Big Change for
California Deer Hunters
On December 6, 2002, the California Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to adopt a new system to award those coveted premium deer, elk, antelope and sheep tags.

The Commission will be meeting in Monterey and would welcome any comments you would like to provide in writing (also via e-mail) prior to that date or at the meeting. Your e-mail comments should be sent to Be sure to include your full name and city.

Summary of the New System

Tags for premium deer (X zones, additional hunts, and area-specific archery hunts), bighorn sheep, elk and pronghorn antelope hunts will use a Modified-Preference Point drawing system.

Tags will be awarded based on the following order of priority: an applicant's hunt choice (first choice only for deer), accumulated point totals by species (highest to lowest), and computer-generated random number (lowest to highest).

To accumulate a point for any species, a person must comply with all of the following:

• Be at least 12 years of age (16 years of age for bighorn sheep)
• Possess a California hunting license valid for the hunting season
• Applicants for elk and pronghorn antelope must be California residents
• Include processing fees for sheep, antelope and elk if applying
• Applications must be received by first business day after June 1
• Not submit more than one drawing application for each species, except for junior deer hunt applicants

You can only earn one point per species per year. If drawn for that species your point total for that species is returned to zero.

If you do not apply for a species for five consecutive years, your point total will be returned to zero.

If you are interested in only earning a point but don't want to apply for a tag, you can just apply for the Preference Point.

Premium Deer Hunts

90% of the tag quota for a zone or hunt will be awarded using the Preference Point drawing. The remaining 10% will be awarded using the Draw-By-Choice drawing (current system).

Second and third choice zones or hunts will be drawn using the Draw-By-Choice and will not result in a loss of accumulated points.

Junior hunts will be 50% Preference Point and 50% Draw-By-Choice.

For quotas of less than 10 tags, one will be awarded using Draw-By-Choice and the remaining will be awarded using Preference Point drawing.

Elk, Pronghorn Antelope and Bighorn Sheep Hunts

For quotas of one, the tag will be awarded using Draw-By-Choice.

If two tags, one will be awarded by Preference Point draw and one by Draw-By-Choice.

For quotas of three tags, two will be awarded by Preference Point draw and one by Draw-By-Choice.

For quotas of 4 or more, 75% will be awarded by Preference Point draw and one by Draw-By-Choice.

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