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California Hunting Seasons 2023

We set out to create the most simplified guide to California hunting seasons for 2023.

Want to find out season dates, learn about regulations and bag limits, understand license requirements, and get access helpful links?

Then you’ll love the info outlined in today’s guide. Let’s dive right in.

California Hunting Seasons

California Hunting

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.

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

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 2023

California Deer Season 2023

Deer General Season: Aug 14- Nov 7

Deer Archery: July 10 - Oct 2

California Deer Archery/Bowhunting 2023:

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

General Deer Season

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 Small Game Seasons 2023

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

Jackrabbit: Open season

California Hunting Zones 2023

See the map below for a breakdown of California's hunting zones:

California Bag Limits 2023

Bag limits vary wildly by animal, weapon, zone and you will have to check the official website at

California Hunting License 2023

You can buy a license at
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 Regulations 2023

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.

Helpful Resources

Official State Site:

When is deer season in California?

California's general deer hunting season starts as early as Aug 14 and goes as late as November 7 but dates will vary depending on the zone.

When does archery deer season start in California?

California's archery deer hunting season starts as early as July 10th but varies by zone.

When does deer hunting season end in California?

General deer season ends Nov 7th but can vary depending on the zone.

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Born in the northeast, Hunters Guides originally began as a resource to help hunters navigate complex season regulations. After a few months, we realized there was a greater opportunity to help promote hunting. So we started creating the resource we wish existed - a site rich with videos, tutorials and how-to's.

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