August 10, 2020

USFWS Revises Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex Hunting and Fishing Plan

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator

Rhode Island’s sporting community may have additional hunting and fishing opportunities headed its way, as a the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently published the 2020 Final Hunting and Fishing Plan (Plan) for the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex. While the Plan does vary from what was initially proposed by the USFWS in March (March Plan), the revised Plan would certainly provide additional benefits to hunters and anglers on the Rhode Island NWR Complex.

Consistent with the earlier Plan, Block Island NWR would be open for the hunting of whitetail deer on all 133 available acres, while 9 acres would permit migratory waterfowl hunting. At John H. Chafee NWR, the USFWS seeks to open 451 acres for the hunting of deer, wild turkey, fox, and coyote – accounting for 97% of the area initially proposed (461 acres) under the March Plan and 80% of the refuge’s total real estate (563 acres). In similar fashion, almost all 883 acres on Ninigret NWR would permit the hunting of whitetail deer, wild turkey, and certain predator species. Additionally, opportunities would be available at Sachuest Point NWR for archery hunters through the opening of 150 total acres for their pursuits. Finally, at Trustom Pond NWR, the Plan has called for an authorization of archery hunting on 358 acres on the refuge’s western region.

In early June, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted testimony to the Rhode Island NWR in support of the March Plan. CSF remains supportive of the increased hunting and fishing opportunities that the final Plan would bring, and will remain engaged with the USFWS on this matter. For more information, please follow this link.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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