The following is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Free Hunting Days
The 2023-24 Free Hunting Days are Saturday, November 25, 2023 and Saturday, April 13, 2024.
To participate in Free Hunting Days, participants must meet the requirements established in Fish and Game Code § 3040. These requirements include:
- Proof of completion of a hunter education course.
- Possession of a valid Free Hunt Days Registration.
- Possession of any required tags or report cards, federal entitlements and entry permits.
- Participants must be accompanied by a hunter who:
- Holds a valid California hunting license
- Is at least 21 years of age, and,
- Only accompanies one free hunting day participant in the field at a time.
Free Hunt Days Registration will be available to claim beginning October 11, 2023 through all sales channels. Sales channels include CDFW sales offices, license agents, telephone sales services and online license sales(opens in new tab).
Hunters wishing to participate in Free Hunting Days shall only participate for one license year and shall only take resident and migratory game birds, resident small game mammals, fur-bearing mammals, nongame mammals and wild pigs with a wild pig tag.
Free Hunting Day participants are subject to all limitations, restrictions, conditions, statutes, rules and regulations, except the required possession of a valid hunting license, upland game bird hunting validation and state duck hunting validation.
For more information or questions related to Free Hunting Days, please contact the Recruit, Retain, Reactivate (R3) Team at R3StatewideProgram@wildlife.ca.gov.
Free Hunting Day Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is eligible for a Free Hunting Day Registration?
A: California residents who do not hold a current valid annual hunting license.
Q: How long is a Free Hunting Day Registration valid?
A: The Free Hunt Day Registration is valid for two designated days each year. The 2023-24 hunting license year’s free hunting days are November 25, 2023 and April 13, 2024. Free hunting days are published each year in the Hunting Regulations Booklets.
Q: What do I need to do to claim a Free Hunting Day Registration?
A: The participant shall complete the following requirements to register for a Free Hunt Day Registration:
- Complete a hunter education course before registering.
- Be accompanied by a hunter who is 21 years of age or older and possesses a current valid California hunting license.
- The licensed hunter may only accompany one unlicensed hunter in the field at a time.
Q: How many years can I participate in Free Hunting Days?
A: A resident may only register and participate in free hunting days for one license year.
Q: Where do I register for a Free Hunt Day Registration?
A: The Free Hunt Day Registration is available at CDFW license sales offices, license agents, online license sales and through telephone sales.
Q: What can I hunt for with a Free Hunt Day Registration?
A: The Free Hunt Day Registration allows participants to take only resident and migratory game birds, resident small game mammals, fur-bearing mammals, nongame mammals and wild pigs.
A Free Hunt Day participant with a Free Hunt Day Registration must also be in possession of any required tags, report cards, entry permits or required federal entitlements, and must follow restrictions, conditions, statutes, rules and regulations applicable to anyone holding a valid hunting license.
Q: Can I hunt wild pig on Free Hunting Days?
A: Participants wishing to hunt wild pig on Free Hunting Days are required to purchase a “Wild Pig Tag – Free Hunt Days” when claiming their Free Hunt Day Registration. To hunt wild pigs, participants must be 12 years of age or older.
Q: Can I apply for drawings with a Free Hunting Day Registration?
A: No. A Free Hunting Days participant is an unlicensed hunter and shall not apply for any draw or lottery to obtain any tag, reservation, or other hunting opportunity.
Q: Can I use a hunting license from another state to participate in Free Hunting Days?
A: No, a hunting license from another state cannot be used to participate in Free Hunting Days.
Q: Do I need a hunter education certificate?
A: Yes. Free Hunting Days participants must complete and provide a hunter education certificate to claim their Free Hunt Day Registration. CDFW accepts hunter education certificates from any state. Hunter education classes are available in three formats. To view California hunter education options, visit the hunter education web page.
Q: Can you use a Free Hunt Day Registration to hunt on state-managed wildlife areas?
A: On the Free Hunting Days, participants may hunt on state-managed wildlife areas but will need to purchase a wildlife area pass. To find out more information about passes for state-operated hunting areas, visit Hunting Licenses and Tags.