Bear Hunting Regulations
As of November 22, 2023, the 2023 black bear harvest total is:
A weekly bear harvest update is also available by calling (888) 277-6398 (toll-free).
2023 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, 2023. For those portions of zones X1, X2, X3a, X4, X6a, X6b, X7a, and X7b open to bear hunting, the general bear season begins October 14, 2023, and extends through December 31, 2023.
General bear season closes on December 31, 2023, or earlier, if the Department determines that 1,700 bears have been reported taken. This includes bears harvested during the archery season.
2023 Archery Season
- Archery bear season in all bear zones opens August 19, 2023, and runs through September 10, 2023.
Bag and Possession Limit
Regulations for taking big and small game mammals, furbearers and nongame
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