One of the best kept hunting secrets in the US today is the amount of big game hunting that's available on military bases. Even with the recent down-sizing of the Defense Department, more than 25 million acres are currently under the control of the various military services in the lower 48 states. Unfortunately, nine million of those acres belong to the Air Force, which does not allow anyone other than military personnel to hunt for security reasons. However, many of the larger Army bases do offer hunting programs for civilians. Each is run on an individual basis and the rules and regulations vary among the installations. Generally speaking, the game laws of the state in which the base is located apply, though they may be augmented by base-wide regulations designed to keep hunters out of the way of military operations. Here is a rundown on the hunting opportunities available in California.
Fort Hunter Liggett Military Reservation: This vast expanse of oak savanna and brush along the central coast of California provides some of the best public-land hog hunting in the state, along with good blacktail deer hunting and very high success tule elk hunting. Hog hunting is open year-round, while the general A zone deer archery season is July 11 to August 2 and the general A zone rifle season is August 8 to September 20. Additionally, there is a special drawing for 50 antlerless deer permits, a junior deer hunt and a draw tule elk hunt for 15 permits. Fort Hunter Liggett is open almost every weekend and on federal holidays, although it is occasionally closed for military operations. The access fee is $25 per weekend, and annual permits are also available. Access is first come, first served until 700 hunters have entered the area, although this limit is rarely reached. Other than on opening weekend of the rifle deer season, access is almost guaranteed. For information on a self-guided hunt here, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Fort Hunter Liggett, Outdoor Recreation Program for recorded hunt information. Hunt vouchers are sold by mail or can be obtained at the Fort Hunter........(continued)