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General Provisions & Definitions

Hunting Regulations Icon California Hunting

All laws or regulations hereunder are either reproduced verbatim from the Fish and Game Code or from Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, as adopted by the Fish and Game Commission under authority of the Fish and Game Code.

All references to state highway, interstate highway and U.S. highway numbers appearing in regulations are as designated on the current California State Highway map issued by the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency at the time such regulations were adopted by the Fish and Game Commission.

Definition of “Take”

To hunt, pursue, catch, capture or kill or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture or kill. (FGC 86)

CCR T14-250. General Prohibition Against Taking Resident Game Birds, Game Mammals and Furbearing Mammals.

Except as otherwise provided in this Title 14, and in the Fish and Game Code, resident game birds, game mammals and furbearing mammals may not be taken at any time.

CCR T14-250.1 Prohibition on the Use of Lead Projectiles and Ammunition Using Lead Projectiles for the Take of Wildlife.

(a) Purpose. This regulation phases in the requirements of Fish and Game Code Section 3004.5, which prohibits the use of any lead projectiles or ammunition containing lead projectiles when taking any wildlife with a firearm on or after July 1, 2019. (b) Definitions.

(1) A projectile is any bullet, ball, sabot, slug, buckshot, shot, pellet or other device that is expelled from a firearm through a barrel by force.

(2) Nonlead ammunition is any centerfire, shotgun, muzzleloading, or rimfire ammunition containing projectiles certified pursuant to subsection (b)(3) or subsection (f).

(3) Shotgun ammunition containing pellets composed of materials approved as nontoxic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as identified in Section 507.1 of these regulations, is considered certified.

(4) A nonlead projectile shall contain no more than one percent lead by weight, as certified pursuant to subsection (b)(3) or subsection (f).

(c) General Provisions.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful to possess any projectile containing lead in excess of the amount allowed in subsection (b)(4) and a firearm capable of firing the projectile while taking or attempting to take wildlife.

(2) The possession of a projectile containing lead in excess of the amount allowed in subsection (b)(4) without possessing a firearm capable of firing the projectile is not a violation of this section.

(3) Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the possession of concealable firearms containing lead ammunition, provided that the firearm is possessed for personal protection and is not used to take or assist in the take of wildlife.

(d) Phased Approach to Prohibit the Use of Lead Ammunition for the Take of Wildlife. The use of lead projectiles is authorized until the effective dates described in subsections (d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3).

(1) Effective July 1, 2015, it shall be unlawful to use, or possess with any firearm capable of firing, any projectile(s) not certified as nonlead when taking:

(A) Nelson bighorn sheep as authorized by Fish and Game Code Section 4902; or

(B) All wildlife in any wildlife area or ecological reserve, as described in sections 551, 552 and 630 of these regulations.

(2) Effective July 1, 2016, it shall be unlawful to use, or possess with any shotgun capable of firing, any projectile(s) not certified as nonlead as described in subsection (b)(3) when taking:

(A) Upland game birds as included in Fish and Game Code Section 3683, except for dove, quail, snipe, and any game birds taken under the authority of a licensed game bird club as provided for in sections 600 and 600.4 of these regulations;

(B) Resident small game mammals as defined in Section 257 of these regulations;

(C) Fur-bearing mammals as defined by Fish and Game Code Section 4000;

(D) Nongame mammals as defined by Fish and Game Code Section 4150;

(E) Nongame birds as defined by Fish and Game Code Section 3800; or

(F) Any wildlife for depredation purposes, regardless of whether the take is authorized by a permit issued pursuant to sections 401 or 402 of these regulations.

(3) Effective July 1, 2019, it shall be unlawful to use, or possess with any firearm capable of firing, any projectile(s) not certified as nonlead when taking any wildlife for any purpose in this state.

(e) Condor Range. [This subsection shall be repealed effective July 1, 2019]

Methods of take. Notwithstanding subsection (c)(3), it is unlawful to use, or possess with any firearm capable of firing, any projectile or ammunition containing any projectile not certified as nonlead when taking or attempting to take any big game as defined in section 350, nongame birds, or nongame mammals, in the area defined as the “California condor range” in subsection (a) of Fish and Game Code Section 3004.5.

(f) Nonlead Projectile and Ammunition Certification Process.

(1) Any person or manufacturer requesting to have their projectile(s) or ammunition certified as nonlead shall submit the information identified in subsection (2) below to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Branch in Sacramento. The department shall certify or reject the request within 60 business days of receipt.

(2) Information required for consideration of certification:

(A) Name of manufacturer of projectile or ammunition, address, and contact information;

(B) For projectile certifications, information shall include the following: caliber, weight in grains, product trade name or marketing line (if established), product or catalog number (SKUs or UPCs are acceptable), composition, percent content of lead by weight, and detailed unique identifying characteristics;

(C) For ammunition certifications, information shall include the following: caliber, cartridge designation, weight in grains of the projectile, product trade name or marketing line (if established), product or catalog number (SKUs or UPCs are acceptable), composition of projectile, percent content of lead by weight of projectile, detailed unique identifying characteristics of the projectile, and any unique identifying characteristics of the cartridge;

(D) Signed statement verifying all information provided is accurate; and

(E) Digital color image of the projectile(s) or ammunition.

(3) The department shall determine, based on the information supplied, whether the projectile contains no more than one percent of lead by weight.

(4) The department shall update the list of certified projectiles and ammunition not less than once annually and make it available on the department’s web site.

(5) The department shall decertify and remove from the list any projectile(s) or ammunition it determines does not meet the standards set forth in this section.

For the latest information please check the Department’s web page at www.wildlife.ca.gov.

CCR T14-250.5. Shooting Time.

In these orders whenever a specific clock time is mentioned, such time is meant to be legal California time for the date specified: i.e., during the days when California is on Pacific Daylight Saving Time, Pacific Daylight Saving Time is intended; when California is legally on Pacific Standard Time, Pacific Standard Time is intended. When reference is made to sunrise or sunset time, such reference is to the sunrise or sunset time at the location of the hunter.

CCR T14-251. Prohibition on Pursuing or Shooting Birds and Mammals from Motor-Driven Air or Land Vehicles, Motorboats, Airboats, Sailboats or Snowmobiles.

(a) General Prohibition: No person shall pursue, drive, herd, or take any bird or mammal from any type of motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat, or snowmobile. Additionally, no person shall use any motorized, hot-air, or unpowered aircraft or other device capable of flight or any earth orbiting imaging device to locate or assist in locating big game mammals beginning 48 hours before and continuing until 48 hours after any big game hunting season in the same area. No person shall use at any time or place, without Department approval, any computer, telemetry device or other equipment to locate a big game mammal to which a tracking device is attached. For purposes of this subsection “use” includes but is not limited to personal use or intent by another to obtain information from such personal use. Evidence of an act constituting a violation of this section includes but is not limited to flying slowly at low attitudes, hovering, circling or repeatedly flying over any area where big game may be found. Exceptions to this subsection are:

(1) When the motor of such motorboat, airboat, or sailboat has been shut off and/or the sails furled and its progress therefrom has ceased, and it is drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor, or is being propelled by paddle, oar or pole.

(2) When used by the landowner or tenant of private property to drive or herd game mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private property.

(3) Pursuant to a license from the department issued under such regulations as the commission may prescribe (see subsection 251(b) below).

(b) Mobility Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle License

(1) Applications: Applications for a Motor Vehicle Hunting License for mobility disabled persons shall be on a form supplied by the Department (Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle Hunting License Application, FG1460- 10/95). The application shall include the applicant’s name, address, physical description, a description of the qualifying disability, and a certified statement from a licensed physician describing the applicant’s permanent disability. It shall be unlawful for any person to falsify an application for a Motor Vehicle Hunting License.

(2) Terms of the License: The Motor Vehicle Hunting License shall specify conditions under which said license shall be used and shall include but not be limited to the following provisions:

(A) The licensee shall be accompanied by an able bodied assistant who shall immediately retrieve, and tag if necessary, all game taken. (Possession of the licensee’s tag, required in this subsection, shall not be considered an unlawful possession of a tag or license issued to another person).

(B) The assistant shall not possess a firearm, crossbow or archery equipment unless he/she is a licensed hunter and possesses any necessary license or tag for the area being hunted. The assistant shall not discharge a firearm or release a bolt or an arrow from the vehicle. If licensed, the assistant may dispatch wounded game which has moved out of range of the licensee.

(C) The vehicle must be stopped and the engine must be shut off prior to the licensee discharging firearm or releasing a bolt from a crossbow or an arrow from archery equipment.

(D) The licensee shall notify the Department, at the regional office having responsibility for the area where the licensee intends to hunt, at least 48 hours prior to hunting or contact the department’s 24-hour dispatcher at the number indicated on the license. The licensee shall specify the locality, vehicle description, and the approximate time frame during which such hunt shall take place.

(E) The licensee or assistant shall not pursue any animal or drive or herd animals to any other hunters with a motor vehicle.

(F) This license does not grant permission to trespass on private property or permission to use a motor vehicle while in any area where the use of motor vehicles is restricted or prohibited.

(G) This license does not grant permission to discharge a firearm in any place or manner that would otherwise be unlawful, or to possess a loaded firearm in violation of any other city, county or state law.

(H) The licensee shall have the license in possession while hunting from a motor vehicle.

(3) License Fee: Licenses shall be permanent and have no expiration date.

[For information on obtaining a Disabled Archery Permit, refer to subsection 354(j).]

CCR T14-251.1. Harassment of Animals.

Except as otherwise authorized in these regulations or in the Fish and Game Code, no person shall harass, herd or drive any game or nongame bird or mammal or furbearing mammal. For the purposes of this section, harass is defined as an intentional act which disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering. This section does not apply to a landowner or tenant who drives or herds birds or mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops.

CCR T14-251.3. Prohibition Against Feeding Big Game Mammals.

No person shall knowingly feed big game mammals, as defined in Section 350 of these regulations.

Deer Tag Information
FGC 4336.

(a) The person to whom a deer tag has been issued shall carry the tag while hunting deer. Upon the killing of any deer, that person shall immediately fill out the tag completely, legibly, and permanently, and cut out or punch out and completely remove notches or punch holes for the month and date of the kill. The deer tag shall be immediately attached to the antlers of antlered deer or to the ear of any other deer and kept attached during the open season and for 15 days thereafter. The holder of the deer tag shall immediately, upon harvesting a deer, notify the department in a manner specified by the commission.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this code or regulation adopted pursuant to this code, it is unlawful to possess any untagged deer.

Pig Tag Information
FGC 4657.

The holder of a wild pig tag shall keep the tag in his or her possession while hunting wild pig. Before the taking of any wild pig, the holder of a wild pig tag, except for wild pig tags issued through the Automated License Data System, shall legibly write or otherwise affix his or her hunting license number to the wild pig tag Upon the killing of any wild pig, the date of the kill shall be clearly marked by the holder of the tag on both parts of the tag. Before transporting the pig, a tag shall be attached to the carcass by the holder of the tag. The holder of the wild pig tag shall immediately, upon harvesting a pig, notify the department in a manner specified by the commission.

Bear Tag Information
FGC 4753.

The person to whom a bear tag has been issued shall carry the tag while hunting bear. Upon the killing of any bear, that person shall immediately fill out the tag completely, legibly, and permanently, and cut out or punch out and completely remove notches or punch holes for the month and the date of the kill. One part of the tag shall be immediately attached to the ear of the bear and kept attached during the open season and for 15 days thereafter. The holder of the bear tag shall immediately, upon harvesting a bear, notify the department in a manner specified by the commission. Except as otherwise provided by this code or regulations adopted pursuant to this code, it is unlawful to possess any untagged bear.

CCR T14-251.5. Game Birds, Game Mammals, Furbearers and Nongame Animals, Possession Of.

(a) Migratory game birds may not be held beyond the period provided by the federal regulations and in accordance with the daily bag and possession limits prescribed by these regulations. (See section 500.)

(b) Live mountain lions may be possessed only under terms of a permit issued by the Department pursuant to section 2150 of the Fish and Game Code or if the owner can demonstrate that the mountain lion was in his/her possession on or before June 6, 1990 under a permit issued pursuant to section 3200 of said code.

(c) Every game bird, game mammal, furbearer or nongame animal taken under the authority of a hunting or trapping license and reduced to possession by the hunter or trapper shall be immediately killed and become a part of the daily bag limit.

CCR T14-252. Bag and Possession Limit Defined.

“Bag and possession limit” means the daily bag limit of each kind of resident and migratory game birds, game mammals and furbearing mammals which may be taken and possessed by any one person unless otherwise authorized.

CCR T14-257. Resident Small Game Defined.

“Resident small game” means the following resident game birds: Chinese spotted doves, ringed turtledoves of the family Columbidae, California quail and varieties thereof, Gambel or desert quail, mountain quail and varieties thereof, blue grouse and varieties thereof, ruffed grouse, sage grouse (sage hens), white-tailed ptarmigan, Hungarian partridges, redlegged partridges, including the chukar and other varieties, ring-necked pheasants and varieties, and wild turkeys of the order Galliformes; and the following game mammals: jackrabbits and varying hares (genus Lepus), cottontail rabbits, brush rabbits, pigmy rabbits (genus Sylvilagus), and tree squirrels (genus Sciurus and Tamiasciurus).

CCR T14-257.5. Prohibition Against Taking Resident Game Birds and Mammals by the Aid of Bait.

Except as otherwise provided in these regulations or in the Fish and Game Code, resident game birds and mammals may not be taken within 400 yards of any baited area.

(a) Definition of Baited Area. As used in this regulation, “baited area” shall mean any area where shelled, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed whatsoever capable of luring, attracting, or enticing such birds or mammals is directly or indirectly placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, and such area shall remain a baited area for ten days following complete removal of all such corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed.

(b) Exceptions:

(1) The taking of domestically reared and released game birds on licensed pheasant clubs and other licensed game bird clubs;

(2) The taking of resident game birds and mammals on or over standing crops, flooded standing crops (including aquatics), flooded harvested croplands, grain crops properly shocked on the field where grown, or grains found scattered solely as the result of normal agricultural planting or harvesting;

(3) The taking of resident game birds and mammals on or over any lands where shelled, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grain, salt, or other feed have been distributed or scattered as the result of bona fide agricultural operations or procedures, or as a result of manipulation of a crop or other feed on the land where grown for wildlife management purposes: provided that manipulation for wildlife management purposes does not include the distributing or scattering of grain or other feed once it has been removed from or stored on the field where grown.

CCR T14-258. Season Defined.

“Season” means that period of time during which resident and migratory game birds, game mammals and fur-bearing mammals may be taken. All dates are inclusive.

CCR T14-260. Prohibition Against Taking Other Than Migratory Game Birds and Quail in Picacho State Recreation Area.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of these regulations, in Picacho State Recreation Area only migratory game birds and quail may be taken or possessed as prescribed in Sections 301, 500, 501 and 502 of these regulations.

CCR T14-260.1. Prohibition Against Hunting Other Than During September-January on Providence Mountains State Recreation Area.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of these regulations, in Providence Mountains State Recreation Area hunting is permitted only during the period September 1 to January 31.

CCR T14-260.2. Hunting Restrictions on Lake Oroville State Recreation Area.

Game species may be taken on the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area only as follows:

(a) No hunting of any type is permitted between February 1 and September 14 except for wild turkeys only, during the spring turkey hunting season as provided in Section 306 of these regulations.

(b) No waterfowl or deer hunting is permitted at any time.

(c) Game species may be taken only during their respective open seasons or portions thereof falling within the period September 15 through January 31; and as provided in (a) above; and as otherwise provided by state Parks and Recreation area regulations (see area regulations).

CCR T14-260.4. Prohibition Against Taking Other Than Waterfowl and Resident Small Game on Perris Reservoir State Recreation Area.

Notwithstanding any other provision of these regulations, in Perris Reservoir State Recreation Area only waterfowl and resident small game may be taken or possessed as prescribed in Section 551 of these regulations.

CCR T14-263. Prohibition Against Night Hunting.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of these regulations, hunting wildlife from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise is prohibited in Monterey and San Benito counties east of Highway 101.

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