top of page


Bear Hunting In California

Hunting Methods - Fair Chase

When settlers arrived in California in the eighteenth-century, there were thousands of Grizzly Bears. The settlers wreaked havoc on bear populations, and in 1908 a game warden shot the last grizzly bear in the State. Despite the total execution of the grizzly bear population, black bears from the Yosemite Valley who were brought into Southern California by the CDFW in 1933, were able to flourish in the old grizzly bear habitat.

When Did Bear Hunting Start In California?

Black Bears became a classified game animal in 1948, and hunts have been held ever since.

Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear Management Units)?

California is broken down into 5 Hunting Zones, A, B, C, D, and X. All five Zones are broken down into a total of 45 sub-zones. All five Hunt Zones are open to bear hunting, but not all sub-zones are. The Bear Hunt Territory can be found here

When Is Bear Hunting Season?

  • Archery: All Bear Zones; Aug. 18- Sep. 9

  • General: Zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A-B, X10, X12; Aug. 11-Dec 30 or when the 1,700 quota is met. All other X Zones; Oct. 13-Dec 30 or when the 1,700 quota is met. ​

What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Longbow, Recurve, or Compound bows; Broadheads 7/8 inch in width;

Firearms: Shotguns holding no more than three shells firing single slugs; Centerfire Rifles, Pistols, and Revolvers that use softnose or expanding projectiles; 

Muzzleloaders: Rifles .40 caliber or larger using black powder or synthetic black powder, shooting single shots.​

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

No. It is illegal to kill cubs, or mothers with cubs.

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

No. It is illegal to bait bears.

Is Dog Hunting Permitted In California?

No. Pursuit with dogs is not permitted. 

What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

Hunters must take the dead bear to the nearest CDFW office to have the bear tag validated before any further transportation. The report card portion of the Bear License is to be immediately sent in after being signed by an official. Within ten days of the kill, each successful hunter is to take the skull of the bear to a CDFW office for pre-molar tooth extraction. All hunters, whether or not they killed a bear, have to return the bear tag to the CDFW. 

What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women


What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

  1. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) -

  2. California Wildlife Conservation Board -

When Does The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Hold Their Meetings?

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has roughly 20 meetings scheduled a year, the dates can be found here - 

Are The Meeting Open To The Public?

Meetings are not open to the public, but public comment is welcome via mail or e-mail. Directions on how to submit a comment can be found here - 

Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and California’s elected General Assembly Members have the power to introduce or vote on proposed law changes.​

Eric Sklar- President of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Groups And Organizations That Oppose Bear Hunting.

HSUS Wildlife Protection -

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

SC2 Outdoors -

Gary Lewis Outdoors -

Safari Club International, San Diego Division -

bottom of page