RI House Committee to Hold Hearings on Two Wildlife Bills


On Tuesday February 6th RI’s House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will meet at the Rise of the House to hold public hearings on several bills, including two wildlife bills that the New England Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is supporting during the 2024 legislative session.


Prohibiting Captive Hunting & Wildlife Importation

H7294, introduced by Rep. Scott Slater, seeks to define and prohibit captive hunting for big game animals, and the importation of wildlife for that purpose. Prohibiting captive hunting and wildlife importation has been a long-term priority for BHA in Rhode Island, and is a top priority for BHA’s RI team in 2024.

BHA first got involved in this issue in 2019, following a near-successful legislative effort that would have facilitated the creation of RI’s first captive big-game hunting establishment. In other parts North America movement of live animals within the captive hunting industry has been linked to the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, which has spread to 32 states and 4 Canadian provinces, including new detections in Kentucky, Florida, and British Columbia in 2023 and early 2024.

In 2023 RI’s House of Representatives passed a similar bill unanimously.



Wildlife Possession following Vehicular Collisions

H7358, introduced by Rep. David Bennett, seeks to eliminate rigid legislative requirements around the possession and consumption of carcasses resulting from vehicular collisions, and assign the Department of Environmental Management the authority to promulgate regulations on the issue.

According to RI DEM/DWF’s most recent Deer Harvest report over 1,500 auto strikes involving deer were reported in 2022, which is equivalent to 57% of the total reported hunter harvest for the deer season. Under current RI law only the person who is involved in the collision, following an investigation by a conservation officer, can be assigned ownership of a carcass. In most occurrences individuals involved in collisions with wildlife either aren’t interested in consuming wild game meat or aren’t prepared to process a carcass into food, so meat that is otherwise fit for consumption cannot be utilized because of the current law.

If passed, H7358 wouldn’t immediately legalize the possession of carcasses resulting from auto-strikes, but would allow DEM to draft regulations that, down the road, could facilitate better utilization of a resource that currently goes to waste.



Those interested in providing testimony should attend the Committee hearing on Tuesday, February 6 at the Rise of the House (usually around 4:30PM) in Room 101 of the RI State House. Those who cannot attend but wish to provide written testimony can submit it by email to [email protected], and should follow the House Guidelines on Testimony Submission by including bill numbers (H7294 & H7358) and a clear position (support).

About New England BHA Chapter

New England BHA is a voice for the sporting community in New England that values solitude, silence, clean and free flowing rivers, and habitat for large, wide-ranging wildlife.