Californians enjoy some of the widest ranges of habitat, seasons and hunting conditions in the nation. The upcoming September general deer and bear seasons are some of the most popular hunting opportunities in the state. In addition to big game, September upland game season openers include dove, quail and grouse.
Dove Hunting Opener
The popular first California dove hunting season opens Thursday, Sept. 1 and runs through Thursday, Sept. 15. The daily limit is 15, up to 10 of which may be white-winged doves. A hunting license, upland game bird validation and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) Validation are required. The dove season primer in Western Birds, The Wingshooter´s Newsletter, is a must read for Southern California dove hunters. Check it out!
There are still many deer tags available for hunting zones with vast swaths of national forest, timber lands, state wildlife areas and other lands accessible to the public that provide excellent hunting opportunities. If you haven´t already, buy a deer tag and go spend some time in the woods.
As California´s 2016 deer hunting season continues, CDFW is urging hunters to research where they plan to hunt in advance, as access to some areas may be restricted due to wildfires. CDFW does not close or open areas due to fires, but leaves that authority to incident commanders with CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service. Given the exceptionally dry conditions this year, it is important that hunters do their part to prevent wildfires. One less spark means one less wildfire.
Every deer tag holder must report their tag, even if they were unsuccessful, or if they did not hunt. For successful hunters, the report must be made within 30 days of harvesting a deer or by January 31, whichever date is first. Unsuccessful hunters (or those who did not hunt) must report no harvest or did not hunt by January 31. Harvest reports can be submitted online, or by mail to the address printed on the tag.
Tag holders who do not report by the deadline will be charged a non-reporting fee of $21.60 (added to license purchases beginning with the 2017-18 season).
Nonlead ammunition is now required for all hunting on CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves and when taking upland game birds with a shotgun, except for dove, quail, snipe and any game birds taken in licensed game bird clubs. In addition, nonlead shot is required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds and any wildlife under the authority of a CDFW depredation permit.
Although full implementation of the nonlead ammunition requirement for big game hunting does not go into effect until July 1, 2019, CDFW urges California hunters to start acquiring and practicing with nonlead ammo well before 2019.
Keep up with the latest in CDFW fishing, hunting and conservation news
As a hunter, you provide an important dedicated source of funding for management and protection of the state’s wildlife habitat. Purchasing a hunting license and tags also supports California’s long-standing hunting heritage for today and future generations.