On this page, you’ll find information about California chukar hunting seasons, laws, and locations.
- Bag and possession limits.
- Hunting hours.
- Upland Game Bird Stamp.
- Hunting license.
- Hunting areas.
- Hunting methods.
- Possession and transport.
- Hunting forum and blog.
- Regulations and species.
Regulations & Species
During the California chukar hunting seasons, chukar is the only species of red-legged partridge that you can hunt. When hunting chukar, you have to follow hunting rules for not only chukar but also for the following categories:
To hunt chukar during the California chukar hunting seasons, you have to have a Hunting License from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (“CDFW”). 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 hunters.
If you’re a disabled hunter and want to hunt chukar, you can apply for a Recovering Service Member Hunting License, Disabled Veteran Hunting License, or Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle License.
If you’re going to use a falcon to hunt chukar during the California chukar hunting seasons, you have to have a Falconry License.
Guides and Outfitters
If you’re a commercial guide or outfitter that offers chukar hunting, you have to get a Guide License.
If you’re a Junior and want to hunt chukar, you have to get a Junior Hunting License.
Upland Game Bird Stamp Validation
In general, you need an Upland Game Bird Hunting Validation to hunt upland game birds, including chukar during the California chukar hunting seasons. 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.
There are several California chukar hunting seasons, which depend on how you’re hunting them. See 14 CCR § 300(a)(1)(C), (a)(2)(C), and (a)(3)(C).
The general California chukar hunting season includes shotguns, muzzleloaders, air rifles, and crossbows. The season is the third Saturday in October through the last Sunday in January (October 15 – January 29, 2017).
The California chukar hunting season for archery-only is the third Saturday in August for 21 days (August 20 – September 9, 2016). You can also use a bow during the general season.
The falconry California chukar hunting season is from the third Saturday in August through the last day in February (August 20 – February 28, 2017).
In general, shooting hours for all upland game birds, including chukar during the California chukar hunting seasons, are from one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise until sunset. Warning shot!!! Shoot times may be further restricted on public land, e.g. Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves, and there are exceptions are for pheasant and spring turkey seasons. See 14 CCR § 310.5.
Hawking hours during the falconry season for chukar are from sunrise to sunset. See 14 CCR § 300(a)(3)(C).
Bag & Possession Limits
The daily bag limit for chukar, during the California chukar hunting season, is six (6) chukar of either sex.
The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.
Chukar hunting during the California chukar hunting seasons is allowed, but only with the following hunting methods and restrictions: air rifles, archery, bait, boats, bow and arrow, calls, computers, crossbows, decoys, dogs, falconry, harassment, lights, motor vehicles, muzzleloaders, pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
In general, you can use an air rifle to hunt resident small game, including chukar during the California chukar hunting seasons. While you can use any caliber of pellet (except for turkey), the air rifle can only be powered by air or gas. See 14 CCR § 311(f).
Bait and Baited Areas
Boats, Kayaks, and Canoes
There used to be a prohibition against shooting resident small game from boats, but the regulation was repealed. While it’s legal to shoot chukar from a boat, it’s illegal to use a motorboat, powerboat, airboat or sailboat to pursue, drive, or herd any bird or mammal in California. When hunting, the the motor has been shut off, all momentum has ended, and the boat is either drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor, or is being propelled by a paddle, or or pole.
Warning shots!!! There may be area-specific restrictions when hunting on public land, like Wildlife Areas. There are exceptions related to agriculture, landowners, tenants, and depredating animals. See our summary of rules for hunting on navigable waters, FGC § 3002, 14 CCR § 251, and 14 CCR § 311.8 [repealed].
Bow and Arrows
In general, Bow and Arrows are allowed for hunting chukar in California. 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. See 14 CCR § 311(e) and (k) and 14 CCR § 354(c)-(i) and “Crossbows” below.
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 chukar during any archery season.
Don’t put a bow in your vehicle if it’s nocked or the end of an arrow is fit to the notch.
NOTES: You only have to use flu-flu fletching for migratory game birds and pheasant. In general, archery isn’t allowed on Type A or Type B Wildlife Areas during pheasant (or waterfowl) seasons. (The only exception is at the Los Banos Wildlife Area and only as authorized in Section 551(u). See 14 CCR § 550(cc)(4)(F).
Calling “devices” are NOT allowed for hunting chukar (or any other resident small game). This includes: “Electronic or mechanically-operated calling or sound-reproducing devices.” See 14 CCR § 311(i).
Computer-Assisted Remote Hunting
In general, you can hunt resident small game, including chukar, with a Crossbow (which is a type of “firearm”). 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.
- Don’t shoot from or across any highway, road, or place open to the pubic for vehicles.
- Your crossbow has to be capable of casting a legal arrow at least 130 yards.
- 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).
- Don’t put a crossbow in your vehicle if it’s nocked or the end of an arrow is fit to the notch.
Live decoys are NOT allowed for hunting chukar or any other resident game bird. See 14 CCR § 311(l).
In general, you can use a falcon to hunt chukar. The same is true for all resident small game. See 14 CCR § 311(d).
In general, Animal Harassment is illegal and includes any disruption of the animal’s normal behavior patters (e.g. breeding, feeding, sheltering). There is an exception for landowners and tenants trying to prevent property damage. See 14 CCR § 251.1. and our summary for California Depredation Permits.
In general, it’s illegal to use artificial lights to hunt game birds, mammals, and fish.
While in possession of a firearm or weapon, it’s also illegal to use spotlights, headlights, or other lights (1) on a highway, (2) in a field, woodland, or forest where they are commonly found, or (3) on the animal or fish itself–even if you don’t shoot at it.
It’s also illegal to use or possess night vision equipment to help you take any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish (e.g. infrared and binoculars).
There are exceptions for sport fishing, commercial fishing, animals causing property damage, three-volt flashlights, lamps, lanterns, and farmers).
See 14 CCR § 2005.
In general, it’s illegal to pursue, drive, or herd any bird or mammal with a motorized vehicle (e.g. airplane, motor vehicle, powerboat, sailboat, snowmobile). This includes 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 FGC § 3002, FGC § 3003.5, and FGC § 3501; and 14 CCR § 251. Also see “Boats, Kayaks & Canoes” above.
In general, you can use to muzzle-loading shotguns to hunt chukar during the general California chukar hunting season. The same is true for all resident small game. See 14 CCR § 311(c).
Rifles and Pistols
Rifles and pistols are NOT allowed for hunting chukar. (For resident small game, they’re only allowed for hunting squirrels and rabbits everywhere except in Los Angeles County.) See 14 CCR § 311(g).
In general, you can use a shotgun to hunt chukar, during the California chukar hunting season. However, there are restrictions for the shell capacity and type of gauge, plug, and shells. The same is true for all resident small game. See 14 CCR § 311(a) and (b).
In general, no shotgun larger than a 10-gauge may be used to hunt chukar in California. However, no shotgun larger than a 12-guage may be used 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 § 311(a).
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.
Shotguns must be incapable of holding more than three (3) shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
Whether 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 Area, Ecological 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 dove, 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).
You can only use shell shot that is “No. BB” or smaller. Warning shot!!! Don’t even take larger shells with you.
Possession and Transport
After you kill any bird in California, including chukar, 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. To be “identifiable,” the general rule is that you either have to keep a fully feathered wing or head attached. One exception is that for doves, you have to keep a fully feathered wing attached. See 14 CCR § 251.7(b).
During the California chukar hunting seasons, there are a lot of great hunting opportunities on public and private land, including: BLM property, ecological reserves, hunting clubs, national forests, national parks, wilderness areas, and wildlife areas. Warning shot!!! Follow the links below for any restrictions on hunting days, shoot times, hunting areas, etc.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Property
Chukar hunting is authorized at the following BLM properties during the California chukar hunting seasons (also see “Wilderness Areas” below):
- Bishop Field Office (Inyo National Forest).
- Carrizo Plain National Monument.
- Crater Mountain.
- Fort Sage Special Recreation Management Area.
- Griswold Hills Recreation Area.
- Juniper Flats Management Area.
- Lower Centennial Flat.
- Mojave Desert Preserve.
- Mono Lake Basin Area.
- Nelson Range.
- Ord Mountain Route Network.
- Owens Lake Management Area.
- Panamint Range.
- Panoche Hills Recreation Area.
- Rand Mountain Management Area.
- San Bernardino Mountains.
- Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
- Sierra Nevada Mountains.
- South Benton Area.
- Surprise Valley Field Office.
- Susanville (lands northeast of Susanville).
- Temblor National Cooperative Land and Wildlife Management Area.
- Tumey Hills Recreation Area.
- Walker-Monache Pass.
- West Owens Valley Area.
- West Panamint Mountains.
Chukar hunting is offered at the following hunting clubs during the California chukar hunting seasons:
Chukar hunting is authorized at the following ecological reserves during the California chukar hunting seasons:*
* At times, there are special hunts authorized by the CDFW, subject to area-specific regulations, e.g. Canebrake Ecological Reserve.
Chukar hunting is authorized in the following national forests during the California chukar hunting seasons:
Parks & Preserves
Chukar hunting is authorized at the following national parks and preserves during the California chukar hunting seasons:
Chukar hunting is authorized at the following Wilderness Areas during the California chukar hunting seasons:
- Argus Range Wilderness.
- Black Mountain Wilderness.
- Coso Range Wilderness.
- El Paso Mountain Wilderness.
- Inyo Mountains Wilderness.
- Kingston Range Wilderness.
- Owens Peak Wilderness.
- Mesquite Wilderness Area.
- North Mesquite Mountains Wilderness.
- Old Woman Mountains Wilderness.
- Stateline Wilderness.
In general, chukar hunting is allowed on all Type C Wildlife Areas during the California chukar hunting seasons. The CDFW emphasizes chukar hunting on the following areas:
- Collins Eddy Wildlife Area.
- Kelso Peak & Old Dad Mountains Wildlife Area.
- Marble Mountains Wildlife Area.
Hunting Forum and Blog
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