ESPN Outdoors 2005-2006 Whitetail Forecast

Season dates:

  • Archery: Mainland - Oct. 1-Jan. 31; Prudence & Patience Islands - Oct. 21-Jan. 8; Block Island - Oct.17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 31; Nov. 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30; December 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9; Conanicut and Aquidneck Islands (excluding Newport) - Oct. 1-Jan. 31.

  • Muzzleloader: Mainland - Oct. 31-Nov. 18; Conanicut and Aquidneck Islands(excluding Newport) - Oct. 31-Nov.18.

  • Youth/disabled: Paraplegic, Prudence - Oct. 11-14; Paraplegic, Fort Greene - Oct. 18-21; Junior Archery, Mainland - Sept. 24-25.

  • Firearm(shotgun): Mainland - Dec. 3-11 (state and private land) and Dec.12-18 (private land only); Block Island - Nov. 28, 29, and 30; Dec. 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, and 22; Jan. 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30, and 31; Feb. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17; Conanicut & Aquidneck Islands (excluding Newport) - Dec. 3-18.

  • Special antlerless: Muzzleloader - Mainland and Conanicut and Aquidneck Islands (excluding Newport) - Nov. 24-27; and Dec. 22-26 (private land only).

Resident license fees: Hunting license: $18; deer permit: $12.50.

Nonresident license fees: Hunting license: $45; deer permit: $25.50.

Bag limit: Mainland: One (1) either sex and two (2) antlerless; Prudence and Patience Islands: One (1) either sex and one (1) antlerless; Block Island: No limit, but possession of only five (5) permits at any one time; Conanicut and Aquidneck Islands: One (1) either sex and one (1) antlerless.

Hunter education/bowhunter education required? Hunter safety education is required. Bowhunter safety education is required.

Population for 2005: 16,000 deer.

Season forecast: As she did a year ago, Lori Gibson, the supervising wildlife biologist for Rhode Island Fish and Wildlife is giving a thumbs up for Ocean State deer hunters this fall.

While diminutive in size, both in terms of state land mass and overall deer numbers, Rhode Island's deer herd appears to be in relatively good shape heading into this autumn.

That has led Gibson to anticipate that there will be a "…very good harvest…" for this New England state in 2005.

If that does indeed occur, deer hunters should be a smiling, satisfied lot this fall across Rhode Island.

2004 harvest: 2,683 deer.

Bow harvest: 783 deer.

Muzzleloader harvest: 1,173 deer.

Firearm harvest: 727 deer.

Number of licensed deer hunters: Approximately 9,000.

Deer hunter success rates: 14.9 percent.

Number of bowhunters: 3,000.

Bowhunter success rates: 14.7 percent.

Number of muzzleloader hunters: 4,600.

Muzzleloader success rates: 16.8 percent.

Number of firearm hunters: 3,800.

Firearm success rates: 12.9 percent.

Top counties/regions: Kent County.

Top public-hunting spots: Arcadia Management Area and the Prudence/Patience Islands.

Testing conducted for chronic wasting disease?: Yes.

Units/areas that tested positive for chronic wasting disease: None.

State record typical: 164 3/8 inch 10-point buck.

State record non-typical: 156 7/8 inch 14-point buck.

State record archery typical: 160 4/8 inches.

State record archery non-typical: N/A. Gibson suggests that hunters visit the www.bigbuckclub.com Web site for more information on big whitetails in Rhode Island.

More information: Call the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Fish and Wildlife at (401)789-0281. Or you can log on to the agency's Web site. To report a poacher, call (401) 222-3070.

Did you know? To keep the state of Rhode Island free of chronic wasting disease, Gibson indicates that the state has implemented restrictions on the importing of deer. She urges deer hunters to check out the details on the Internet … The largest buck taken in Rhode Island weighed 274 pounds field dressed. It was taken by Wendell Crothers on private land in 1997 … In 2001, the Division of Fish and Wildlife implemented a voluntary sighting log survey for the state's archery deer hunters according to the agency's Web site. The survey is modeled after similar surveys in other states such as New York and Virginia. The objective of the sighting log survey is to collect reliable information on a variety of Rhode Island wildlife species to help monitor the relative abundance of these species over time … How far has Rhode Island's deer herd come? Well, according to information on the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Web site, the state's overall deer harvest in 1977 was 95 deer. Last year, Ocean State deer hunters tagged 727 deer … According to the agency's Web site, deer were imported to Block Island in 1967 at the request of the town council. The deer population has soared over the years, however, resulting in numerous complaints of deer damage. That's due in part to the fact that natural deer predators are lacking on the island and hunting wasn't permitted until a few years ago. While such complaints were addressed through deer damage permits, the Block Island herd grew to 700 whitetails by 1994. In 1996 a regulated season was initiated and a referendum was passed to drastically reduce the area's deer herd … Last year's big bucks in Rhode Island included a Providence County 14 pointer taken by Richard Napolitano with a gross non-typical archery score of 167 5/8 inches; a Providence County 10 point muzzleloader buck taken by Rick Lees with a gross typical score of 163 inches … Perhaps the year's best overall deer kill however was a 159 1/8 inch crossbow buck from Washington County. The deer was taken by 93-year old hunter William Goodhue … The mainland mean dressed weight for an adult deer harvested in 2004/2005 was 141.6 pounds according to the Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site … Rhode Island hunters took 1,268 bucks last year as opposed to 892 does … Prudence Island currently has had one of the most concentrated white-tailed deer herds according to the Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site.