Hunting Seasons and Trip Planning

Mojave Preserve Hunting Seasons

Mojave National Preserve follows the hunting seasons set forth by the State of California.

General Regulations, Licensing, & Firearm Use

Have a safe, enjoyable, and lawful hunt: familiarize yourself with applicable National Park Service (NPS), California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) regulations, and San Bernardino County ordinances. A current copy of hunting regulations is available online at or by calling (916) 445-0411. No hunting or trapping is permitted inside Castle Mountains National Monument.

Hunting is permitted in accordance with CDFW regulations. All hunting activities require a license; additional permits, stamps and tags might apply. Be prepared to present documentation if requested by a NPS Park Ranger or CDFW Game Warden.


All vehicles must meet street-legal standards as defined by the laws of the State of California. Street legal includes: must have been certified by the manufacturer as meeting carbon emissions compliance for highway use in California state as indicated by the Vehicle Emission Control Sticker stating, “This vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA and State of California regulations...”, a USDOT safety compliance plate, a compliant 17 digit VIN, comply with applicable CVC equipment requirements and registration, and tires approved according to US Department of Transportation standards. Off highway vehicles (OHVs) must be manufactured for on and off-highway use to be eligible for on-highway registration. ATV OHVs cannot be originally registered for on-highway use or converted to on-highway registration, regardless of aftermarket conversion kits or added equipment.


As of July 1, 2019, CA State law requires ALL ammunition be non-lead. The discharge of firearms is allowed only while legally hunting. Target shooting or “plinking” is prohibited. No shooting is permitted within 1/2 mile of developed areas, including campgrounds, park facilities, residential areas, information centers, Kelso Dunes, Fort Piute, Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, and the Zzyzx Desert Studies Center. Possession of firearms is prohibited inside all federal buildings, including Mojave National Preserve visitor centers, buildings, and offices.

Hunting or Shooting from Vehicles

Except for mobility-impaired disabled persons in possession of a Motor Vehicle Hunting License, it is illegal to shoot at game from a public roadway (paved or unpaved) or to pursue, drive, herd, or take any bird or mammal from a motor vehicle.


Dogs used during hunting activities must be under the owner’s control at all times. When not hunting, dogs must be on a leash. Never leave your pet unattended inside a vehicle.


During the general hunt season for mule deer, lights may not be used for night hunting. Otherwise, furbearing and nongame mammals may be taken with the aid of spotlights of 9V or smaller, that are hand-held or worn on the head, and all persons using such lights must be on foot. Lights may not be used in or from a vehicle and may not be attached or powered from any source other than self-contained batteries.

Camping Near or Occupying Wildlife Watering Places

Camping/occupying is defined as establishing or inhabiting a camp; resting; picnicking; sleeping; parking or inhabiting any motor vehicle or trailer; hunting; or engaging in any other recreational activity for a period of more than thirty (30) minutes at a given location. Wildlife watering places are defined as waterholes, springs, seeps and man-made watering devices for wildlife such as guzzlers (self-filling, in-the-ground water storage tanks), horizontal wells and small impoundments of less than one surface acre in size. Camping, hunting, or otherwise occupying wildlife watering places within 200 yards is prohibited within the State of California.

Feeding, Baiting, Trapping & Collecting

Feeding and/or baiting of any kind is prohibited in the preserve. All persons trapping fur-bearing and non-game mammals must have a valid permit and all activity must be in accordance with CA state law (as of 2015, all trapping of Bobcats is prohibited). Collecting of reptiles and/or amphibians is prohibited without a valid research permit signed by the park Superintendent.


The NPS requires a Special Use Permit for groups of at least 7 vehicles or 25 individuals participating in common recreational activities, including hunting. Fees apply. Proof of insurance might also be required. Contact us at or visit our Permits page for more information.

Land Access - Private Property

Private property and residences are found throughout the preserve. Obtain written permission to hunt these lands.

Game Cameras

The installation of any game or trail cameras requires a permit from the superintendent’s office. Contact us at or visit our Permits page for more information. Non-permitted game cameras are considered abandoned property and will be removed per 36 CFR 2.22.

Vehicle Access

Vehicles are permitted only on established roadways. Closed routes are marked with flexible brown posts. While hunting is permitted beyond these posts, access is allowed only by foot, horse, or pack animal.

Radio-Collared Deer and Bighorn Sheep

Some mule deer and bighorn sheep have been fitted with high frequency radio collars. These deer and rams may be legally hunted in accordance with CDFW regulations. If a radio-collared buck or ram is harvested, please return the equipment to the nearest visitor center or ranger station or to any Mojave National Preserve employee or CDFW official or office. To arrange for a pick-up, call (760) 252-6100. Returned collars save hundreds of dollars in equipment costs and allow researchers to complete the life history information for that animal


Cutting or collecting any wood, even downed wood, is prohibited. All firewood, including kindling, must be brought in. All fires must be in a fire ring or fire pan; new fire rings cannot be constructed. Never leave fires unattended, and always extinguish fires completely. Make sure to check Current Conditions for any fire restrictions that may be in effect.

Backcountry Camping

Roadside camping will be allowed in previously used or disturbed sites outside of the “day-use- only” areas. In some cases these sites include a rock or metal fire ring; not all sites contain a fire ring. Consider camping without a fire to get a full view of the desert night skies and to protect fragile desert resources. Backcountry and roadside camping is limited to a maximum of 14 consecutive days and 30 total days per year. Campsites must be 1/4 mile from paved roads and 200 yards from any natural or constructed water source. Backpacking, horse packing, and roadside vehicle camping do not require a permit or fee. Do not camp on private property. Bury human waste in cat holes 6-8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Don’t bury toilet paper or other hygiene products - pack it out. There is no permit or registration system-it is highly recommended to notify others of your planned itinerary.



Campsites are available first come, first served at Mojave National Preserve


For More Information

California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Inland Deserts Region (Region 6)
3602 Inland Empire Boulevard, Suite C-220
Ontario, CA 91764

Last updated: January 24, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

2701 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311


(760) 252-6100
For emergencies including vehicle breakdowns, dial 911

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