Hunters after big Rhode Island whitetails should consider making a concerted effort to get permission to hunt private properties that see little hunting pressure. Specifically, lands in western Washington County have consistently produced the state’s biggest bucks over the last several years. As for public access, the Arcadia Management Area and the Big River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which together cover nearly 23,000 acres in northern Washington and southern Kent counties, are key adjacent destinations for big bucks. Another good choice is the combined 8,300 acres of the George Washington Management Area and three WMAs (Durfee Hill, Black Hut and Buck Hill) situated in the state’s northwestern corner. Like Connecticut, Rhode Island is seeing increasing deer numbers. The population after last fall was 11,000 and it should approach 18,000 going into this season.