California Elk Tags

California elk tags for tule elk, etc.

You need to buy a California elk tag from the Department of Fish & Wildlife before hunting elk. In fact, it’s illegal to even possess an elk or elk part except in compliance with tagging laws and procedures

Tagholders are NOT allowed to hunt or possess any elk or elk parts except as governed under Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations. This California elk hunting regulation is located at 14 CCR § 364(o)(1).  In this section, you’ll find an alphabetical summary of topics related to the following types California elk hunting tags:

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Biological Research

Biological research on California elk tag holder's elk.The CDFW has the right to use any part of the tagholder’s elk for biological analysis as long as the amount of edible meat is not appreciably decreased. See 14 CCR § 364(o)(2).

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Collars

Some California elk have been fitting with a collar or other marking device, which must be returned to the CDFW within 10 days after taking the elk. See 14 CCR § 364(o)(3).

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Exchange Fees

Unlike deer tags, there are no regulations related to exchanging elk tags.

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Fundraising Elk Hunt Tags

Fundraising California elk tags
Roosevelt Elk

Three California bull elk fundraising license tags will be offered for sale to raise funds for the management of elk. This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(a).

Age Limit

Applicants for a deer, elk, or antelope license tag shall be 12 years of age on or before July 1 of the license year for which they are applying. This California elk fundraising tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.16(a)(1)(A).

Applications

Any resident or nonresident applicant may submit one or more fund-raising tag random drawing applications for each species during the same license year. This California elk fundraising tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.16(a)(1)(E).

Drawing

The CDFW may conduct a random drawing to distribute the three bull elk fundraising tags. This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(a).

Successful applicants and a list of alternates for each fund-raising license tag will be determined by drawing within 10 business days following the application deadline date.  Fundraising elk tags are issued through a random drawing.Successful applicants will be mailed notification as soon as practical. Unsuccessful applicants shall not be notified by mail.Upon receipt of the notification, the applicant shall claim the tag at the department’s License and Revenue Branch, 1740 N. Market Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95834 by 5:00 p.m. on July 15 each year. If the deadline to claim the tag falls on a weekend or holiday the applicant can claim the tag until the close of business on the first state business day following the deadline. Any tags unclaimed by successful applicants after that date shall be awarded to alternates for that license tag in the order drawn.

Link to CDFW webpage for tags and drawing info, plus drawing statistics.  These California elk fundraising tag regulations are located at 14 CCR § 708.16(a)(1) and (a)(1)(I)-(L).

Education

The purchasers of fundraising elk tags shall meet the hunter education requirements for a hunting license.  Also see “Orientation” below. This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(a).

Fees

The sale price of the three bull elk fundraising license tags includes the fee for processing and issuing an annual hunting license for the purchaser or any person designated by the purchaser.  A fundraising license tag distributed through a CDFW random drawing does not include the fee for processing and issuing a hunting license.  This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(a).

Applicants for elk hunts  must pay the appropriate nonrefundable fee in Section 702. (The same is true for deer, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope). This California elk fundraising tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.16(a)(1)(C).

Orientation

The purchasers of fundraising tags shall complete required hunter orientation programs conducted by the CDFW.  Also see “Education” above. This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(a).

Preference Points

No applicant shall earn a preference point in any fund-raising tag random drawings. Accumulated preference points shall not be considered in any of the fund-raising tag random drawings. This California elk fundraising tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.16(a)(1)(F) and (G).

Purchasing

Applicants shall apply through the department’s Automated License Data System terminals at any department license agent or department license sales office on or before June 2 each year. This California elk fundraising tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.16 708.16(a)(1)(D).

Residency

Any resident or nonresident is eligible to buy one of the three bull elk license tags. This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(a).

Any resident or nonresident applicant may submit one or more fund-raising tag random drawing applications for each species during the same license year. This California elk fundraising tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.16(a)(1)(E).

Sale

The CDFW may designate a nonprofit organization or organizations to sell the three bull elk fundraising tags. This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(a).

Transferability

Fundraising tags shall not be transferred to another person. This California elk fundraising tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.16(a)(1)(F).

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General Elk License Tags

General California elk tagsA license tag is required to hunt elk in California.  This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(c)(4). Below are requirements and procedures related to “general” elk license, including age limits, multiple applications, drawings / lottery, hunting license, application fees, residency requirements, transferability, zone restrictions, etc.).  Warning shot!!!  For the requirements and procedures for fundraising and premium elk hunts, see above and below.

Age Limits

GENERAL RULE

In general, applicants for California elk license tags must be at at least 12 years of age on or before July 1 of the license year for which they are applying.

APPRENTICE HUNTS

Applicants for the apprentice elk hunts must be less than 16 years of age as of July 1 of the license year for which they are applying. This California elk license tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(2).

Application Limit

For California elk license tags, no more than one application may be submitted per license. This California elk hunting tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(5).

Drawing for Tags

In general, the California elk license tag drawing is held within 10 business days following the application deadline date. Successful applicants and a list of alternates for each zone will be notified by mail.  Unsuccessful applicants will NOT be notified by mail.

If the quota for each zone remains unfilled after the drawing, the alternate lists will be used.  If any tags are unclaimed, tags will be awarded to alternates for that zone, on an individual basis, in the order drawn.

Warning shot!!! Tags must be surrender to a CDFW employee for any violation of the Fish & Game Code, regulation of the Fish & Game Commission, or any act that endangers people or property of others. These California elk license tag regulations are located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(7), (b)(9), (b)(10), and (c)(5).

Hunting License Requirements

To apply for a California elk license tag, the applicant must possess an annual California hunting license that is valid during the elk season for which they are applying.  This California elk license tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(2).

Nonresidents

Nonresident may apply for California elk license tags.  However, only one nonresident may be selected for a general license tag. This California elk license tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(2) and (7).

Processing Fee

Applications for an elk license tag in California must include the nonrefundable processing fee, as specified in Section 702. Warning shot!!! Applications submitted without the fee will NOT be included in the drawing and the applicant will NOT earn a preference point.

PURCHASING

The processing fee for an elk license tag in California must be paid online or any CDFW license sales office or agent.

DEADLINE

The processing fee for an elk license tag in California must be paid on or before June 2 each year.

These California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(1) and (6).

Rejection of Applications

Applications for elk hunting tags in California will be rejected if they are incomplete, late, ineligible, or submitted without  the appropriate processing fee. Warning shot!!!  A rejection may be appealed in writing to the CDFW License and Revenue Branch in Sacramento, but must be postmarked on or before May 31 of the following year and include the applicable fees. This California elk hunting tag regulations is located at 14 CCR §§ 708.11(b)(6).

Santa Rosa Island

Elk may be taken on Santa Rosa Island pursuant to a permit issued by the CDFW.  This California elk tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(d).

Tag Fees

PAYMENT

Applications for an elk license tag in California must include the current tag fee, as specified in Section 702 (click here for current price). The fee must be paid online or at a CDFW license sales office or agent.

DEADLINE

Applications for an elk license tag in California must be received by the CDFW by 5:00 p.m. on July 15 each year.  If the deadline to submit the fee falls on a weekend or holiday payment will be accepted until the close of business on the first state business day following the deadline to submit payment.

This California elk tag hunting regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(9).

Transferability of Tags

California elk license tags are NOT transferable.  The are valid only for the area and period specified. This California elk tag hunting regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(c)(4).

Zone Restrictions

California elk tagsWhen applying for a California elk license tag, no more than one designated zone may be selected.  For hunting zones, see “California Elk Hunting Seasons” above.  See 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(4).

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Party Applications

Declaration

Each year upon application, each applicant shall specify if the applicant is applying as an individual, a party leader or joining an existing party. This California elk party tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(b)(5).

Party Leaders

To apply as a party for an elk license tag, the party leader must apply first. Upon receipt of the application, the CDFW will assign the party leader  a Party Identification Number.  The party leader then provides the PIN to the other party member.  When the other applicant joins the party, he or she must provide the PIN of the party leader.  Applicants joining a party will be assigned the same tag choices in the same order of preference as the party leader.  All party members shall be awarded tags according to the choices selected by the party leader.  These California elk party tag regulations are located at 14 CCR § 708.14(b)(6) through (10).

Party Size

Up to two residents may apply together as a party. Nonresidents may not apply as a party. This California elk party tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(b)(2).

Preference Point System

For party applications, the department shall use the average preference point value of all party members (total preference points for the party divided by number of party members) as the basis for consideration in the drawing for that species. Point averages shall not be rounded. This California elk party tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(e).

Party applications drawn for the last tag available through the Preference Point drawing for a hunt will be split and the party leader (first of the party members to apply) shall be awarded the elk license tag. The party member shall become the first alternate for that hunt. Party applications shall not be split to fill the last tag available through the Draw-By-Choice drawing. In the event only one elk license tag is available to an alternate, party applications will be split and the alternate tag shall be awarded to the party leader. This California elk party tag is located at 14 CCR § 708.15(c)(2).

Residency Requirement

Nonresidents may NOT apply as a party. This California elk party tag regulations is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(2).

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Permits

See General Elk Tags: Santa Rosa Island above.


Preference Point System

In general, the CDFW uses a Modified-Preference Point drawing system to award a certain percentage of the quota for premium elk hunt tags.  (The same is true for deer, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope hunts.) The Modified-Preference Point drawing system uses two methods for awarding a portion of the Premium Deer Hunt Tag quota:  (1) Preference Point Drawings and (2) Draw-By-Choice Drawings.

Link to CDFW’s webpage with “2014 Final Elk Tag Quotas.” This California elk preference point regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(a)(1) and (2).

Preference Point Drawing

In a Preference Point Drawing, Premium Elk Hunt Tags are awarded based on the following order of priority:(1) Accumulated point totals by species (highest to lowest), and(2) Computer-generated random number (lowest to highest). This California elk preference point regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(a)(2)(A).

Draw-By-Choice Drawings

In a Draw-By-Choice Drawings, Premium Elk Hunt Tags are awarded based on the following order of priority:(1) The applicant’s hunt choice and(2) Computer-generated random number (lowest to highest), without consideration of accumulated points.  This California elk preference point regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(a)(2)(B).

Quota Percentages

License tags for premium elk hunts (except apprentice deer hunts) shall be awarded based on the following: (A) For quotas of one, the tag shall be awarded using a Draw-By-Choice drawing (see above).(B) For quotas of two, one tag shall be awarded using a Preference Point drawing, and one tag shall be awarded using a Draw-By-Choice drawing.(C) For quotas of three, two tags shall be awarded using a Preference Point drawing, and one tag shall be awarded using a Draw-By-Choice drawing.(D) For quotas of four or more, seventy-five percent (75%) of the quota shall be awarded using a Preference Point drawing. Any resulting fractional tag shall be rounded to the next higher whole number. The remaining portion of the quota shall be awarded using a Draw-By-Choice drawing. This California elk premium tag regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.15(c)(1).

(1)Alternates shall be selected for each hunt or hunt period using a Preference Point drawing. Alternate selection shall be limited to resident applicants. This California elk premium tag regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.15(c)(3).

Accumulation of Points

UNSUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS

In general, unsuccessful applicants for Premium Elk Tags earn one (1) preference point for use in future Big Game Drawings. Preference Points are accumulated by species and are NOT zone or hunt specific.

To qualify, the applicant must:

(a) Be at least twelve (12) years old on or before July 1,

(b) Have a valid annual California hunting license,

(c) Apply by June 2 at a CDFW license sales office or agent, and

(d) Pay the appropriate nonrefundable processing fees as specified in Section 702.

Warning shots!!!  Make sure you get your “big game drawing receipt,” which will have your name, permanent ID number, proof of entry, hunt choices, accumulated preference points, and Party ID Number. Except for apprentice (Junior) hunt applicants, do not submit more than one drawing application per license year (July 1 – June 30). Also see “Party Applications” above.

These California elk preference point regulations are located at 14 CCR § 708.14(a)(3) and (4) and (c).

NON-APPLICANTS

In general, non-applicants  may earn one (1) preference point for elk tags.  However, the non-applicants must–

1. Submit the appropriate application online, or at a CDFW license sales office of agent,

2. Select the point code number for the hunt choice (first choice only for deer), and

3. Comply with the the regular application requirements.

This California elk preference point regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(f).

NON-HUNTERS

If an applicant receives an elk tag in the big game drawing but can’t hunt for some reason, he or she can submit a written request to retain the accumulated preference point total and earn one preference point for elk.*  Warning shots!!!  For the CDFW to consider granting the request, applicants must return the tag to the CDFW’s License and Revenue Branch before the season starts for which the tag is valid. The applicant must also pay the nonrefundable processing fee specified in Section 702 with the request.  If the request is granted the applicant will retain the preference point total the applicant accumulated prior to the big game drawing and earn one preference point for elk.

* The same is true for antelope and big horn sheep tags. This California elk preference point regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(k).

Cancellation of Points

SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS

In general, successful applicants receiving tags for their first choice premium elk tag will lose all preference points for deer.  This California elk tag hunting regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(d).

NON-APPLICANTS

Preference points will be reduced to zero (0) if he or she fails to apply through the CDFW’s Big Game Drawings for five (5) consecutive years.  The same is true for a person disqualified from the drawing.  Applying for preference points will keep an applicant’s file active.

Warning shot!!! Disqualifications may be appealed in writing to the CDFW License and Revenue Branch in Sacramento. This California elk preference point regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(h).

Transferability

Preference points are accumulated by species and shall not be transferred to another species or another person. This California elk preference point regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(c).

Records

 CDFW maintains records of preference points earned.  The records are based on the hunter’s Personal ID Number.  The hunters Personal ID Number and Get Outdoors ID (GO ID) will be printed on each receipt.  Applicants must notify the CDFW’s License and Revenue Branch in writing of any changes or corrections to the hunters name, mailing address, or date of birth. This California elk preference point regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(g).

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Premium Elk Tags

Premium elk license tags are issued through the “Preference Point System” (see above).  This California elk premium tag regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.14(a)(1).

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Replacement Elk Tags

If a hunter loses his or her California elk tag, no more than one may be replaced per license year. (The same is true for deer, bear, pronghorn antelope, or bighorn sheep.) However, the tag holder must pay the fee and submit an affidavit confirming that the original tag cannot be recovered and a statement of facts surrounding the loss.  This California elk replacement tag regulation is located at 14 CCR § 708.17.

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Tagging Procedures

1. Complete the Tag

Upon the killing of any elk, the tag holder shall immediately fill out all portions of the tag including the report card completely, legibly, and permanently, and cut out or punch out and completely remove notches or punch holes for the month and date of the kill. This California elk tagging rule is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(c)(2).

2. Tag the Elk

License tags shall be attached to the antler of an antlered elk, or to the ear of antlerless elk immediately after killing. This California elk tagging rule is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(c)(2).

3. Validate the Tag

Persons authorized to validate or countersign elk tags are listed in subsection 708.6(c). Elk tags shall be countersigned before transporting such elk, except for the purpose of taking it to the nearest person authorized to countersign the license tag on the route being followed from the point where the elk is taken. This California elk tagging rule is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(c)(3).

The following people can validate or countersign elk tags. (The same is true for deer tags.) See 14 CCR § 708.6.

(A) State:

  1. Fish and Game Commissioners
  2. Employees of the Department of Fish and Game, including Certified Hunter Education Instructors
  3. Employees of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
  4. Supervising Plant Quarantine Inspectors
  5. Junior, Intermediate and Senior Plant Quarantine Inspectors

(B) Federal:

  1. Employees of the Bureau of Land Management
  2. Employees of the United States Forest Service
  3. Employees of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service
  4. All Uniformed Personnel of the National Park Service
  5. Commanding Officers of any United States military installation or their designated personnel for deer taken on their reservation.
  6. Postmasters & Post Office Station or Branch Manager for deer brought to their post office.

(C) Miscellaneous:

  1. County firemen at and above the class of foreman for deer brought into their station.
  2. Judges or Justices of all state and United States courts.
  3. Notaries Public
  4. Peace Officers (salaried & non-salaried)
  5. Officers authorized to administer oaths
  6. Owners, corporate officers, managers or operators of lockers or cold storage plants for deer brought to their place of business.

4. Return of Tag

All tag holders shall return their license tags to the department within one week after the close of the elk season, even though the tagholder may not have killed an elk.  This California elk tagging rule is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(c)(1).

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Transferability

Only persons possessing valid elk license tags are entitled to take elk. Tags are not transferable and are valid only for the area and period specified. This California elk tagging rule is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(c)(4).

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Violations

The tagholder shall surrender his tag to an employee of the department for any or all of the following reasons:(A) Any act on the part of the tagholder which violates any of the provisions of the Fish and Game Code, or any regulations of the commission made pursuant thereto.(B) Any act on the part of the tagholder which endangers the person or property of others. The decision of the department shall be final. This California elk tag violation rule is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(c)(5).

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Zone Restriction

California elk tagsApplicants shall apply for only one designated zone pursuant to Section 364. This California elk hunting zone rule is located at 14 CCR § 708.11(b)(4).

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