California Hunting Laws and Regulations

california hunting laws and regulations hunt hunting rifle gun hunter pb

Open season is just a few weeks away for most of the US. It's an exciting time of the year for veteran hunters and beginners alike. But before heading out on your first hunt, make sure you're familiar with California hunting laws and regulations.

Most seasoned hunters may be well aware that hunting laws evolve on an almost yearly basis. The main objective is to address public safety for the benefit of the hunter and the hunted.

Hunting in California: Know the Laws and Regulations

It's a must to keep up to date with California hunting laws and regulations before heading out on your first hunt. Studying your state's hunting laws might be a bit time-consuming, and we know you're impatient to get out there and start shooting. But breaking the law and having to pay a fine can put a serious damper on your hunting season.

Keep reading to learn about California hunting laws and regulations. This means you're going to learn about the dates, which animals you’re allowed to hunt, which weapon you're allowed to use, how to get a hunting license, and much more.

1. Deer Hunting Season

Deer Hunting Season | California Hunting Laws and Regulations

General Season

  • Zone A: August 13 – September 25
  • Zone B: August 27 – October 23
  • Zone C: September 17 – October 23
  • Zone D: September 17 – November 6


  • Zone A: July 9 – 31
  • Zone B: July 23 – September 11
  • Zone D: August 20 – September 25

2. Duck Hunting Season

Duck Hunting Season | California Hunting Laws and Regulations

Northeastern Area:        Duck, Coot & Moorhen:  October 8 – January 20

     Youth: September 24 – 25

Arms & Ammo


  • Only arrows or bolts with flu-flu fletching, except conventionally fletched arrows may be used from scullboats or similar watercraft.


  • 10 gauge or smaller with shot shells only and incapable of holding more than three shells.
  • No shotgun larger than 12 gauge may be used near Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo County.

Muzzleloading Shotguns may be used.

Shots may be no larger than No. BB in lead or T shot in steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the USFWS. All shot shall be loose in the shell.

3. Bighorn Sheep Seasons

Bighorn Sheep Seasons | California Hunting Laws and Regulations

General Season is from August to February

Zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 & 9: December 3 – February 5

Zone 5: December 18 – February 19

Zone 7: August 20 – September 25

For other details on bag and possession limit for Bighorn Sheep.

Methods Authorized for Taking Big Game

  • Rifles using center fire cartridges with soft nose or expanding projectiles;
  • Bow and arrow (see Section 354 of these regulations for archery equipment regulations); or
  • As for wheelock, matchlock, flintlock or percussion type, including “in-line” muzzle-loading rifles using black powder or equivalent black powder substitute, including pellets, with a single projectile loaded from the muzzle and at least .40 caliber in designation

For more detailed information on shotguns, pistols, crossbows and more.

Lead Free Hunting Ammunition (Page 9)

By July 1, 2019, California to require the use of non-lead ammunition state – wide.

To know more about this regulation, click here (page 9) or for a more detailed data on regulations that prohibit the use of lead projectiles, click here.

Hunting License For Big Game

Acquiring a license is very important for those that want to hunt in the State of California.

For more details on license requirements, validation, provisions and more, click here and turn to page 14 – 16.

Hunting Licenses And Fees

Acquiring a hunting license helps control sports or recreational hunting. This includes the protection of natural treasures and often raises tax revenues. This is why the governing bodies often encourage hunters to get their hunting licenses.

For more details on the types of license, fees and more.

Check out Catfish and Carp's video on the 10 hunting and fishing laws you should know:

As long as you are knowledgeable with the hunting laws in the state of Arkansas and abide by them to the letter, you and your hunting buddies will surely enjoy every minute of hunting.

Hunt safe and hunt proud!

Click here for more articles about hunting.

California Hunting Laws and Regulations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *