Deer Hunting on Catalina Island (Permits, Packages & Zones)

Deer Hunting on Catalina Island

Welcome to the world of deer hunting on Catalina Island, a unique hunting experience that combines the thrill of the hunt with the breathtaking beauty of one of California’s most stunning offshore gems. This guide is designed to provide all the necessary information about deer hunting on Catalina Island, including permits, packages, zones, transportation, and rules and regulations

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a novice looking to embark on your first hunting adventure, this will equip you with everything you need to know.

Deer Hunting on Catalina Island

Deer Hunting on Catalina Island

Deer hunting on the island is facilitated by the Catalina Island Conservancy, a nonprofit public charity founded in 1972 to restore and protect the island for future generations. The conservancy considers deer hunting as an important tool in its conservation efforts.

Hunting on Catalina Island is an easy process. If you have a valid California Hunting License and follow the rules and regulations, you are guaranteed an adventurous thrill in the woods and an experience of a lifetime.

Hunting Zones in Catalina Island

Hunting zones help you plan your itinerary, considering the hunting sessions are limited to a few minutes. You want to take note of the zone, date, time, hunting session schedule, and the authorized weapon class. Below are some of the hunting zones on the island and their timings.

Hunting Zones in Catalina Island

Brow and Crossbow zones

Brow and Crossbow zones were opened from July 13 to September 15, 2023. Only rifle hunting was allowed in section A. Hunting was only allowed 30 minutes before sunrise to 9 am, then resumed between 4 pm and 30 minutes after sunset. No hunting was allowed between 9 am to 4 pm.

The Wildlife West Hunting Only and Open Hunting Zones

The Wildlife West Hunting Only and Open Hunting Zones 2,3 and 4  are currently not open to hunting. The Wildlife West Zone 1(west end) opens from November 22 to December 26, 2023. You can get on the hunting field 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.

All open hunting zones can be accessed between December 12 and December 26, 2023. Hunting in these zones is limited to 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.  From September 16th to November 21st, hunting is closed to the public.

Hunting Zone Maps in Catalina Island

The Catalina Island Conservancy has four hunting zone maps highlighting the hunting jurisdiction. Each zone is open at different times, and detailed zone maps are available on the conservancy website.

Deer hunting on Catalina Island

Requirements, Rules & Resources for Hunting in Catalina Island

Hunting on Catalina Island requires following the rules and fulfilling some requirements before acquiring the hunting tag. 

Hunting in Catalina Island

Below is a summary of the requirements:

You must obtain a conservancy membership at the explorer level or higher. You can purchase your membership and find more information on member levels and benefits on the conservancy’s website. 

You also need to provide the following documents:

  •  A valid California Hunting License
  • Proof of identification such as a government-issued ID, passport, or valid driver’s license
  •  Firearms liability license with a minimum coverage of $500,000
  • California state deer tag before application
  • You must comply with all California hunting regulations
  • You must wear blaze orange clothing
  • You can only hunt within the designed zones, access points, and hours
  • You can only use non-lead ammo for rifle hunting
  • You must do a postharvest report not later than two days after harvest and return the tags not later than five days after harvest.
  • You must sign a Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk document if you are a non-hunter or accompanied by non-hunters. You cannot hunt without your completed application and tag exchanges or carry weapons.

If you are a Catalina Island resident, you can enjoy resident discounts and resident tag exchanges. However, to enjoy these benefits, you must have an Avalon address on your driver’s license as proof of residency.

Always comply with the above requirements to avoid being suspended from the hunting program or losing hunting privileges with no refunds.

Hunting Transportation in Catalina Island

Traveling to Catalina Island from the mainland is an easy process. 

Several companies offer ferry services, a journey that takes approximately an hour. You can access the ferries from Long Beach, Dana Point, or San Pedro harbors. 

You may also opt for a helicopter ride, which takes about 15 minutes.

Hunting Transportation in Catalina Island

Upon arrival on the island, you have a variety of options to choose from as highlighted below:

Getting around Catalina Island to the hunting zones


You may opt for shuttles operated by Catalina Island Conservancy for transportation to specific hunting zones. Ensure to check the shuttle schedule and book a spot in advance to avoid missing a ride since seating may be limited depending on the number of visitors.

Bikes and e-bikes

This is another alternative way to reach your preferred hunting destination. However, bikes are only allowed on designated bike paths. You must familiarize yourself with the approved routes and avoid restricted areas, such as behind locked gates, to avoid getting into trouble.


This is another great way to access the hunting zones. You don’t need to hire a bike or go through the hassle of booking a shuttle. You only need to plan your route, wear appropriate gear, and carry enough water. Always check the rules and regulations of each hunting area to be sure whether it requires a permit or has any restrictions before planning a hike.

Unlike other cities, the island has restrictions on vehicles, where you can move around in the comfort of your car. This is impossible on the island, and you may have to depend on a third party to chauffer you around. 

You can access the island’s interior, where all the action happens using vehicles with approved road permits. Any road behind a locked gate can only be accessed with a 4 x 4 vehicle or by foot. These restrictions may interfere with your schedule, and proper planning is necessary to avoid inconveniences.

Rules & Regulations in Catalina Island

As a hunter, you must adhere to strict rules and regulations that safeguard your safety and that of residents, visitors, and wildlife and protect the environment. Below are some of the rules and regulations you need to follow when hunting on the island:

Hunting in Catalina Island

Hunting hours: You can only hunt 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. These are the legal hunting hours that you must strictly adhere to.

Firearm restrictions: You cannot load a firearm inside a vehicle or hunt from a moving or packed vehicle. Firearms are also not allowed on public buildings or in the interior campsites.

Hunting zones: You must adhere to the approved and open hunting zones as per the zone maps. The conservancy always notifies hunters of zone closures on its website.

Hunting reservations: You must make reservations on your proposed hunting dates and zones and notify the conservancy by 3 p.m. the day before.

Vehicle restrictions: You must comply with road and vehicle restrictions on the island. Only use the approved vehicles with roadmaps to the interior, and avoid using bikes off the approved paths.

Tags returning: Always report harvest within two days and return tags within five days after a successful harvest.

Environmental conservation:  You are required to support the conservancy’s effort to conserve and protect the environment by contributing to the sustainable management of the island. Respect the environment, minimize your impact on the island’s ecosystem, and avoid littering. 

Some other rules and regulations governing general behavior on the island include:

  • Smoking and open fire are not allowed anywhere on the conservancy except on designated facilities and campgrounds
  •  Feeding wildlife is prohibited and a violation of the conservancy regulations.
  • Hitch-hiking is prohibited
  • As a visitor, you have a responsibility to ‘leave no trace’ of your presence in the environment.
  • Dogs and horses are allowed on the trails and roads. However, dogs must be on a leash and have current vaccinations.
  • Hunting is only allowed during established hunting seasons
  • Smoking and fires are prohibited when ‘red flag’ days are declared
  • You are not allowed to  disturb archaeological sites or collect any artifacts

Pricing & Permit Application in Catalina Island

Catalina Island Conservancy has opened the island’s interior to recreational, business, and educational activities. However, for safety and other precautions, you need a permit for different activities, including hunting, biking, hiking, and driving. 

Are Wild Pigs Huntable on Catalina Island

Pricing and permits are divided into Catalina Island resident hunters and non-resident hunters. Residents deposit $100 for one PLM tag, while non-residents deposit $200 for one PLM tag. $100 is held as a deposit. The deposit is refunded as long as the tag is returned within five days of successful take but not later than December 26th.

Residents also have an option of paying $300 for two PLM tags, with $200 being held as a deposit, while nonresidents have an option of paying $400 for two PLM tags, where $200 is held as a deposit. The deposits are refunded if the tag is returned at the stipulated time.

It’s important to note that the conservancy only accepts credit and debit card payments and does not accept cash and checks.

Some resources on the conservancy’s website include information on acquiring permits, maps, and policies.

Mule Deer Hunting on Catalina Island

Mule Deer Hunting on Catalina Island

Mule deer hunting on Catalina Island is a program initiated by the Catalina Island Conservancy in partnership with California’s Fish and Wildlife under a Private Lands Management (PLM) agreement. The program allows mule deer hunting as a responsible method of managing the island’s mule deer population. As a hunter, the conservancy considers you a conservation partner, and the program is considered a great tool in conservation efforts.


Is it Legal to Hunt Bison on Catalina Island?

No, it’s illegal to hunt bison on Catalina Island. Catalina Island Conservancy is dedicated to the conservation of the bison herd on the island for economic and cultural reasons. There are only 14 bison on the island, introduced in 1924 to provide a backdrop for film production.

Since then, the herd has remained on the island, and the conservancy took over its responsibility. The bison are seen during conservancy eco tours, which visitors can book on the website.

What Kind of Games Are Authorized to Hunt on Catalina Island?

The Catalina mule deer is one of the main hunting games authorized on the island to manage its population. However, other animals are licensed for hunting, including bears, elk, pronghorn antelope, Nelson bighorn sheep, wild pigs, and more. Besides the big game, you can also hunt fur-bearing mammals such as raccoons, beavers, badgers, gray foxes, river otters, desert kit foxes, red foxes, and more. Hunting fees for the various animals vary.

While the conservancy allows hunting for some animal species, it also protects over 50 rare species, such as the Catalina Island fox, ornate shrew, seabirds, songbirds, and herpetofauna.

Are There Mule Deer Shooting Seasons on Catalina Island?

Yes, mule deer shooting seasons are per the conservancy’s set timing. This mainly falls between July and December.

Are Wild Pigs Huntable on Catalina Island?

Yes, wild pigs are huntable on Catalina Island.  Wild pigs can be hunted during the general season without a daily bag or possession limits. However, you should always check out for restrictions.

Is a Hunting License Required to Hunt on Catalina Island?

Yes, you need a valid California Hunting License and may also require other documents before being allowed to participate in the hunting activities. Some of these include proof of identification and firearms liability insurance.

Similar Posts