A dog sitting next to a gun and pheasants.

Outdoors in RI: Letter to RIDEM, fishing, hunting, local events, 2A and firearm classes – Jeff Gross

by Jeff Gross, contributing writer

A letter to RIDEM Director Terry Gray

Dear Terry,

On behalf of Rhode Island Fish and Game Protective Association and the super majority of Rhode Island Anglers and Pheasant Hunters I want to thank you and all your staff for the exceptional year of trout fishing and also pheasant hunting 2023 was. While I was not able to participate much in trout fishing, the few times I went out yielded some healthy trout.  Also of note are the fantastic trout and Salmon caught by many anglers that are displayed with pride on Facebook’s “A better 401 fishing” page. Noteworthy are the monsters that were stocked for Veterans Day this 2023.  As a veteran I hoped to get out to catch a few as my fellow anglers had their spinning reel drags screaming as many of the trout were in the 20-inch range. Maybe the early Spring weather will continue into January and I’ll get a few.

The 2023 Pheasant season was excellent for a number of seasoned hunters and also some rookies. “Rhode Island Small Game Hunters” Facebook page noted many a hunter bagging their pheasant limits, with new hunters joining in on the excitement as well. I did not know what to expect as this was the first season for my Golden Retriever, Abby.  First day out she put up a double of Roosters and I took one.  The other flew off having missed it and I swear it was laughing at me. This foretold of what was to come.  So far this season Abby has put up 15 birds and we have taken 11. Had it not been for a few health issues and some Model Train shows those numbers would be much higher.  Not to brag, but Abby was fundamental in my pheasant limits on four occasions.  I noticed mid-season that the birds became more plentiful.  I inquired if there was a stocking method change, which there was not, so for some reason the coyotes have dwindled, allowing more pheasants to be harvested. The above highlights would not have occurred without some great efforts by your staff. The Fish and Wildlife crews need to be commended for their exceptional work. We all look forward with great anticipation for the 2024 seasons.

For you pheasant hunters, this writer noticed that the roosters were holding tight, and it was the hens that were running. All the roosters were within 5 feet of where Abby started acting Birdy.  The hens were often 30 to 70 feet of where Abby’s tail started flagging.  Abby followed one hen for about 60 yards.  As it is the end of the stocking season one might want to keep this information in mind as leftover hens may have a 20-yard head start. Also be aware of your immediate location.  Abby put up a rooster just before Christmas and I had a perfect shot at it for 4 seconds, however, as I was lining up the shotgun, I tangled in a 1-inch Swamp Maple sapling. I yanked the sapling away and lined up again and shot but the bird was a good 35 yards away.  Knowing the bird went into the open part of the field, we went to look for it. 60 yards into the field hoping to flush it a second time. Abby found the rooster in the open field DOA.  The high-speed ounce and 3/8 number 7.5 shot did the trick.  Had it not been a high FPS shell the bird would have flown off. Never underestimate one’s shooting ability.

Give Back – Clean Up

For those that want to give back to the conservation movement there is a beach clean-up at East Matunuck State Beach on Saturday, December 30th. Dress warm as the wind may be blowing from offshore and will lower the wind chill. More information see: Home | ORCA (

Trees for Trout

Also of note is the “Trees for Trout” program on January 6th, 2024. The Christmas trees will be placed along riverbanks to provide stability and control erosion. Known as “conifer revetments,” they will trap sediment and decompose to gradually become part of the banks themselves. In the meantime, their branches along the edges in the water will offer protection for small trout and other aquatic animals seeking a place to hide from predators. Saturday, January 6th is the day for tree drop offs! Come on by anytime between 9am and 2pm at the Arcadia Check Station: Arcadia Management Area: Route 165, Ten Rod Road at Wood River, in Exeter.

Firearm Safety Classes interest overwhelming

Colleagues are having a Firearm Safety Class at Smithfield Rod and Gun, however, the class filled all 42 seats in 36 hours.  Since the October 7th massacre in Israel, attendance at these firearm classes has been staggering.  The instructors tell me that they will be adding classes throughout the year as interest is overwhelming and they want to accommodate all those interested. Violence is becoming the norm as of late with a family shooting in Largo, Florida, with a 14-year old with arrests going back to when he was 12, and a 16-year old, with a past arrest history, killing of a sister and shooting of a brother over who was getting more Christmas gifts. (You can’t make this stuff up!) The Sheriff, Bob Gaultieri, of the Pinellas Sheriff’s office gives a highly detailed account of what happened.  In this writer’s opinion these two culprits make a good argument for the death penalty. 

Patient violence is happening, and increasing in at least two, but probably more Rhode Island hospitals, as we’ve been hearing about, and according to some emergency room nursing staff. Statements were made that the hospital violence is now a weekly occurrence. There have been calls for police patrols, or even National Guard to be stationed in these high risk areas. Even outside of the hospitals and healthcare settings, medical workers are seeing an increasing risk of personal violence.

I encourage attending these very informative classes. Even if you are taking advancement classes for work, these Firearm Training classes are on Saturdays with a morning class and an afternoon class. Knowing the weekend hospital schedules there are at least two Saturdays available a month. 

Video | Facebook

The incident in Pinella’s County is highly indicative that criminals do not obey gun laws at any level. The two juveniles have lengthy criminal records, at 14 and 16-years old, yet they continue to routinely commit violent crime. Sheriff Gaultieri noted that most juveniles are carrying stolen handguns in that Tampa/St Pete area.  Knowing that gun laws will not stop criminals dates back to the FDR years where Roosevelt’s AG admitted that no criminal will abide by the National Firearms Act (NFA). With the defund the police, lenient criminal justice system, and constant attacks on the constitution, what exactly does the anti-gun movement have planned for us law abiding citizens?

Recently in Illinois and in Massachusetts, federal judges have denied preliminary injunctions regarding the IL and MA AR-15 and Magazine Bans. Both federal judges issued the most preposterous of rulings citing laws that never existed.  This writer is a plaintiff in the MA case, and this asinine decision is not predicted to stand… Stay Tuned! 

As always, Thursday nights are busy with 2A related information.  A major cell phone carrier has stated that January 1st it will be implementing fines from companies that text message 2A related information.  Sounds like not only a 2A constitutional violation, but also a 1st Amendment violation as well. Again, stay tuned.

2023 was indeed a crazy year.  I pray for all of us that 2024 is a much better year. We have the ability to set that in motion November 5th, 2024. Therefore, I wish each and each one of you, your families and your friends, a Happy and Healthy New Year. 

See you next year! – Jeff


Read more articles by Jeff Gross, here:

Jeffrey “Jeff” Gross spent 21 years as an Analytical Chemist at the USCG R&D Center in Groton, Connecticut, Woods Hole Laboratories, and Helix Technologies. Changing careers is a “great learning experience for everyone”, Jeff says, and I’m an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a student of the sciences, and the world. The US holds too many wonders not to take a chance and explore them”.Jeff is the Model Train and Railroad entrepreneur. Proud Golden Retriever owner. Ultra strong Second Amendment Advocate and Constitutionalist. “Determined seeker of the truth”. Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative and Legal Officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison.His subjects include Outdoors, Second Amendment, Model Railroading, and Whimsical.


  1. Thomas on December 29, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    Great article Jeff. First time hearing of trees for Trump. Interesting.