About Hunting in California

In the largest state in the U.S. with a diverse ecosystem ranging from high mountain tops, sandy coastlines and forests in between there isn’t much more to ask for when outdoors in pristine conditions closer to nature and connecting with the wild then thought possible before.

There are many ecological reserve areas starting with San Diego and leading to Santa Cruz. Whichever you choose the general season for deer darts August 10th and the last day to hunt is February 7th for BigHorn Sheep, get ready for this year or gear up just in time for all that 2021 will offer!

California Hunting Seasons Offered

Big Game: Deer, Bear, Pronghorn, Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Wild Pig

Small Game: Tree Squirrel, Rabbits, Varying Hare, Jackrabbit

Bird: Waterfowl, Upland Game Birds, Greater Sage, Grouse, Sooty, White Tailed Ptarmigan, Wild Turkey, Dove Band tailed pigeon, Snipe

California Hunting Season Dates 2021-2022

Deer: General Season Aug 14- Nov 7 Archery July 10- Oct 2
Bear: Concurrent with general deer season through Dec. 26 Archery Aug 21- Sep 12
Pronghorn: General Season Aug 7-Sept 13 Apprentice hunts Aug 21-29
Elk: General Season Aug 19-Dec 5 Archery July 31-Nov 14
Bighorn Sheep: Aug 21-Sept 26 and Dec 4-Feb. 6

Generally the California hunting date starts on August 7th however seasons vary due to the weapon used, what zone you are in as well as the species you are wanting to hunt. The chart below helps to see the different season starts based on these factors so that it is more clear when to start and what to expect.

A law has been passed that every purchase of a deer tag, reports their harvest even if they were unsuccessful or if they did not hunt.

California Archery Deer Season 2021

Click here for Seasons by Zone PDF

Archery7/10/21 – 8/1/21A
8/21/21 – 9/12/21B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D9, D10
7/24/21 – 8/15/21B4
9/4/21 – 9/26/21D11, D13, D14, D15, D16, D17, D19
10/2/21 – 10/24/21D12
Please see PDF for more details

California General Deer Season 2021

Click here for Seasons by Zone PDF

General8/14/21 – 9/26/21A
9/18/21 – 10/24/21B1, B2, B3
8/28/21 – 10/3/21B4
9/18/21 – 10/17/21B6, C1
9/18/21 – 10/24/21C2, C3
9/18/21/ – 10/3/21C4
9/25/21 – 10/31/21D3, D4, D5
9/18/21 – 10/31/21D6, D7
9/25/21 – 10/24/21D8, D9, D10
10/9/21 – 11/7/21D11, D13, D14, D15
11/6/21 – 11/28/21D12
10/23/21 – 11/21/21D16
10/9/21 – 10/31/21D17
10/2/21 – 10/31/21D19
Please see PDF for details

California Hunting Licenses Info

You can buy a license at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Online-Sales
Identification is required for a hunting license for any bird or mammal. Hunters who purchase a license for the first time must provide their proof of hunter education. You will need the following:

  1. Buy a CA hunting license (resident vs non-resident)
  2. Buy applicable tags (deer, bear, pronghorn, elk etch)
Resident/ Non ResidentLicenseCost
Non ResidentHunting$178.20
Non ResidentOne day hunting$24.33

Big Game Tags/ Drawing Applications

Resident/ Non ResidentTitleCost
ResidentFirst Deer Tag First Deer Tag
Drawing Application
ResidentSecond Deer Tag or Second
Deer Tag Drawing Application
NonresidentFirst Deer Tag First Deer Tag
Drawing Application
NonresidentSecond Deer Tag or Second
Deer Tag Drawing Application
Elk, Pronghorn, Antelope and
Bighorn Sheep Tag Drawing
$8.13 per app
Bear Tag$49.42 Resident
$315.95 Nonresident
Elk Tag$484.20 Resident
$1,481.70 Nonresident
Pronghorn Antelope Tag$162.82 Resident
$498.65 Nonresident
Bighorn Sheep Tag$443.25 Resident
$1,641.00 Nonresident
Wild Pig$24.33 Resident
$82.08 Nonresident

California Hunting News

California has a different take when it comes to getting outside. To most big game hunters actually it isn’t necessarily about having spent money or looking to earn but more about challenging the natural wonders outside to see if the survival skills are still engrained well within, just like they were left last.

Connecting with those who lived on the land prior is an exhilarating experience and every chance to learn more about the wild, life and death and all the wonders that this world, and this state offers is another chance to get out there and get those licenses! There are many guided hunts offered or various draws to keep the anticipation and terrain changing even in the same area.

Find a hunting guide in CA

California hunting guides

Deer hunting guides

Duck hunting guides

Boar hunting guides

Links to Officials Sites

California Hunting Licenses and Permits

California State Regulation Site

California Hunting Regulations PDF