Iron Mountain Chapel Eagle Desert Spring Desert Tortoise Amboy Crater
BLM>California>Needles>Hunting & Shooting
Print Page
Needles Field Office

Hunting & Shooting

 Target                                         Printable Shooting Brochure

The California Desert Conservation Area offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, off-highway vehicle use, hunting, and recreational shooting.  A question often asked is, "Where can I legally go target shooting or hunt in the desert?"


Target shooting is allowed on lands managed by the Needles Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), taking into consideration any private land, posted signs, and other rules and regulations that would apply.  It is the responsibility of the shooter to know the laws for the area where they are shooting.


A young lady target shooting with a pistol.  Photo courtesy of Murl Shaver



  • Find a safe backdrop. Shots fired across open desert can travel more than a mile.
  • Shoot only retrievable, freestanding targets. It is illegal to shoot at trees, bottles, or other objects. Shooting clay targets (Clay Pigeons) is not allowed on public lands. Take all used targets with you.
  • Do not shoot within 150 yards of any man-made object, camp, domestic livestock, occupied dwelling, or campsite.
  • Check with local sheriff or land management agencies before using an area for shooting. Do not shoot on Private Land without the owner's permission.
  • Many assault-type weapons are banned in the State of California. For information on California firearms laws and policies, please visit the Firearms Division, California Department of Justice web site.
  • Play safe and use caution. Shooting has a great risk for injuring people at great distances.


All hunting in the desert is regulated by the California Department of Fish and Game. You must have a valid hunting license.  It is your responsibility to know all laws and regulations related to the use of firearms in California.

Is legal hunting permitted on public lands within the Needles field region?  Yes.  You must have a valid hunting license. 
Hunting License may be purchased locally at:


Are there areas on the public lands which are closed to legal hunting and shooting?  Yes.  The discharge or use of firearms at all Patton Camps and The Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark is strictly prohibited. While hunting is allowed in some parks, recreational shooting and "plinking" are not allowed in National Park Service managed areas.
Does the BLM have hunting maps? No.  Hunting maps are available from the California Department of Fish and Game and from sporting goods stores and gun shops.

Where can I get topographic maps?
Topographic maps are for sale from engineering firms and sporting goods stores, as well as the Needles Field Office.

Does BLM have other maps for sale?
Yes.  The BLM maps, known as "Desert Access Guides" are for sale in the California Desert District office, in Riverside, and in each of the field offices, including the Needles Field Office.  They sell for $4.00 each, show public and private land ownership, and are at a scale of one-half-inch to the mile.

Can I drive anywhere I care to on public lands when I am hunting?
No.  Vehicles and OHVs are restricted to designated routes of travel as posted .  Vehicles are prohibited in all wilderness areas.  Cross-country travel is prohibited.

Where can I get more information on hunting in California? From the California Department of Fish and Game.  By reading their publications, by asking for information by telephone or in person, or by visiting their web site.  For California hunting seasons and regulations, please visit the California Department of Fish and Game web site.

Bureau of Land Management
Needles Field Office
1303 S Highway 95
Needles, CA 92363
Phone: (760) 326-7000
Fax: (760) 326-7099
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., M-F
Contact us by Email