Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Rhode Island [No, Know Why]

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Killing pigeons is nothing new. People have been taking down pigeons for centuries for one reason or another. But, to preserve wildlife, pigeon hunting is now limited to a few states. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in Rhode Island? 

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in Rhode Island. You can kill nuisance pigeon species on your property. There is no need for a hunting license or permit. But to hunt doves, you will have to wait for hunting season.  

Dove hunting happens once a year. But you can shoot Rock pigeons at any time all year. Continue reading to learn more about hunting laws. 

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Rhode Island? 

In Rhode Island, it is legal to hunt and eat all pigeon species. But it is unlawful to take down migratory pigeon species off-season. There are two pigeon species in the state, Rock pigeons and Mourning doves. You can hunt the Rock pigeon any time, but to shoot a Mourning dove, you must wait for hunting season.  

Mourning doves are graceful, slender-tailed, and small-headed doves. They are 9-13 inches long and with a wingspan of 15-18 inches. Mourning doves are greyish-brown overall with black spots on their wings and under their eyes. It has a small, thin black bill and pink legs and feet.  

Hunters can take them down during Small games, which start in September and ends in December. It is split into days according to the breeding season. The hunting begins on September 10 and ends on October 9. It starts again on October 15 and ends on November 27. Lastly, it begins on December 10 and ends on 25. There is also a daily bag of 15 Mourning doves during hunting season.

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Rhode Island? 

It is illegal to hunt Mourning doves off-season as they are migratory birds. The birds that fly hundreds of kilometers to find the best climatic conditions and habitats for feeding and raising their young are known as Migratory birds. The USA protects such birds.  

According to the law, you cannot kill, harm, trap, trade, or transport such birds without state permission. Any person that harms migratory doves commits a felony and will be charged accordingly. So, you cannot hunt Mourning doves unless it is hunting season in Rhode Island.  

Dove hunting is not only limited to days, but it is also not legal to take down more than 15 doves per day. The possession limit is also 45. So, hunting or owning more birds than the limit is unlawful. 

Eating Mourning doves is safe and legal. On the other hand, eating Rock pigeons might be legal, but it is unsafe. Rock pigeons transmit bacteria to humans. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Rhode Island State 

Shooting pigeons is legal, but it requires some skills. There are rules in Rhode Island to ensure safe pigeon hunting. Read through the laws and their detail below to learn more about pigeon shooting in the state. 

Hunting Education  

According to the Rhode Island hunting law, it is not legal to issue a hunting license to any person until they have completed their hunter’s education. You can be exempted from the law if you have a previous hunting license. People serving or have been honorably discharged from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are exempt from the hunter education. 

Hunting License  

  • A Rhode Island resident hunting license is available to any person that is living in Rhode Island for six months. College students that are living in Rhode Island are not eligible for the resident hunting license.   
  • Any resident or non-resident applying for a hunting or combination license must show a previous Rhode Island Hunting or combination license. They must have a hunter safety course certificate from any state or Canadian province.  
  • The hunting license is also available to military personnel who are active members of the US army or Marines.   
  • Junior hunters must be between the ages of 12 to 14. Before obtaining a hunting license, they should have either a previous Rhode Island junior hunting license or a hunter safety course certificate from any state. 
  • There is no expiration date on resident or non-resident hunting licenses.  

Migratory Birds 

  • The daily bag limit of doves is 15. But, the possession limit of migratory birds is three times the daily bag limit. The field possession limit must be equal to the daily bag limit. 
  • The Mourning dove hunting season is split into three seasons. 

Shooting Hours 

  • The first segment hunting time is noon to sunset 
  • In the Second and third seasons, hunting begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. 

Private Property  

No person can hunt, pursue, take, or kill any wild bird in the state without having first a license. However, a resident can hunt on their land without a hunting license. The landowner or tenant’s spouse and children can also hunt without a permit or hunting license.  

But, the land must not be for club shooting purposes. It can be agricultural land or leased land for other purposes. However, to hunt on someone else land, you will need a license and permit. Without these documents, it will be considered trespassing. 

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Rhode Island State? 

The Rhode Island authorities do not protect pigeons. So, it is legal to hunt and shoot them. To ensure safe and legal hunting, one must abide by the laws. Below are some pointers to assist you in pigeon hunting and shooting in Rhode Island.  

  • You must carry a hunting license and necessary permits on the field. The hunting license can be on an e-device or in print.  
  • The hunting license is available at the wildlife center, or you can purchase one online. 
  • To hunt Migratory pigeons, one will need a permit from the wildlife office. 
  • Hunters must wear blaze orange or fluorescent pink vests and caps when hunting or carrying firearms. 
  • Shotguns, air rifles, bows, and arrows are legal weapons to take down pigeons. The shotguns are only for hunting doves. So, it must not be larger than ten gauges. It must hold only three shells, not more than that. 
  • It is unlawful to use poison on any weapon, either gun shells or arrows.  
  • You cannot use decoys, electronic calls, or food to attract Mourning doves. However, you can use these tricks for Feral pigeons.   
  • Do not hunt more than the assigned bag count else you will face the charges.   
  • During gaming season, inform the bag and possession count of doves.   
  • Tag the doves or pigeons before transporting or discarding them.   

Summing Up

It is legal to kill pigeons in Rhode island. Hunting pigeons is easy if you know the rules. So, go through all the laws before taking down any pigeons. Remember, it is essential to have a hunting license to shoot protected or unprotected species.  

The authorities allow individuals to eliminate pigeons from their surroundings. You can kill, shoot and hunt pigeons. But, it is illegal to cause harm to Mourning doves. This dove is under the protection of federal authorities, and you can’t hunt them all year. To shoot them, you will have to participate in a small game.