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Nonlead Ammunition Update

Hunting Regulations Icon California Hunting

Chadd Santerre, D6 Deer Zone

California to Require Use of Nonlead Hunting Ammunition State-wide by July 1, 2019.

In October 2013 Assembly Bill 711 was approved by the Governor and chaptered into law by the Secretary of State. AB 711 added several sections to Fish and Game Code, one of which (3004.5(b)) requires a complete ban on the use of lead ammunition when taking wildlife anywhere in the State by July 1, 2019. CDFW conducted extensive public outreach during 2014 and proposed regulations that phase-in the nonlead requirement. This outreach effort included question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, meetings with hunting organizations and a series of eight public workshops throughout the state. CDFW then presented draft regulations, as modified by public input from these workshops, to the Fish and Game Commission.

In April 2015, the Fish and Game Commission adopted CDFW’s proposed regulations, which will implement the nonlead requirement in the following three phases:

Phase 1

Effective July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition is required when taking Nelson bighorn sheep and all wildlife on state wildlife areas and ecological reserves.

Phase 2

Effective July 1, 2016, nonlead shot is required when taking upland game birds with a shotgun, except for dove, quail, snipe, and any game birds taken on licensed game bird clubs. In addition, nonlead shot will be required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds, and any wildlife for depredation purposes.

Phase 3

Effective July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition will be required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California.

Existing restrictions on the use of lead ammunition in the California condor range remain in effect while implementation proceeds.