Here, we fetch up California crow hunting seasons, laws, and hunting locations.
- Bag and possession limits.
- Hunting hours.
- Hunting license.
- Hunting areas.
- Hunting methods.
- Possession and transport.
- Hunting forum.
The American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a species of bird that can be hunted during the California crow hunting seasons. Under federal law, it’s regulated under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; in California, rules for Birds and Nongame Birds apply. See 50 CFR § 20.1 [regulation of crows], 50 CFR § 20.133 [possession, transport, import, export, seasons, limits, hunting methods], 14 CCR § 472(a) and (d), and 14 CCR § 485.
A Hunting License from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (“CDFW”) is required to hunt in California, including American crow during the California crow hunting seasons. 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 American crow, 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 American crow during the California crow hunting seasons, you have to have a Falconry License.
Guides and Outfitters
If you’re a commercial guide or outfitter that offers American crow hunting, you have to get a Guide License.
If you’re a commercial hunting club that offers American crow hunting, you have to get a Commercial Hunting Club License.
If you’re a Junior and want to hunt American crow, you have to get a Junior Hunting License.
The California crow hunting seasons depends on where you’re hunting.
Its illegal to hunt American Crow in the following areas:
- Trinity National Forest: south of Highway 36.
- Mendocino National Forest: south of Highway 36.
- Eel River Area: N. and E. of a line beginning at the mouth of the Eel River; S. along the Eel River to the town of Alton; E. on Hwy 36 from the town of Alton to Hwy 89 W. of Chester; S. and E. on Hwy 89 and 395 to I-15 near Hesperia; S. on I-15 to I-10; and E. on I-10 to the CA-AZ border.
See 14 CCR § 485(d).
Except in the Closed Area, the California crow hunting seasons for all Hunting Methods are from the first Sunday in December, extending for 124 days (12/4 – 4/6, 2017).
The regulations are silent regarding shooting hours for nongame birds, including American crow during the California crow hunting seasons. Consequently, general rules apply, which are from one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise until one-half (1/2) after sunset. See FGC § 3000 and 14 CCR § 485]
Bag & Possession Limits
Warning shot!!! If you kill or cripple an American Crow, you have to make a reasonable effort to retrieve it (see 14 CCR § 485(c)). You also have to keep it in your custody until reaching one of the place listed below.
In general, nongame birds may be taken in any manner unless specifically prohibited. American crow hunting, though, is limited only to shotguns, bow and arrows, and falcons. Link to topics related to the use of: aircraft, boats, bow and arrow, calls, crossbows, decoys, dogs, falcons, muzzleloaders, pistols, poison, private property, rifles, shotguns, traps, and vehicles.
Boats, Kayaks, and Canoes
In general, it’s illegal to shoot any bird, including American crows, from “motor-driven air or land vehicles, motorboat, airboat, sailboat, or snowmobile.” There’s an exception for when 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 14 CCR § 251 and our summary of rules for hunting on navigable waters.
Bow and Arrow
In general, bow and arrows are allowed for hunting American crow during the California crow hunting seasons. 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.
- 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 American crow during 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.
In general, “Electronic or mechanically-operated calling or sound-reproducing devices” are illegal for hunting any bird or mammal. However, the American crow is specifically exempted from the restriction (plus bobcats, coyotes, and starlings) See FGC § 3012 and 14 CCR § 475(b).
Under California law, crows may only be taken with shotguns, bow and arrows, and falcons. All other firearms are allowed if they cause property damage, a nuisance, or health hazard (see “Property Damage” below). See 50 CFR § 20.133(b)(4) [authorizing firearms] and 14 CCR § 485(b) [restricting to shotguns, bow and arrows, and falcons].
Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act it appears to be illegal to use live decoys to hunt crows. Under California, it’s only illegal to use live decoys for hunting migratory game birds or resident game birds. See 50 CFR § 20.1, 50 CFR § 20.21, 14 CCR § 505 and 14 CCR § 507(d).
In general, you can use a falcon to hunt American crow during the California crow hunting seasons for falconry. Warning shot!!! You still have to follow all of the rules for crow hunting, including the requirements for a the proper license, seasons, bag limits, and hunting hours. See 50 CFR § 20.133(b)(4), 14 CCR § 485(b) .
Under California law, crows may only be taken with shotguns, bow and arrows, and falcons. Muzzleloading shotguns should be fine. All other firearms may be allowed if they cause property damage, a nuisance, or health hazard (see “Property Damage” below). See 50 CFR § 20.133(b)(4) [authorizing firearms] and 14 CCR § 485(b) [restricting to shotguns].
In general, poison is illegal for taking American crow. However, there is an exception for using “toxicants” under situations related to property damage, public nuisance, and health hazards. See 14 CCR § 475(a) and “Property Damage” below.
If you’re a landowner or tenant, you may be able to kill American crows any time of the year and in any number if they’re causing (1) property damage, (b) a nuisance, or (3) health hazard. See 14 CCR § 472(d) and 14 CCR § 485(e).
NOTE: If you qualify, either you can kill them or authorize someone to do it for you, so long as they have your written permission when they do it.
You qualify if American crows are causing or about to cause damage to you “ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife.”
You qualify if the crows are “concentrated in such numbers and manner as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance.”
Methods of Take
If you qualify, you or someone else can only kill the crows with the hunting methods listed below.
- Firearm with non-toxic shot.
- Bow and arrow.
- Toxicants by the Department of Food and Agriculture for the specific purpose of taking depredating crows.*
* To use toxicants, supervision by the California Department of Food and Agriculture or a federal or county pest control officers is required. The toxicant has to be applied according to their label requirements developed pursuant to sections 6151-6301, Title 3, California Code of Regulations. See 14 CCR § 472(d).
Rifles and Pistols
Under California law, crows may only be taken with shotguns, bow and arrows, and falcons. All other firearms may be allowed if they cause property damage, a nuisance, or health hazard (see “Property Damage” above). See 50 CFR § 20.133(b)(4) [authorizing firearms] and 14 CCR § 485(b) [restricting to shotguns].
In general, you can use a shotgun to hunt American crow, during the California crow hunting season. However, there are restrictions for the shell capacity and type of gauge, plug, and shells. See 50 CFR § 20.133(b)(4) and 14 CCR § 485(b) .
You can only use shotguns that are 10 gauge or smaller (e.g. 12 gauge). Warning shot!!! Some public hunting areas, like California Wildlife Areas, only allow 12-gauge and smaller.
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.
See “Property Damage” above.
In general, traps are allowed for taking nongame birds. However, American crow may only be taken with shotguns, bow and arrows, and falcons. See 14 CCR § 475(d).
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 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. (Also see “Boats, Kayaks & Canoes” and “Property Damage” above. Also FGC § 3002, FGC § 3003.5, and FGC § 3501; and 14 CCR § 251.
Possession, Transportation, & Sale
In general, it’s illegal to “possess the carcass, skin, or parts of any nongame bird,” including American crow feathers and any other parts. Illegal bird parts can be seized by the CDFW. See FGC Sec. 3801.6.
It’s illegal to possess more than the daily bag and possession limits for American crow. (See Bag & Possession Limits above.)
It’s illegal to sell or buy nongame birds, including American crow. See FGC Sec 3504.
After you kill any bird in California, including American crow, 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. See 14 CCR § 251.7(b).
During the California crow hunting seasons, there are a lot of great hunting opportunities on public land and private land, including: BLM property, ecological reserves, 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.
In general, American crow hunting is allowed on all Type C Wildlife Areas during the California crow hunting seasons. The CDFW emphasizes American crow hunting at the areas listed below.
To participate in our hunting forum, leave a question or reply in the comment section below about the California crow hunting seasons.
While we try to fetch up all California crow 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.