PROVIDENCE – Every year sportsmen and women head afield looking to harvest wild game to provide healthy nutrition for themselves and their loved ones. Hunters can harvest an array of wild game in Rhode Island, including waterfowl, wild turkeys, and white-tailed deer. According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), 2,122 white-tailed deer were harvested in the state during the 2018-2019 deer hunting season. For each deer harvested, approximately 30% of its body weight is available as consumable venison (deer meat). From this year's deer harvest, over 37 tons of consumable venison was produced – equivalent to about 150,000 meals.
Wild game is a lean, healthy, and delicious source of protein that is available to all licensed hunters in Rhode Island. To obtain a hunting license, applicants must first complete a free hunter education course that is offered by DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife's Hunter Education program. To sign up for a free course, call the Hunter Education Office (401-539-0019) or visit our website.
Recent surveys have shown that most hunters hunt to provide food for their families, while also enjoying time spent with family and friends in the outdoors. RI hunters directly participate in the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. By purchasing hunting licenses and permits, hunters are helping to fund the conservation of habitat and wildlife (including non-game species) in Rhode Island. In addition, the Wildlife Restoration Act, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, places an excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment that goes to funding wildlife restoration projects across the United States and in Rhode Island. Wildlife is a renewable resource that when managed properly can provide sustenance in the form of wild, local, sustainable protein year after year to its consumers.
For questions about hunting, consuming wild game, or the conservation of wildlife, contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at DEM.DFW@dem.ri.gov. For more information about DEM's programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.