General Deer Tag Information
Only a First-Deer Tag Application may be used to apply for the Big Game Drawing. Exception: junior hunters may apply for apprentice hunts on their Second-Deer Tag Application. You must purchase a First-Deer Tag Application before purchasing a Second-Deer Tag Application.
It is illegal to submit more than one First-Deer Tag Application and one Second-Deer Tag Application in the same license year. Persons convicted of a deer violation during the 2017 license year may not apply for deer tags in 2018.
Deer Tags Issued On Request
Deer tags are issued on request for A, B, and some D zones until tag quotas fill. You can purchase and obtain a deer tag directly from your local license agent. You can also purchase these tags online but must wait for the tag to arrive in the mail before you go hunting. Tags purchased online or by telephone will be delivered within 15 days.
A, B, and D Zone Deer Tags: These tags allow hunting during the archery season with archery equipment and during the general season with a muzzleloading or centerfire rifle, shotgun, authorized pistol or revolver, crossbow or bow. Tags are valid for a specific zone except:
- B zone tag is valid in all B zones;
- D3-5 tag is valid in zones D3, D4 and D5; and
- D11, D13 or D15 tag may be used in any of these three zones.
Archery-Only Deer Tags (AO Tags): These tags allow hunting with archery equipment only during the archery and general seasons in zone A; any B or D zone; and during Additional Hunt G-10 (restricted to military personnel only). You may not possess any firearm or crossbow when hunting with an Archery-Only deer tag except as otherwise provided. Archery Only deer tags are NOT valid in any C or X zone. To hunt during a C or X zone archery season, you must have the appropriate Area-Specific Archery Hunt tag for that area
Premium Deer Tags
Any hunt that filled on or before the first business day after July 1, of the previous year is a premium deer hunt. Premium deer hunt tags are issued through the Big Game Drawing. C; D9; D12; D17; all X zones; Additional Hunts, including most Area-Specific Archery Hunts are premium hunts. For a complete list of deer hunts and their classifications, please refer to the 2018 California Big Game Hunting Digest, available online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Publications/Hunting-Digest. To apply for a premium deer tag issued through the Big Game Drawing, applicants must use a First-Deer Tag Drawing Application, except for junior hunters (see below).
C Zone Deer Tags
These tags are valid in zones C1, C2, C3 and C4 during the general season only. To hunt with archery equipment during the archery season in any C zone you must apply for an A-1 Area-Specific Archery Hunt tag.
X Zone Tags
These tags allow hunting during the general season only, in a specific zone using a muzzleloading or centerfire rifle, shotgun, authorized pistol or revolver, crossbow or bow.
Additional Hunt Deer Tags
Additional deer hunts offer antlerless, either-sex and buck hunting opportunities in a variety of locations throughout the state. They include junior deer hunts, military lands hunts, and special equipment hunts.
Apprentice Deer Hunts
Applicants must be at least 12 years of age on or before July 1 of the license year for which they are applying or at the time of application if they are applying after July 1, and must possess a valid California junior hunting license for the year they are applying. Eligible junior license holders may use either a First-Deer or Second-Deer Tag Drawing Application to apply for Apprentice Deer Hunts; however only one application may be submitted for Apprentice Hunts. Juniors receiving tags must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older while hunting.
Military Lands Hunts
Additional hunts G8, J10 and A33 are held on military installations and offer limited numbers of tags for the public and military personnel. Public tags are issued through CDFW’s Big Game Drawing. Military personnel must apply directly to the Base. Additional Hunts G7 (Beale Air Force Base Either-Sex Hunt), G10 (Camp Pendleton Air Force Base Either-Sex Hunt), and G11 (Vandenberg Air Force Base Either-Sex Hunt) are for military personnel only.
Area-Specific Archery Hunts
These tags allow archery hunting in designated areas throughout the state, including X zones.
Mandatory Deer Tag Reporting
All tag holders must report by January 31st.
Tag holders must submit a harvest report indicating if they were successful, unsuccessful or did not hunt. Reporting may be done online at:
or by mail:
CDFW Wildlife Branch
PO Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94299-0002.
Failure to submit a harvest report will result in a non-reporting fee being assessed.
Processing your deer
See CDFW’s video on processing deer or elk to comply with CWD regulations: