Anyone taking birds or animals in California must have a hunting license. Hunters must keep their licenses on hand and be prepared to display them upon request. Section 86 of the Fish and Game Code defines "taking" as "hunting, chasing, catching, capturing, or killing," or "attempting to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill."
The penalty for failing to have a hunting license is a fine of up to $5,000 and one year in jail. However, if the violation is because you were not licensed to take wildlife within the state, then the penalty is only a fine.
California has five game species that can be taken legally: deer, bear, elk, turkeys, and fish. Only certain areas of California are set aside as game reserves where hunting is allowed. The location of these game reserve areas is listed in local fishing guides and online at www.dfg.ca.gov.
Only certain people are allowed to issue hunting licenses. Licensees include family members, employees, agents, and contractors of the licensee who are involved in the management of the property being hunted. Licenses may also be issued by landowners or managers of private lands if they comply with certain requirements. These requirements include posting notice of their intent to issue licenses and advertising in local newspapers for at least 30 days prior to issuing licenses.
To hunt on their own property, even landowners must acquire permits and tags. Wildlife is a public trust resource that belongs to the people of California, not the persons who control the land on which the animals may live or migrate. Landowners can make decisions about what uses they want to put their land to, but they cannot deny people access to wildlife resources.
Tags are temporary permits that allow hunters to take certain species during specific times and seasons. Tags are available from private landowners if they have not been sold or transferred. If a tag is not renewed each year it will be canceled and the hunter will need to apply for new tags the next season. Private landowners can decide what types of hunting they want to permit on their land, but no one can use illegal methods to take game.
Permits are required by law for anyone who wants to go hunting. The only exception is if a landowner allows hunting without a permit and posts signs indicating where hunters can go gunning without violating laws, then they can claim self-defense as a reason why someone took game off their property. Gun owners should be aware of local regulations regarding where they can take game with a firearm.
Public lands in California include national parks, federal forests, and other areas owned by the federal government.
Native Americans must get a California fishing and hunting license when they leave tribal grounds. Tribal people hunting on their own reservation are typically exempt from state hunting license requirements and are subject to federal and tribal fishing and wildlife rules rather than state legislation. However, if they enter non-tribal land where hunting is permitted, they then become subject to all local laws regarding hunting licenses and regulations.
In addition to licensing, Native Americans should know that game is usually sold by the pound in stores and restaurants that allow gun possession. So if they want to eat venison or bear meat, they will need to purchase some of the deer that they shoot.
Licensed hunters can use bait when taking game animals illegally, such as coyotes, foxes, and wolves. Bait includes food items like cheese, sausage, and grain placed out for wild animals. The Law requires that you make at least one unsuccessful attempt to scare away any bait animals before you take them. Scaring works best if you make lots of noise while walking around outside their normal feeding area.
Taking prey species not listed as legal game can result in fines between $500 and $5000. Animals protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act may not be taken without a permit. People who violate this act can be fined up to $15,000 or imprisoned for up to six months for each violation.
To hunt in California, first-time hunters or hunters who have not had a hunting license granted by another state or province during the previous two years must pass hunter education certification. To do this, each person over the age of 14 must complete a certified hunter education course within six months of becoming a licensed hunter. The course covers such topics as firearm safety, game conservation, and human behavior when around wildlife.
Those who have completed the course but still want to be able to hunt from a vehicle as a "mobile unit" can obtain a permit for this activity. The cost is $25 for a single trip or $50 for multiple trips during the same year. Those who want to go on hunts but cannot take time off work can use the mobile unit permit system. They must carry a copy of their employer's business name and address along with a copy of their driver's license to prove they are eligible to hold a mobile unit permit. Hunters under the age of 18 must have either their parents' consent or a guardian present while they are in the field. If no one consents, then children under the age of 16 may not hunt alone.
California has five species of game that can be hunted with a license: deer, elk, bear, turkey, and quail.
Handgun purchases do not require a hunting license. We're going to assume you're not a banned person and that you're an adult, legal California resident. You should bring proof of identity when you go to the gun store (driver's license or ID card), and they'll need your address for record purposes. Generally, you have 30 days from the date of purchase to register your firearm with your local police department; if you don't, you can still register it with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). To do so, go to www.atf.gov/forms/firearms-transfer-form-6-ncaa and submit the form. Fees may apply.
California Hunting License (Annual) California Nonresident Hunting License for Two Days (issued after 1999-2000) Certificate of Hunter Education in California A certificate from any state or province demonstrating successful completion of a California-approved hunter education course. This class is offered throughout the year, so check with local fish and game departments to find out when classes are being held in your area.
In most cases, no. However, there are times when wearing camouflage may be necessary for success at the hunt - such as when using call lures or blinds. If you choose to wear camouflage, stick with natural materials like plants or animals. Artificial materials will not provide enough contrast needed to hide from prey.
Hunters can use standard centerfire rifle cartridges. Handguns are limited to 9mm,.40, and.45 caliber ammunition. Shotgun shells must be made of lead. No other type of material can be used.
Yes, but you must be a resident of California to do so. Crossbows are legal weapons for taking small game if you have a valid hunting license.