California Hunting Seasons, 2016-2017


If you thought California was just beaches and sunny city strips, you’re in for a surprise. The Golden State offers a bounty of hunting, including deer, bear, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep. If you’re looking for a hunting adventure with beautiful views, scenic California has woods to get “lost” in.

Many of California’s hunting seasons are broken up by regional zones. With countless zones, it can be confusing on which area you may hunt or reside in. For more information on hunting zones, visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

Deer Seasons

Archery Zone A: July 9-31
Zone B: July 23-Sept. 11*
Zone D: Aug. 20-Sept. 25*
General Season Zone A: Aug. 13-Sept. 25
Zone B: Aug. 27-Oct. 23*
Zone C: Sept. 17-Oct. 23*
Zone D: Sept. 17-Nov. 6*

*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.

Bear Seasons

Archery Aug. 20-Sept. 11
General Season Opens with General Deer Season in most zones, runs through Dec. 25 or earlier if bear quota is met

Pronghorn Seasons

Apprentice Hunts Aug. 20-28
General Buck Season Aug. 20-28
Archery Buck Season Aug. 6-14

Elk Seasons

General Season August-November

Elk seasons generally run between August and November, but vary greatly by hunting region. Hunts in some areas have been cancelled due to increased military training in those regions.

Desert Bighorn Sheep Seasons

General Season August to February

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.

Small Game Seasons

Tree Squirrel General: Sept. 10-Jan. 29
Archery/Falconry Only: Aug. 6-Sept. 9
Rabbits and Hare General: July 1-Jan. 29
Falconry Only: Jan. 30-Mar. 19
Jackrabbit Year-round

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.