Which zones are best for bowhunting deer in SoCal?

Which zones are best for bowhunting deer in SoCal?

  • Deer hunting

    Votes: 5 100.0%
  • Pig hunting

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


New Member
May 20, 2016
Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum and somewhat new to hunting in SoCal. I got my hunting license a few months back and im eager to go on my first deer hunt in SoCal. Being pretty new to this, I have no idea on what zones to apply for the drawing. Ive been doing some research but just havent had much luck finding the info that im looking for. Being that the deadline is coming up soon, i wanted to fill in my applications for the drawing by next week. I live in SFV so I was thinking maybe D11, D14, or D13? I dont mind driving out of my way up to D8 or somewhere around there. Ive been practicing with my bow for a while now and feel very confident up to 60 yards so im hoping to get my first kill this upcoming season. I am willing to pack up all my gear and put in the work needed to get what im looking for. Dosnt necessarily have to be a trophy buck but if the opportunity comes, I will do my best. Any input on a few good zones would be greatly appreciated. Just want to increase my odds and stay out of areas with no deer since I dont have much experience.

Im also interested in getting a pig tag as well, any input on good pig hunting spots would also be greatly appreciated.

Also, does anyone have any input on some good quail or pheasant hunting spots in SoCal? Got my upland game bird stamp and looking to take advantage of that as well.

Thanks much for the help guys!


just a dude who duck hunts
Feb 16, 2011
welcome to the site John! ......

please read the https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Publications/Hunting-Digest cover to cover a few times. In that you can find detailed stats on each zone and how good they are.

success rates go from almost nothing to over 50% many of the archery hunts in x zones are good but some are not! Every zone in calif has deer. You have deer living in the National forest by you. Its not going to be easy but they are there. Get a AO ( archery only ) or the A31 either sex Los Angeles tag and go have fun. once you learn the system better you can start to wander into the sierra's and x zones.

There is no Dope on where to hunt wild pigs on public ground. That info is guarded tighter than Barbra Boxers girl parts. Best bet is to pay to play on some epic private land like http://giantsequoiaguideservice.com/
its not free but its a very very high success rate. You can go wander public land in the central coast but spring is not the time. Pigs are concentrated on food and water and that is all on private land. In San Diego pigs were eradicated so thats done for now.

for birds when in season go to the imperial valley. You can read lots of posts in here about places to go hunt. In your local mountains you will have to earn your birds. that info is guarded too : )

just a hint going forward. Make some friends on here and share your failures and successes. When a new guy comes on and wants to know good spots for deer, pigs, quail , pheasants, and so on in his first post good help is not going to happen. Hang out make some friends and you would be amazed at the Knowledge this place can kick out


Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
North LA county
Hey buddy I'm from SFV also. I hunt all over the local area. There are BIG bucks in the Angeles but they are very hard to get to. I see antler less deer all over the place Since its your first yea just get out and have fun in an area you want to explore. Read read read them drive and walk walk walk. I take a lot of new hunters out if they put in the work and ask the right questions. Do lots of research and read all the dfw books and regs inside and out.


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2014
x2 on the make some friends before you ask for spots, every time I read one of these post especially a first post my first reaction is really? People work years to find there honey holes and no one is about to give them up. You will be lucky to get a hint on a dove or rabbit spot let alone someone giving up deer information. So cal is way to competitive and has very limited access. Plan on spending the first few years learning treat every hunt as a learning experience develop your skills, read books, watch youtube and have fun. Then when you are successful don't tell anyone where that's all part of the game. No zone is better then another in So Cal the trick is finding the best spots in those zones. Pick a zone and commit to it. I recommend something closer to your home archery hunts normally are not successful over night, they take lots of hours, skill, scouting and a little luck.

x2 on giant sequoia I am hunting with Neil next weekend no shame in pay to play on pigs. Archery tags are not that hard to get most you can get over the counter from what I understand so you have time. I applied for rifle zones and will be buying my AO over the counter.

Good luck and keep on the site ask as many questions about hunting as you can people are on here to help.


New Member
May 20, 2016
I appreciate the help guys thanks a lot! I guess I got a lot of researching and scouting to do before the season starts but i dont mind doing that at all. I totally understand that people wont give up specific locations, i just want a broad opinion on where to get started. Thanks again!


New Member
Nov 17, 2018
I’m in a similar boat and am looking to stay connected and learn from you all here.


New Member
Oct 26, 2018
Get an OTC either sex tag if you want a lot of opportunities to work your stalks. Draw tags are nice, but time in the field is better than building points. Can't get better if you aren't working deer.


Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2018
If you live in the Valley, I'd get an OTC tag for D13 (which is also good for D11 and D15). If you bow hunt I'd get one of the I believe it's A31? or A32? tags and try for a Doe in D13. But yeah... ain't nothin' gonna happen for ya without scouting and trail cameras. And you gotta get out there BEFORE the Sun comes up and stay until AFTER then Sun has gone down if you ever plan on seeing a Buck.

I got my first buck in 1 year and 13 days after I started this new adventure. That's very uncommon for a new hunter in SoCal. Apparently it's typically 3 to 5 years before they get their first buck. But I scouted at least 2 weekends each month that whole year. Saw something like 25 Does... only saw 1 buck, and I took that mofo home with me!

You definitely gotta get trailcams. Until you start checking trailcams, you're just gonna feel like an idiot walking around for nothing. And you're very likely to not see deer all that much while you're in motion. And be sure to concentrate on not looking down at your feet and the trail so much while you're doing the hike-in/hike-out during scouting. LOOK UP!! Look in all the shady places you'd imagine they'd go into to escape the heat. Find a good spot that looks out over a large area and put your Binos on a Tripod and let the magic happen. You'll be surprised how an area you've been looking over all day suddenly has a deer just seem to spring forth from it during the last bits of daylight as the shadows of the setting sun start to creep in.

BTW, it's been my finding that when sitting still with all your concealment gear on... the insects tend to leave you alone as long as you're not moving or moving really slowly when turning your head. Also when you're good about sitting still... the little birds aren't afraid to do stuff all around you, and that goes a long way toward convincing the deer that things are cool in this area.