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Coastal zone rifle deer season starts next Saturday, tags still available


Deer tags are still available for most deer hunting zones in the Southern California intercoastal mountains and for the massive A Zone, which covers a huge chunk for the coastal region from Santa Barbara to north of San Francisco.

The A Zone rifle deer season -- the earliest rifle deer hunting season in the state -- opens Saturday, Aug. 11, and archery hunters have been in the field since July 14.

The earliest rifle season of the Southern California zones starts Sept. 22 (zones D10, D9, and D-8), with most having openers Oct. 13. Archery deer season in most of this region kicks off Sept. 1.

For hunters who did not apply for deer tags during the June drawing period or have not purchased a tag yet, there are still tags available in many zones, especially in Southern California. The number available as of Saturday afternoon was:

The D10 Zone still has 341 tags available out of its 700 tag quota available. The D11 one still had 4,084 tags of its 5,500-tag quota. Zone D13 had 3,092 tags left out of its 4,000-tag quota. D15 still had 1,223 tags out of 1,500-tag allotment, and D19 still had 365 tags of its 1,500 quota available. Hunters should remember that D11, D13, and D15 tags are valid in all three hunt zones.

The popular D9, D12, and D17 hunts all filled in the 2018 drawing, while the D14 and D16 zone hunts filled before second deer tags could be used to purchase any left-over tags Aug. 1.

Hunters can download comprehensive deer hunting zone maps and get application information and regulations on the Department of Fish and Wildlife website at

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR BIGHORN WATER PROJECT: The Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep is looking for volunteers to help on two important water hauling projects to man-made bighorn sheep drinkers inside the Mojave National Preserve. The project will be Saturday, Aug. 18, but most volunteers are meeting at the Camp Cady Wildlife Area (east of Barstow) the evening before for the 6 a.m. Saturday start.

These are two older water catchment systems that aren’t as efficient at capturing and holding water as the new Raincatcher systems used in new projects or replacements when old systems are restored.

The SCBS could use man-power with four-wheel drive trucks to both haul water from Baker to the drinkers, and simply to man water hoses for water deliver. Volunteers without four-wheel drives can ride with other volunteers or members of SCBS

Anyone who would like to assist in this important work should contact Steve Marschke via phone at 310-339-4677 or by e-mail at

SONNY’S CATFISH BAIT: Anyone who fishes for catfish across Southern California knows about Sonny’s Dip Bait and many swear by it -- when they can find it. When local tackle shops have been able to get the bait, it has sold out almost as quickly as it goes up on the shelf.

Clay Rutledge, at Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield, says it is simply the most popular and arguably the most effective of the many catfish dip baits on the market because of its super sticky formula and scent. His one or two shipments a year have been not been enough to keep up with the demand, and the Sonny’s family-owned business didn’t really care to increase its production or do more than one or two batches per year.

That has changed. The Iowa family has divided the business and now a second, identical bait called Triple S Channel Catfish Bait – available in Blood and Cheese Formulas – is on the market. The best news is this side of the family, the Hootman brothers, has heard angler requests and has ramped up production, and it is generally available in tackle and bait shops that have carried Sonny’s in the past. The family running the Triple S side of the company is also adding new customers who want to carry the bait, something the old Sonny’s hasn’t done for a number of years.

For more information check with local tackle and bait shops. The company contact information: Hootman Brothers Manfacturing, 701 S. 8th Street, Farmington, IA 52626, telephone 319-878-3100, and no website as of yet.

SAN DIEGO QUAIL FOREVER: The San Diego Chapter of Quail Forever, one of several extremely active chapters in Southern California actively restoring wildlife water in our arid habitats, will have its annual fundraising dinner beginning 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25 at Hooley’s Pub in Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Dr. No. 247, La Mesa, CA 91942. Dinner-membership tickets are $70 per person. There will be a raffle with all funds going to local guzzler restoration projects. More information on the club’s Facebook page at or via e-mail at SanDiegoChapter

SOMETHING’S FISHY: Santa Ana College is having a month-long exhibit featuring artists that focus on fish and fishing on Fridays from Aug. 10 through Aug. 31. The artists are painters Lance Boen and Jill Field-Duerr, and pottery and clay sculpting wizard Damien Ross. Show hours are noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays this month at the SAC Arts Gallery’s Santora Building, 207 N. Broadway, Ste. Q, Santa Ana, CA 92701. If you find yourself in Santa Ana on a Friday afternoon….


Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 909-887-3444.

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