"Prudence Island facts and figures

The following information may give you some idea of what one can expect to find and do on the Island. From numbers taken to length of typical shots, I hope to have as much as possible here. So I hopefully will be adding more as time goes. (Note) The Disabled Hunt started on the North end, I'm not sure exactly when it changed to the South end but it was somewhere after 1973. When the Navy pulled out and the State took over.

" Special Prudence Island Deer Season "

Year

Male

Female

Total

Total Hunters

Shotgun

Muzzleloader

Success Rate

1969

5

2

7

8

7

88%

1970

4

1

5

5

5

100%

1971

4

1

5

5

5

100%

1972

2

3

5

5

5

100%

1973

3

1

4

5

4

88%

1974

1

1

2

2

2

100%

1975

1

1

2

2

2

100%

1976

0

0

0

3

0

0%

1977

1

1

2

2

2

100%

1978

3

2

5

5

5

100%

1979

2

1

3

3

3

100%

1980

1

3

4

4

4

100%

1981

2

1

3

3

3

100%

1982

1

2

3

3

3

100%

1983

1

4

5

5

5

100%

1984

1

3

4

5

4

88%

1985

1

0

1

2

1

50%

1986

2

2

4

4

4

100%

1987

3

3

6

7

6

88%

1988

3

5

8

9

8

88%

1989

3

1

4

8

4

50%

1990

4

3

7

7

7

100%

1991

6

1

7

8

6

1

88%

1992

4

3

7

8

6

1

88%

1993

4

3

7

12

6

1

58%

1994

8

3

11

11

10

1

100%

1995

10

0

10

12

9

1

83%

1996

8

0

8

11

7

1

72%

1997

6

1

7

12

7

58%

1998

2

1

3

7

2

1

1999

?

?

?

?

?

1

2000

?

?

?

?

?

1

2001

?

?

?

13

?

1

2002

?

?

?

13

?

1

Total

94

52

128

153

122

10



I was somewhat surprised at the data above. If I were asked before doing this page, what has been taken the most during our hunt, Bucks or Does? I would have said Does, and wondered why. Till I realized that a high percentage of "Males" taken are Button Bucks. They are Males, but it should be noted that the above Total contains a high percentage of Antlerless Males.

I would have liked to have put in the weights of animals, shots taken and the kinds of Bucks taken, in the above table. To give some idea of what one can expect on the Island. The following table is a collection of info on my own hunts on the Island, dating back to 1980.

Year

Animal

Weight

Age

Time

Yardage

Firearm used

Bullet used

1980

Doe

45

Yearling

11:30am

135

Mod 51 Ith

12ga Win Slug

1981

Button Buck

65

Yearling

11:30am

78

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Bren Slug

1982

Doe

112

4 1/2

3:00pm

30

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Win Slug

1983

Doe

102

3 1/2

5:00pm

25

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Fed Slug

1984

Doe

90

2 1/2

4:30pm

70

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Fed Slug

1985

Spike

125

1 1/2

4:30pm

90

Mod 37 Ith

12ga Fed Slug

1986

8 Point

150

3 1/2

6:35am

110

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Fed Slug

1987

6 Point

135

2 1/2

5:15pm

112

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Fed Slug

1988

Doe

102

3 1/2

5:00pm

25

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Fed Slug

1989

6 Point

135

3 1/2

5:30pm

40

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Fed Slug

1990

4 Point

130

2 1/2

5:30pm

50

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Fed Slug

1991

Spike

125

2 1/2

8:06am

65

T/C WMtn

50cal 370 Maxi

1992

6 Point

135

3 1/2

5:45pm

70

T/C WMtn

50cal 370 Maxi

1993

7 Point

140

3 1/2

7:10am

60

Tra.Pioneer

Speer .530 Round Ball

1994

Spike

80

1 1/2

3:30pm

50

T/C THawk

50cal 460White

1995

5 Point

125

2 1/2

5:45pm

20

T/C THawk

50cal 460White

1996

5 Point

125

2 1/2

4:30pm

25

T/C FHawk

50cal 460White

1997

Spike

110

1 1/2

6:45am

60

Mod 870 Rem

12ga Fed Slug

1998

Doe

105

2 1/2

5:50pm

25

Ruger 77-50

MTI Sabot 435gr.

1999

Spike

115

2 1/2

7:10am

40

Ruger 77-50

MTI Sabot 435gr.

2000

7 point

150

3 1/2

7:50am

50

Ruger 77-50

MTI Sabot 435gr.

2001

Doe

75

1 1/2

8:45am

50

Austin and Halleck 320

MTI Sabot 435gr.

2002

8 point

152 lbs

3 1/2

3:15pm

50

Austin and Halleck 320

MTI Sabot 435gr.

2003

Spike

90 lbs

1 1/2

5:10pm

105

Ruger 77-50

Precision QT-Spitzer Sabot 300gr

2003

Spike

65 lbs

Yearling

6:15pm

85

Ruger 77-50

Precision QT-Spitzer Sabot 300gr

2004

Button Buck

60 lbs

Yearling

4:00pm

50

1792 Contract Rifle

Hornady .530 round ball

2004

8 point

132 lbs

2 1/2

5:45pm

20

1792 Contract Rifle

Hornady .530 round ball

2005

Spike

80 lbs

1 1/2

8:30am

40

1803 Harpers Ferry Rifle

Hornady .530 round ball

2005

Doe

80 lbs

1 1/2

4:45 pm

25

1803 Harpers Ferry Rifle

Hornady .530 round ball

2006

Doe

90 lbs

1 1/2

5:00pm

70

1792 Contract Rifle

Hornady .530 round ball

2007

Skunked!

No deer!

2008

Doe

100 lbs

3 1/2

8:25am

40

Custom New England Style .58 Flintlock Rifle

Hornady .570 round ball

2009

Doe

53 lbs

Yearling

5:55pm

40

Custom New England Style .58 Flintlock Rifle

Hornady .570 round ball

If one were to throw out the smallest and biggest animal in the above data 1980 to 1996 and calculate an average "Dressed" weight. It would be 115 lbs, this can be misleading. Most Deer taken during our Hunt weigh 100 lbs or less. There are some very nice Deer on the Island but they don't come easy. In 1995 a friend took a 197 lb 8 point that is the biggest Buck ever taken during our Hunt. So heavy weights are possible but not easy to come by. Most of the Hunters would be very happy with an animal that weighed 115 lbs. Most of my weights are way above the average Deer taken because I hunt Bucks and they usually come in a bigger package. If things don't go as planned, then I have no problem picking out a good size Doe.

If you throw out the longest and shortest shot and average them, you will end up with 60 yards which is about what one can reasonably expect. As you can see I have had several shots under that and some over that. So shots are well within Shotgun and muzzleloader range.

The following Table is the Deer taken during the Archery season on Prudence. Public Bow Hunting the Island started in 1977. The figures I have start at 1988 but I hope to get earlier data.

Prudence/Patience Archery Deer Harvest by Location
Year
P.I North
P.I South
Bacon
Ballard
Barre
Blount
Rossi
Silvia
Private
Total Prudence
Total Patience

1988

36

21

14

6

1

3

6

6

93

5

1989

23

66

16

6

2

1

9

19

142

4

1990

27

77

9

6

0

0

11

59

189

4

1991

36

70

25

21

2

0

7

59

220

9

1992

41

89

33

18

2

6

18

56

263

19

1993

45

65

11

14

6

1

9

72

223

31

1994

33

58

17

4

1

0

14

46

173

22

1995

30

83

17

23

23

4

3

21

25

229

21

1996

30

94

13

15

22

4

1

19

38

236

13

1997

83

It must be noted here that the above totals are actual Bow totals. The State includes the Islands Disabled hunt in over all Bow totals. Those taken by Shotgun/Muzzle loader in the Disabled hunt should be noted as to what they are, and I'm trying to get that changed.

White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, movement and home range is important to understand in the development of deer herd management. Deer home range is that geographic area occupied by the animal. This area must include cover, food, and water. Where these elements are close together, the range of the family group may be small. Where any of these elements are deficient, management practices may be instituted to adequately distribute these necessary elements. Any changes in the locations or availability of these factors may affect deer numbers and range sizes (Dasmann, 1971). Movement is the daily travel that occurs mainly within the home range. Determination of deer home range and movement has been conducted through individually marking animals by many means. These techniques have included belling, tagging, ear streamers, neck collars and most recently, radio telemetry collars. By determining deer home range and movement for a given area, wildlife researchers can more accurately monitor a deer herd's resources and health condition.

Investigators throughout the nation have generally concluded that average annual home range size is 105 acres to 157 acres for the white-tailed deer (Hahn, 1945; Hahn 1950; Heezen and Tester, 1967; Hunt and Mangus, 1954; Progulske, 1960; Severinghaus and Tanck, 1950; Taylor, 1956; Tester et al, 1964; Thomas et al,1964).

Review of movement studies across the country, in addition to observations of the state's deer herd on Prudence Island, will allow Rhode Island wildlife managers to assess the condition of this herd and modify management plans accordingly.

Rhode Island's most concentrated white-tailed deer population is on Prudence Island which is located within Narragansett Bay, in the town of Portsmouth, Newport County. Prudence Island has a deer herd size of 120 animals per square mile, or 600 to 700 deer for the 3600 acre bay island. Management of this herd is a role of the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife.

During the 1960's, in the almost total absence of hunting, deer numbers became noticeably high, prompting an interest in hunting. Under US Navy ownership of the Island and local ordinances, restrictive hunting regulations permitted the deer numbers to rise to a level which became detrimental to the herd, winter deer starvation became common and the vegetation was again reduced to shrub habitat with no discernable forest regeneration.

In the late 1970's, the RI Division of Fish and Wildlife assumed control of approximately one-half of Prudence Island (1300 acres) and took over management of the white-tailed deer herd on the Island. Under the developing deer management plan, the Division initiated a hunting program encompassing much of the Island in order to decrease deer numbers thus, reducing the threat of winter deer starvation, increasing the health of the deer herd, and increasing public archery hunting opportunity.

Deer herds, especially on islands, if allowed to grow beyond the carrying capacity of the habitat, will conflict with other animal and plant communities. Deer overabundance frequently results in increased auto strikes, excessive damage to woody vegetation, agricultural crops and ornamental plantings (Myers, 1990).

In the early 1970's, the Prudence Island herd increased to such a level that starvation of these deer became an annual occurrence (Myers, 1990).

Given that deer population control is needed on non island situations, the need for a managed deer population becomes even more critical on islands where there are no additional areas available to the expanding deer herd. To effectively manage a deer herd, understanding the movement patterns that relate to increases (reproduction) in herd size and removal (hunting) of deer is critical.

The Division's Prudence Island deer management goals are the same as those stated in the 1988 Deer Management Options booklet authored by the Northeast Deer Technical Committee: Maintain the deer population at levels intended to: (1) ensure the present and future well-being of the species and its habitat, (2) provide a sustained level of deer by employing licensed hunters to control the deer's overabundance and (3) allow for compatibility between deer populations and human land-use practices, as well as with other plant and animal communities.

Regulated hunting is the proven most effective deer management tool (Hesselton, et al, 1965; McClloch, 1979). Not only is hunting effective, it is the least expensive technique for removing deer (Parmer et al, 1980).

Because of the divided north/south public ownership pattern of Prudence Island, knowledge of deer movement, habits, and patterns provide the basis for permitting the distribution of the harvest evenly throughout the Island. This distribution is accomplished through the setting of deer harvest quotas for northern and southern deer populations respectively.

Island residents observe the deer herd so closely throughout the year, they are able to recognize individual family units and their location (home range). Petcher (1967) indicated that deer pressured by hunters moved only 0.3 to 2.0 miles from their home range. Based on an extensive review of deer movement literature, and supported by repeated observations of Prudence Island deer, movements by the deer herd on Prudence are similar to those which Petcher describes. As a result, the Island's deer herd must be managed as two separate populations. This management takes the form of separate deer harvest quotas for the north and south areas.
"Links"
"Swamp Rat"
"Makin Meat"
"Nimrod's Place"
"Prudence Island"
"Swamp Rat 2001"
"Prudence Island Map"
"Rhode Island facts and info"
"Black Powder, White Smoke"
"Lewis and Clark Tribute"


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