Rhode Island Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Rhode Island Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014
Gene White of Hope Rhode Island harvested this fine tom.

Rhode Island turkey hunting enthusiasts killed 153 bearded birds in 2013.  This tally was up sharply from the 2012 total of 104 but considerably below some harvests earlier this century when 200-plus toms were regularly killed.

Poult production was very unsatisfactory in 2012, which means that there well may be a lack of 2-year-old toms this spring. All hens observed in 2013 had offspring, meaning plenty of jakes should be prowling the state's woodlots in April and May of 2014.

Rhode Island has over 60,000 acres of public land, which doesn't sound like much, but that figure is roughly 10% of the entire state, which is impressive. The Arcadia Management Area (14,000 acres) is probably the best known public land in the Ocean State, but the George Washington Management Area (4,000 acres) also has its fans. Some of the other well-known destinations include the Durfee Hill, Big River, and Nicholas Farm WMAs.

One of the most interesting aspects of Rhode Island turkey hunting regulations is that it is illegal to shoot a bird from the roost — a restriction that all states ought to have. The stat also bans stalking or sneak hunting, feeling that by doing so, hunters are far less likely to be shot by other individuals.

In 2013, the top tallies for towns were Coventry (21), Richmond (15), Scituate (13), Glocester (12), Tiverton (11), and W. Greenwich (11).  No other community in the state reached double figures.

The bag limit is one bearded per day and for the season.  The season will run from April 30 through May 25.  A special season for juniors and paraplegics is April 26 and 27.

Trip Planning Info: Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife: www.dem.ri.gov, 401-789-0281. Tourism: www.visitrhodeisland.com, 800-556-2484.

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