California Beaver Hunting Seasons, Laws, and Locations

California beaver trapping and California Beaver Hunting Seasons and Trapping

On this page, you’ll find hunting rules for California beaver hunting seasons, laws, and locations. Also see our pages for general trapping laws and beaver trapping.

Topics

  1. Seasons.
  2. Bag limits.
  3. Shooting hours.
  4. Hunting methods.
  5. Hunting licenses.
  6. Hunting areas.
  7. Trapping.
  8. Hunting forum.
  9. Buying and selling.
  10. Live Beavers.
  11. Violations.
  12. Regulations.

Hunting Laws for California Beaver Hunting Seasons

California beaver hunting seasonsFor California beaver hunting seasons, there are hunting laws just for beavers (e.g. seasons, bag limits, and possession limits). Beavers are more broadly regulated as Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, and Wild Animals. The law also refers to them as as “furbearers” and “fur-bearing mammals.” See FGC § 4000.

Hunting laws for beaver are mostly found in the California Fish and Game Code (“FGC”) and Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (“14 CCR”). You can link to current regulations from the Fish and Game Commission’s webpage. Warning shot!!! When on public lands, like Wildlife Areas, there may be area-specific rules that may further restrict beaver hunting.

[Back to Topics]


Hunting Licenses for California Beaver Hunting Seasons

For California beaver hunting seasons, you need a hunting license and/or trapping license from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (“CDFW”). There are also licenses for disabled hunters and junior hunters. Warning shot!!! You have to have your license with you while hunting. 14 CCR § 770(b).

Hunting License

To hunt beaver in California, you have to have a valid Hunting License from the CDFW. Hunting licenses are available to residents and nonresident, who are at least 18 years old. See FGC § 3031(a)(1) and (3).

Junior Hunting License

If you’re under the age of 18 on July 1, you qualify for Junior Hunting License. If you’re 16 or 17 years old, you can hunt alone on State Wildlife Areas but can’t supervise anyone under the age 16. See FGC § 3031(a)(2) and our page for Juniors.

Trapping License

To trap beaver, and all other Furbearing Mammals or Nongame Mammals, you also need a Trapping License (see below).

Disabled Hunters

If you’re a disabled and want to hunt beaver, you can apply for a Recovering Service Member Hunting License, Disabled Veteran Hunting License, or Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle License.

[Back to Topics]


California Beaver Hunting Seasons

In general, the California beaver hunting seasons are from November 1 – Mar 31, 2017. However, you can only hunt them in the counties and areas described in 14 CCR § 463, which supersedes FGC § 4001.

[Back to Topics]


Daily Bag and Possession Limits for California Beaver Hunting Seasons

There is no Daily Bag Limit or Possession Limit for hunting or trapping beaver in California. See 14 CCR § 463 [supersedes FGC § 4002].

Warning shot!!! If you legally injure or trap a beaver in California, you have to kill it immediately. See 14 CCR § 251.5(c).

[Back to Topics]


Live Beavers

Under very limited circumstances, you may possess a live beaver. However, you have to meet minimum facility and caging standards for housing them at a permanent facilities. You also have to give them gnawing materials, a pool of fresh water that’s 2 1/2 feet deep, a nest box, a limited number of comparable adults, etc. See 14 CCR § 671.3(a)(10) and (b)(1)(J).

[Back to Topics]


Methods of Take During California Beaver Hunting Seasons

In this section, you’ll find info about methods of hunting during the California beaver hunting seasons. In general, furbearing mammals, including beaver, may only be taken with a “trap, a firearm, bow and arrow, poison under a proper permit, or with the use of dogs.” See FGC § 4002. However, additional rules and restrictions related to: airplanes, archery, boats, capture, contests, crossbows, dogs, firearms, harassment, herding & driving, infrared, lights, motorized vehicles, poison, property damage, snowmobiles, and traps.

Archery

Archery for California Beaver Hunting SeasonsIn general, you can hunt furbearing mammals, including beaver, with a Bow and Arrow. Any type of arrow can be used except arrows with (1) lighted nocks with a beam of light, (2) an explosive head, (3) tranquilizers, or (4) poison. The same is true for migratory game birds, resident small game, and nongame mammals and birds.

Warning shots!!!

    1. Don’t shoot from or across any highway, road, or place open to the pubic for vehicles.
    2. Your bow has to be capable of casting a legal arrow at least 130 yards.
    3. In general, you’re not allowed to have a firearm during archery season or with an archery-only tag (the only exception is with a Disabled Archer’s Permit).
    4. Don’t put a bow in your vehicle if it’s nocked or the end of an arrow is fit to the notch.

See FGC § 4002, 14 CCR § 465, and 14 CCR § 354. Also see and our summary of archery-specific regulations and Crossbows.

Boats

See Motorized Vehicles below.

Capture

In general, it’s illegal to capture and confine furbearing mammals, including beaver, taken from the wild. There are limited exceptions for injured or diseased animals. See FGC § 3005.5

Contests

It’s illegal to offer a reward for killing furbearing mammals, including beaver, in an individual contest, tournament, or derby. This rule is an exception to the general rule that those events are allowed for most game birds, fish, reptiles, or amphibians, so long as you have a permit from the CDFW or if the reward is less than $500. See FGC § 2003 and 14 CCR § 465(b) [illegal for furbearing mammals].

Crossbows

Crossbows for California Beaver Hunting Seasons.In general, you can only hunt furbearing mammals with bow and arrows. However, you can use a crossbow with a Disabled Archer’s Permit. See 14 CCR § 354(j). Any type of crossbow bolt can be used except crossbow bolts with (1) lighted nocks with a beam of light, (2) an explosive head, (3) tranquilizers, or (4) poison. The same is true for migratory game birds, resident small game, and nongame mammals and birds.

Warning shots!!!

    1. Don’t shoot from or across any highway, road, or place open to the pubic for vehicles.
    2. Your crossbow has to be capable of casting a legal arrow at least 130 yards.
    3. In general, you’re not allowed to have a firearm during archery season or with an archery-only tag (the only exception is with a Disabled Archer’s Permit).
    4. Don’t put a crossbow in your vehicle if it’s nocked or the end of an arrow is fit to the notch.

See FGC § 4002, 14 CCR § 465, and 14 CCR § 354. Also see and our summary of archery-specific regulations.

Dogs for Hunting and Training

Dogs for California Beaver Hunting Seasons.In general, you can use dogs to hunt and trap furbearing mammals, including beaver, during the California beaver hunting seasons. You can also use them to train your dog. Warning shot!!! This rule does not apply in areas closed to dogs. However, there are several restrictions you should read about. See FGC § 4002, 14 CCR § 465, and 14 CCR § 265 and click here for more California hunting dog laws, including hunting and training.

Firearms

Shotgungs for California Beaver Hunting Seasons.In general, the regulations allow firearms for hunting furbearing mammals, including beaver, during the California beaver hunting seasons.

Non-Lead

As of July 1, 2015, you can only use nontoxic ammo on Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves. As of July 1, 2016, you can only use nontoxic ammo for furbearing and nongame mammals. By July 1, 2010, the ban will apply to the take of all wildlife in California. See FGC § 4002, 14 CCR § 250.1(d), and 14 CCR § 465.

Shotguns

For taking any bird or mammal, the regulations prohibit the use or possession of shotguns (a) larger than 10-gauge or (b) capable of holding more than six cartridges at one time, to take a mammal or bird. See FGC § 2010.

Harassment

In general, it’s illegal to Harass furbearing mammals, including beaver. See 14 CCR § 251.1.

Herding & Driving

In general, it’s illegal to herd or drive furbearing mammals, including beaver. The only exceptions are for landowners and tenants preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops. See FGC § 3003.5 and 14 CCR § 251.1 and Motor Vehicles below.

Infrared & Night-Vision

In general, you cannot use night vision equipment to hunt in California, including beaver. Examples include infrared, plus binos and scope with light amplifying circuits. See FGC § 2005(c).

Lights

In general, you can use lights to hunt furbearing and nongame mammals, including beaver, but it depends on your location.

Zones 1 and 2

In general, you can the Zone 1 and Zone 2, you can use lights of any size or voltage, and use a spotlight from your vehicle. However, there are several exceptions listed below.

    • You can’t use lights during the general deer season.
    • You can’t use lights from a moving vehicle or with the motor on.
    • You can’t use lights from a public road or highway.

See 14 CCR § 264 for zone descriptions.

Balance of State

Outside of Zone 1 and Zone two, you can still use lights as long as you comply with the restrictions listed below.

    • First, the batteries have to be 9 volts or less (hand-held and headlights are okay).
    • Second, you have to be on foot.
    • Third, you cannot use them from a vehicle.
    • Fourth, they can’t be powered from any other source.

See 14 CCR § 264.5.

There is another exception when beaver are causing Property Damage (see below).

Motor Vehicles

In general, it’s illegal to:

“[T]o pursue, drive, or herd any bird or mammal with any motorized water, land, or air vehicle, including, but not limited to, a motor vehicle, airplane, powerboat, or snowmobile…”

The only exceptions are (1) with a permit from the CDFW, (2) landowners and tenants trying to prevent property damage, and (3) during agricultural practices. See FGC § 3003.5.

Poison Permit

In general, a poison permit from the CDFW is required to take furbearing mammals, including beaver. The application must indicate the kind of poison that you want to use and the time and place you plan to use them. See FGC § 4002, FGC § 4003, and 14 CCR § 465.

Property Damage

If you’re a landowner or tenant, you can probably kill a beaver that’s causing property damage. If you have a prior conviction or are on probation, you might not be allowed to kill it. Either way, you can have someone else kill it for you, including the CDFW.

If you choose to do the job yourself, you’ll need a permit from the CDFW. On the application, you’ll have to give them the basic about the situation. You’ll also have to describe what you’ve done in the past–and you’ll do in the future–to prevent the damage. You can also designate up to three people to help you, as long as they’re at least 21.

In general, you can kill the beaver in any time of the day. If you try at night, you can use artificial light in excess of 9 volts, which is true for all furbearing and nongame mammals. If someone goes after them for you at night, they need your written approval. If you’re successful, you have to let the close CDFW office know about it.

In general, you can kill the beaver in any legal manner. Steel-jawed leg hold traps are not allowed. You can use poison, but only with a permit from the CDFW. If you use legal traps, you have to check them and remove the animals every day. You have to kill them instantly and humanely, and keep injured beavers from escaping.

After killing the beaver, you have to dispose of the body–you cannot eat it, sell the fur, make anything with the carcass, or ship it from the premises except as allowed under the permit. Warning shot!!! Make sure you observe all city, county, and state firearm regulations.

While you don’t have to tag beavers you kill with the permit, you may have to mail reports to the CDFW. Your permit will be good for up to one year but you can file for a renewal if beavers continue to be a problem.

See FGC § 3005(d), FGC § 4002, FGC § 4180, FGC § 4181, 14 CCR § 264.5, and 14 CCR § 401.

Snowmobiles

See Motorized Vehicles below.

Traps

See our page for beaver trapping.

[Back to Topics]


Shooting Hours for California Beaver Hunting Seasons

In general, furbearing mammals, including beaver, can be hunted and trapped at any hour of the day or night.

Areas Closed to Night Hunting

One exception is that night hunting (one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise) is not allowed in the zones closed to night hunting. See 14 CCR § 474 for a legal description of those areas. See 14 CCR § 466 and our custom map (rough draft).

[Back to Topics]


Purchase and Sale

In general, it’s illegal to buy or sell birds or mammals taken from the wild. There’s an exception for nongame and furbearing mammals, which includes beavers trapped during the California beaver hunting seasons. You can buy and sell handcrafted items made from the beaver, including the carcass. See FGC § 3039(b).

If you killed the beaver with a trapping license, you can also sell the raw fur. If you’re in the business of buying, selling, trading, or dealing raw fur, you’ll need a dealer license. If you’re a domesticated breeder, you don’t need a dealer license. See summary for Buying and Selling Birds and Mammals; andFGC §§ 4030, 4034, 4036, and 4042.

[Back to Topics]


Violations of California Beaver Hunting Seasons

If you get charged with a potential hunting violation, we’re here to help. Contact our attorney for a free consultation.

If you get convicted of a hunting violation, you could loose your trapping license. You wouldn’t be able to trap any furbearing or nongame mammals for up to three years. In fact, it would be illegal to even apply for a trapping license during that time. FGC § 12156.

If you misuse lights during the California beaver hunting seasons, you could be arrested by a peace office. See FGC § 12156 and 2005(e).

If you break a trapping law, you could be fined up to $2,000 and go to jail for up to one year. See 14 CCR § 465.5(h)

[Back to Topics]


Public Areas for California Beaver Hunting Seasons

During the California beaver hunting seasons, hunting is allowed only in certain counties, game refuges, lakes, and wildlife areas.

Counties

During the California beaver hunting seasons, you can only hunt and trap beavers in the following counties:

    • Alameda County.
    • Alpine County.
    • Amador County.
    • Butte County.
    • Calaveras County.
    • Colusa County.
    • Contra Costa County.
    • Del Norte County.
    • El Dorado County.
    • Fresno County.
    • Glenn County.
    • Humboldt County.
    • Imperial County.
    • Inyo County.
    • Kern County.
    • Kings County.
    • Lake County.
    • Lassen County.
    • Madera County.
    • Mariposa County.
    • Merced County.
    • Modoc County.
    • Mono County.
    • Monterey County.
    • Nevada County (except Sagehen Creek).
    • Placer County.
    • Plumas County.
    • Riverside County (within 10 miles of the Arizona-California border).
    • Sacramento County.
    • San Bernardino County (within 10 miles of the Arizona-California border).
    • San Joaquin County.
    • San Luis Obispo County.
    • Shasta County.
    • Sierra County.
    • Siskiyou County.
    • Solano County.
    • Stanislaus County.
    • Sutter County.
    • Tehama County.
    • Trinity County.
    • Tulare County.
    • Tuolumne County.
    • Yolo County.
    • Yuba County.

See 14 CCR § 463, which supersedes FGC § 4001.

Lakes

In general, hunting is allowed at several lakes and surrounding land managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). See 36 CFR § 327.8(b).

Refuges

In general, it’s illegal to take any mammal from a game refuge unless it’s specifically allowed. Occasionally, beavers cause or threaten damage within game refuges. The CDFW has discretion to issue a free permit for hunting and trapping. If so, you have to apply for the permit. If you get a permit and a beaver, you have to turn in a report during the first two weeks of January. See 14 CCR § 656 for more details.

Wildlife Areas

In general, it’s illegal to take any mammal from a game refuge unless it’s specifically allowed. Trapping is specially allowed on all “Type C” wildlife areas. Warning shots!!! Make sure you follow all the rules for California beaver hunting seasons and any special rules at the wildlife area, like closures and firearm restrictions. See FGC § 10500 [generally not allowed], 14 CCR § 550(ee), 14 CCR § 551(o), 14 CCR § 551(r), and CDFW’s trapping law handout.

Here are a few wildlife areas where the CDFW indicates that you can find beaver:

    1. Green Creek Wildlife Area.
    2. Warner Valley Wildlife Area.
    3. Red Lake Wildlife Area.
    4. Black Butte Lake.
    5. East Walker River Wildlife Area.

[Back to Topics]


Forum for California Beaver Hunting Seasons

To participate in our forum for the California beaver hunting seasons, just leave a question or comment below.


While we try to fetch up all California beaver hunting season 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.

Leave a Reply