Hunting Licenses, Big Game Drawing Applications Now Available

Media Contacts: 
Maria Melchiorre, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6881
Dan Yparraguirre, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3685
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Hunters can now purchase 2011 hunting licenses and apply for the Big Game Drawing online, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced. DFG’s new Automated License Data System (ALDS) means that the application process for both will be simplified and streamlined.

“ALDS offers tremendous improvements that hunters have been anticipating for many years,” said DFG License and Revenue Branch Chief James Fong. “Hunting licenses are available from more locations than ever before and for those applying for the annual Big Game Drawing, there is no longer a need to fill out multiple forms and manually mail them to a single DFG office.”

Customers applying for a license for the first time via ALDS may initially experience a slow license sales transaction. In subsequent years, the process will be faster, as the customer’s information will be retained in the system. Under ALDS, purchasers of a hunting or fishing license are issued a “Get Outdoors” identification number (GO ID) that is printed on all license documents. The GO ID is used to retrieve a customer’s information each time they purchase a license or apply for drawings in the future.  

In addition to purchasing a license, hunters can now apply for the Big Game Drawing at any DFG license sales office, license agent or online. When the transaction is complete, the customer will receive a receipt to show their hunt choices have been entered in the drawing.

 To qualify for the Big Game Drawing, an application must be submitted and the sales transaction completed before midnight on June 2, 2011. All premium deer hunt tags, and elk, antelope and bighorn sheep tags are awarded through the DFG Big Game Drawing. Mail-in applications are no longer accepted.

 The implementation of ALDS also means:

  • Hunters can obtain deer and bear tags at the time of purchase from a local license agent.
  • Hunters who purchase licenses and big game tags online will receive them in the mail within 15 days.
  • State Duck and Upland Game Bird stamps are validations in ALDS and printed on the hunting license. Hunters must have the validation in their possession while engaged in this activity. DFG will continue to print and offer the physical stamp which can be mailed, upon request online, to the purchasers after July 1 each year.
  • Customers must provide legal identification and a telephone number when they make their first purchase through ALDS. Customers can still purchase licenses for other people if they provide the other person’s hunting license from the previous year and driver license number. 
  • DFG will no longer accept a Hunting License Declaration as evidence of meeting a hunter education requirement. Hunters must have a prior year’s California hunting license or a hunter education certificate to purchase a new hunting license. 

To find a license agent near you, to purchase items online or for more information on ALDS, please visit To learn more about the Big Game Drawing application process, please view the 2011 California Hunting Digest (2011 Big Game) at

Additional Drawing Opportunities 

Two new fundraising random drawings, for a deer tag and an elk tag, will also be held this year. The drawings are open to anyone 12 years of age or older, for $5.40 per chance, per tag. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, and may apply for the drawings as many times as they wish.

Proceeds from all fundraising tags are deposited into the newly established Big Game Management Account, which is used to benefit antelope, elk, deer, wild pigs, bear and sheep populations. An advisory committee reviews and provides comments to DFG on all proposed projects funded from the account. Recent activities funded by revenue from the fundraising tags have included helicopter surveys, other deer and bighorn sheep studies, and improving both hunting access and water source improvements for sheep and deer.