California Hunting Seasons 2018 – 2019

Looking for a hunting adventure? California Hunting Seasons offers EVERY hunter an UNFORGETTABLE opportunity to catch animals in its scenic woods and explore numerous hunting areas.

If you think California is just sunny beaches and cities, then you are greatly mistaken. California offers one of the most diverse hunting experiences with more than 5 big game species and a high number of small game, birds and furbearers. On more than 1,100,000 acres you can catch species that include bear, deer, pronghorn antelope, elk, bighorn sheep, wild pig, waterfowl, and many other small game mammals, upland birds, and furbearers.

These areas provide many opportunities to hunt, or just watch wildlife and learn more about nature. Come, and explore a wildlife area or ecological reserve near you!

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california hunting seasons 2019

California Hunting Seasons and All Available Games

1. California Deer Seasons

Types

Seasons

General Season

*August 11 – November 25

Archery

*July 14 – October 28

*Some areas in a zone might have different start and end dates, visit California Department of Fish and Wildlife website for full details.

2. California Bear Seasons

Types

Seasons

General Season

*August 11 – December 30

Archery

August 18 – September 9

Bag Limit: One adult bear per hunting license year. Forbidden – Cubs and females accompanied by cubs

*NOTE – Season dates may vary by zone

3. California Pronghorn “Antelope” Hunting

Types

Seasons

Apprentice Hunts

*August 18 - 26

General Buck

*August 18 – September 9

*NOTE – Season dates may vary by zone

4. California Desert Bighorn Sheep Seasons

Types

Seasons

General Season

*August 18 – February 3

*NOTE – Season dates may vary by zone, meaning that they might have different start and end dates

5. California Elk Seasons

Types

Seasons

General Season

*August 14 – December 30

*NOTE – Season dates may vary by zone, meaning that they might have different start and end dates

Small & Other Game

Types

Seasons

Ducks

*October 6 – January 27

Scaup

*October 6 – January 27

Geese

*October 6 – March 10

Wild Pig

Open All Year

Pheasant

*November 10 – December 23

Quail

*September 8 – January 27

Chukar

*October 20 – January 27

Greater Sage-Grouse

*September 8 - 9

Sooty/Ruffed Grouse

*September – October 8

White-tailed Ptarmigan

September 8 - 16

Wild Turkey

Fall – *November 10 – December 9
Spring - *March 30 – May 5

Dove

September 1 – 15
November 10 – December 24
Eurasian Collared – All Year

Band-tailed Pigeon

*September 15 – December 23

Snipe

October 20 – February 3

Tree Squirrel

September 8 – January 27

Rabbits & Varying Hare

July 1 – January 27

Jackrabbit

Open All Year

Bobcat

October 15 – February 28

American Crow (Balance of the State)

December 1 – April 4

Raccoon

*July 1 – March 31

* NOTE – Season dates may vary by zone

Be aware that in California, there are endangered animals which are considered as nongame. They are protected by the state and can’t be hunted or hunting them is restricted in some areas. These animals are a mountain lion, raptor, bighorn sheep, and gray wolf.

california hunting season calendar

License Requirements

Any person in California who wants to take part in taking birds or mammals is required to have a valid license. A certificate of completed Hunter Education Course is necessary before getting a license. Anyone can possess a license, there is no minimum age requirement, but instructors advise their students to be at least 10 years old.

A Resident Hunting License is available for any resident who is 18 years of age or older. Residents can also purchase a Lifetime Hunting License. If you are a non-resident, you can buy a Nonresident License or a One-Day Nonresident or Two-Day Nonresident license. Disabled veterans can purchase a Reduces Fee Hunting License. However, there are no free or reduced-fee licenses for senior citizens. You can purchase all licenses online.

Night Hunting in California

Night hunting in California is allowed for coyotes and fox, but only on private properties. Possession of night vision equipment is unlawful when hunting bird, mammal, amphibian reptile or fish.

While attempting to take any big game, it is prohibited the use of any device that casts an artificial light or intensifies a light source to enhance an animal visibly or aiming directly on an animal with a light source, unless if otherwise provided. Devices such as night vision scope or those using heat-sensing technology are also prohibited while taking any big game. 

Laser rangefinders, red dot scopes illuminating reticles and pins which don’t project a visible light on an animal, are allowed. Nongame and furbearing mammals can be hunted with the assistance of artificial light coming from a vehicle, but only if a vehicle is standing and the motor is off.

There are also areas closed to Night Hunting, and in these areas, nongame mammals can be hunted only between one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour after sunset.

Where to Hunt in California

The Department of Fish and Wildlife in California manages over a million acres of lands available for hunting and taking wildlife. Wildlife Areas of California and Ecological Reserves are specific, and every area has a different type of hunting, as well as different kind of animals. These areas are also divided into regions for easier management and orientation.

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