California Deer Season 2023: CA Deer Hunting Guide [Schedules, Rules, Permits & More]

With the help of this thorough guide, enter the captivating world of California Deer Season in 2023. As hunters eagerly await the beginning of this year’s season, we’ll explore the dates, regulations, and essential information you need to know to make the most of your hunting experience. We want to provide you unique insights and expert assistance, whether you are a seasoned hunter searching for new challenges or a beginner. As we reveal everything there is to know about the upcoming deer season in California, be ready to go on spectacular hunting trips. 

California Deer Season 2023

California has a special chance for outdoor enthusiasts with its deer and elk range. According to the hunting zone, the season normally lasts from mid-August to late November, although exact dates may vary.

Zone A – California Deer Season

Zone AGeneral Deer SeasonArchery Deer Season
A (South Unit 110 and North Unit 160)8/12/2023 – 9/24/20237/8/2023 – 7/30/2023

Zone B – California Deer Season

Zone BGeneral Deer SeasonArchery Deer Season
B-19/16/2023 – 10/22/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
B-29/16/2023 – 10/22/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
B-39/16/2023 – 10/22/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
B-48/26/2023 – 10/1/20237/22/2023 – 8/13/2023
B-59/16/2023 – 10/22/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
B-69/16/2023 – 10/15/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023

Zone C – California Deer Season

Zone CGeneral Deer SeasonArchery Deer Season
C-19/16/2023 – 10/15/2023Refer to Hunt A-1 for C Zone archery deer seasons.
C-29/16/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-1 for C Zone archery deer seasons.
C-39/16/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-1 for C Zone archery deer seasons.
C-49/16/2023 – 10/1/2023Refer to Hunt A-1 for C Zone archery deer seasons.

Zone D – California Deer Season

Zone DGeneral Deer SeasonArchery Deer Season
D-39/23/2023 – 10/29/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
D-49/23/2023 – 10/29/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
D-59/23/2023 – 10/29/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
D-69/16/2023 – 10/29/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
D-79/16/2023 – 10/29/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
D-89/23/2023 – 10/22/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
D-99/23/2023 – 10/22/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
D-109/23/2023 – 10/22/20238/19/2023 – 9/10/2023
D-1110/14/2023 – 1/12/20239/2/2023 – 9/24/2023
D-1211/4/2023 – 11/26/202310/7/2023 – 10/29/2023
D-1310/14/2023 – 1/12/20239/2/2023 – 9/24/2023
D-1410/14/2023 – 1/12/20239/2/2023 – 9/24/2023
D-1510/14/2023 – 1/12/20239/2/2023 – 9/24/2023
D-1610/28/2023 – 1/26/20239/2/2023 – 9/24/2023
D-1710/14/2023 – 11/5/20239/2/2023 – 9/24/2023
D-1910/7/2023 – 11/5/20239/2/2023 – 9/24/2023

Zone X – California Deer Season

Zone DGeneral Deer SeasonArchery Deer Season
X-110/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-3 for Archery in Zone X-1
X-210/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-4 for Archery in Zone X-2
X-3a10/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-5 for Archery in Zone X-3a
X-3b10/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-6 for Archery in Zone X-3b
X-410/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-7 for Archery in Zone X-4
X-5a10/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-8 for Archery in Zone X-5a
X-5b10/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-9 for Archery in Zone X-5b
X-6a10/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-11 for Archery in Zone X-6a
X-6b10/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-12 for Archery in Zone X-6b
X-7a10/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-13 for Archery in Zone X-7a
X-7b10/7/2023 – 10/22/2023Refer to Hunt A-14 for Archery in Zone X-7b
X-89/23/2023 – 10/8/2023Refer to Hunt A-15 for Archery in Zone X-8
X-9a9/16/2023 – 10/9/2023Refer to Hunt A-16 for Archery in Zone X-9a
X-9b9/16/2023 – 10/9/2023Refer to Hunt A-17 for Archery in Zone X-9b
X-9c10/21/2023 – 1/12/2023Refer to Hunt A-18 for Archery in Zone X-9c
X-109/30/2023 – 10/15/2023Refer to Hunt A-19 for Archery in Zone X-10
X-129/16/2023 – 10/9/2023Refer to Hunt A-20 for Archery in Zone X-12

CA Elk Season

General Elk Hunting Season

Name of Hunt (General)SubspeciesSeason Dates
Northeastern antlerlessRocky MountainNov 13–24
Northeastern bullRocky MountainSep 13–24
NEW Tehachapi antlerless*Rocky MountainSep 2–Oct 1*
NEW Tehachapi bull*Rocky MountainSep 2–Oct 1*
Marble Mountains antlerlessRooseveltSep 6–17
Marble Mountains bullRooseveltSep 6–17
Northwestern antlerlessRooseveltSep 6–28
Northwestern bullRooseveltSep 6–28
Northwestern either-sexRooseveltSep 6–28
Siskiyou antlerlessRooseveltSep 6–17
Siskiyou bullRooseveltOct 11–22*
Mendocino bullRoosevelt/TuleSep 20–Oct 1
Bear Valley antlerlessTuleOct 14–22
Bear Valley bullTuleOct 14–22
Cache Creek Period 1 bullTuleOct 14–29
Cache Creek Period 2 antlerlessTuleOct 21–Nov 5
NEW Central Coast antlerless*TuleOct 7–Dec 5*
NEW Central Coast bull*TuleOct 7–Dec 5*
East Park Reservoir antlerlessTuleSep 2–28
East Park Reservoir bullTuleSep 2–28
Fort Hunter Liggett Period 2 antlerlessTuleNov 22–30
Fort Hunter Liggett Period 3 bullTuleDec 19–31
NEW Gabilan antlerless*TuleNov 11–Dec 3*
NEW Gabilan bull*TuleNov 11–Dec 3*
Goodale period 1 bullTuleSep 9–24
Goodale Period 2 antlerlessTuleOct 7–15
Goodale Period 3 antlerlessTuleOct 21–29
Grizzly Island Period 1 antlerlessTuleAug 15–18
Grizzly Island Period 10 bullTuleSep 14–17
Grizzly Island Period 11 antlerlessTuleSep 19–22
Grizzly Island Period 12 bullTuleSep 21–24
Grizzly Island Period 13 antlerlessTuleSep 26–29
Grizzly Island Period 2 spike bullTuleAug 17–20
Grizzly Island Period 8 spike bullTuleSep 7–10
Grizzly Island Period 9 antlerlessTuleSep 12–15
Independence Period 2 antlerlessTuleOct 7–15
Independence Period 2 bullTuleOct 7–15
Independence Period 3 antlerlessTuleOct 21–29
Independence Period 3 bullTuleOct 21–29
La Panza Period 1 antlerlessTuleOct 14–Nov 5
La Panza Period 1 bullTuleOct 14–Nov 5
La Panza Period 2 antlerlessTuleNov 11–Dec 3
La Panza Period 2 bullTuleNov 11–Dec 3
Lake Pillsbury Period 1 antlerlessTuleSept 6–15
Lake Pillsbury Period 2 bullTuleSept 25–Oct 4
Lone Pine Period 2 bullTuleOct 7–15
San Luis Reservoir either-sexTuleOct 7–29
West Tinemaha Period 1 bullTuleSept 9–24
Whitney Period 2 bullTuleOct 7–15
Whitney Period 3 antlerlessTuleOct 21–29

Archery Elk Hunting Season

Name of Hunt (Archery)SubspeciesSeason Dates
Northeastern either-sexRocky MountainAug 30–Sep 10
Fort Hunter Liggett only antlerlessTuleNov 4–12
Fort Hunter Liggett only either-sexTuleJuly 29–Aug 6
Lone Pine Period 1 antlerlessTuleSep 9–24
Owens Valley Multiple Zone bullTuleAug 12–20, Oct 7–15

Muzzleloader Elk Hunting Season

Name of Hunt (Muzzleloader)SubspeciesSeason Dates
Marble Mountains either-sex (Muzzleloader/Archery)RooseveltOct 28–Nov 5
Independence Period 1 bullTuleSep 9–24

Apprentice Elk Hunting Season

Name of Hunt (Apprentice)SubspeciesSeason Dates
Northeastern either-sexRocky MountainSept 13–24
Marble Mountains either-sexRooseveltSept 6–17
Cache Creek Period 1 bullTuleOct 14–29
Fort Hunter Liggett antlerlessTuleDec 19–31
Fort Hunter Liggett bullTuleDec 19–31
Grizzly Island Period 1 antlerlessTuleAug 15–18
Grizzly Island Period 2 spike bullTuleAug 17–20
La Panza antlerlessTuleOct 14–Nov 5

Note: These amendments were approved on April 19, 2023, by the California Fish and Game Commission. Refer to the CFGC website.

Pronghorn Season

Pronghorn General Hunting Season

Pronghorn Hunt (General)Season Start DateSeason End Date
Zone 1 Mount Dome Buck19-Aug27-Aug
Zone 2 Clear Lake Buck19-Aug27-Aug
Zone 3 Likely Tables Period 1 Buck19-Aug27-Aug
Zone 3 Likely Tables Period 2 Buck2-Sep10-Sep
Zone 4 Lassen Period 1 Buck19-Aug27-Aug
Zone 4 Lassen Period 2 Buck2-Sep10-Sep
Zone 5 Big Valley Buck19-Aug27-Aug
Zone 6 Surprise Valley Buck19-Aug27-Aug

Pronghorn Archery Hunting Season

Pronghorn Hunt (Archery)Season Start DateSeason End Date
Zone 2 Clear Lake Buck5-Aug13-Aug
Zone 3 Likely Tables Buck5-Aug13-Aug
Zone 4 Lassen Buck5-Aug13-Aug
Zone 5 Big Valley Buck5-Aug13-Aug
Zone 6 Surprise Valley Buck5-Aug13-Aug

Pronghorn Apprentice Hunting Season

Pronghorn Hunt (Apprentice)Season Start DateSeason End Date
Zone 3 Likely Tables Period 1 Either-Sex19-Aug27-Aug
Zone 4 Lassen Period 1 Either-Sex19-Aug27-Aug
Zone 5 Big Valley Either-Sex19-Aug27-Aug
Zone 6 Surprise Valley Either-Sex19-Aug27-Aug

Bag Limits

The bag limit for the deer season in California varies based on the species and hunting area. Black-tailed and mule deer may be taken from up to six different species by hunters.

CA Deer Licenses

License / Tag TypesResidentNonresident
Hunting License$54.00 $188.74
Junior Hunting$14.30
First-Deer Tag or First-Deer Tag Drawing Application$35.38 $317
Second-Deer Tag or Second-Deer Tag Drawing Application$44.28 $317
Elk, Pronghorn Antelope and Bighorn Sheep Tag Drawing Applications$8.13 per application
Elk Tag ($23.50 Resident Junior)$512.05 $1,568.05

CA Deer Regulations

  • California hunters may seek deer tags for A, B, and certain D zones until the tag quotas are met. Deer tags may be bought via a local licensing agent or online, but they must be sent to hunters, which can take up to 15 days. Following restrictions and hunting responsibly requires a deer tag before hunting.
  • A, B, and D Zone Deer Tags allow hunters to use muzzleloading rifles, centerfire rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, crossbows, and bows during the archery season and firearms and other authorized equipment during the general season. These tags are zone-specific except for the B zone tag, the D3-5 tag, and the D11, D13, or D15 tag. To hunt legally and responsibly, hunters must follow tag and zone laws.
  • Bow-Only Deer Tags (AO Tags) are for bow hunters. These tags enable archery and general hunting in zone A, any B or D zone, and the military-only Additional Hunt G-10. AO Tags cannot be used in C or X zones or for Area-Specific Archery Hunts. Unless otherwise stated, hunting with an Archery-Only deer tag prohibits firearms and crossbows. Hunters need an Area-Specific Archery Hunt tag for a C or X-zone archery season.
  • Premium Deer Tags are unique hunting possibilities for hunts that have met their quota by July 1. Premium deer hunts need Big Game Drawing applications. The 2022 California Big Game Hunting Digest, published online at, lists all deer hunts and their categories. The Big Game Drawing requires a First-Deer Tag Drawing Application for premium deer tags. Junior hunters may apply for apprentice hunts using their Second-Deer Tag Application.
  • C Zone Deer Tags are for general season hunting in zones C1, C2, C3, and C4. These tags permit hunting in these zones during the normal season. For archery hunting in any C zone, hunters must apply for an A-1 Area-Specific Archery Hunt tag.
  • X Zone Tags are for general season hunting in a zone. X Zone Tag hunters may use muzzleloading or centerfire rifles, shotguns, allowed pistols or revolvers, crossbows, or bows. These tags allow hunters to hunt in the zone during the general season.
  • Additional shoot Deer Tags allow hunters to shoot deer beyond the usual season. These hunts include antlerless, either-sex, and buck hunting throughout the state. Some of these hunts are for younger hunters, military grounds, or unique equipment. Hunters may target individual deer or explore specific locations during these supplementary hunts.
  • Apprentice Deer Hunts let young hunters hunt with an older tutor. These hunts need a California junior hunting license and a minimum age of 12 by July 1 of the licensing year or at the time of application if applying after July 1. Junior hunters may submit one Apprentice Deer Hunt application utilizing a First-Deer or Second-Deer Tag Drawing Application. Juniors with tags must hunt with an adult over 18. Young hunters learn from seasoned mentors in this program.
  • Military Lands Hunts provide public and military hunting in military locations. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Big Game Drawing distributes public tags for G8, J10, and A33 hunts. Military members who want to hunt must apply to their base. G7, G10, G11, the Beale, Camp Pendleton, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, either-sex hunts are designated for military members. These hunts allow hunters to explore and enjoy military territory while following installation laws.
  • Deer tags must be purchased and submitted according to California deer hunting laws. Hunters must buy a beforehand-Deer Tag/Application beforehand. The same license year cannot have multiple First-Deer Tag/Application or Second-Deer Tag/Application. Deer tags are also ineligible for anyone convicted of deer violations in the previous licensing year. California deer hunting is sustainable with these precautions.

Frequently Asked Questions-CA Deer Season

When does the general deer season open in California?

California’s general deer season is expected to begin on various dates in different zones in 2023. Dates from August 12, 2023, to September 24, 2023; from September 16, 2023, to October 22, 2023; from September 23, 2023, to October 29, 2023; from October 14, 2023, to November 12, 2023; and from November 4, 2023, to November 26, 2023 are among the general season dates that have been authorized. Depending on the particular zone, these dates could change. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), or official sources, should always be consulted for the most current and correct information on deer hunting seasons in California.

Are there different deer seasons in different zones of California?

Yes, California is separated into many zones, each with unique deer hunting season dates and sorts. A zone, B1-B6 zones, C1-C4 zones, D3-D19 zones, and X1-X12 zones are the five zones that make up the state.

Is a hunting license required for deer hunting in California?

Anyone who wants to shoot deer or any other birds or animals in California must possess a hunting license. Hunters are required to have a current hunting license, which they should always have on them. Upon request, they could be requested to provide their license.

James Ellis

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