Saturday , 15 June 2024

California Hunting Haven: Best Spots, Game, and Seasons for 2024

California offers diverse landscapes and a variety of game that make it a prime destination for hunters. From the rugged mountains to the rolling valleys, there are numerous legal hunting spots teeming with wildlife. Here’s a guide to the best places to hunt in California, the types of animals you can hunt, and the 2024 hunting seasons.

Top Hunting Locations in California

  1. Los Padres National Forest
  • Game: Deer, wild pigs, small game, upland birds.
  • Description: Covering nearly 1.75 million acres, this forest is known for its diverse habitats, from coastal ranges to the inland mountains.
  • Highlights: Opportunities for both rifle and archery hunting, with numerous campsites and trails.
  1. Mendocino National Forest
  • Game: Black-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear, wild pigs.
  • Description: Spanning over 900,000 acres, this forest offers dense woods and open meadows, perfect for big game hunting.
  • Highlights: Remote areas providing a true wilderness experience with less hunting pressure.
  1. Sacramento Valley
  • Game: Waterfowl (ducks, geese), pheasants, dove.
  • Description: Known for its wetlands and agricultural fields, the valley is a hotspot for bird hunters.
  • Highlights: Multiple wildlife refuges and private hunting clubs cater to waterfowl enthusiasts.
  1. Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Game: Mule deer, mountain quail, black bear.
  • Description: This iconic mountain range offers high-altitude hunting with spectacular scenery.
  • Highlights: Varied terrain from dense forests to alpine meadows, providing diverse hunting experiences.
  1. Fort Hunter Liggett
  • Game: Wild pigs, deer, turkey, upland game birds.
  • Description: A military training base with managed hunting programs, offering unique access to prime hunting areas.
  • Highlights: Well-regulated hunts with opportunities for both bow and gun hunters.

Types of Game and 2024 Hunting Seasons


  • Seasons: General (August to November, varying by zone), Archery (July to October, varying by zone)
  • Notes: California offers multiple deer hunting zones, each with specific seasons and regulations.

Wild Pigs

  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Notes: No bag limit, making wild pigs a popular choice for hunters seeking a challenge any time of year.

Black Bear

  • Seasons: August to December (varies by region)
  • Notes: Tags are required, with a statewide quota in place to manage the population.


  • Seasons: Varies by zone; generally October to January
  • Notes: Includes ducks and geese, with specific daily bag and possession limits.

Upland Game Birds

  • Seasons:
  • Pheasant: November to December
  • Quail: October to January
  • Turkey: Spring (April to May) and Fall (November)
  • Notes: Each species has its own regulations, including limits on bag and possession.

Small Game

  • Seasons:
  • Rabbit and Hare: July to January
  • Squirrel: September to January
  • Notes: Small game seasons provide excellent opportunities for novice hunters.

Predators and Furbearers

  • Seasons: Year-round for most species (e.g., coyote, bobcat)
  • Notes: Regulations vary, especially for protected species like bobcat, which require specific permits.

Regulations and Licensing

To legally hunt in California, hunters must:

  • Obtain a valid California hunting license.
  • Purchase appropriate tags and stamps for specific game species.
  • Adhere to all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regulations.
  • Complete hunter education courses if born after January 1, 1972.

Please visit California’s Fish & Game site for the latest regulations and Hunting Seasons.

California’s diverse ecosystems and rich wildlife offer exceptional hunting opportunities for both novice and seasoned hunters. By understanding the best locations, game types, and hunting seasons for 2024, you can plan a successful and legal hunting adventure. Always ensure compliance with state regulations to preserve these valuable resources for future generations.

Happy hunting in the Golden State!

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