MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Elmer Fudd might quit chasing bugs if he knew he didn’t have to wait for rabbit season to hunt on Camp Pendleton.
With nine species to hunt, some available year round, and more than 125,000 acres to hunt on, Pendleton is any avid hunter’s dream.
“Compared to the rest of the state of California, we have the highest hunter-to-harvested-deer ratio,” said Frank R. Hernandez, federal game warden and conservation officer, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “With a little experience, you can get your deer in a visit or two.”
Range scheduling, or Longrifle, allows hunting on a number of Pendleton’s 32 training ranges, said James F. Marshall, range operations director, MCB. Keeping safety its primary concern, Longrifle may deem weather conditions a safety hazard and close training ranges at any time.
Designated hunting days are scheduled during weekends and holidays from 4 a.m. to sunset. Hunters are required to check in with Pendleton’s Game Warden Office in the 26 Area prior to hunting. Hunters must present a valid hunting license and a Camp Pendleton hunting permit on their scheduled days.
“Training ranges are off-limits and should never be entered without Longrifle’s consent,” said Marshall.
We are able to offer as much as we do because of Pendleton’s range scheduling, said Hernandez. They balance and manage all the training and recreational activity we are so fortunate to have.
“I can come here, feel safe and hunt in all kinds of places,” said Cornelius J. Prather, retired Air Force staff sergeant and first-time Pendleton hunter. “I used to hunt in the Los Angeles National Forest, but if you break your leg where your phone doesn’t work, no one would ever know.”
Our goal is to ensure you are successful and safe, said Hernandez. Accountability is one of our biggest concerns and primary benefits.
The base is also home to the jack rabbit and coyote, two species hunters can pursue throughout the year.
“It really surprises me that there are so many Marines that don’t even know that we offer hunting on base,” said Hernandez, retired warrant officer and avid hunter. “We are doing our best to try and educate and encourage more people to come out and hunt.”
Hunting on Pendleton is available to active-duty and retired service mmbers, civilian employees and immediate family. Immediate family includes grandchildren 12 and older.
Last year, an estimated 12.5 million people spent 220 million days hunting in the United States, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Large game, such as deer or elk, is the most popular across the nation and in the state of California.
“We are hosting another Hunter Education Course Dec. 20 to educate future hunters,” said Victor P. Yoder, chief game warden, MCB. “This course wasn’t planned, but is being held due to high interest in the hunting program.”
Pendleton’s deer season began Sept. 8 for archers and Oct. 18 for rifle hunters. The seasons are scheduled to close Dec. 7, but because recent wildfires prevented hunting for two weekends, Pendleton’s Federal Game Warden Office has extended the season to Dec. 21.
In the state of California, hunters must have a valid hunting license and attend a Hunter Education Course. The education course is a perquisite for anyone seeking a license. Hunters on base must also have a permit for Camp Pendleton and tags for the animals they are pursuing.
“Federal and state governments regulate hunting and allow individual bases to regulate programs if they are more stringent,” said Hernandez. “Pendleton has also implemented additional regulations for safety. For example, we require hunters to wear an orange vest.”
For additional information regarding Pendleton’s hunting program contact the Federal Game Warden’s Office at: (760) 725-3360.