 archery deer season with a valid archery deer permit.
  • Shooting Hours: Half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset.
  • Methods: Electronic calls and decoys permitted; unlimited bag limit.
  • Firearms Restrictions: Refer to R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-13-13.

Coyote Hunting During Spring Turkey Season

  • Requirement of a valid turkey permit for hunting on State lands.

Safety Regulations for Coyote Hunting

  • Fluorescent Orange Requirement: 200 square inches from the third Saturday in October to the end of February; 500 square inches during shotgun deer season.

Coyote Baiting Regulations

  • Private Property: Use of carcasses or meat parts allowed.
  • State Lands: Prohibited.

Coyote Hunting: Legal Methods of Take

  • Shotgun, rimfire rifle, bow and arrow, and crossbow; centerfire rifles permitted on private lands from April 1 to September 30.

Raccoon Hunting Season and Regulations

  • Season: 6:00 P.M. October 1 to the end of February.
  • Bag Limit: Unlimited.
  • Archery Permit Holders: May hunt during legal deer shooting hours.
  • Prudence and Patience Islands: Specific season dates and requirements.
  • Hunting Methods: Use of a gun with a dog, specific caliber and shot size restrictions, and light source regulations.

Legal Hunting Methods and Restrictions for Raccoon

  • Regulations on rifles, shotgun shells, and light sources during raccoon hunts.


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