PROVIDENCE – A new licensing system that provides more options for buying hunting and fishing licenses was launched this month by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
Implementation of the new system is part of efforts to encourage people to head outdoors and enjoy the numerous recreational opportunities made possible by the sound management of Rhode Island's natural resources and statewide efforts to improve customer service and streamline processes. The system replaces paper-based license issuances and accounting methods and builds upon the current offering of online fishing licenses to include hunting licenses, permits, tags, and stamps. Fishers and hunters are now able to access their accounts 24/7, so they can manage their licenses, add new permits and licenses from the comfort of home, on the go, or even out in the field. To date, nearly 2,800 licenses and over 500 permits have been purchased since the system launched on March 1.
"We're excited to offer this expanded online system as we work to make all of our great outdoor recreational activities more accessible than ever before," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "This launch means there's no more waiting for regular retail hours or a delay until a fishing or hunting license arrives by mail. I am proud of the work our team continues to do to support these treasured Rhode Island traditions and to expand opportunities for children and families to get outdoors, enjoy nature, and participate in healthy activities."
The new system, accessible at dem.ri.gov/huntfish, secures licensing and registration information electronically and enables customers to save frequently used information, report harvests online, and carry proof of licenses and permits in one document. The system issues each user a Rhode Island Fishing and Hunting ID, or RIFHID (pronounced Rye-fid). This number is unique to each customer and can be used to quickly access the system to reprint lost or damaged licenses and permits, purchase additional permits, and renew licenses in subsequent years.
Licenses are still available for purchase at DEM's Office of Boating Registration & Licenses in Providence and participating sales agent locations across the state. Currently, residents and non-resident customers are able to purchase freshwater fishing, recreational saltwater fishing, hunting, and combination freshwater fishing and hunting licenses, as well as trout stamps. Spring turkey permits will be available later this month and starting in April, hunters will be able to report their harvests online. In August, hunters will be able to purchase hunting permits for deer, migratory bird, and small game and will be able to report all harvests online. There are no additional fees for purchases made online or at DEM. If customers make purchases at a sales agent, there will be an enhanced access fee of $2 per license and $0.50 per permit for residents; for non-residents, the additional fee will be $3 per license and $1 per permit. Enhanced access fees will be used to offset the administrative costs to bill, track, and account transactions at sales agent locations such as bait shops and sporting goods stores, and to support system development, operation, support, and maintenance.
The enhanced system was developed by Rhode Island Interactive, LLC (RII). RII previously partnered with DEM to issue the online freshwater fishing license, which has been active for over 10 years, and the online and vendor based system to issue saltwater fishing licenses since 2010.
As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in Rhode Island, hunting and fishing play an important role in connecting people with nature, supporting quality of life and family traditions, and attracting tourism. Fishers and hunters purchase around 70,000 licenses, permits, stamps, and tags each year and contribute more than $235 million to Rhode Island's economy. Revenue generated from license and permit sales support Rhode Island fish and wildlife conservation programs. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars that support outdoor recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, and boating in Rhode Island.
More information about the new licensing system is available at dem.ri.gov/huntfish. The site also acts as a portal to help plan adventures that make the most of Rhode Island's great outdoors. The site 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 DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.