California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Online License Sales
Frequently Asked Questions

Additional frequently asked questions about specific licenses, big game drawings and waterfowl reservations are available at:



Q. Which HUNTING license items can be purchased online?

A. The following hunting licenses, validations, and tags can be purchased online. To purchase a hunting license online, proof of the customer’s hunter education must be entered into the Automated License Data System (ALDS) prior to purchase. If hunter education is not on file in ALDS, you must present proof of hunter education at a license agent or CDFW license sales office prior to purchasing a hunting license. Alternatively, you may contact CDFW via fax at (916) 419-7587 or e-mail and provide your personal identification and proof of hunter education so your hunter education can be updated in ALDS.

  • Hunting Licenses
    • Resident Hunting License (Valid July 1 to June 30)
    • Nonresident Hunting License (Valid July 1 to June 30)
    • Junior Hunting License (Valid July 1 to June 30)
    • Disabled Veteran Hunting License (Available annually after eligibility criteria has been verified and entered into ALDS at a CDFW license sales office)
    • Two-Day Nonresident Hunting License
    • One-Day Nonresident Hunting License
  • Validations
  • Tags
    • First Deer (non-draw tags)
    • Second Deer (non-draw tags)
    • Bear
    • Wild Pig
    • Bobcat (five tags)
  • Big Game Drawing (You can now submit applications online)
    • First Deer Tag Drawing Application
    • Second Deer Tag Drawing Application (Junior Hunters Only)
    • Elk Tag Drawing Application
    • Pronghorn Antelope Tag Drawing Application
    • Bighorn Sheep Tag Drawing Application
    • Fund-Raising Drawing - Open Zone Deer Tag
    • Fund-Raising Drawing - Elk Tag
  • Waterfowl Reservation Applications and Passes
    • Season-Long Reservation Application
    • Multiple Choice Reservation Application
    • Type-A Season Pass
    • Type-B Season Pass
    • Type-A Two-Day Pass
    • Type-A One Day Pass

Q. Which SPORT FISHING license items can be purchased online?

A. The following sport fishing licenses, validations and report cards may be purchased online:

  • Annual Sport Fishing Licenses (Valid January 1 to December 31)
    • Resident Sport Fishing License
    • Nonresident Sport Fishing License
  • Short-Term Sport Fishing Licenses
    • One-Day Sport Fishing License
    • Two-Day Sport Fishing License
    • Ten-Day Nonresident Sport Fishing License
  • These sport fishing stamps may be purchased in the same transaction with a sport fishing license:
    • Second-Rod Validation
    • Sport Ocean Enhancement Validation
  • Sport Fishing Report Cards
    • Abalone Report Card
    • North Coast Salmon Report Card
    • Spiny Lobster Report Card
    • Steelhead Report Card
    • Sturgeon Fishing Report Card
  • Gift Voucher for a Resident Annual Sport Fishing License

Q. Can I update my hunter education when purchasing a hunting license, online?

A. No. Before you can purchase a hunting license through the online license service, you must provide proof of hunter education to a license agent or a CDFW license sales office, so your ALDS customer profile can be updated to reflect that you meet the hunter education requirement. Alternatively, you may contact CDFW via fax at (916) 419-7587 or e-mail and provide your personal identification, or GO ID and proof of hunter education so your hunter education will be updated in ALDS. Once your proof of hunter education has been updated in ALDS, it will be stored for future hunting license purchases.

Q. What documentation is accepted as proof of completing hunter education?

A. Before your first hunting license can be issued through ALDS, you must present one of the following as proof of completing hunter education:

  • an annual California hunting license issued in any prior year;
  • a two-day nonresident California hunting license issued after the 1999/2000 license year;
  • a California certificate of hunter education completion or equivalency with a unique number imprinted on it ex: (AA00000) or a California hunter education certificate with no unique number imprinted and a California hunter education validation stamp affixed;
  • a certificate of successful completion of a California-approved hunter education course from any state or province; or
  • a current hunting license or hunting license issued in either of the two previous years from any state, province, European country, or South Africa. For more information, on hunter education requirements or hunter education classes, contact any CDFW License Sales Office or visit the CDFW web site at: .

Q. If I purchase a Type A Waterfowl Pass online, can I print it at home for immediate use.

A. No, waterfowl passes purchased online are mailed to the customer. Allow 15 days for shipping. If you need a pass for use in less than 15 days, visit any license agent, or CDFW license sales office.

Q. When is the deadline to apply for the big game drawing?

A. Applications for premium deer, elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep tags must be submitted through the Automated License Data System (ALDS) at any license agent, a CDFW license sales office or online. To qualify for the big game drawing, the application must be submitted and the sales transaction completed before midnight on June 2, 2013. Mail-in applications will not be accepted. CDFW license sales offices will be open during normal business hours on June 2.

Q. Where can I apply for the big game drawing?

A. You can apply for premium deer, elk, antelope and bighorn sheep tags through ALDS at any license agent, a CDFW license sales office or online

Q. How do I know that my hunt choices were entered into the drawing correctly and accepted?

A. After you complete your transaction, you will receive a Big Game Drawing Receipt for each species for which you have applied. Verify that the hunt choice(s), and party information (if applying as a party) are correct prior to leaving the sales counter. If any of the information is incorrect, the sales clerk will need to cancel the transaction and resell the item with the correct information.

Q. Can my hunting party apply online as a party?

A. Yes. Members of a party can apply online in separate transactions, but not in the same transaction. Online sales can only process one customer per transaction. The first party member will become the party leader. The party leader’s Big Game Drawing Receipt will have the Party Identification Number printed on it. The party leader can give this number out to the other members of his/her hunting party. When other members apply online, they will enter the Party Identification Number in the drawing application screen; it will bring up the hunting party and link the members to the party. The members will be assigned the same tag choices in the same order as the party leader and you will all be in the drawing together. Party applications may be made up of transactions submitted through the Internet, CDFW license sales office and license agents.

Q. Are annual Sport Fishing Licenses valid one year from the date of purchase?

A. No. California annual licenses are valid only for the calendar year for which they are issued (January 1 to December 31). For example, if you purchase a 2013 annual sport fishing license on June 1, 2013, it will be valid until December 31, 2013.

Q. To purchase a license online for myself, what information do I need to provide?

A. To purchase a license for yourself, you must provide your name, residence address, residency status, (DMV ID, passport, green card, military ID, etc.), date of birth, height, weight, hair color, and eye color.

Q. To purchase a license online for another person, what information do I need to provide?

A. To purchase a license for someone else, you will need to provide the licensee's name, residence address, residency status, Identification (DMV ID, passport, green card, military ID, etc.), date of birth, height, weight, hair color, and eye color.

Q. What Internet browsers are supported?

A. You must have Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, Safari 3.1 or Firefox 2 (or newer) to use this web application. Additionally these browsers must utilize 128-bit encryption, which is the highest level protection possible whenever you use credit / debit cards or make other financial or confidential transactions over the internet.

Q. What should I do if I receive a "come back later" message and unable to complete my purchase?

A. Complete the following steps before attempting to purchase another license:

  • Confirm that you are using a compatible browser (see prior question). Update your browser as needed.
  • Clear your temporary internet files and cookies. For example, using Internet Explorer 7, take the following steps:
    • Under "Tools", select "Internet Options".
    • Under the "General" tab, select "Delete Cookies" and click "OK". Then select "Delete Files" and click "OK"

Q. What forms of payment are accepted?

A. Online purchases may only be made with Visa or MasterCard.

Q. Will I be charged a shipping or handling fee?

A. No.

Q. If I purchase a license online, when will it become effective?

A. If purchased after January 1, your license will be valid immediately. If you purchase a short-term sport fishing license, you will print it on your printer at the end of your transaction. When you purchase an annual sport fishing license online, you will print a temporary license document that is valid immediately and will allow you to fish for up to 15 days until you receive your sport fishing license in the mail. A working printer is required to print short-term and temporary license documents.

Q. What should I do with my temporary license document when my annual license arrives in the mail?

A. When your annual license arrives in the mail, shred or destroy your temporary license and recycle it.

Q. What should I do if I do not receive my annual license, or report cards in the mail?

A. If you do not receive your annual licensetags, or report cards within 15 days of purchase, contact CDFW at (916) 928-2537 or e-mail  If over 90 days have passed since your purchase, and the items were not returned to CDFW by the postal service, you may be required to buy duplicates of the items.  Also note, if you applied in the Big Game Draw, your license and draw tag are mailed separately; if successful in the draw, the tag is mailed after the draw is completed.

Q. Where can I see a complete list of California sport fishing license requirements?

A. See Sport Fishing License Fees and Descriptions.

Q. What are the residency requirements for California Hunting or Sport Fishing Licenses?

The following persons are eligible to purchase resident hunting or sport fishing licenses in California:

  • Any person who has resided continually in California for six months immediately prior to applying for a license;
  • Any person on active duty with the U.S. armed forces; and
  • Any Job Corps Enrollee.

Q. I already have a sport fishing license. Can I buy only the validations online?

A. Yes. Use the GO ID from your sport fishing license when retrieving your customer profile to ensure proper retrieval of your customer profile. Because you purchased the sport fishing validations separate from your sport fishing license, they will be printed on a separate document. Carry both documents with you while fishing.

Q. Why are the second-rod, ocean enhancement and Colorado river stamps now called validations?

A. With ALDS, validations will be printed on your license documents, replacing the physical stamps that were previously affixed to your license. There are no more stamps with ALDS, except for collectible Duck and Upland Game Bird Stamps.

Q. What is the ALDS?

A. See the ALDS information page.

Q. If I purchase a short-term license, can I use that license to purchase a report card from a license agent?

A. Yes. Bring the short-term license to the license agent so they can scan the barcode to retrieve your customer profile.

Q. Can I use my temporary license document to purchase a report card from a license agent?

A. Yes. Bring the temporary license document to the license agent so they can scan the barcode to retrieve your customer profile.

Q. Is this a secure transaction?

A. Yes. When a user begins the purchase process, a secure connection is provided using SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Throughout the transaction, all entered data (credit card information, personal data, licenses purchased) will be encrypted.

Q. Is my credit card number retained after my order is processed?

A. No.

Q. I entered everything correctly and I have sufficient funds in my account. Why was my credit card declined?

A. The credit card processor sometimes declines a transaction request due to issues related to fraud protection or network traffic problems. If you have problems processing your credit card, verify that you entered the credit card information correctly and repeat the payment process. If your credit card continues to be denied, contact your credit card representative.

Q. How can I get a duplicate if I lose my license that was purchased online?

A. To obtain a duplicate license, go to any license agent, CDFW license sales office or log in to the Online License Service .

Q. If I lose my license and purchase a duplicate, will I be required to purchase all my validations again?

A. Duplicate licenses include all the original validations that were purchased with the license. Customers must pay the duplicate fee for each item on the license. Duplicates for report cards purchased from a license agent or the internet can only be issued at a CDFW license sales office. Note: Abalone and Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards may only be replaced with required documentation.

Q. Can I exchange a sport fishing license that was purchased online?

A. No. Sport fishing licenses, validations and other privileges are not subject to exchange, void, refund, or return.

Q. Where can I send comments or questions about CDFW online licensing?

A. Email comments or questions to the Online Sales Help Desk at

laptop computer and licenses

License items may also be obtained at
CDFW License Sales Offices
Independent License Agents