CDFW Announces Los Banos Area Deer Hunt Ops

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

A buck deer near the American River in Sacramento County, California on January 7, 2024. (CDFW Photo/Travis VanZant)

Los Banos, North Grasslands Wildlife Areas to Offer Deer Hunting Opportunities

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for a limited number of deer hunting access permits at the Los Banos and North Grasslands wildlife areas for the last week of the A Zone deer season, Sept. 16 through Sept. 22.

Recently, CDFW requested the California Fish and Game Commission make deer a huntable species on the Los Banos Wildlife Area and the China Island and Salt Slough units of the North Grasslands Wildlife Area. This new designation allows CDFW for the first time to offer limited access to hunt these areas under provisions of the A Zone general deer season.

An access permit issued by CDFW is required and only 11 permits (five on Los Banos, three on Salt Slough and three on China Island) will be awarded.

Hunters can find the application online or request an application by calling the CDFW Los Banos office at (209) 826-0463 between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Applications may be submitted via e-mail to or mailed to CDFW’s Los Banos office at 18110 W. Henry Miller Ave., Los Banos, CA 93635. Possession of a valid 2024 A Zone deer tag at the time of application is not necessary.

Successful applicants will be allowed access to the area they were drawn for and must have a valid hunting license, A Zone deer tag and follow all hunting regulations. Hunters must also adhere to wildlife area specific regulations regarding parking in designated parking lots, no stopping along roadways and no access other than walking or using non-motorized bicycles. Only legal bucks may be taken. Each hunter is allowed to bring one non-hunting guest. The areas will be closed to all other visitors throughout the week.

Hunters may only use a shotgun with nontoxic slugs as their authorized method of takeAll deer harvested must be validated by wildlife area staff. Biological samples will be takenCDFW staff is collecting biological samples to test for chronic wasting disease (CWD), among other conditions. This year, the first case of CWD, a fatal neurological disease in deer, elk and other cervids, was detected in California. CDFW is testing for and monitoring the disease to protect California’s elk and deer populations as well as hunting opportunities.

The application process for these deer hunts takes place outside of CDFW’s Automated License Data System (ALDS). Only official applications will be accepted and must be received before 4 p.m. Aug. 5, 2024. Reservations will be selected by a computerized drawing at 11 a.m. Aug. 6, 2024. Successful applicants will be notified by mail within five working days of the drawing. Results will not be given over the phone.

Each applicant may only apply for one area and must include all required information on the application. If an individual’s name and GOID number appear in the drawing on any other applications, that individual will be disqualified from all drawings. Junior hunting license holders 12 and older may apply if accompanied by an adult 18 or older.

For participants new to hunting or looking to try a different style of hunting, visit CDFW’s Hunter Education and R3 (Recruit. Retain. Reactivate.) web pages for resources and helpful information.