RHODE ISLAND

Deer Forecast 2004 -- EAST

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Whitetail aficionados who hunt in Rhode Island will be happy to learn that the good deer hunting should continue this year.

During 2003, sportsmen took 2,242 whitetails, a 7 percent increase over the year before. Of note is the fact that the bow harvest was 737-a new record-and 41 percent of the 737 came from Prudence Island, where deer densities are incredibly high, topping 60 per square mile.

"Prudence Island has a considerable amount of public land, so people have a lot of opportunities," says Division of Fish and Wildlife supervising wildlife biologist Lori Gibson. For 2004, Gibson says, the state's deer population is estimated at 12,000, up just slightly from the past few years.

The big bucks should come from Washington and Providence counties.