Hunting options in South Cal

entropy

Member
Oct 8, 2018
34
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Hi,

I just moved from Vermont to LA County (Sierra Madre) a few months ago. In Vermont I hunted archery whitetail and turkey. Here I am planning to hunt deer, turkey, wild pig and rabbits. I've been reading and trying to get used to all the regulations of hunting in California as well as my options, specially for wild pig. I learned that only about 3% of wild pigs are taken in public land, most of them in military bases. The ones taken on BLM or national forests apparently tend to be transitory and you have to be extremely lucky to get one. Turkey apparently is a similar business. For deer it seems that public land is very tough but there is a lot of public land holding deer.

I don't want to do guided hunts, not really my style. One of the options I looked into was Wilderness Unlimited, but due to the mixed reviews I am not sure if it will be worth it. It is a $3,000 investment for the first year, and I don't know if the land is actually better than public. I am an avid hunter and would go out as often as I can, I just don't want to invest $3,000 and find out their land is heavily pressured and not well managed, which to me is a waste of money. Would rather spend that money on gear and field time.

I also looked at military bases, camp roberts and fort hunter ligget. They seem decent for pig and maybe turkey, but as they are getting popular the more pigs leave. You still have to pay a fee, but not nearly as much as any of the private land options. The thing is fort hunter ligget is about a 5 hr drive from where I live which is far, camp roberts is close but they seem to be open only a few times a year. There's also the option of hunting javelina in Arizona which would still be cheaper than private options in California.

I am willing to put the work for hunting, I know how it works, I know is hard and I like it. But public land pig seems to be almost 100% luck and I am not that masochist.

any recommendations?
 

Truduct

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2014
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If you want to hunt big game in So Cal you will need to pick a D-Zone near you and get deer tags next year. Elk, pronghorn, and sheep take 15 years to get max points and you still really don't have a chance to draw. If you go to some of the units up north like D7 etc you can chase bear as well but that is similar to the pigs kind of more just luck. Most guys grab a bear tag just in case one shows up while they are deer hunting.

If you are into archery hunting AZ has great OTC archery and it really isn't that far of a drive and it really is a fun hunt especially in January combined with a javelina tag.

As for pigs you pretty much need to go on a guided hunt which not all are created equally. I have killed a few and those hunts really are not my cup of tea. I would look for a guide who does spot and stalk. A lot of the outfits now just hunt from trucks or side by sides, rushing to fill tags which I don't really enjoy. I did have an uber driver in Sacramento who said he does good on some of the military bases for pigs.

We do have some decent wing shooting in So Cal most of us chase ducks, quail, pheasant, and dove.
 

entropy

Member
Oct 8, 2018
34
27
18
31
If you want to hunt big game in So Cal you will need to pick a D-Zone near you and get deer tags next year. Elk, pronghorn, and sheep take 15 years to get max points and you still really don't have a chance to draw. If you go to some of the units up north like D7 etc you can chase bear as well but that is similar to the pigs kind of more just luck. Most guys grab a bear tag just in case one shows up while they are deer hunting.

If you are into archery hunting AZ has great OTC archery and it really isn't that far of a drive and it really is a fun hunt especially in January combined with a javelina tag.

As for pigs you pretty much need to go on a guided hunt which not all are created equally. I have killed a few and those hunts really are not my cup of tea. I would look for a guide who does spot and stalk. A lot of the outfits now just hunt from trucks or side by sides, rushing to fill tags which I don't really enjoy. I did have an uber driver in Sacramento who said he does good on some of the military bases for pigs.

We do have some decent wing shooting in So Cal most of us chase ducks, quail, pheasant, and dove.
Thanks for the reply. The Arizona archery OTC hunt sounds right up my alley. Do I still have time to plan for this hunt?

I looked into it. $460 with tag and license + maps for the garmin will go up to 580 (ouch). Still seems like a great deal for a public land hunt on prime terrain, couldn't find any info on the price for javelina tag. Will need to do numbers with the cost of driving there.

Would love if anyone would show me how to hunt birds. I have a 12 gauge, but only used it for turkey.
 
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Truduct

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2014
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Ya around $500 and you are hunting. Once you get your license make sure you start buying points in AZ when the draws come up. With a few points you can go on some great hunts and there are a lot of rifle hunts you can do with no points.
 

Petermountaineer

New Member
Apr 6, 2020
4
0
1
36
Hi,

I just moved from Vermont to LA County (Sierra Madre) a few months ago. In Vermont I hunted archery whitetail and turkey. Here I am planning to hunt deer, turkey, wild pig and rabbits. I've been reading and trying to get used to all the regulations of hunting in California as well as my options, specially for wild pig. I learned that only about 3% of wild pigs are taken in public land, most of them in military bases. The ones taken on BLM or national forests apparently tend to be transitory and you have to be extremely lucky to get one. Turkey apparently is a similar business. For deer it seems that public land is very tough but there is a lot of public land holding deer.

I don't want to do guided hunts, not really my style. One of the options I looked into was Wilderness Unlimited, but due to the mixed reviews I am not sure if it will be worth it. It is a $3,000 investment for the first year, and I don't know if the land is actually better than public. I am an avid hunter and would go out as often as I can, I just don't want to invest $3,000 and find out their land is heavily pressured and not well managed, which to me is a waste of money. Would rather spend that money on gear and field time.

I also looked at military bases, camp roberts and fort hunter ligget. They seem decent for pig and maybe turkey, but as they are getting popular the more pigs leave. You still have to pay a fee, but not nearly as much as any of the private land options. The thing is fort hunter ligget is about a 5 hr drive from where I live which is far, camp roberts is close but they seem to be open only a few times a year. There's also the option of hunting javelina in Arizona which would still be cheaper than private options in California.

I am willing to put the work for hunting, I know how it works, I know is hard and I like it. But public land pig seems to be almost 100% luck and I am not that masochist.

any recommendations?
Did you end up finding any good local hog hunting grounds?


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TonyS

Active Member
Jan 18, 2014
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In so cal your pickings are slim to none. For public land you could try up behind Big Sur where they were originally let loose. After having seen a forestry service pack horse slaughtered by those Russian Blues I wouldn't try it by myself. If you go look the area over for big rocks to climb on.
 

Petermountaineer

New Member
Apr 6, 2020
4
0
1
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In so cal your pickings are slim to none. For public land you could try up behind Big Sur where they were originally let loose. After having seen a forestry service pack horse slaughtered by those Russian Blues I wouldn't try it by myself. If you go look the area over for big rocks to climb on.
Oh wow, ya that will make me think twice. I see the numbers of takes is pretty good up in Monterey county. I’ll prob just pay to play at HigsWild, $700 for lodging, meals, etc.


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nicapopolis

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2013
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In so cal your pickings are slim to none. For public land you could try up behind Big Sur where they were originally let loose. After having seen a forestry service pack horse slaughtered by those Russian Blues I wouldn't try it by myself. If you go look the area over for big rocks to climb on.
Got any pics?
 

JLerch

Member
Jun 8, 2020
44
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27
Hi, brand new hunter here but I got in with Wilderness Unlimited for a limited 5 hunt membership. All in for under $2,000. I have not taken advantage of any of the properties yet but I have an Azone deer tag and a hog tag. I can bring another hunter for $200, if you are willing to mentor/teach a respectful and eager newbie then I would be glad to have a buddy this season on some private property.
 
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ilovesprig

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 3, 2012
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Escondido
Hi, brand new hunter here but I got in with Wilderness Unlimited for a limited 5 hunt membership. All in for under $2,000. I have not taken advantage of any of the properties yet but I have an Azone deer tag and a hog tag. I can bring another hunter for $200, if you are willing to mentor/teach a respectful and eager newbie then I would be glad to have a buddy this season on some private property.
JL,

Welcome to SCH...Just for comparison and a thought for next year...MCC (My Country Club) is $3,000.00 a year...It includes deer hunting (D-16), turkey hunting (3 birds), waterfowling (Lake Henshaw), upland (dove, pigeon, quail, rabbit), varmint hunting (coyote, squirrels), and fishing (Lake Henshaw)...San Diego Co...About 45,000 acres and no limit on how much you can hunt or fish...And only about an 1 1/2 hours from the OC.
 
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JLerch

Member
Jun 8, 2020
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JL,

Welcome to SCH...Just for comparison and a thought for next year...MCC (My Country Club) is $3,000.00 a year...It includes deer hunting (D-16), turkey hunting (3 birds), waterfowling (Lake Henshaw), upland (dove, pigeon, quail, rabbit), varmint hunting (coyote, squirrels), and fishing (Lake Henshaw)...San Diego Co...About 45,000 acres and no limit on how much you can hunt or fish...And only 1 1/2 hours from the OC.
Oh great! Thanks for that!
 

Golfjitsu

New Member
Apr 16, 2020
2
1
3
36
Hi, brand new hunter here but I got in with Wilderness Unlimited for a limited 5 hunt membership. All in for under $2,000. I have not taken advantage of any of the properties yet but I have an Azone deer tag and a hog tag. I can bring another hunter for $200, if you are willing to mentor/teach a respectful and eager newbie then I would be glad to have a buddy this season on some private property.
Heading out to Cummings Ranch first weekend of D10 archery. Have you been able to get out at all either by yourself or other WU members?
 

JLerch

Member
Jun 8, 2020
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Heading out to Cummings Ranch first weekend of D10 archery. Have you been able to get out at all either by yourself or other WU members?
Oh great! I made a res for willow creek september 10-13. I’ve just been out to public lands looking for bunnies. San gorgonio wilderness is too steep, been out there twice. Going to san jacinto wildlife area or juniper flats this weekend. I have not been to any WU properties yet. I have a pig tag, D10 and Azone tags.
 

HATCHET1

"yes,it killed the hound..ferocious bitch she was"
Aug 2, 2013
2,296
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In so cal your pickings are slim to none. For public land you could try up behind Big Sur where they were originally let loose. After having seen a forestry service pack horse slaughtered by those Russian Blues I wouldn't try it by myself. If you go look the area over for big rocks to climb on.
That poor horse...imagine being ripped to shreds then consumed by a feral hog..the horror is not enough...
 

Golfjitsu

New Member
Apr 16, 2020
2
1
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36
Oh great! I made a res for willow creek september 10-13. I’ve just been out to public lands looking for bunnies. San gorgonio wilderness is too steep, been out there twice. Going to san jacinto wildlife area or juniper flats this weekend. I have not been to any WU properties yet. I have a pig tag, D10 and Azone tags.
Anytime outside deer season you can hunt small game at Benz and Cummings. Ground squirrels, Jack Rabbits, and cotton tail (when in season). Coyotes you have a green light on year round. Last time I was at Cummings (May) the ranch hand told us a few days before we arrived he witnessed a black bear chasing down a lone boar. So me and buddies got our bear tags, pig tags, and deer tags for this upcoming archery hunt in August. I PM'd you, hit me up anytime if you want to put a trip together before years end. I have 1 more hunt available on my limited membership after this next one.
 
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Chris240

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2016
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California native here.... it’s such a hassle in San Diego honestly I would say start searching for a spot in AZ. Everything with good dear is private, yes there are good deer killed every year on public land but the odds are terrible. Something like 3% success rate in D16 and most of the people who kill deer have some kind of angle. Best of luck
 
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Johnny3388

New Member
Aug 27, 2019
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Hi, brand new hunter here but I got in with Wilderness Unlimited for a limited 5 hunt membership. All in for under $2,000. I have not taken advantage of any of the properties yet but I have an Azone deer tag and a hog tag. I can bring another hunter for $200, if you are willing to mentor/teach a respectful and eager newbie then I would be glad to have a buddy this season on some private property.
If you have a wilderness unlimited i would get a B zone tag and go to browns creek and theres another one but I can’t remember he name. It’s back in that area. It is about a 12 hr drive from SoCal though.


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Johnny3388

New Member
Aug 27, 2019
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10
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If you have a wilderness unlimited i would get a B zone tag and go to browns creek and theres another one but I can’t remember he name. It’s back in that area. It is about a 12 hr drive from SoCal though.


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FYI I’m heading up there for archery B zone on 8/13


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