Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 11-07-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | NOVEMBER 7-13, 2019 THE VALLEY 13 liked, but that's because he's distracted with other things." The number of youth hunters in Rhode Island has fluctuated over the years, but the general trend is similar to hunting licenses overall. In 2009, the number of licensed hunters ages 12 to 14 peaked at a five-year high of 183 before dropping to just 78 in 2017. According to DiPietro, that's concerning, since today's young hunters are tomorrow's adult hunting population. Some bright spots There are a few bright spots for hunting in Rhode Island. Though the number of hunters has been in near- constant decline for the past 20 years, fee increases and restructuring in the RIDEM's license and permitting system means that the total amount of funds collected from hunting and fishing activities remains more or less steady. In 2017, those activities brought in close to $1.1 million, form- ing the 25 percent match required by the Pittman-Robertson Act. The decline also appears to be reversing. In 2018, licensed hunters saw their first population growth in six years, increasing to 7,564 hunters from 6,291 in 2017. Youth hunting was also up last year, with 91 hunters compared with 78 the year before. It's too early to tell if the increase will continue, but both DiPietro and Ferreira speculated it might be due to the popularity of the state's new online resources. Hunters can now apply for licenses and take the basic hunter education course online, activi- ties that previously required visiting a vendor or sitting for several hours of classwork. "The bottom line is, we want to get people involved with hunting and to get more hunting licenses," said DiPietro. A new way to conservation? With fewer hunters in the general population, Ferreira questioned wheth- er a new model might eventually be developed to replace some of the lost conservation funds. Activities such as hiking, biking and birding are growing in popularity and bring large numbers of users to state management areas without generating any funds. Some day, he said, other outdoor industries may have to step up if their customers expect to continue benefitting from state programs and lands. "I always think that conservation will be here. I always think we'll have capable people managing. I just don't know how and if the funding will change," he said. HUNTING From Page 6 DYLAN FERREIRA, senior wildlife biologist with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Division of Fish and Wildlife, measures the antlers on a male deer harvested at Glocester's Durfee Hill Management Area. ETHAN OSENKOWSKI of Coventry takes aim at a flying clay target during a recent Youth Waterfowl Mentored Hunt Training Day hosted by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management at the Great Swamp Shooting Range in West Kingston. The event was support- ed by hunter education funds from the Pittman-Robertson Act. Saturday, November 16 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 15 Sumner Brown Road, Cumberland, RI 02864 Mount St. Rita Health Centre A Member of Covenant Health Join us for our annual Holiday Expo and Craft Fair •Vendors, Crafters •Food/Bake Sale •Gently-worn Costume Jewelry Sale •"White Elephant" Tables •Raffles Galore Holiday Spirit

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