Bear Hunting

Bear Hunting Regulations

2023 Seasons

As of February 21, 2024, the 2023 black bear harvest total is:


A weekly bear harvest update is also available by calling (888) 277-6398 (toll-free).

2024 General Season

General bear season opens concurrently with general deer season in the A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 deer hunting zones and extends through December 31, 2024. For those portions of zones X1, X2, X3a, X4, X6a, X6b, X7a, and X7b open to bear hunting, the general bear season begins October 12, 2024, and extends through December 31, 2024.

General bear season closes on December 31, 2024, or earlier, if the Department determines that 1,700 bears have been reported taken. This includes bears harvested during the archery season.

2024 Archery Season

  • Archery bear season in all bear zones opens August 17, 2024, and runs through September 8, 2024.

Bag and Possession Limit

map of bear hunting areas in California - click to open PDF in new tab
Black Bear Hunting Area Map. (click to open PDF)

Mammal Hunting

Regulations for taking big and small game mammals, furbearers and nongame

License Requirements

  • A CA hunting license and bear tag are required for hunting bear
  • If a bear is taken, the bear tag must be validated by a CDFW employee before transporting the bear, except for the purpose of taking it to the nearest CDFW employee authorized to validate the bear tag. If CDFW offices are closed, the bear tag shall be validated within one business day of transporting the bear from the point where taken. The skull must be presented to CDFW within 10 days (see tag validation details (PDF))
  • Bear tags must be returned, regardless of success

Purchase licenses and tags ONLINE or at a local AGENT.

License and Tag Fees

Valid JULY 1, 2024, through JUNE 30, 2025

Hunting Licenses Fee Description
Resident Hunting License $61.82 Required for any resident 16 years of age or older who takes birds or mammals
Nonresident Hunting License $216.00 Required for any nonresident 16 years of age or older who takes birds or mammals.
Junior Hunting License $16.20 Required for any resident or nonresident less than 16 years of age who takes birds or mammals. To qualify, hunter must be less than 16 years of age at the beginning of the license year (July 1).
Tags Fee Description
Resident Bear Tag $60.22 Resident and nonresident licensed hunters 12 years of age or older at the time of application may purchase one bear tag per license year. Tags are nonrefundable and nontransferable.
Nonresident Bear Tag $381.30

Publications and Forms

Harvest Data

Black Bear Tooth Age Data

Hunters are required to bring bears that have been killed to CDFW for tag validation as well the removal of a premolar tooth from the bear. The premolar tooth is used to determine a bear’s age and thus develop more precise harvest data information and how to manage sustainable and healthy bear populations in California.

Annual Take Data

Hunter harvest data, such as number, age structure, and sex ratio of black bears taken each year, helps the Department monitor and manage the bear population. Annually, the data are compared to previous years to determine trends that may require adjustments to the hunting program. In 1917, California black bears were classified as furbearers with no restrictions on how, when or number of animals taken. Since 1948, California black bears have been classified as game animals with an established hunting season.

Annual Black Bear Take Reports

Additional Reports

Wildlife Branch - Game Program
1010 Riverside Parkway, West Sacramento, CA 95605
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 557-3444