Species Table | Hunting Area | Habitat Improvements | Lead Shot Information

Duck - courtesty California Dept of Fish and Game


Message to National Forest Hunters

The Cleveland National Forest is open to hunting in the pursuit of birds and game according to the current season schedule and hunting regulations set by the California Department of Fish and Game. In addition to a hunting license, certain areas on the forest may require a Forest Adventure Pass, such as those with amenities (bathrooms, trash cans, running water, etc). To find about pass requirements in forest areas, please see our Forest Adventure Pass page. Passes can be purchased at local Forest Service offices or National Forest Adventure Pass vendors. For additional information contact your local Forest Service office.


The Forest contains over 423,000 acres which are divided into three Ranger Districts. North to south they are: Trabuco (Orange and Riverside Counties), Palomar (central and northern San Diego) and Descanso (east San Diego) Ranger Districts. Forest maps are available and can be purchased through the Forest Supervisor's Office or a District Ranger Offices.


The Cleveland National Forest and California Department of Fish and Game want to thank California hunters for supporting efforts to enhance and conserve our wildlife resources. Together, these cohesive departments work to provide hunting opportunities for the public. For additional information about hunting on the National Forest lands, please visit the U.S. Forest Service, Watershed, Fish Wildlife & Rare Plants, Wildlife Ecology website at:




The following animals are found on the Cleveland National Forest.



Game Birds

Band-tailed Pigeons

California and Mountain Quail

Ducks and Geese

Mourning Dove




Game Mammals

Brush and Cottontail Rabbits

Jack Rabbits

Black-tailed and White-tailed Deer

Mule Deer

Wild Pig

Fur Bearing Mammals


Gray Fox




Non-Game Mammals

Bob Cat









The Following May Not Be Taken

Non-Game animals not listed above


Desert Kit Fox

Mountain Lions

Tree Squirrels


The Following Are Not Found On The Cleveland National Forest


Black Bear


Nelson Big Horn Sheep



A state hunting license is required for taking any bird or mammal. Hunters must carry licenses and be prepared to show them upon request. Guns and other equipment used for hunting must also be shown upon request. In addition to a hunting license, state and federal duck stamps are required to take migratory waterfowl, and an upland game bird stamp is required to take pheasants, turkey, doves, pigeon, snipe, grouse, quail, partridge and chukar .


No Hunting within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling house, residence, other building, any barn or outbuilding used in connection therewith. The 150 yard area is a Safety Zone.


No Hunting within 150 yards of campgrounds, trails, fire stations, any national forest building, across any body of water, off-highway vehicle areas, and private property within the boundary of the Forest (unless the hunter has the permission of the property owner). Rifle, firearm, or crossbow hunting is not allowed at any time within the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area (only archery hunting during season).


National Forest lands are often surrounded and intertwined with private land. Please be careful to ensure you are on National Forest lands during your hunting activities. Information on where you can hunt and trails you can use to enter remote areas of the forest can be obtained from your nearest Forest Service office.



Hunting Area Information
Restricted Use Areas: The Cleveland National Forest encompasses four designated federal Wilderness areas where travel is limited to foot or horseback only. For specific hunting information, please follow the district links below


Agua Tibia Wilderness Area

Location: Palomar Ranger District

Restriction: Open to hunting, but closed to motorized vehicles



Hauser Wilderness Area

Location: Descanso Ranger District

Restriction: Open to hunting but closed to motorized vehicles


Pine Creek Wilderness

Location: Descanso Ranger District

Restriction: Open to hunting but closed to motorized vehicles


San Mateo Wilderness Area

Location: Trabuco Ranger District

Restriction: Open to hunting but closed to motorized vehicles



Laguna Mt. Recreation Area

Location: Descanso Ranger District

Restriction: No discharge of fire arms is allowed at anytime in the Laguna Mt. Recreation Area (only archery hunting is allowed during season).



Trabuco Ranger District

Palomar Ranger District

Descanso Ranger District!ut/p/z0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8ziDfxNDDwNwxydLA1cjbyDTUM9TQwgQL8g21ERAAMeE8s!/?position=Not%20Yet%20Determined.Html&pname=Cleveland%20National%20Forest-%20Hunting&ss=110502&navtype=&pnavid=110000000000000&navid=110200000000000&ttype=detailfull&cid=stelprdb5275787