California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting Seasons, Laws, and 69 Locations

California pigeon hunting seasons

Here, we fetch up California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons, laws, and locations.

Topics

  1. Seasons.
  2. Bag and possession limits.
  3. Shooting hours.
  4. Harvest Information Program Survey.
  5. Hunting license.
  6. Federal Duck Stamp [Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp]
  7. State Duck Stamp.
  8. Upland Game Bird Stamp.
  9. Hunting areas.
  10. Hunting methods.
  11. Possession and transport.
  12. Regulations.
  13. Hunting forum.

Regulations

California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsPigeons are migratory game birds, which means they fly across state lines and are often hunted for sport and as a food source. In general, pigeons are fully protected under federal law unless California opens a hunting season. When that happens, pigeon hunting is regulated under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which is a federal law. Under the Act, though, California is allowed to make tougher restrictions. In California, there is a hunting season for the band-tailed pigeon (Columba fasciata). Rules for Birds, Game BirdsMigratory Game Birds, and band-tailed pigeon apply.

Warning shot!!! These rules on this page supplement or further restrict those under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Also see 50 CFR § 20.11(a)(2) [list of migratory game birds], FGC § 3683(b)(4) [list of migratory game birds], FGC § 3500(b)(6) [list of migratory game birds], and 14 CCR § 509 [concurrence with federal law except where less restrictive].

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HIP Survey

Before you can get your hunting license to hunt during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting Season, you gave to take the Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey. The survey is taken wherever you buy your hunting license. You’ll have to give them your contact info, date of birth, and identify yourself as a migratory game bird hunter. You’ll have to tell them whether you intend to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeon during the current season. See 50 CFR § 20.20.


Hunting License

In general, to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeons during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting seasons, you have to have a Hunting License from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), formerly known as “DFG.” (See FGC § 3031 and 14 CCR § 700(b)). There are also licenses for disabled hunters, hunting with a falcon, guides and outfitters, hunting clubs, and junior huntersWarning shot!!! You have to have your license with you while hunting.

Disabled Hunters

Accommodations for disabled hunters during the California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsIf you’re a disabled hunter and want to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeons, you can apply for a Recovering Service Member Hunting LicenseDisabled Veteran Hunting License, or Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle License.

Falconry

If you’re going to use a falcon to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeons during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting seasons, you have to have a Falconry License.

Guides and Outfitters

If you’re a commercial guide or outfitter that offers Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting, you have to get a Guide License.

Hunting Clubs

If you’re a commercial hunting club that offers Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting, you have to get a Commercial Hunting Club License. See FGC § 3031(a)(5).

Juniors

If you’re a Junior and want to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeons, you have to get a Junior Hunting License.

Warning shot!!! You have to have your license and stamps with you while hunting. See FGC § 303114 CCR § 700(b), and Upland Game Bird Stamp below.

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Federal Duck Stamp

Federal Duck Stamp for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.In the past, hunters needed a Federal Duck Stamp t0 hunt waterfowl. Today, it’s called a Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp. The stamp is required to hunt all migratory game birds, including Band-Tailed Pigeons. It has to be validated by your signature written in ink across the face of the stamp before hunting. See 14 CCR § 509(c).

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State Duck Stamp

California Duck Stamp for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.
2014 Duck Stamp

A state duck stamp is required to take some migratory game birds, but NOT band-tailed pigeons, jacksnipe, coots, gallinules, western mourning doves, or white-winged doves. See FGC § 3700.1.

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Upland Game Bird Stamp

Upland Game Bird Stamp for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.In general, you need an Upland Game Bird Validation from the CDFW to hunt migratory game birds, including Band-Tailed Pigeon, and resident game birds. The only exception is for juniors hunting with a valid Junior Hunting License.

Warning shot!!! You have to carry your license and validation with you while hunting. See 14 CCR § 313.

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Seasons

Zone map for for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsThe California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting Season depends on where you’re hunting them.

* The general, archery, and falconry seasons are all the same.

Northern Zone

There general California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting season is the third Saturday in September, extending for nine days (September 17 – 25, 2016).

Southern Zone

The archery California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting season is the third Saturday in December, extending for nine days (December 17 – 25, 2016).

See 50 CFR § 20.103 and 14 CCR § 300(b)(1)(A) [pigeon seasons, limits, and hunting zones].

Warning shot!!! It’s illegal to take birds outside of the established seasons. See FGC § 2001.

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Shooting Hours

In general, shooting hours for migratory game birds, including Band-Tailed Pigeons, start at one-half hour before sunset and end at sunset. However, shoot time over and around the Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County begins at 7:00 a.m.

Warning shot!!! Shoot times may be further restricted on public land, e.g. Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves. See 14 CCR § 506.

Shoot Times SoCal for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.
So.Cal. Shoot Times
Timetables for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons
No. Cal. Shoot times.

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Bag and Possession Limits

Daily Bag Limits

The daily bag limits during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting seasons is two (2) band-tailed pigeons. See 14 CCR § 300(b)(1)(A).

Possession Limits

The possession limit limit during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting is triple the daily bag limit. See 14 CCR § 300(b)(1)(A).

Warning shots!!! 

Over the Limit

In general, it’s illegal to possess more than the bag and possession limit of any bird. There are exceptions for transportation, cleaning, storage, shipment, and taxidermy of game birds taken by another hunter if they are properly identified or tagged. For migratory game birds, like pigeons, you have to keep a fully feathered wing or head attached until you clean them for immediate consumption, get them home, or get them to a professional (e.g. preservation facility, meat processor, cold storage. Remember, only one possession limit of migratory game birds can be possessed by an individual after the close of season for that species.

Violations of the bag and possession limits can result in a misdemeanor with a fine up to $40,000 and/or one year in jail. See FGC § 12013 [violation] and FGC § 2001 [violation], 14 CCR § 251.7.

Possession After Season

It’s illegal to exceed the daily bag or possession limits for birds. To possess game birds outside of the season, you need a hunting license and any required tags of the person who killed them. There is an exception for donations and charities. See FGC § 3080 and 14 CCR § 251.5 [migratory game birds].

Racing Pigeons

It’s a crime to intentional take a racing band-tailed pigeon. It’s not a violation if you do it accidentally. See FGC 3680.

NOE: If you shoot a Band-Tailed Pigeon with a band (“bander), go to CDFW Band-Tailed Pigeon Banding Program. See 14 CCR § 300(a)(1)(H) and (I), (a)(2)(H) and (I), (a)(3)(H) and (I), and (b)(1)(B),

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Hunting Methods

Firearms for the California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsBand-Tailed Pigeon hunting during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting seasons is allowed, but only in accordance with the following hunting methods and restrictions related to: air rifles, boats, bow and arrow, calls, contestscrossbows, decoys, dogs, falconry, lightsmuzzleloaders, pistols, riflesshotguns, and vehicles.

Air Rifles

While air rifles are allowed for Upland Game Birds, they are NOT one of the authorized methods for hunting Band-Tailed Pigeon during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(2)

Baited Areas

It’s illegal to take migratory game birds, including band-tailed pigeon, by baiting or on or over baited areas. See 50 CFR 20.21(i) and our summary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Boats, Kayaks, and Canoes

In general, boats may not be used to pursue, drive, or herd any bird or mammal in California, including Band-Tailed Pigeons. However, you can hunt migratory game birds, including Band-Tailed Pigeons, but only if the motor has been shut off and all momentum has ended and is either drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor, or is being propelled by a paddle, or or pole. See FGC § 300214 CCR § 251 and 14 CCR § 507.5.

Warning shots!!! These restrictions also apply to airboats, sailboats, or other watercraft. There are exceptions related to agriculture, landowners, tenants, and depredating animals. Link here for additional regulations for hunting California Band-Tailed Pigeon on navigable waters. There may be area-specific rules for Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting in California on BLM, Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting in California national forest, California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting on preserves, and other public land.

Bow and Arrow

Archery for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.In general, a bow and arrow may be used to hunting Band-Tailed Pigeons in California. For migratory game birds and pheasant, you have to use arrows with flu-flu fletching. Otherwise, you can use any type of arrow except arrows with (1) lighted nocks with a beam of light, (2) an explosive head, (3) tranquilizers, or (4) poison. See 14 CCR § 354(d) and (g) and See 14 CCR § 507(a)(2).

Warning shots!!!

Don’t shoot arrows from or across any highway, road, or place open to the pubic for vehicles.

Your bow has to be capable of killing the bird from at least 130 yards.

In general, you’re not allowed to have a firearm while hunting Band-Tailed Pigeon during archery season.*

* Proposed Regulation: there is a proposal to delete the part of 14 CCR § 507(a)(2) that says “Archers hunting during any archery season may not possess a firearm while in the field engaged in archery hunting.”

Don’t put a bow in your vehicle if it’s nocked or the end of an arrow is fit to the notch.

It is illegal to possess a firearm while in the field Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting.

See 14 CCR § 507(a)(2), and our summary of archery season regulations.

Calls

Electronic or mechanically-operated calling or sound-reproducing devices are NOT allowed for hunting Band-Tailed Pigeons in California. See 14 CCR § 507(c).

Contests

In general, it’s illegal to offer an award to take game birds in California. The only exceptions are when the award is less than $500 or with a permit from the CDFW. See FGC § 2003.

Crossbows

Crossbows for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.A Disabled Archer Permit is required for hunting Band-Tailed Pigeons in California. While hunting migratory Band-Tailed Pigeons, only crossbows bolts with flu-flu fletching are allowed. It is illegal to possess a firearm while in the field Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting.* See 14 CCR § 354(d) and (g), and 14 CCR § 507(a)(2), and our summary of California archery regulations.

* Proposed Regulation: there is a proposal to delete the part of 14 CCR § 507(a)(2) that says “Archers hunting during any archery season may not possess a firearm while in the field engaged in archery hunting.”

Decoys

Live decoys are NOT allowed for hunting migratory game birds, including band-tailed pigeons. See 14 CCR § 505 and 14 CCR § 507(d).

Dogs

In general, you can use dogs to take and retrieve Band-Tailed Pigeons during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting seasons. See 14 CCR § 507(b).

Falconry

Falconry for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons. In general, you can use a falcon to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeons during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting seasons. The same is true for all resident small game. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(1).

Lights

In general, it’s illegal to use artificial lights to take a game bird, including band-tailed pigeons. See FGC § 2005.

Muzzleloaders

Muzzleloaders for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsIn general, you can use to muzzle-loading shotguns to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeons during the general California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting season. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(3) and our summary for the California Muzzleloader Season.

Rifles and Pistols

Warning shot!!! Rifles and pistols are NOT allowed for hunting Band-Tailed Pigeon. (For resident small game, they’re only allowed for hunting squirrels and rabbits everywhere except Los Angeles County.) See 14 CCR § 507.

Shotguns

In general, you can use a shotgun to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeon, during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting season. However, there are restrictions for the shell capacity and type of gauge, plug, and shells. The same is true for all migratory game birds.

Gauge

Firearms for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons, including shotguns.In general, you only use shotguns that are 10 gauge or smaller (e.g. 12 gauge).

For migratory game birds, including Band-Tailed Pigeon, you can only use shotguns that are 12-guage or smaller on, over, or adjacent to the waters of Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County. Warning shot!!! There are similar restrictions at California Wildlife Areas.

See 14 CCR § 507(a)(4) [migratory game birds].

Plugs

If a plug is used to reduce the shell capacity, the plug has to one piece that can’t be removed without taking the gun apart. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(4) [migratory game birds].

Shell Capacity

Shotguns must be incapable of holding more than three (3) shells in the magazine and chamber combined. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(4) [migratory game birds].

Shell Capacity

Shotguns must be incapable of holding more than three (3) shells in the magazine and chamber combined. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(4) [migratory game birds].

Shell Shot

Shell shot requirements for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsWhether you can use lead shot depends on your location, what you’re hunting for, and the date. As of July 1, 2015, it has been illegal to use or possess anything other than non-toxic shot at any California Wildlife AreaEcological Reserve, and the Condor Range.

Beginning July 1, 2016, you’ll only be able to use non-toxic shot for hunting any upland game bird (except for Band-Tailed Pigeon, quail, snipe, and any game bird taken at a licensed game bird club), resident small game mammal, furbearing mammal, nongame bird or mammals, or any wildlife with a depredation permit. See our summary for California Depredation Permits..

As of July 1, 2019, it will be illegal to use lead for taking all wildlife in California. See 14 CCR § 250.1.

Shell Size

For migratory game birds, including migratory Band-Tailed Pigeons, you can only use or possess lead that is “No. BB” or smaller or non-toxic shot that is “T shot” or smaller (e.g. steel). All shot must be loose in the shell. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(4).

Vehicles

California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons for vehicles and ATV / OHVIn general, it’s illegal to pursue, drive, or herd any game bird or mammal with a motorized vehicle (e.g. airplane, motor vehicle, powerboat, sailboat, snowmobile). This includes bird driving them toward another person for the purpose of taking them. Likewise, it’s illegal to shoot any game bird or mammals from from a powerboat, sailboat, motor vehicle, or airplane. The only possible exceptions are with a permit from the CDFW and landowners / tenants to prevent private property damages.

See “Boats, Kayaks & Canoes,” FGC § 3002FGC § 3003.5FGC § 3501, and 14 CCR § 251.

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Possession and Transport

After you kill any game bird, including Band-Tailed Pigeon, it has to be identifiable by the CDFW until it reaches your “personal abode” or “commercial preservation facility,” or is being prepared to eat it right away. So you either have to keep a fully feathered wing or head attached.

Indian Preservations

There are unique rules for transporting game birds off Indian reservations. See 14 CCR 251.8.

Preservation Facilities

In general, it’s illegal to deliver a migratory game bird to a preservation facility. Under federal law, there’s an exception for doves and Band-Tailed Pigeons. Under State law, though, See 50 CFR § 20.43.

See 14 CCR § 251.7(b) [game bird possession, transport, and import].

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Hunting Areas

CDFW regions for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.
CDFW Regions 1 – 6

There are many opportunities to hunt Band-Tailed Pigeons, during the California Band-Tailed Pigeon hunting seasons, on public and private land: licensed game bird clubs,

BLM Property

Wildlife Areas & Ecological Reserves

For convenience, we’ve sorted them by the six regions of the CDFW. Warning shot!!! Follow the links below for any restrictions on hunting days, shoot times, hunting areas, etc.

    • Region 1: Northern California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting
    • Region 2: North Central California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting
    • Region 3: Bay Delta California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting
    • Region 4: Central California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting
    • Region 5: South Coast California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting
    • Region 6: Inland Desert Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting

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Region 1

Northern California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting

  1. CDFW Region 1 for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.Cahto Peak Unit of the South Fork Eel River Wilderness
  2. Cantara/Ney Springs Wildlife Area
  3. Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area
  4. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
  5. King Range National Conservation Area (BLM)
  6. King Range Wilderness
  7. Klamath National Forest
  8. Jackson State Forest
  9. Lassen National Forest
  10. Modoc National Forest
  11. Plumas National Forest
  12. Red Mountain Unit of the South Fork Eel River Wilderness
  13. Sacramento River Bend Outstanding Nature Area
  14. Sacramento River Management Area
  15. Shasta Management Area
  16. Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  17. Six Rivers National Forest
  18. Tehama Wildlife Area
  19. Trinity Management Area

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Region 2

North Central California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting

  1. CDFW Region 2 for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons.Auburn State Recreation Area
  2. Boggs Mountain State Forest
  3. Cache Creek Wildlife Area
  4. Collins Eddy Wildlife Area
  5. Daugherty Hill Wildlife Area
  6. Eldorado National Forest
  7. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
  8. Lassen National Forest
  9. Plumas National Forest
  10. Stanislaus National Forest
  11. Tahoe National Forest

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Region 3

Bay Delta California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting

  1. CDFW Region 3 for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsKnoxville Recreation Area
  2. Knoxville Wildlife Area

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Region 4

Central California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting

  1. CDFW Region 4 for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsChimney Peak Wilderness
  2. Domeland Wilderness
  3. Hunter Valley Mountain Recreation Area
  4. Keysville/Isabella Lake Special Recreation Management Area
  5. Inyo National Forest
  6. Kinsman Flat Wildlife Area
  7. Kiavah Wilderness
  8. Los Padres National Forest
  9. New Melones Lake
  10. Owens Peak Wilderness
  11. Sacatar Trail Wilderness
  12. San Joaquin River Gorge Special Management Area
  13. Sequoia National Forest
  14. Sheep Ridge
  15. Sierra National Forest
  16. Stanislaus National Forest
  17. Walker-Monache Pass

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Region 5

South Coast California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting

  1. CDFW Region 5 for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsAngeles National Forest
  2. Boden Canyon Ecological Reserve
  3. Camp Pendleton
  4. Cleveland National Forest
  5. Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area
  6. Los Padres National Forest
  7. Sierra National Forest

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Region 6

Inland Deserts California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting

  1. CDFW Region 6 for California band-tailed pigeon hunting seasonsAngeles National Forest
  2. Bishop Field Office (Inyo National Forest)
  3. Bridgeport Management Area
  4. Cleveland National Forest
  5. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
  6. Inyo National Forest
  7. Long Valley Management Area
  8. San Bernardino Mountains
  9. San Bernardino National Forest
  10. Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
  11. Sierra National Forest
  12. Slinkard-Little Wildlife Area
  13. West Slinkard Valley Management Area

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California Band-Tailed Pigeon Hunting Forum

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While we try to fetch up all California band-tailed hunting seasons, laws and locations, we might miss a few or make a typo. If so, please leave a comment or question in the reply box below.

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