Other Laws Related to Hunting
California Bird Hunting
Definition of Take.
“Take” means hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill. (Fish and Game Code Section 86.)
Access and Trespass
Access to some lands and waters may be controlled by owners or administering agencies of private lands, Indian lands or reservations, waters impounded by dams, and other lands and waters. Also county ordinances may control the use of lands and waters administered by the county. In all cases it is advisable to check with the landowner or the administering agency for current regulations and to determine whether entry permits are required to be obtained for hunting or fishing on such lands. Hunters must obtain written permission from landowners before entering private property. TRESPASS: If the land you hunt on is not your own, it belongs to someone else. Make sure you have a legal right to be there. Contact the owner or person who administers the property, and secure written permission to hunt. A hunting license does not entitle you to enter private property. “It is unlawful to enter any lands under cultivation or enclosed by a fence, belonging to, or occupied by, another, or to enter any uncultivated or unenclosed lands, including lands temporarily inundated by waters flowing outside the established banks of a river, stream, slough, or other waterway, where signs forbidding trespass are displayed at intervals not less than three to the mile along all exterior boundaries and at all roads and trails entering such lands, for the purpose of discharging any firearm or taking or destroying any mammal or bird, including any waterfowl, on such lands without having first obtained written permission from the owner of such lands, or his agent, or the person in lawful possession thereof. Such signs may be of any size and wording, other than the wording required for signs under Section 2017,which will fairly advise persons about to enter the land that the use of such land is so restricted.” Section 2016, Fish and Game Code.
DISCHARGING FIREARMS OR OTHER DEADLY WEAPONS
It is unlawful for any person, other than the owner, person in possession of the premises, or a person having the express permission of the owner or person in possession of the premises, to hunt or to discharge while hunting, any firearm or other deadly weapon within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling house, residence, or other building or any barn or other outbuilding used in connection therewith. The 150-yard area is a “safety zone.” (See Section 3004, Fish and Game Code.)
PUBLIC ROAD OR OTHER WAY OPEN DEFINED
“Public road or other way open”, particularly, with respect to safety regulations, includes any roads, dirt or otherwise, trails, open fields, parking lots, etc., open to public access.
PROHIBITION ON LOADED RIFLE OR SHOTGUN IN VEHICLE
It is always unlawful to: Place on, or carry or 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. 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.* 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. Fish and Game Code Section 2006.
*NOTE: Hunters should be aware that subdivision (a) of Section 25850 of the Penal Code provides that:
(a) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when the person carries a loaded firearm on the person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory
Penal Code 16840(b)(1) A firearm shall be deemed to be “loaded” when there is an unexpended cartridge or shell, consisting of a case that holds a charge of powder and a bullet or shot, in, or attached in any manner to, the firearm, including, but not limited to, in the firing chamber, magazine, or clip thereof attached to the firearm.
It is unlawful to deposit, permit to pass into, or place where it can pass into the waters of the state, or to abandon, dispose of, or throw away, within 150 feet of the high water mark of the waters of the state, any cans, bottles, garbage, rubbish, or the viscera or carcass of any dead mammal, or the carcass of any dead bird. (Section 5652, Fish and Game Code.)
It is always unlawful to: Place on, or carry or possess a loaded rifle or shotgun in a vehicle or conveyance or its attachments on any public road or other way open to the public; Hunt while intoxicated; Shoot at any game bird from a powerboat, sailboat, motor vehicle, or aircraft while under power or still moving from use of sail or motor (See Section 251); Shoot any firearm from or upon a public road or highway.
It is always unlawful to: Fail to send a complete written report to the Department within 48 hours after killing or wounding while hunting, any human being, or domestic animal belonging to another, or after witnessing such killing or wounding; Use a shotgun larger than 10 gauge; Use, for the taking of any game bird, a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined; Use or possess shotshells containing shot size larger than No. BB in lead or No. T in steel when hunting migratory game birds; Use shot that is not loose in the shell for taking resident small game and migratory game birds; Possess a machine gun, silencer, shotgun with barrel less than 18 inches in length, or rifle with barrel less than 16 inches in length.
PARKS AND REFUGES
It is unlawful to hunt in any National Park or Monument, in State of California Beaches and Parks or Monument areas, or in any State Game Refuge, or to shoot into such an area any weapon capable of taking any bird.
Possess in any State Game Refuge any bird or mammal or part thereof, or any weapon capable of taking any bird. 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. 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.
TAGS AND LICENSES
It is always unlawful to: Hunt any game bird or mammal without having the required licenses, tags and/or stamps in possession; Change, mutilate, or transfer any license, tag, or stamp; Have in possession while hunting any license belonging to another person.
It is always unlawful to: Use any light to assist in taking any game bird or game mammal; Sell or barter game taken under authority of a hunting license.
RESPECT FOR PROPERTY
It is always unlawful to damage other’s property while hunting.
Chapter 1. General Provisions and Definitions
§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.
§251. 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, except:
(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 (see Title 14, Section 251(b) at the following web site: www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/regs.asp)
§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.
§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.
§251.7. Possession, Transportation and Importation of Game Birds.
(a) No person may possess any birds taken in this state in excess of the daily bag and possession limits. The exception to this is for the purpose of transportation, cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment, or taxidermy services, where an individual may possess game birds taken by another hunter provided that they are tagged by the hunter who has lawfully taken them. The tag must contain the hunter’s name, address, hunting license number, kinds and numbers of game birds taken, date and location of kill, and signature.
(b) All birds, including migratory game birds, possessed or transported within California must have a fully feathered wing or head attached until placed into a personal abode or commercial preservation facility or being prepared for immediate consumption. Doves must have a fully feathered wing attached.
(c) Migratory game birds imported into California shall be accompanied by a declaration of entry as prescribed in Section 2353 of the Fish and Game Code.
(d) Only one possession limit of migratory game birds may be possessed per individual after the close of the season for that species.
§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.
§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.
§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.
§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.
§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).
§260.3. Prohibition Against Taking Other Than Migratory Game Birds on San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area.
Notwithstanding any other provision of these regulations, in San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area, only migratory waterfowl may be taken or possessed as prescribed in Section 502 of these regulations.
§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.
§260.5. Prohibition Against Taking Other Than Waterfowl, American Coots, Common Moorhens and Common Snipe Within Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area.
Notwithstanding any other provision of these regulations, in Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area, only waterfowl, American coots, common moorhens and common snipe may be taken or possessed as prescribed in Section 502 of these regulations.
§262. Prohibition Against Hunting on Portions of Frank’s Tract State Recreation Area.
That portion of Frank’s Tract State Recreation Area lying southwest of the following line is closed to hunting: Beginning at a point on Little Frank’s Tract 2,000 feet north of the Piper Slough; southeast 2,000 feet east of the Piper Slough levee to the junction of the Holland Island levee.
§FGC 3681. Humboldt Bay
This section applies the Humboldt Bay area on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. See game warden before shooting on these days:
“In Districts 8 and 9, it is unlawful to take ducks or geese in any manner below the incoming or outgoing tidewater’s edge or from any blind, boat, floating device, island, islet, or exposed tidal flat except on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays, holidays and the opening and closing days during the prescribed open season except that the use of boats is permitted to retrieve crippled or dead birds.”
In addition, hunters should be aware that there is a special waterfowl closure for south Humboldt Bay.
§11016. Fish and Game District 8.
The following constitutes Fish and Game District 8: The waters and tidelands to high-water mark of Humboldt Bay lying north of a straight line running east from the center of apron at the approach of the south jetty at the entrance of Humboldt Bay to the east shore line of the bay including the entrance of Humboldt Bay not included in District 7, and excluding all rivers, streams and sloughs emptying into the bay.
§11017. Fish and Game District 9.
The following constitutes Fish and Game District 9: The waters and tidelands to high-water mark of Humboldt Bay lying south of a straight line running east from the center of apron at the approach to the south jetty at the entrance of Humboldt Bay to the east shore line of the bay, excluding all rivers, streams and sloughs emptying into the bay.