California Quail with chicks

Upland Bird Hunting in California: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are a bird hunting enthusiast, California is the place to be. With its diverse terrain, climate, and a wide variety of bird species, California offers unique upland bird hunting opportunities unlike anywhere in the United States. If you plan carefully, you can hunt several species at once! There are areas where you can hunt mountain, valley and Gambel’s quail all at once and maybe even some chukar, for example. In this article, we will explore the best locations, seasons, regulations, gear, and techniques for upland bird hunting in California.

Introduction to Upland Bird Hunting in California

California has good numbers of California, Gambel’s and Mountain quaildoves, chukar, pheasant, Sooty and Ruffed grouse, snipe, Band-tailed pigeon, ptarmigan, wild turkey and even some Sage grouse. It is no wonder that bird hunters in this state try to keep it a secret. Like many Western states, California has vast amounts of public land. About 45% of the state is public land.

If you’re an upland bird hunter who likes mixed bags, check out the Golden State.

California’s Best Upland Bird Hunting Locations

California is a large state with a diverse landscape that ranges from deserts to mountains to forests. Each region offers unique opportunities for upland bird hunting.

Central Valley

The Central Valley is a vast agricultural region that stretches from Bakersfield to Redding. It is home to a large population of wild pheasants, as well as valley quail and dove. The best time to hunt in the Central Valley is from November to January.

Sierra Nevada Mountains

The Sierra Nevada Mountains offer a picturesque setting for upland bird hunting. The region is home to chukar, mountain quail, and blue grouse. The hunting season in the Sierra Nevada Mountains runs from September to November.

Southern California

Southern California has a warm climate and diverse terrain that provides ample opportunities for bird hunting. The region is home to Gambel’s quail, mountain quail, and mourning dove. The best time to hunt in Southern California is from September to December.

Mountain Quail

Hunting Regulations and Permits

Before you go hunting, it is important to familiarize yourself with the state’s hunting regulations and obtain the necessary permits. In California, hunters are required to have a valid hunting license and upland game bird stamp. The bag limit for each species varies depending on the location and season.

Essential Gear for Upland Bird Hunting

Upland bird hunting requires a specific set of gear to ensure a safe and successful hunting experience. Some of the essential gear includes:

Upland bird hunting in California offers a unique hunting experience that cannot be found anywhere else. By following the regulations, obtaining the necessary permits, and using the right gear and techniques, you can have a safe and successful hunting trip.


  1. What is the best time to go upland bird hunting in California? The best time to go upland bird hunting in California depends on the species and location. Generally, the hunting season runs from September to January.
  1. What is the bag limit for upland game birds in California? The bag limit for each species varies depending on the location and season. It is important to check the regulations before hunting.
  1. Do I need a hunting license to hunt upland game birds in California? Yes, a valid hunting license and upland game bird stamp are required to hunt up
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