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Packing out a deer in california


Well-known member
Ok guys hoping to see if anyone is sure on this or not. If you shoot a buck in California and you quarter out the deer and carry out meat in pack instead of taking out the deer whole. Do you have to take the entire head with you to be validated or can you just cut the top of skull cap where antlers attach to skull and leave the rest of the head there to save on weight. I’ve always taken my deer out whole but plan to start quartering out and carrying out in a pack. So do I need to take the entire head?

I looked it up in the fish and game book and here is what I found. To Me it sounds like you can just cut the top of the skull off and be fine. However I always thought you had to take the head but never looked up until now.

i just want to make sure I’m reading this properly and see what everyone else has done in past

Production Upon Demand
(Excerpts from CCR T14-708.7):
Any person taking any deer in this state shall retain in their possession during the open season thereon, and for 15 days thereafter, that portion of the head which in adult males normally bears the antlers, and shall produce the designated portion of the head upon the demand of any officer authorized to enforce the provisions of this regulation (refer to FGC 4302).


Well-known member
I normally just saw off the skull cap with the antlers attached. And I usually bone the meat out completely. I’ve never had an issue when validating a tag.


Well-known member
I’ve always cut the skull cap like you describe. I believe that’s all you need to be legal.


Well-known member
Same here. I carry a saw to cut the skull cap off with the antlers and have never had an issue. Sometimes my tag gets signed by a game warden and other times by forest service employees. No one has ever questioned me.
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Well-known member
that matters less in ca, since we don't have doe tags to my knowledge. our tags are generally buck or either-sex, so proving sex on a doe is less a problem


Well-known member
I like making Euro mounts out of them, so I bring the whole head. You can always leave some stuff behind to save wieght, then come back in and get it on a 2nd trip.

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