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Big Game Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon California Hunting

CCR T14-311.6. Prohibition of Rifles and Pistols in Picacho and Providence Mountains State Recreation Areas.

The use of rifles and pistols to take any bird or mammal is prohibited in Picacho and Providence Mountains State Recreation Areas.

CCR T14-350. Big Game Defined.

“Big game” means the following: deer (genus Odocoileus), elk (genus Cervus), pronghorn antelope (genus Antilocapra), wild pig (feral pigs, European wild pigs and their hybrids (genus Sus), black bear (genus Ursus) and Nelson bighorn sheep (subspecies Ovis canadensis nelsoni) in the areas described in subsection 4902(b) of the Fish and Game Code.

CCR T14-351. Forked-Horn Buck, Antlerless and Either-Sex Deer Defined.

(a) Forked-Horn Buck Defined. For the purpose of these regulations a forked-horn buck is defined as a male deer having a branched antler on either side with the branch in the upper two-thirds of the antler. Eyeguards or other bony projections on the lower one-third of the antler shall not be considered as points or branches.

(b) Antlerless Deer Defined. For the purpose of these regulations, antlerless deer are defined as female deer, fawns of either sex other than spotted fawns, and male deer with an unbranched antler on one or both sides which is not more than three inches in length.

(c) Either-Sex Deer Defined. For the purpose of these regulations, either-sex deer are defined as antlerless deer as described in Section 351 (b), or legal bucks that have two or more points in the upper two-thirds of either antler. Spike bucks may not be taken.

CCR T14-352. Shooting Hours on Big Game.

Hunting and shooting hours for big game, including but not limited to deer, antelope, elk, bear, and wild pig shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

CCR T14-353. Methods Authorized for Taking Big Game.

(a) It shall be unlawful to take or attempt to take big game in violation of this section or Section 250.1. The take or attempted take of any big game (as defined by Section 350 of these regulations) with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition pursuant to Section 250.1 of these regulations.

(b) Definition. For purposes of this section, a projectile is any bullet, ball, sabot, slug, buckshot or other device which is expelled from a firearm through a barrel by force. The following definitions shall apply:

(1) A softnose or expanding projectile is a bullet designed to increase from its original diameter, commonly referred to as “mushrooming”, and retain a significant part of its original weight upon impact with, or when passing through the tissues of an animal.

(2) Projectiles commonly referred to as “frangible” bullets, designed to disintegrate upon impact with, or when passing through the tissues of an animal are not softnose or expanding projectiles.

(c) Except for the provisions of the following subsections (d) through (j), big game may only be taken by rifles using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles; bow and arrow (see Section 354 of these regulations for archery equipment regulations); or wheellock, matchlock, flintlock or percussion type, including “in-line” muzzleloading rifles using black powder or equivalent black powder substitute, including pellets, with a single projectile loaded from the muzzle and at least .40 caliber in designation. (d) Shotguns capable of holding not more than three shells firing single slugs may be used for the taking of deer, bear and wild pigs. In areas where the discharge of rifles or shotguns with slugs is prohibited by county ordinance, shotguns capable of holding not more than three shells firing size 0 or 00 buckshot may be used for the taking of deer only.

(e) Pistols and revolvers using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles may be used to take deer, bear, and wild pigs.

(f) Pistols and revolvers with minimum barrel lengths of 4 inches, using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles may be used to take elk and bighorn sheep.

(g) Except as provided in subsection 354(j) of these regulations, crossbows may be used to take deer and wild pigs only during the regular seasons.

(h) Under the provisions of a muzzleloading rifle only tag, hunters may only possess muzzleloading rifles as described in subsection (c) equipped with open or “peep” type sights only except as described in subsection (l).

(i) Under the provisions of a muzzleloading rifle/archery tag, hunters may only possess muzzleloading rifles with sights as described in subsection (h); archery equipment as described in Section 354 of these regulations; or both. For purposes of this subsection, archery equipment does not include crossbows, except as provided in subsection 354(j) of these regulations.

(j) Except as otherwise provided, while taking or attempting to take big game under the provisions of this section or Section 354of these regulations, it is unlawful to use any device or devices which: 1) throw, cast or project an artificial light or electronically alter or intensify a light source for the purpose of visibly enhancing an animal; or 2) throw, cast or project an artificial light or electronically alter or intensify a light source for the purpose of providing a visible point of aim directly on a animal. Devices commonly referred to as “sniperscopes”, night vision scopes or binoculars, or those utilizing infra-red, heat sensing or other non-visible spectrum light technology used for the purpose of visibly enhancing an animal or providing a visible point of aim directly on a animal are prohibited and may not be possessed while taking or attempting to take big game. Devices commonly referred to as laser rangefinders, “red-dot” scopes with self-illuminating reticles, and fiberoptic sights with self-illuminating sight or pins which do not throw, cast or project a visible light onto an animal are permitted.

(k) Unless provided in these regulations or any other law, it is unlawful to possess a loaded muzzleloading firearm in any vehicle or conveyance or its attachments which is standing on or along or is being driven on or along any public road or highway or other way open to the public.

For the purposes of this section, a muzzleloading firearm shall be deemed to be loaded when it is capped or primed or has an electronic or other ignition device attached and has a powder charge and projectile or shot in the barrel or cylinder.

(m) Upon application to the department, the department may issue a Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit, free of any charge or fee, to any person with a physical disability, as defined in subsection (m), which prevents him/her from being able to focus on the target utilizing muzzleloading rifles equipped with open or “peep” sights. The Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit authorizes the disabled hunter to use a 1X scope on a muzzleloading rifle, as described in subsection (h), with a muzzleloading rifle only tag.

(1) Applications for a Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit as specified in Section 702 of these regulations shall be submitted to the department at the address specified on the application and shall include:

(A) Applicant’s name

(B) Applicant’s physical address

(C) Applicant’s date of birth

(D) Applicant’s Driver’s License or DMV Number

(E) Applicant’s telephone number

(F) Applicant’s signature

(G) Medical Physician’s or Optometrist’s name

(H) Medical Physician’s or Optometrist’s business address

(I) Medical Physician’s or Optometrist’s business telephone number

(J) Medical Physician’s State medical license number or Optometrist’s State license number

(K) A description of the visual disability requiring this permit

(L) Medical Physician’s or Optometrist’s signature

(M) Signature of the authorizing department employee and date issued

(2) The applicant must have a valid hunting license for the year for which he/she is applying.

(3) Proof of meeting eligibility requirements may be met by providing a previously issued Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit.

(4) The valid Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit shall be in the hunter’s immediate possession while hunting and shall be shown on demand to any person authorized to enforce this regulation.

(5) The Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit is valid from July 1 through June 30 of the following year or if issued after July 1 of the license year, it is valid beginning on the date issued through to the following June 30

(l) For the purposes of this section a visual disability means a permanent loss, significant limitation, or diagnosed disease or disorder, which substantially impairs the vision of a hunter, preventing the hunter from viewing and aligning the sights of a muzzleloading rifle with the target in order to hunt deer.

CCR T14-354. Archery Equipment and Crossbow Regulations.

(a) Bow, as used in these regulations, means any device consisting of a flexible material having a string connecting its two ends and used to propel an arrow held in a firing position by hand only. Bow, includes long bow, recurve or compound bow.

(b) Crossbow, as used in these regulations means any device consisting of a bow or cured latex band or other flexible material (commonly referred to as a linear bow) affixed to a stock, or any bow that utilizes any device attached directly or indirectly to the bow for the purpose of keeping a crossbow bolt, an arrow or the string in a firing position. Except as provided in subsection 354(j), a crossbow is not archery equipment and cannot be used during the archery deer season.

(c) For the taking of big game, hunting arrows and crossbow bolts with a broad head type blade which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths inch in diameter shall be used. Mechanical/retractable broad heads shall be measured in the open position. For the taking of migratory game birds, resident small game, furbearers and nongame mammals and birds any arrow or crossbow bolt may be used except as prohibited by subsection (d) below. Notwithstanding the general prohibition of the use of lights in Fish and Game Code section 2005, arrows or crossbow bolts with lighted nocks that do not emit a directional beam of light may be used.

(d) No arrows or crossbow bolt with an explosive head or with any substance which would tranquilize or poison any animal may be used. No arrows or crossbow bolt without flu-flu fletching may be used for the take of pheasants and migratory game birds, except for provisions of section 507(a)(2).

(e) No arrow or crossbow bolt may be released from a bow or crossbow upon or across any highway, road or other way open to vehicular traffic.

(f) No bow or crossbow may be used which will not cast a legal hunting arrow, except flu-flu arrows, a horizontal distance of 130 yards.

(g) Except as described in subsection 354(j), crossbows may not be used to take game birds and game mammals during archery seasons.

(h) Except as provided in subsection 353(g) of these regulations and in Section 4370 of the Fish and Game Code, archers may not possess a firearm while hunting in the field during any archery season, or while hunting during a general season under the provisions of an archery only tag.

(i) No person may 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.

(j) Upon application to the department, the department may issue a Disabled Archer Permit, free of any charge or fee, to any person with a physical disability, as defined in 354(k), which prevents him/her from being able to draw and hold a bow in a firing position. The Disabled Archer Permit authorizes the disabled archer to use a crossbow or device which holds a string and arrow in the firing position to assist in the taking of birds and mammals under the conditions of an archery tag or during archery season.

(1) Applications for a Disabled Archer Permit as specified in Section 702 shall be submitted to the department at the address specified on the application and shall include:

(A) Applicant’s name

(B) Applicant’s physical address

(C) Applicant’s date of birth

(D) Applicant’s Driver’s License or DMV Number

(E) Applicant’s telephone number

(F) Applicant’s signature

(G) Medical Physician’s name

(H) Medical Physician’s business address

(I) Medical Physician’s business telephone number

(J) Medical Physician’s State medical license number

(K) A description of the disabled archer’s disability. The physician shall designate if the disability is permanent or temporary. If the disability is temporary, shall provide date the disability is expected to end.

(L) Medical Physician’s signature

(N) Signature of the authorizing department employee and date issued

(2) Proof of meeting eligibility requirements may be met by providing a previously issued Disabled Archer Permit when the disability is still in effect.

(3) The valid Disabled Archer Permit shall be in the archer’s immediate possession while hunting and shall be shown on demand to any person authorized to enforce this regulation.

(4) The Disabled Archer Permit is valid beginning July 1 through June 30 of the following year or if issued after July 1 of the license year, it is valid beginning on the date issued through to the following June 30. For any person with a permanent disability, the permit is valid through the end of the license year. A Disabled Archer Permit for a permit holder with a temporary disability that ends prior to the end of the license year is valid only through the date specified by his/her physician.

(k) For the purposes of this section a physical disability means, a person having a permanent loss, significant limitation, or diagnosed disease or disorder, which substantially impairs one or both upper extremities preventing a hunter to draw and hold a bow in a firing position.