My family and I have been hunting in California for 6 generations; back when this land still belonged to Mexico. We mostly hunt deer and pig. 308 and 270 have been our calibers of choice. I have carried the same custom .270 for deer and pig most of my life and have never been disappointed or let down by that rifle in that caliber.


Wow that's really cool. Thanks for sharing your experience and history. You should post a picture :)


Any guides or pointers for someone trying to get started hunting in CA?


Look for remote public land.. do a lot of scouting during the off season if you can.


Wish there were more .270 options on newer rifles....I think they are trying to replace it with 6.5 Creedmoor for no reason


6.5 Creedmoor is a tiny bit better for the type of competitive shooting that is currently popular, since it's slightly flatter shooting, so you can hit plates at a slightly range of distances without needing to adjust, or with less adjustment. For everybody who doesn't shoot competitively, it probably doesn't matter. But for the vast majority of hunting, 270, 308, 30.06, etc all are basically acceptable. Even in california, most shots on deer aren't very long compared to what all of those cartridges are capable of, and the difference in adjustment even at the longer end of typical ranges aren't different enough to make a difference.


6.5 Creedmoore technically has a flatter trajectory and better terminal ballistics at range than 270 Win, however, I inherited a R700 in 270 Win when my grandfather passed, and I love it, I haven't had a chance to go out hunting for anything bigger than coyote, due to work schedules, however, 270 Win is a fantastic cartridge out to 600yds on a flat range where I am at, which is in the middle of the Mojave desert. You really cannot go wrong with an R700 in 270 Win, mine is a jeweled bolt in a wood stock and the only upgrade I made was a picatinny rail and cope rings that let me cowitness the irons instead of scope rings mounted to the receiver, but, there are so many options for modernizing the platform, including detachable magazines.


Honestly OP, I would get a caliber that is readily available. 308 is a very popular and available round. It’s suitable for almost all game in North America. .270 is also an excellent choice, although it may not be as available as 308. The last 2 years has made me fully realize that you want ammo that is common and plentiful. Those would be 9mm, 223/5.56, .308, 12g and 22LR. With those you can hunt almost anything and defend yourself very well. I got a Tikka T3x in .308 and it’s taken about 5 deer. I love it.


This is certainly one of the primary factors!


This should be the only answer.


Are you actively planning on hunting or just want to have the option should it come up in the future? I ask as when I bought my first rifle I went with a .308, just in case there was a hunting opportunity. Many years later, the only thing I've hunted is paper targets at a higher ammo cost (vs. 223/556).


Good point. No I don't have plans in the near future to go hunting but I want to. And I'm not even really shopping right now, just researching whats available. I will try to make sure I plan a trip if I get a hunting rifle 😂


I like .243 for most common game animals in California. .223 for predators and varmints.


Interesting I'll look into it thank you.


A major consideration you need to keep in mind while choosing a centerfire rifle for hunting in CA is finding a caliber that offers non-lead options. My anecdotal experience says that .270, .308, and .300 Win Mag are the three ones I see the most of.


This is a good suggestion. It didn't used to be as bad when you could order ammo to your house, plus ammo was more commonly well stocked everywhere. Now inventories have lots of gaps in stores and ordering is a pain since you need to order to a store, plus things are out of stock online as well.


30-30 is a great caliber, and easy shooting too


Related question: what/where do people hunt in California? I’m in San Diego so I don’t think there’s much hunting to be done out here, but just curious about how it changes depending on which region of CA you are in


People hunt in the Cleveland National Forest all the time everything from fowl to rabbit to deer and even some wild hog. Depending where you are at in SD should be around an hour drive.


There’s hog near the forest? That’s what I’ve been wanting to get into, I don’t eat much pork, but family does and they’re not as cute as deer so I’d not mind as much


There are but they are pretty scarce. Wild hog tastes a bit different from domestic pig I'd look into making sausages if you're planning on feeling it to your family, you likely won't want to try pork chops from it.


Yeah like sergio martinez


in san diego I hunt fish! spear fishing is something others can only dream about


People don’t realize the amount of spearfishing you can do in SD. I used to live in IB and Coronado and my buddies would always go any sort of fishing they could go to. Lol


Or just diving along sunset cliffs is amazing


never heard of it but that sounds like something i should do lol


Curious to know too. SD here as well


I have seen some big bucks killed within 30min of San Diego


Incredibly rare though. In all my years of fishing at random places I’ve only had one sighting of a beautiful pair come up to grab a drink from lake Jennings. Ironic too considering how busy that place is compared to some of my other spots in Dulzura or further northeast in the county.


I agree. Very rare but they’re out there. I’ve also seen big bucks in my home city, 12 miles away from DTLA


I live in Hacienda Heights, and I’ve seen some big units steam in’ up and down these hills and canyons for sure!


Lived a half mile north of san V resovoir and often times would startle deer resting on our hillside behind the house as we walked. Edited twicr cause its been years and i forgot


My buddy used to go out passed Julian and Ramona and chill under this rock. He’d always come back with something!


I've been hunting Bureau of Land Management property.. it's hit and miss depending on what you are looking to hunt. It's tough in some places as it's open to off road vehicles, hiking and camping.. too much activity for game animals. I use an app called Base Map and you can filter by private and BLM land.. I stalked 3 large gobblers last fall but something spooked them and I never got a shot at them.. I'm heading to Montana this fall for white tail.


6.5 Creed. Bring on the downvotes 😎


Why would 6.5 Creedmore not be a good hunting round? I hear 6.5 Swedish is what everyone in Scandinavia uses to hunt.


It’s a great round, but there are IME a significant group of elitists who think it’s inferior


Maybe availability, price, lower number of rifles to choose from?


Availability of lead free options has been slim for nonhandloaders


I second


I hunt with a .270 from a R700, the round is really great to shoot and I see more lead free ammo availability for it than some of the other rounds


My hunting rifle is a Winchester 70 in .30-06 I really like it, but if I had to do it all over again I think I'd go with .308, for no other reason besides lead-free ammo being easier to find and cheaper, and I've already got other guns in 308 so it would be one less cartridge I have to keep on hand.


> in .30-06 Time to get a M1 Garand if you don’t already have one 😊




I mainly hunt deer and pigs, my 30-06 is my go to. Never let me down yet.


Since I live in the desert it's quite easy to go for rabbits. Also here we have a decently big coyote population so I sometimes go for that. Now for the calibre look at your local gun shops ammo, you can easily go for 556 6.5 or 308 but if they don't have it in stock then🤷‍♂️ shit out of luck.


If you have any desire to ever get an elk tag I’d get a 308 ( with it’s general ubiquity at even country stores in free states, and copper availability here at home.) or a 7rem mag. Both have a great range of bullet weights that won’t fully destroy a deer quarter, yet heavier can be trusted on larger and dangerous game.


i like the idea of a versatile cartridge where a low grain is suitable for sheep and a high grain suitable for elk. that sounds perfect


30-30 will take anything down. I like to hunt bear it tastes like steak. We have a lot of bears


Hunting in California is expensive and you probably don’t get anything. My friend being hunting in California for last 4 years. Only thing he get is ducks.


My moms bf is a big hunter - US, CA, Africa, etc. I asked him if I were to choose ONE RIFLE that could take anything in NORTH AMERICA (deer, elk, pig, moose, bear, antelope, etc.), what should I get? He said he's taken every elk, deer, pig, and bear in North America with a 7mm Rem Mag which has dropped them all. I purchased a $300 7mm Rem Mag rifle (included aftermarket scope and bipod) at a pawn shop two years ago. Forward to now, it's almost impossible to find 7mm Rem Mag ammo, especially hunting grade, and an additional magazine took 1 1/2 years to back order. I'd recommend getting a more readily available caliber like the others here have mentioned. I wish I would've purchased a recent version of a .300, .30-06, or .30-30.


Yeah that will definitely be on my mind. I'm leaning towards .308 or .30-06 but not even buying right now so I'm just gonna try to find a rifle that appeals to me. Right now I like the Bergara B14 and the Winchester Model 70 for it's history


6.5 creed - manageable recoil and great accuracy but expensive to shoot


Don't ignore the small game! Those are fun, plentiful and practical!


6.5CM is a great starter gun to practice long range and hunt hogs/deer/coyote.


If you want something multifunctional an AR10 in 308 would probably be your best bet. Semi automatic and a good "SHTF" gun while also having enough punch to easily take down large game like an elk or bear.


Too heavy to haul up and down.


I was just saying if they want multifunctional. Otherwise I'd go with a bolt action 30-06


Great, sounds like it triples as a fitness device too.


this is a better question for /r/Californiahunting


.30-06 will ethically take down any game in California and 99% of what you’re probably going to hunt. Enroll and take seriously a hunters education course. Get a bolt gun, practice with it, find non-lead ammo, scout out areas during the off season, and have fun.


What non-lead do you use for .30-06?


I’ve switched to Archery for my hunts now, but I’ve had a box of Winchester 150g Deer Season with copper for too damn long.


Mostly i hunt for a parking spot


Anyone here shooting .450 / .458? I've been reading about it a bit for boar / bear, so I'd assume it'd work fine for deer and such too. Green here as well, never gone hunting for anything that doesn't fly (have gone dove / chukar / pheasant before)


decide on what you want to hunt, bro....


.270 will allow you to hunt anything in North America. You won’t regret getting one


Why not .357 magnum? Out of a longer barrel in a carbine, it achieves crazy speeds ([ballisticsbytheinch.com/327mag.html](https://ballisticsbytheinch.com/327mag.html)). ​ Good for 100yds to 150yds if you go with better ammo (e.g. leverevolution [https://www.hornady.com/ammunition/leverevolution#!/](https://www.hornady.com/ammunition/leverevolution#!/)). If you reload, it is cheap to shoot. ​ Have it in a lever action rifle (e.g. Henry Model X or Marlin 1894CSBL if you can find one) and you gain extra cowboy points. ​ Another advantage is that you can pair it with a revolver in the same caliber (e.g. S&W 686 Pro Plus).




Dove hunting: 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun. Coyote & Deer hunting: .223/5.56. Ammo selection is key. Solid copper like Barnes TSX or DRT's powdered tungsten is devastating even in 55gr and 62gr loads.


DO NOT use .223/5.56 for Deer hunting. This is horrible advice.


Don't use mil surplus ammo, that stuff SUCKS. But quality hunting ammo is devastating. I've seen it first hand and have zero qualms about using the brands I listed above.


People that never truly hunted before don’t know any better. They watch a bunch of videos and think they’re an expert. 223 with any copper bullets will put down a deer or pig with ease as long as you keep your shots under 150 yards. Shot placement is key here and know how to use your gun. If bows n arrows can kill animals humanly why wouldn’t a 223 work? Downvote me all you want but I’ve put down 3 California black tails bucks and about 20 hogs with my 223 rifle when I was younger and just starting to hunt. It works If a 223 is all you have, go hunt with it. If you don’t have a gun yet but wanting to buy one then go buy a bigger caliber


Please tell me you’re kidding. No actual hunter should be using 223 to hunt deer. Hell there’s a reason that some states prohibit it. It’s not ethical by any means, much less for a brand new hunter and someone who doesn’t own a rifle. Just because you potentially can take a deer with it, doesn’t mean you should.


I'm dead serious. Bullet tech has come a LONG way in recent years.


I use 30-06 on everything from deer to pig to bear. There’s tons of viable calibers, I would be concerned with what you can get a consistent supply of good lead free ammo for. I reload so it’s easy for me but off the shelf is another story.


300 win mag on rodents😉


Feral hogs are my favorite to hunt


Ducks! 🦆




308, 30-06, 6.5


In September you can get your hunting license for the season right? Or am I off?


Nah you can get your license at any time. All hunting licenses usually expire in June. So similar to fishing, where a yearly license is valid from Jan 1-Dec 31, just imagine July 1-June 30 (yearly) for hunting.


They recently changed the fishing licenses. Now they’re valid for 365 days. The only reason hunting licenses remain the same is because June is when they do all the drawings for tags and the only thing you can hunt that time of year is open season.


https://imgur.com/a/YALmTW1 I just got a new fishing license 3 days ago and it expires 12/31


AB817 was passed last year. CADFW has until January 1, 2023 to start issuing 365 day licenses. There’s also gonna be an option for digital licenses.


Interesting thank you


Yeah I'm not purchasing now just researching


Every zone is different for when it starts a hunting season and what you can hunt- the entire states wildlife program is deliberately as confusing and difficult to manage as possible to prevent people from pulling tags. Then you add in the bullshit condor/lead free ammo zone and it’s just the fucking icing on the cake


The zones are designed based on ecological areas, and land management ownership. 1/3 of the state falls under 1 tag. Most of the zones all start and end at the same time. The Condor range hasn’t been a thing for years now since the state went all nonlead. Aside from the ammo requirements California has some of the most relaxed hunting laws in the country. Most states regulate specific calibers for big game. California just says that it needs to be centerfire and have at least a 4” barrel and can’t have a WML or laser. It’s legal to hunt Elk in CA with a Glock 19.


Ah yes, the abundance of California public land elk


That whole explanation and THAT’S what you got out of it?


Would you like me to breakdown my reaction to each sentence?