Other Laws Related to Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon California Hunting


It is always unlawful to: Hunt while intoxicated (FGC 3001); Shoot at any game bird or mammal from a powerboat, sailboat, motor vehicle, or aircraft while under power or still moving from use of sail or motor vehicle, or airplane (FGC 3002.) except when the motor of such motorboat, airboat, or sailboat has been shut off and its progress has ceased and the vessel is drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor or being propelled by paddle, oar, or pole. (CCR T14-251.(a)(1)); Shoot any firearm from or upon a public road or highway (PC 374(c)).

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.” (FGC 3004.(a))

Public Road or Way Open to the Public

Public road or way open to the public includes any roads or – established way open to public access, even if they are not paved. (FGC 3004.(b))


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 or game mammal, 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 some 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.

Respect for Property

It is always unlawful to cause damage to other’s real property through carelessness or negilgence while hunting.(FGC 2004.)


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 or hunting, or both, are displayed at intervals not less than three to the mile along all exterior boundaries and at all roads and trails entering those lands, for the purpose of discharging any firearm or taking or destroying any mammal or bird, including any waterfowl, on those lands without having first obtained written permission from the owner, or his or her agent, or the person in lawful possession of, those lands. Signs may be of any size and wording that will fairly advise persons about to enter the land that the use of the land is so restricted. (FGC 2016.)