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Upland Game Bird, Small Game Mammal & Crow Hunting

California Bird Hunting

Upland Game Regulation Changes: 2017-2018

  • Greater sage-grouse hunting is closed for the 2017-2018 season. At the Fish and Game Commission’s June 22 meeting, the Commission adopted zero quotas for all 4 sage-grouse hunting zones. The closures were recommended by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife due to declining population estimates, which are based on annual lek counts.

§257. Resident Small Game Defined.

“Resident small game” means the following resident game birds: Chinese spotted doves, Eurasian collared-doves, ringed turtle-doves of the family Columbidae, California quail and varieties thereof, Gambel’s or desert quail, mountain quail and varieties thereof, sooty (blue) grouse, ruffed grouse, sage grouse , white-tailed ptarmigan, Hungarian partridges, red-legged 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).

§310.5. Shooting Hours for Upland Game Birds.

The shooting hours for all upland game birds, except for pheasants and the spring wild turkey season, shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The shooting hours for pheasants shall be from 8:00 a.m. to sunset. The shooting hours for the spring wild turkey season shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to 5:00 p.m.

§311. Methods Authorized for Taking Resident Small Game.

(Refer to Section 507 for authorized methods of take for migratory game birds, i.e. MOURNING DOVES, WHITE-WINGED DOVES, BAND-TAILED PIGEON, AND SNIPE .)

The take or attempted take of any resident small game with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition persuant to Section 250.1.

Only the following may be used to take resident small game:

(a) Shotguns 10 gauge or smaller using shot shells only and incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. If a plug is used to reduce the capacity of a magazine to fulfill the requirements of this section, the plug must be of one piece construction incapable of removal without disassembling the gun;

(b) Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used or possessed when taking wild turkey. All shot shall be loose in the shell.

(c) Muzzle-loading shotguns;

(d) Falconry;

(e) Bow and arrow (see Section 354 for archery equipment regulations);

(e) (1) It shall be unlawful to take wild turkey by use of hunting arrows and crossbow bolts unless fitted with a broad head type blade which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths inch in diameter. Mechanical/retractable broad heads shall be measured in the open position.

(f) Air rifles powered by compressed air or gas and used with any caliber of pellet, except that wild turkey may only be taken with a pellet that is at least 0.177 caliber;

(g) In addition to the methods listed in (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) above, firearm rifles and pistols may be used for taking rabbits and squirrels only; except in Los Angeles County where rifles and pistols may not be used;

(h) In San Diego and Orange counties only, rabbits may be taken at any time during the open season by means of box traps. Such traps shall not exceed 24 inches in any dimension, shall be tended at least once every 24 hours, and shall show the name and address of the trap owner. All rabbits taken under this section shall be immediately killed and become a part of the daily bag limit;

(i) Electronic or mechanically-operated calling or sound-reproducing devices are prohibited when attempting to take resident game birds;

(j) Coursing dogs may be used to take rabbits;

(k) Archers hunting during any archery season may not use or possess a firearm while in the field engaged in archery hunting during an archery season except as provided in subsection (1).

(1) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the lawful possession of a concealed firearm by an active peace officer listed in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code or a retired peace officer in lawful possession of an identification certificate issued pursuant to Penal Code Section 25455 authorizing the retired officer to carry a concealed firearm. Nor shall this section prohibit the lawful possession of a concealed firearm pursuant to a concealed carry permit issued pursuant to Penal Code Section 26150 or 26155.

(l) The use of live decoys is prohibited when attempting to take resident game birds;

(m) Pistols and revolvers may be used to take sooty and ruffed grouse in those counties only and for the season described in Section 300(a)(1)(E).

(n) Crossbows, except for provisions of Section 354(d) and (g).

(o) Dogs may be used to take and retrieve resident small game.

July 2017 – June 2018 Upland Game Bird, small game mammal and crow Seasons


Season Dates

Daily Bag Limit

Possession Limit


Nov 11 – Dec 24

2 males per day for first two days of the season; 3 males per day after the first two days of the season.

Triple the daily bag

Archery only

Oct 14 – Nov 5

Dec 25 – Jan 21

2 pheasants per day for first two days of the season; 3 pheasants per day after the first two days of the season. The daily archery bag may contain not more than 1 female pheasant.


Aug 19 – Feb 28

2 pheasants per day for first two days of the season; 3 pheasants per day after the first two days of the season. The daily falconry bag may contain birds of either sex. Hawking hours are Sunrise to Sunset.

Quail: Zone Q1
(Mountain Quail Only)

Sep 9 – Oct 20


Triple the daily bag

Zone Q1 (All Quail)

Oct 21 – Jan 28

Zone Q2

Sep 30 – Jan 28

Zone Q3

Oct 21 – Jan 28

Early Season for Hunters with Junior Hunting Licenses in Mojave National Preserve

Oct 7 – 8


Triple the daily bag

Archery Only

Aug 19 – Sep 8


Aug 19 – Feb 28


Oct 21 – Jan 28


Triple the daily bag

Archery Only

Aug 19 – Sep 8


Aug 19 – Feb 28

Sage Grouse

Sep 9 – 10

2017-2018 Season Closed
(see Summary of Upland Game Regulation Changes for 2017-2018, p. 20).

Falconry Only

Nov 4 – Jan 2

Sooty (Blue)/Ruffed Grouse

Sep 9 – Oct 9

2; All of one species or mixed

Triple the daily bag

Archery Only

Aug 19 – Sep 8


Aug 19 – Feb 28


Sep 9 – 17

2 per day or season


Aug 19 – Feb 28

Wild Turkey (Spring)

Mar 31 – May 6

1 bearded

3 per season, combined

Archery Only

May 7 – May 20

Additional Junior

Mar 24 – 25 &
May 7 – May 20

Wild Turkey (Fall)

Nov 11 – Dec 10

1 either sex

2 per season

Mourning Dove and White-winged Dove

Sep 1 – 15 &
Nov 11 – Dec 25

15 doves per day in aggregate of which no more than 10 may be white-winged doves

Triple the daily bag

Spotted Dove and Ringed Turtle Dove

No limit

No limit

Eurasian Collared Dove

All Year

No Limit

No Limit

Band-tailed Pigeon

Sep 16 – 24 (North)

Dec 16 – 24 (South)


Triple the daily bag

American Crow

Dec 2 – Apr 5




Oct 21 – Feb 4


Triple the daily bag

Tree Squirrel

Sep 9 – Jan 28



Archery/Falconry Only

Aug 5 – Sep 8

Rabbits & Varying Hare

July 1 – Jan 28



Falconry Only

Jan 29 – Mar 18


Open all year

No limit

No limit