PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with Ducks Unlimited and the Federated Rhode Island Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc., will offer a youth waterfowl orientation and training workshop from 4 PM to 7 PM on Tuesday, September 29, at the Great Swamp Field Headquarters in West Kingston. The workshop will provide an overview of rules and regulations, firearm safety, waterfowl identification, hunting with dogs, and the proper gear, equipment and clothing needed for waterfowl hunting.
The workshop is open to all youths ages 12 to 15 who have completed a hunter education course and their guardians. They will have an opportunity to shoot clay targets at the Great Swamp Shooting Range during the workshop. Clay targets, safety gear, and 12- and 20-gauge ammunition will be provided by the Division of Fish & Wildlife's Hunter Education Program. Participants may bring their own 12- or 20-gauge shotgun to the program or use one provided by DFW.
Workshop participants also will be eligible to participate in a mentored youth waterfowl hunt that will take place on Saturday, October 24. The hunt can accommodate a limited number of participants, and participation will be determined by the order in which registrations are received. During the mentored hunt, which is jointly sponsored by DEM and Ducks Unlimited, a volunteer from Ducks Unlimited will be paired with a youth and their parent or guardian for an exciting morning afield hunting ducks and/or geese. A current RI hunting license and Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit is required for participation in the mentored hunt.
Throughout the workshop and mentored hunt, all participants must wear a face covering and main six feet of physical distancing from others.
Space is limited and pre-registration is required by September 25 for both the training workshop and the mentored hunt. Interested participants must complete the registration form and return it by email to Madison.firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to the Division of Fish & Wildlife Education Office, 1B Camp-E-Hun-Tee Place, Exeter, RI 02822. To inquire about available space after September 25 or for more information, contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Education Office at (401) 539-0019.
Youth waterfowl hunting days are October 24 and 25 and provide an opportunity for youth hunters age 12 to 15 to hunt ducks and geese. Youth hunters are required to possess a current Rhode Island hunting license and HIP permit. Parents or guardians assisting youths are prohibited from possessing a firearm and hunting during the youth waterfowl hunting days.
Hunter education is offered as part of the DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife's Hunter Education Program. Safety training is required by law in Rhode Island for beginning hunters. To date, more than 40,000 people have completed a hunter safety course in Rhode Island, helping to reduce related accidents in the state and elsewhere. A complete schedule of hunter educational offerings is available at www.dem.ri.gov/huntereducation.
Hunting has a long tradition in Rhode Island, supporting family customs, connecting people with nature, and attracting tourism to the state. 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. 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 Rhode Island's hunting and fishing licensing system is available at www.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