- The Carrizo Plain National Monument is in condor habitat and is a lead-free zone. Non lead bullets are required to hunt on the Monument. See complete CDF&W guidelines at: http://dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/condor/. When condors, eagles vultures and ravens feed on carrion which contains lead bullet fragments, their digestive tract stops functioning and the birds die a slow agonizing death.
- Target shooting is not authorized on Carrizo Plain National Monument.
- Vehicles must be street-legal and remain on designated roads. No off-road travel is authorized.
- There is private land holdings within the monument. Please know where you are and respect private property.
The Temblor and Caliente Mountain ranges are popular locations for upland game hunting, primarily for California quail and chukar. Mountain quail are very restricted in range, and are not commonly hunted on the CPNM. Quail and chukar are common to abundant in most years, but, as is the case with all upland game, their populations are very sensitive to rainfall, especially late spring rains. Without adequate rain to cause green-up of the hills, quail and chukar will not even begin the normal breeding activities, and will stay in large coveys throughout the year. They essentially forego any significant reproduction, and their populations are reduced as a result. In contrast, in times of abundant rainfall, quail may have up to 3 broods during the season, and their populations can explode.
The best hunting for quail and chukar occurs in the Temblor Mountains south of the Crocker Springs Road and in the southern portions of the Caliente Mountain Range. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has installed many underground water devices known as gallinaceous guzzlers for supplying water to wildlife. Quail and chukar, as well as a wide variety of non-game species make use of these water sources. Regulations on the Carrizo Plain prohibit camping or sitting in or outside of a vehicle within 200 yards of any water source.
Rabbit (the cottontail rabbit and black-tailed hare or jackrabbit) populations are cyclic, changing dramatically from year to year, generally as a result of either weather factors or disease processes. Despite these cycles, some can generally be found throughout appropriate habitats. Cottontails are most common in the low rolling hills of the Temblor Mountains and the foothills of Caliente Mountain Range, on the southern end of the CPNM. Jackrabbits can be found throughout the flat areas of the CPNM in areas with limited shrub cover.
The CPNM is the only place in California, and indeed the world, where the Tule elk and pronghorn antelope have been reintroduced into historic habitat. Limited hunts, previously held for both species, are now only available through the lottery process for Tule elk. The pronghorn antelope hunt has been canceled due to a dramatic decrease in numbers within the Monument.
Big game species such as deer, elk, and wild pig, generally have more stable populations, with relatively little change from year to year. They can, however, be significantly affected by weather factors. Wild pigs, for instance, can be severely affected by drought, leaving the National Monument boundaries and moving to better available habitat. They can suffer significant reductions in population size, and take quite some time to bounce back when the rains return.
Elk are commonly found west of Soda Lake in the hilly areas of the northwest portion of the CPNM or on the adjacent private land. The Soda Lake San Diego Creek Road (Sprague Hill Road) can be used as a focal point for viewing elk. They are also found on the southwest flank of Caliente Mountain, which can be accessed from the Selby campground area via Caliente Ridge Road.
Deer are most common in the hills of the Northwest portions of the CPNM, the Caliente Mountain area and in the Temblor Mountains. Each year, several deer are tagged from the CPNM, but it is not known as a hotspot for deer since much of the area is too open for prime deer habitat.
Wild pigs can, in a wet cycle, become somewhat common on the CPNM, but in most years, they are scarce to nonexistent. Where they do occur, pigs are usually found in the Caliente Mountains.
Non-game species including the coyote and the California ground squirrel, are relatively abundant. Please be aware that the Carrizo Plain National Monument is home to protected species that are very similar in appearance to these two animals. The San Joaquin kit fox, a federally and state protected species can look very much like a juvenile or scrawny coyote. Burrowing owls - a small, well camouflaged ground-dwelling owl - can often be found in close proximity to ground squirrels and actually use their abandoned burrows. Approximately the same size as a ground squirrel, they often sit near their burrow openings and look quite similar to squirrels if looked at without binoculars. These birds are state protected and federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Please know your intended target and be sure before you shoot!
Please consult the regulation booklets published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
for further information. Laws and regulations are formulated to protect wildlife and to provide for an equitable distribution of harvestable animals. In so doing, these measures also allow for non-hunting uses such as photography and wildlife watching.
California's hunting seasons, bag limits, and the permitted hunting methods are contained in booklets published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.