Rhode Island is home to several of the most prized game animals, including deer and turkey. However, dozens of others are deemed endangered, threatened, or of special concern, either by the federal or state government.
Formed in 1978, the Rhode Island Natural Heritage Program maintains a roster of species
that need close monitoring, maintaining a comprehensive list in its publication “Rare Native Animals of Rhode Island." These animals are off-limits to anyone hunting in Rhode Island, and killing one could come with severe legal penalties.
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The following animals all have some form of protected status and should be avoided when hunting in Rhode Island:
1. Bobcat (Threatened)
The Rhode Island Natural Heritage Program noted this animal is listed as threatened at the state level. The state not does have an open hunting season for the bobcat, as explained in the Rhode Island Hunting and Trapping Regulation Guide
2. Bald Eagle (Protected)
Long before the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1967, the bald eagle received federal protection. Under 1940's Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, it became illegal to take one of these birds. The bald eagle was removed from the Endangered Species List in 2011, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it remains protected
by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both of which prohibit the taking or killing of the bald eagle.
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3. Barn Owl (Endangered)
Though not federally listed as threatened or endangered, the barn owl is listed as endangered at the state level. The bird is also protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the University of Michigan
4. Peregrine Falcon (Endangered)
This bird is listed as endangered at the state level, and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island said
it had, at one point, been included on the federal endangered species list. However, a ban on the pesticide DDT in the 1970s and breeding programs throughout New England helped restore their numbers. In fact, the society said on its website that the year 2000 marked the first time in 49 years that a pair of peregrine falcons had nested in Rhode Island. The peregrine is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and is not legal for hunting in Rhode Island.
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.
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