It is the hunter’s responsibility to know and follow the law.
The California statutes governing many aspects of hunting, firearms, fishing, and the use of public lands, are found in the California Fish and Game Code (FGC). Hunting and fishing activities are further regulated by the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Natural Resources (CCR, T14), and the California Penal Code (PC). These documents may be accessed through the Department of Fish and Wildlife website: www.wildlife.ca.gov.
Additionally, California counties and cities have adopted local ordinances which regulate and restrict hunting activities within their jurisdiction.
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), governs many aspects of hunting and fishing on federal lands, specific species, and other activities under federal jurisdiction.
It is unlawful to:
(These are not complete regulations. Some sections are abbreviated.)
Fish and Game Code (FGC)
- Transfer, use, possess or alter any license, tag, stamp, permit, application or reservation. FGC 1052.
- Hunt any game bird or mammal without having the required licenses, tags and/or stamps in possession. FGC 1054.2.
- Damage another’s property or injure livestock while hunting. FGC 2004.
- Use an artificial light to assist in taking any game bird or game mammal. FGC 2005(a).
- Possess a loaded rifle or shotgun in any vehicle or conveyance or its attachments which is standing on or along or is being driven on or along any public highway or other way open to the public. FGC 2006.
- A rifle or shotgun shall be deemed to be loaded for the purposes of this section when there is an unexpended cartridge or shell in the firing chamber but not when the only cartridges or shells are in the magazine. FGC 2006.
- The provisions of this section shall not apply to peace officers or members of the armed forces of this state or the United States, while on duty or going to or returning from duty. FGC 2006.
- Use of a shotgun larger than 10 gauge for the taking of any game bird or game mammal, or a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. FGC 2010; CCR T14-311 and 353(b).
- Fail to exhibit on the demand of a Wildlife Officer, all licenses, tags, fish, or wildlife taken or otherwise dealt with under the Fish and Game Code, and any device or apparatus designed to be, and capable of being, used to take fish or wildlife. FGC 2012.
California Code of Regulations (CCR, T14)
- Take game birds, game mammals or furbearing mammals except as permitted by regulations. CCR T14-250.
- Hunt with a crossbow during archery season (except with a Disabled Archer Permit). CCR T14-354(g).
- Possess a firearm while hunting during archery season or while hunting during the general season with an archery-only tag. CCR T14-354(h).
- Take spike buck. CCR T14- 351(c).
- Pursue, drive, herd, or take any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat, or snowmobile, except when the motor is off and/or the sails furled and it is drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor, or is being propelled by paddle, oar or pole. CCR T14-251.
- Knowingly feed big game mammals. CCR T14-251.3.
- Take game birds and mammals within 400 yards of any baited area. This does not apply to the taking of game birds and mammals on or over standing crops, croplands, or grains found scattered solely as the result of normal agricultural operations or procedures. CCR T14-257.5.
- Take bears within 400 yards of any garbage dump or bait. CCR T14-365(e).
- Nock or fit the notch in the end of an arrow to a bowstring or crossbow string in a ready-to-fire position while in or on any vehicle. CCR T14-354(i).
- Hunt with bow or crossbow that will not cast a legal hunting arrow, except flu-flu arrows, a horizontal distance of 130 yards. CCR T14-354(f).
- Hunt big game from one- half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise. CCR T14-352.
- Use dogs for pursuit/ take, or for dog training, during the archery seasons for deer or bear. CCR T14-265(a)(1).
- Use dogs to take, bear, bobcat, elk, bighorn sheep and antelope. CCR T14 265 (a)(2).
- Use dogs for pursuit/ take of, or for dog training on, mountain lions (except under authority of a depredation permit). CCR T14-265(a)(3).
- Possess in any State Game Refuge any bird or mammal or part thereof, or any weapon capable of taking any bird or mammal. FGC 10500.
- However, possession of firearms or bows and arrows by persons traveling through game refuges on a public highway or other public thoroughfare or right of way is permitted when the firearms are taken apart or encased and unloaded, and the bows are unstrung. FGC 10506.
California Penal Code (PC)
- Possess a short barreled shotgun (Barrel less than 18 inches), or a short-barreled rifle (Barrel less than 16 inches). PC 33210.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
- National Parks and Monuments have special regulations regarding the possession of weapons, game and the running of hunting dogs. Check with federal officials before entering these areas.
Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC) is an agreement between 26 states, which allows for the reciprocal recognition of hunting, fishing and trapping license suspensions. If your license privileges have been suspended by another state, the suspension may be recognized here in California. For example, if your sport fishing, hunting or trapping privileges have been suspended in Colorado for five years, your privileges may also be suspended for five years in California or any of the states participating in the IWVC. The purchase of licenses or tags during the term of the suspension is a violation of the law and may result in prosecution.