California Bird Hunting
A valid California hunting license is required for taking any bird or mammal. Hunters must carry licenses and be prepared to show them on request (§700, T14, CCR). Guns and other equipment used in hunting must be shown on request. A trapping license is required to sell furs of furbearing mammals and nongame mammals, regardless of the method of take. Fur buyers and fur agents: See §696, T14, CCR; contact your nearest CDFW License Sales Office.
Residency: A resident is defined as any person who has resided continuously in California for six months immediately before the date of purchase of a license, tag or permit; persons on active duty with the armed forces of the United States or an auxiliary branch; or Job Corps enrollees. (Section 70, FGC)
Identification Required for License Purchase §700.4, T14, CCR
Any person applying for any license, tag, permit, reservation or other entitlement issued via the ALDS shall provide valid identification. Acceptable forms of identification include:
- Any license document or identification number previously issued via ALDS
- Valid driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles or the entity issuing driver’s licenses from the licensee’s state of domicile
- US Birth Certificate/US Certificate or Report of Birth Abroad
- INS American Indian Card
- Birth certificate or passport issued from a US territory
- US Passport
- US Military Identification Cards (Active or reserve duty, dependent, retired member, discharged from service, medical/religious personnel)
- Certificate of Naturalization (Green Card) or Citizenship.
- Foreign Government Identification Card
Applicants less than 18 years of age may provide any form of identification described above, or a parent or legal guardian’s identification as described above.
Validation of Licenses
To be valid, every California hunting or sport fishing license shall be signed by the licensee. In addition, the license must contain the following information about the licensee: true name, residence address, date of birth, height, color of eyes, color of hair, weight, and sex.
Hunter Education Requirement
Licenses shall be issued to hunters only upon presentation of one of the following: An annual California hunting license issued in any prior year; a two-day nonresident California hunting license issued after the 1999/2000 license year; a California certificate of hunter education completion or equivalency; a certificate of successful completion of a California-approved hunter education course from any state or province; or hunting license issued in either of the two previous years from any state, province, European country, or South Africa.
For more information, on hunter education requirements or hunter education classes, contact any CDFW license sales office or visit the CDFW web site at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education.
Proof of Hunter Education Must be Provided to CDFW Before Hunting Items May be Purchased Online
Hunters who are purchasing a license for the first time must provide their proof of hunter education to a CDFW license sales office or any license agent before they can purchase a hunting license or any hunting items online or by telephone. Alternatively, hunters may provide their personal identification or GO ID and proof of hunter education to CDFW by fax to (916) 419-7585 or by secure document upload. To upload, please send an email request to LRB@wildlife.ca.gov and follow the link provided in the response. Department staff will update your customer record. Once you receive notification that your customer record has been updated, you will be able to purchase a hunting license anywhere licenses are sold, including online.
Disabled Veteran Hunting Licenses
A reduced-fee hunting license is available for qualified disabled veterans.
To prequalify for a disabled veteran hunting license, submit a letter from the Veteran’s Administration documenting that you were honorably discharged from the US military and have a service–connected disability rating of 50% or greater. Send a photocopy of your personal identification, GO ID and documentation of eligibility by fax to (916) 419-7585 or by secure document upload. To upload documentation, please send an email request to LRB@wildlife.ca.gov and follow the link provided in the response. After you receive notification from the Department that your customer record has been updated, you will be able to purchase a low cost disabled veteran hunting license anywhere licenses are sold. You may also apply by mail or in person at any Department of Fish and Wildlife license sales office. For more information on the disabled veterans hunting license, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Hunting.
Recovering Service Member Reduced-Fee Hunting License
Reduced-fee hunting licenses are available for recovering service members. Fish and Game Code, Section 7150, defines a recovering service member as a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or a Reserve, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy and is in an outpatient status while recovering from a serious injury or illness related to the member’s military service.
To prequalify for a recovering service member license, submit a letter from your commanding officer or from a military medical doctor verifying your eligibility as a recovering service member. Please have your commanding officer or military medical doctor include the expected recovery date in your verification letter. Send a photocopy of your personal identification , GO ID and documentation of eligibility by fax to (916) 419-7585 or by secure document upload. To upload documentation, please send an email request to LRB@wildlife.ca.gov and follow the link provided in the response. Once you receive notification from the Department that your customer record has been updated, you will be able to purchase a low cost recovering service member hunting license anywhere licenses are sold. You may also apply by mail or in person at any Department of Fish and Wildlife license sales office. For more information on the recovering service member hunting license, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Hunting.
Validations to Hunt Waterfowl and Upland Game Birds
Any person, except a person hunting under the authority of a junior hunting license, who takes ducks, geese, or brant must have a California Duck Validation (FGC 3700.1) in possession. Any hunter who is age 16 or older must possess a Federal Duck Stamp to take ducks, geese or brant. The Federal Duck Stamp must be signed across the face to be valid and may be affixed anywhere on the back of your hunting license or carried separately from your California hunting license. Any person, except a person hunting under the authority of a junior hunting license, who takes upland game birds must have a California Upland Game Bird Validation (FGC 3682.1) in possession. Any person who purchases a California Duck Validation is eligible to claim a free collectible California Duck Stamp. Any person who purchases an Upland game Bird Validation is eligible to claim a free collectible Upland Game Bird Stamp. Visit wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Collector-Stamps to claim your collectible stamps.
HIP Validation Required
If you plan to hunt migratory game birds (ducks, geese, coots, dove, band-tailed pigeon, snipe, gallinules or black brant), you must complete a Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey and possess a free HIP validation. HIP surveys and validations are available at license agents. Hunters may be cited for hunting migratory game birds without a HIP validation in possession.
Hunting Area Permits/Passes
Except for persons hunting on most Type C wildlife areas or hunting under the authority of a junior hunting license, all hunters using State-controlled hunting areas during the waterfowl season are required to obtain an entry permit from the hunter checking station. To obtain a permit, hunters must pre-purchase one of the following passes from any CDFW license agent, license sales office or online and present it at the check station:
- Type A One-Day Pass – valid for one hunter entry on one Type A area
- Type A Two-Day Pass – may be used by one hunter for two entries or two hunters for one entry each;
- Type A Season Pass – this nontransferable pass may be used for any available hunt day on any Type A or Type B area; or
- Type B Season Pass – this nontransferable pass may be used for any available hunt day on Type B areas only.
No hunting pass required for Type C wildlife areas.
Reservation Application Process
Hunters can apply for waterfowl hunting reservations using an electronic season-long application or a multiple choice application online, at a CDFW license sales office, or at any license agent. Hunters can apply for waterfowl hunting reservations review their hunt choices, and check drawing results online at wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Online-Sales.
No Sales at Check Stations
Check stations do not sell any items. Hunters must purchase any needed passes and validations in advance from CDFW license sales offices, license agents, or online. To find a license agent near you or purchase items online visit the CDFW website at: wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Online-Sales.
Most hunting and sport fishing license items, including validations, drawing applications, and tags, may be purchased via telephone from Active Network’s telephone license sales line at (800) 565-1458.
To purchase items via telephone, you must have hunter education on file in the ALDS. Items purchased by telephone sales will be delivered by mail within 15 days of purchase.
Get Outdoors Identification (Go ID)
All licenses are imprinted with your permanent GO ID number. Your GO ID can be used to retrieve your customer information in the future.
Protect Your License from Heat
License documents subjected to extreme or prolonged heat may darken and become difficult to read. To protect your license, keep it away from heat sources.
Duplicate Hunting Licenses
Under ALDS, your customer record will contain a history of all your license purchases. If you lose your license or additional validations, you can go to any CDFW license sales office or license agent and purchase a duplicate license and validations for a reduced fee.
California resident and nonresident hunting licenses are nonrefundable.