California’s General Deer Season Set to Open

Craig Stowers, Deer Program Coordinator, (916) 445-3553
Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8908

                                     Archery Season Well Under Way in Coast Range

As autumn approaches, many of California’s deer hunters are preparing for the

Buck in the meadow

general season openers in mid-September and early October. Archery deer season has been in full swing with the first zone opening to archers in July.

“Although we had a dry year, we have not seen indications of major population declines or increases in any of our zones,” said Craig Stowers Deer Program Coordinator. “This year’s forecast looks normal in terms of deer numbers, but I want to caution hunters to carefully watch their zones for fires, which can interrupt their hunting plans. Detailed fire information is located on several web sites including those maintained by CAL FIRE, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. ”

In 2011, 149,600 hunters purchased 175,276 tags across the state. With the state’s deer population estimated at 489,000, there are plenty of opportunities for hunters of all disciplines.

Hunters should visit the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Deer Program website at for more specific information, including opening dates in specific zones, current regulations, maps and other information for the season.

Deer tags can be purchased in person at DFG’s regional offices and the DFG License and Revenue Branch in Sacramento, or through the mail. A list of DFG license sales offices can be found at

All California hunters are required to pass a hunter safety course prior to purchasing a hunting license. The safe hunting practices stressed in these courses have made hunting one of the safest of outdoor activities in California, according to statistics collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

DFG also reminds those returning from out of state with harvested deer or elk that California’s maintains strict regulations to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The “no skull, no backbone” regulation (California Code of Regulations – Title 14, Section 712) remains in effect to protect California’s deer and elk herds. For more information, please visit: