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Harvest Tag Reporting

Hunting Regulations Icon California Hunting

CDFW estimates population numbers and trends using harvest and hunter effort data from tag reports, in combination with other data, so accurate hunter harvest reports are important. Population numbers and trends are in turn used to estimate the number of animals that can be harvested (allowable harvest) without harming the overall population. Timely reporting is necessary so CDFW has enough time to analyze and incorporate last year’s data for the upcoming hunting season.

TAG

Reporting

Countersigned Requirement

Length of time to retain tag

Deer

Successful hunters must report within 30 days of harvest or by January 31, whichever comes first. Unsuccessful hunters and hunters who did not hunt must report by January 31. Hunters who do not report by the deadline will be assessed a non-reporting penalty fee of $21.60 when purchasing their deer tag drawing application or deer tag in the following license year.

Persons Authorized to Validate (see below)

Keep tag attached for 15 days thereafter the season closes. Retain harvest report cards submitted online until March 1.

Bear

Successful hunters must return report cards immediately. Hunters who were unsuccessful or did not hunt must return report cards by February 1.

CDFW Staff Only

Retain head & skin for 15 days thereafter season closes.

Elk

Successful and unsuccessful hunters must return report cards within one week of season closure.

Persons Authorized to Validate (see below)

Keep tag attached 15 days thereafter season closes.

Pronghorn

Successful and unsuccessful hunters must return report cards within one week of season closure.

Not Required

Keep tag attached 15 days thereafter season closes.

Bighorn Sheep

Successful hunters must report by phone within 24 hours. Successful and unsuccessful report cards must be returned within 10 days of season closure.

CDFW Staff Only

N/A

Wild Pig

Successful hunters must return report cards immediately.

Not Required

N/A

All tag holders upon the killing of any big game shall immediately fill out all portions of the tag including the harvest report card. The tag shall be completely, legibly, and permanently filled out as listed:

  • Fill out the effort questions
  • Cut out or punch out notches for the month and date of kill. They must be completely cut out or punched out and removed.
  • The antler portion of the license tag must be attached to the antlers of an antlered animal or to the ear of an antlerless animal immediately upon being killed.

Deer and elk tags shall be countersigned before transporting, except for the purpose of taking it to the nearest person authorized to countersign the license tag. Bear tags shall only be countersigned by a CDFW employee before transporting, except for the purpose of taking it to the nearest CDFW employee. If CDFW offices are closed, the bear tag shall be validated within one business day of transporting the bear from the point where taken.

Mandatory Harvest Reporting for all Deer Tag Holders

Any person who is issued a deer tag must submit a harvest report card:

  • Successful hunters must submit a completed report within 30 days of taking a deer;
  • Unsuccessful hunters; and
  • Hunters who did not hunt must submit a completed report by answering the applicable questions on the harvest report card and submit the report by January 31.

How to Submit a Report:

Online:

Log in to your internet sales profile at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales. You will receive a confirmation number once you have successfully submitted your report online. You must record the confirmation number in the space provided on the harvest report card and retain the harvest report card until March 1 annually. Tags reported online must be surrendered to CDFW upon demand; OR

By Mail:

CDFW Wildlife Branch, PO Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002

Persons Authorized to Validate or Countersign Deer and Elk Tags (CCR T14-708.6(c))*

State

  • Fish and Game Commissioners
  • Employees of CDFW, including Certified Hunter Education Instructors
  • Employees of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • Supervising Plant Quarantine Inspectors
  • Junior, Intermediate and Senior Plant Quarantine Inspectors

Federal

  • Employees of the Bureau of Land Management
  • Employees of the United States Forest Service
  • Employees of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service
  • All Uniformed Personnel of the National Park Service
  • Commanding Officers of any United States military installation or their designated personnel for deer taken on their reservation
  • Postmasters & Post Office Station or Branch Manager for deer brought to their post office

Miscellaneous

  • County firemen at and above the class of foreman for deer brought into their station
  • Judges or Justices of all state and United States courts
  • Notaries Public
  • Peace Officers (salaried and non-salaried)
  • Officers authorized to administer oaths
  • Owners, corporate officers, managers or operators of lockers or cold storage plants for deer brought to their place of business

* No person may validate or countersign his/her own deer tag or elk tag/ CCR T14-708.6(b).