Action Alert: Rhode Island Captive Big Game Importation

Rhode Island House Bill 7439 (H7439) would prohibit importing or releasing any big game animal into or on any property within the state for purposes of conducting captive hunting. Captive hunting means “a hunt that occurs within a structure designed to restrict the free movement of animals created by the use of fences, man-made structures…wherein the animal is restricted from escaping or fleeing from the confined area during the hunt.”


There are two ways to take action. First, visit our Advocacy Center to urge your state lawmakers to vote YEA on the bill.  Second, provide written or verbal testimony at the bill’s upcoming hearing in the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Thursday, February 17. Written testimony can be submitted to and should indicate your name, bill number, and viewpoint (for/against/neither) at top of message. Verbal testimony can be in person or over the phone. For phone testimony, the deadline to register is 4pm on Wednesday, February 16. To register, complete the FORM or sign-up in person with the committee clerk.


The National Deer Association (NDA) outlines deer diseases as a critical focus area, and chronic wasting disease (CWD) fits squarely within this area. While there remains much to learn about CWD, we do know that moving deer, dead or alive, can facilitate it’s spread. That goes for deer relocations led by wildlife agencies or movements between captive deer facilities given the absence of a reliable live animal test, and transport of carcasses by hunters who can’t be immediately sure if their deer is infected. CWD spreads the fastest and the furthest when carried in a vehicle, and that’s something that all deer managers and hunters should be concerned about. Further, the NDA opposes the practice of canned hunts for white-tailed deer and other big-game species.

Rhode Island H7439 recognizes that movement, and ultimately the escape or release, of captive big game can be incredibly harmful to wild populations. Certainly, legislation such as this goes a long way to help slow the spread of CWD across state lines. NDA supports Rhode Island’s proactive approach to protecting its wild deer herd from unnecessary exposure to potentially CWD-positive deer and cervids originating outside of the state. H7439 tackles this challenge head-on. Please consider joining NDA in supporting this important legislation.

About Torin Miller

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, a J.D. from Penn State Law and is finishing a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.