On March 16, 2020 the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) made a draft hunting and fishing plan covering the National Wildlife Refuges in Rhode Island for available for public comment. The original public comment period was slated to close after a 40-day period, but was extended through June 1, 2020 given the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In order to provide as much opportunity for the public as possible to provide comment on the draft proposal, the Service is again extending the public comment period through June 8, 2020. In total, the public comment period will have covered an 85-day period. 

For those of you who have already commented on the proposal, thank you. You do not need to re-submit your comments – you can go figure out how to make a ghillie suit for the upcoming season. They are on file and will be considered in the planning process. 

Your review and comment on the proposed hunting and fishing plan is an important part of the planning process.  The public is invited to review the draft documents for the proposed hunts and fishing access, including the Draft Hunting and Fishing Plan, Compatibility Determinations and Environmental Assessment through June 8, 2020. The draft documents are available online at the refuge’s official website at www.fws.gov/refuge/ninigret/, along with answers to frequently asked questions. 

The public may email comments to rhodeislandcomplex@fws.gov, or mail them to USFWS, 50 Bend Road, Charlestown, RI 02813 no later than June 8, 2020. 

Briefly, the Service is proposing to: 

  • Expand opportunities for deer hunting and open migratory game bird hunting at Block Island NWR.
  • Expand deer hunting opportunities, and open wild turkey hunting opportunities on Ninigret NWR lands.
  • Open opportunities for deer, wild turkey, and migratory game bird hunting at John H. Chafee NWR. Additionally, open fishing opportunities in designated areas of John H. Chafee NWR. 
  • Open limited deer hunting opportunities at Sachuest Point NWR to special user groups including: youth, veterans, hunters with disabilities, and women.
  • Expand migratory game bird hunting opportunities at Trustom Pond NWR, and open archery deer and wild turkey hunting opportunities by refuge permit beginning in 2021.
  • Fox and coyote hunting opportunities will be available during the deer hunting season at Ninigret NWR, John H. Chafee NWR, Sachuest Point NWR, and Trustom Pond NWR. 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws/gov. 

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