If you're looking to hunt in California, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the state's hunting seasons and licensing requirements. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of both of those topics.
We will also discuss the types of licenses that are available for hunters in California, and how to obtain them. So, whether you're a first-time hunter or a seasoned pro, read on for all the information you need to know about hunting in California!
Hunting In California
You're in for a surprise if you thought California was simply beaches and sunny metropolitan strips. Deer, bear, elk, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep are all available for hunting in California. If you want to go hunting while taking in the scenery, gorgeous California has plenty of woodlands to explore.
Many hunting seasons in California are divided into regional zones. With so many zones to choose from, it might be difficult to know where you should hunt or live. Visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's website for more information about hunting zones.
California Deer Seasons
|General Season||Aug. 14-Nov. 7**|
|Archery||July 10-Oct. 2**|
*Specific areas within a zone can have different start and end dates. These are general season dates. For more information, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
California Bear Seasons
|General Season||Concurrent with general deer season through Dec. 26|
|Archery||Aug. 21-Sept. 12|
California Pronghorn Seasons
|General Season||Aug. 7-Sept. 13**|
|Archery Season||Aug. 7-15|
|Apprentice Hunts||Aug. 21-29|
**Season dates vary by zone
California Elk Seasons
|General Season||Aug. 19-Dec. 5**|
|Archery Season||July 31-Nov. 14**|
|Apprentice Season||Aug. 19-Jan. 2**|
**Season dates vary by zone. Elk seasons generally run between August and November, but vary greatly by hunting region. Hunts in some areas have been canceled due to increased military training in those regions.
California Desert Bighorn Sheep Seasons
|General Season||Aug. 21-Sept. 26** and Dec. 4-Feb. 6**|
**Season dates vary by zone. Bighorn sheep seasons generally run between August and February, but vary greatly by hunting region. Some areas are extremely rugged and at high altitudes, requiring hunters to take extra safety precautions.
California Small Game Seasons
|Tree Squirrel||Archery/Falconry: Aug. 7-Sept. 10
General: Sept. 11-Jan. 30
|Rabbits and Varying Hare||General: July 1-Jan. 30
Falconry: Jan. 31-March 20
How To Get A Hunting License In California?
Depending on your age, you may be required to have the Hunter Education Certificate in order to legally buy a license or permit to hunt.
- Complete the California hunter education certification requirements.
- Choose the correct license type.
- Buy the license through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website or a California–approved agent.
California License Expiration
Hunting licenses are good from July 1 through June 30 of the next year. California residents are able to purchase a lifetime hunting license.
Where to Buy a California Hunting License
- Visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
- Visit a California Department of Fish and Wildlife sales office or an approved license agent.
**Season dates vary by take method
Bag limits, special seasons and hunting regulations for California hunting seasons do vary based on animal and seasons. For more information on obtaining licenses, permits and regulations, visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.