26 California Depredation Permits for Private Landowners

California depredation permits.
California depredation permits for landowners and tenants.
California depredation permits for landowners to prevent damage to people or property.

On this page, landowners and tenants will find info about California depredation permits. In hunting law, “depredation” is a fancy word for damage caused by animals like bears and beavers to you or your property. “Damage” includes actual damage, the immediate threat of damage, and nuisances to you and your crops, domestic animals, livestock, and other property. In general, you can apply to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) for a Depredation Permit for you or your agent to either kill or relocate the depredators. If the act is serious enough, they may be able to kill the depredator immediately and then notify the CDFW.

For each of the depredators below, we address issues related to agents, carcasses, dogs, firearm & ammo restrictions, permits, poison, pursuit, reports, tags, traps, violations and penalties. We also cover options available for some animals, like access by licensed hunters with special permits. Finally, we provide links to general hunting regulations and other useful info from government agencies.

Topics

    1. All Depredators
    2. American Crows
    3. Bears
    4. Beavers
    5. Big Game Mammals
    6. Bobcats
    7. Canada Geese
    8. Deer
    9. Elk
    10. Furbearing Mammals
    11. Gray Squirrels
    12. Jackrabbits
    13. Mammals
    14. Migratory Game Birds
    15. Mountain Lions
    16. Muskrats
    17. Nongame Bird and Mammals (e.g. sika deer)
    18. Pigs
    19. Predators
    20. Rabbits
    21. Red Fox
    22. Red Fox Squirrels
    23. Rodents
    24. Small Game Mammals
    25. Turkeys
    26. Wolves

All Depredators

In general, it’s illegal to take wildlife, which means to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” wildlife. There’s an exception for hunting and trapping, but you need a Hunting License and the depredator has to be in season. There’s another exception for landowners and tenants to prevent damages caused by wildlife, but you usually need to get a Depredation Permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Even with the permit, there are restrictions related to all depredators, including ammo and reporting.

Ammo

As of July 1, 2016, it’s illegal to use lead ammo when killing any wildlife for depredation purposes. That’s true even with a Depredation Permit from the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 250.1(d)(2)(F) and our summary for Non-Toxic Shot.

Reporting

If wildlife is threatening you or your property, start by reporting the incident to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. You can do this by going to their Wildlife Incident Reporting Page. After you register and login, report the date of the incident, type of animal, description of the damage, location, etc. If your application is approved, you can download the Depredation Permit and any carcass tags that may be required. If they act is serious enough, you may be able to kill the animal immediately and then report it to the CDFW (e.g. bobcat attack on livestock).

[Topics]


Big Game Mammals

Bears

Big Game Black BearsBears can cause serious damage to landowners, tenants, and their property, including crops, domestic animals, and livestock. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” bears. There’s an exception for hunting Black Bears. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Black Bear Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners and tenants to kill or capture depredating bears any time of the year. In general, you need a Depredation Permit from the CDFW before trapping or killing them. If they are in the act of causing certain types of damage (e.g. livestock), you may be able to kill it immediately and then report it to the CDFW.

In this Section, you’ll find hunting rules for dealing with depredating bears, including permit applications, terms, and conditions, as well as non-lethal options. There are similar rules for elk, bobcat, beaver, deer, wild pigs, wild turkeys, and gray squirrels. You should also review the CDFW Black Bear Depredation Policy in California.

Agents

If a bear is causing damage to you or your property, and you don’t want to kill it yourself, you have options. First, there are federal, State, and local government agencies that can help (e.g. animal control, animal damage control, irrigation, flood, and natural resource reclamation). They can kill depredating animals on the property designated in your permit.

Second, you can designate up to three people/agents, including a dog handler. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, they have to follow the terms of your permit. Second, they have to be acting under your direction and control. Third, they have to be at least 21 years old. Finally, they have to be named in your permit. If you have to replace one, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(e).

Applications

On your application, provide basic info about the property owner, tenant, dog handler, and/or agents (name, address, contact info, phone number, etc.). Second, describe the current damage, threat of damage, or nuisance (location, dates, etc.). Third, give info about non-lethal efforts you’ve taken in the past to prevent the damage. Fourth, identify what you’ll do in the future to prevent the damage. Fifth, propose how you intend to trap or kill the depredator. Finally, explain why you need dogs (if any), how many you need, and who will be handling them. See 14 CCR § 401(a) and (c).

Your application will be denied if you’ve been convicted of certain hunting violations in the past two years or if the terms of any probation prevent you from hunting or possessing a firearm. If that’s the case, you can designate a qualified agent. See 14 CCR § 401(f).

Also see Dogs below.

Carcass and Skull

Image of bear skull

If you killed a depredating bear, you have to dispose of it as instructed on the permit. You can’t use the carcass in any way (e.g. make a rug). You can’t eat the meat. You usually can’t sell or ship any part of the bear from the property, including the meat, skin, his, skull, teeth, and claws. The only exception is with written permission from the CDFW.

Warning shot!!! You do have to send the skull to the CDFW within ten (10) days of killing it. They won’t send it back to you. See FGC § 3960.2(c)FGC § 4181(a), FGC § 475814 CCR § 367.5 and 14 CCR § 401(i).

Compensation

If you have a Depredation Permit, you can’t ask for or receive compensation from another person to carry out the terms of the permit (e.g. kill a bear or pursue it with dogs). “Compensation” includes “money, property, or anything else of value.” See FGC § 3960.2(d).

Dogs

Image of hound dog hunting.For bears and bobcats, in particular, you have to meet certain qualifications to pursue them with dogs. In your application, you have to prove that you’ve tried other things first to take care of the problem. You also have to show why you need dogs.

If you get the permit, it’s only good for one bear or bobcat. You can’t use more than three dogs. The permit can’t be good for more than 20 days. If the problem continues to exist, you can always request a renewal.

If you use a dog handler, his or her name and address has to be on the permit. The handler has to carry the permit during the chase. The handler can chase them more than one mile of the property where the damage occurred.

Within 30 days of getting the permit, you have to file a report with the CDFW. Report the details of every chase. If you didn’t kill one, report why it wasn’t killed and whether it was harmed. If you did kill one, report the date of kill and sex.

See FGC § 3960.2(a)-(c) and 14 CCR § 401(b)(3), (c)(1)(J), (d)(1), (e)(2) and (g)(2).

Firearms, Ammo & Bow Restrictions

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of firearms.

In general, you can kill depredating bears in any legal manner. However, the CDFW can restrict the caliber and type of firearms, ammo, archery equipment, and crossbows you can use. They can even require that you trap them alive.

Warning shots!!! If you kill them, though, it must be instantly and humanely. You also have to prevent injured bears from escaping. In addition, you have to comply with all city, county, and State firearm restrictions. See 14 CCR § 401(d)14 CCR § 465.5, and the subsections for Poison and Traps below.

Livestock Exception

If a bear is in the act of harming, molesting, or killing livestock, the owner or an employee of the owner can kill the bear immediately. Warning shot!!!  If you kill one, you have to report it to the CDFW by the next business day. You also have to make the carcass available to the CDFW for inspection. You can also ask federal, state, or county trappers to do the job for you. See FGC § 4181.1(a)FGC § 4181.1(e), and the subsections for Agents and Dogs above and below.

Permits

If your application is approved, the Depredation Permit has to say why it was necessary. It also has to say what you did beforehand to solve the problem without killing it. Finally, it has to say what you’re going to do in the future to prevent it from happening again. See FGC § 4181(b).

If you’re application is approved, your Depredation Permit is valid for the period stated. However, it can’t be valid for more than 60 days. If the damage continues to exists, you can always request a renewal. See 14 CCR § 401(b)(2) and (4) and Dogs above.

The CDFW can add terms and conditions that protect wildlife and public safety. They can even require that you capture the depredator alive. To be valid, you have to sign a statement that you read, understand, and agree to the terms. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(2) and (d)(1).

Poison

Poison is not allowed for killing depredating bears. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Reports

If you kill a depredating bear, the CDFW has to make a record of each report. They have discretion to do an investigation. If you complied with the law, they can issue a confirming statement.

The permit holder has 30 days from the date of issuance to file a report with the CDFW. It has to show the date of kill and sex of any bear killed. It also has to show how the permit was used. Finally, it has to disclose whether a bear was pursued and, if it was harmed, why it wasn’t killed. See FGC § 4181.1(c)FGC § 3960.2(e), and 14 CCR § 401(g). Also see Dogs above.

Beehives in San Bernardino County and Riverside County

If depredating bears are located within either San Bernardino or Riverside County, you can trap them at any time within a “good and substantial fence” surrounding beehives. However, the fence has to be at least 50 yards from a beehive. You also have to post clear warning signs at each entrance to the enclosure. See FGC § 4185, FAC § 17121 [fence], Traps below, and our Trapping section for California Black Bear Hunting Seasons.

Tags & Reports

When you got your Depredation Permit from the CDFW to kill a bear, you should have received a tag. The tag has one section to put on the animal. The tag also has a report section. After you kill the animal, immediately put the tag on as instructed. At the same time, complete and sign the report section. Include your name, address, date, and location of kill. Then mail it right away to the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(h).

Traps

No iron, metal, or steel-jawed traps can be used to trap or kill depredating bears or gray squirrels. Government official can’t use them either. The CDFW can, however, require that you take them live. See FGC § 4181(a)FGC § 4181.1(e)14 CCR § 401(d)(1), and our summary of California Trapping Laws.

Violations and Penalties

If you’ve been convicted in the past two years of a hunting violation, you may not be able to get a permit. If the terms of probation prevent you from possessing a firearm or hunting, you can’t get a permit. One alternative is to apply to have an agent kill it for you.

It’s illegal to violate the terms of your depredation permit. Your permit will include a statement of penalties that could be imposed for a violations of the conditions (e.g. suspension or revocation). If you get charged or convicted, contact our attorney immediately.

Warning shot!!! Even if you get a permit, you still have to comply with any city, county, or State firearm regulations. See FGC § 4181(a) and (b) and 14 CCR § 401(f), (j)-(l).

Deer

image of mule deer.Deer can cause serious damage to landowners, tenants, and their property, including crops. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” deer. There’s an exception for hunting them. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Deer Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners and tenants to kill or capture depredating deer any time of the year. In general, you need a Depredation Permit from the CDFW before trapping or killing them. In this Section, you’ll find hunting rules for dealing with depredating deer, including permit applications, terms, and conditions, as well as non-lethal options. There are similar rules for bear, bobcat, beaver, elk, wild pigs, wild turkeys, and gray squirrels.

Agents

If a deer is causing damage to you or your property, and you don’t want to kill it yourself, you have options. First, there are federal, State, and local government agencies that can help (e.g. animal control, animal damage control, irrigation, flood, and natural resource reclamation). They can kill depredating animals on the property designated in your permit.

Second, you can designate up to three people/agents, including a dog handler. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, they have to follow the terms of your permit. Second, they have to be acting under your direction and control. Third, they have to be at least 21 years old. Finally, they have to be named in your permit. If you have to replace one, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(e).

Applications

On your application, provide basic info about the property owner, tenant, dog handler, and/or agents (name, address, contact info, phone number, etc.). Second, describe the current damage, threat of damage, or nuisance (location, dates, etc.). Third, give info about non-lethal efforts you’ve taken in the past to prevent the damage. Fourth, identify what you’ll do in the future to prevent the damage. Fifth, propose how you intend to trap or kill the depredator. Finally, explain why you need dogs (if any), how many you need, and who will be handling them. See 14 CCR § 401(a) and (c).

Your application will be denied if you’ve been convicted of certain hunting violations in the past two years or if the terms of any probation prevent you from hunting or possessing a firearm. If that’s the case, you can designate a qualified agent. See 14 CCR § 401(f).

Also see FGC § 4181.5(a)-(b) and (d) and Dogs below.

Carcass

After killing a depredating deer, you have to dispose of the carcass as required in your permit. Neither you nor your agents (if any) can use the carcass in any way. It cannot be sold or shipped from the premises without prior written consent from the CDFW. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(i).

Cooperative Hunting Areas

A cooperative deer hunting area “is an area of private land located within critical deer habitat as determined by the department in deer quota zones (see Section 360) which require public drawings.” They are established to protect landowners from deer causing property damage. To qualify, landowners must have at least 5,000 acres, 640 of which can be adjoining land owned by others.

Under certain conditions, the public is allowed to hunt deer in these areas. First, you have to apply for a permit and deer tag from the CDFW. The permits are issued through a random drawing. Applications are due by the first Friday in August. Each season, you can apply for one area. Only two applications are accepted per area. You have to send in your completed application to the designated address. There’s no fee for applying. If selected, your tag is only good in that area. You can only hunt there during the open season for the particular deer hunting zone. All of the general rules for deer hunting apply. See 14 CCR § 554 [application process].

Dogs

Image of hound dog hunting.You may want to use dogs to purse depredating deer. In your application, you have to explain why you need them and how many you need. You can designate up to three people/agents to help you, including the dog handler. You agents have to be under your direction and control. They also have to be at least 21 years old and named on the permit. If you need a substitute, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(1)(J) and (e)(2).

Firearms, Ammo & Bow Restrictions

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of firearms to shoot deer.

In general, you can kill depredating deer in any legal manner. However, the CDFW can restrict the caliber and type of firearms, ammo, archery equipment, and crossbows you can use. For deer, in particular, you’re not allowed to use pistols. If you use a rifle, you have to use expanding bullets. Depending on your location, public safety, and local ordinance, they may let you use .22-caliber rimfire cartridges. For shotguns, you usually have to use single slugs. You need special permission to use buckshot (0 or 00). They might even require that you trap them alive.

Warning shots!!! If you kill a depredating deer, it has to be done instantly and humanely. You also have to prevent injured ones from escaping. Finally, you have to comply with all city, county, and State firearm restrictions. See FGC § 4181.5(a)-(b)14 CCR § 401(d)14 CCR § 465.5, and the subsections for Poison and Traps below.

Licensed Hunters

If your application is approved, the CDFW will advise you of any opportunities for licensed hunters to kill them for you. These are known a “deer depredation hunts.” To qualify, there has to be at least 25 deer involved. Owners of adjoining land can apply together. If you’re interested, the CDFW will come out and determine how many permits to issue, the territory involved, dates of proposed hunts, applicable fees, etc.

If approved for deer depredation hunts, you’ll have to sign a document holding all CDFW employees, free and harmless from any claims by the hunters. Hunters have to be at least 16 years old to apply. Shooting times would be one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. The CDFW will set up a check station and monitor the hunts. They also allow more methods for killing the deer (e.g. shotguns with buckshot, etc.). The hunters can keep the meet if they follow special rules (e.g. stamping if held more than 15 days). See FGC § 4188(a) and (b) and 14 CCR § 400.

Permit

If you’re application is approved, your Depredation Permit is valid for the period stated. However, it can’t be valid for more than 60 days. If the damage continues to exists, you can always request a renewal. See 14 CCR § 401(b)(2) and (4).

The CDFW can add terms and conditions that protect wildlife and public safety. They can even require that you capture the depredator alive. To be valid, you have to sign a statement that you read, understand, and agree to the terms. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(2) and (d)(1).

Poison

Poison is not allowed for killing depredating deer. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Renewal

If your application was approved, your permit was good for up to 60 days. You can only get it renewed if you prove to the CDFW that you need it. You’ll also have to account for all the tags previously issued. See FGC § 4181.5(a)-(b) and (d)14 CCR § 401(a)-(c).

Restrictions

If your application is approved, the CDFW may place restrictions to protect wildlife and ensure safety. You can’t use the permit unless you sign a statement confirming that you read, understand, and agree to follow the terms and conditions of the permit. See 14 CCR § 401(c).

Tags & Reports

When you got your Depredation Permit from the CDFW to kill a deer, you should have received a tag. The tag has one section to put on the animal. The tag also has a report section. After you kill the animal, immediately put the tag on as instructed.* At the same time, complete and sign the report section. Include your name, address, date, and location of kill. Then mail it right away to the CDFW. Warning shot!!! Carry the tag with you while hunting. See 14 CCR § 401(h).

* For deer, in particular, punch out the date of kill. Attach the tag to the antlers or, if none, to the ear. The other part of the tag has to be countersigned before you mail it to the CDFW. Leave the tag on the deer until at least ten days after the permit expires. See FGC § 4341 [countersigning by CDFW employee, notary public, postmaster, etc.) and FGC § 4181.5(c).

Traps

You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals, including deer. The CDFW can, however, require that you take them live. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Violations and Penalties

If you’ve been convicted in the past two years of a hunting violation, you may not be able to get a permit. If the terms of probation prevent you from possessing a firearm or hunting, you can’t get a permit. One alternative is to apply to have an agent kill it for you.

It’s illegal to violate the terms of your depredation permit. Your permit will include a statement of penalties that could be imposed for a violations of the conditions (e.g. suspension or revocation). If you get charged or convicted, contact our attorney immediately.

Warning shot!!! Even if you get a permit, you still have to comply with any city, county, or State firearm regulations. See FGC § 4181(a) and (b) and 14 CCR § 401(f), (j)-(l).

Elk

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including elk.Elk can cause serious damage to landowners, tenants, and their property, including crops. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” elk. There’s an exception for hunting them. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Elk Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners and tenants to kill or capture depredating elk any time of the year. In this Section, you’ll find hunting rules for dealing with depredating elk, including permit applications, terms, and conditions, as well as non-lethal options. There are similar rules for bear, bobcat, beaver, deer, wild pigs, wild turkeys, and gray squirrels.

Agents

If an elk is causing damage to you or your property, and you don’t want to kill it yourself, you have options. First, there are federal, State, and local government agencies that can help (e.g. animal control, animal damage control, irrigation, flood, and natural resource reclamation). They can kill depredating animals on the property designated in your permit.

Second, you can designate up to three people/agents, including a dog handler. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, they have to follow the terms of your permit. Second, they have to be acting under your direction and control. Third, they have to be at least 21 years old. Finally, they have to be named in your permit. If you have to replace one, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(e).

Applications

On your application, provide basic info about the property owner, tenant, dog handler, and/or agents (name, address, contact info, phone number, etc.). Second, describe the current damage, threat of damage, or nuisance (location, dates, etc.). Third, give info about non-lethal efforts you’ve taken in the past to prevent the damage. Fourth, identify what you’ll do in the future to prevent the damage. Fifth, propose how you intend to trap or kill the depredator. Finally, explain why you need dogs (if any), how many you need, and who will be handling them. See 14 CCR § 401(c).

Your application will be denied if you’ve been convicted of certain hunting violations in the past two years or if the terms of any probation prevent you from hunting or possessing a firearm. If that’s the case, you can designate a qualified agent. See 14 CCR § 401(f).

Before you can get the permit, the CDFW also has to do a few things. First, they have to verify your damage. Second, they have to inform you in writing what you can do to correct the problem. Third, they have to check how how many elk are needed to maintain the herd and make sure you wouldn’t take it below that number. Finally, they have to work with you on a plan for long-term resolution of the problem. The solution has to agree with the Statewide elk management plan. See FGC § 4181(a) and (d).

Carcass

After killing a depredating elk, you have to dispose of the carcass as required in your permit. Neither you nor your agents (if any) can use the carcass in any way. It cannot be sold or shipped from the premises without prior written consent from the CDFW. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(i).

Dogs

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of dogs to pursue elk.You may want to use dogs to purse depredating elk. In your application, you have to explain why you need them and how many you need. You can designate up to three people/agents to help you, including the dog handler. You agents have to be under your direction and control. They also have to be at least 21 years old and named on the permit. If you need a substitute, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(1)(J) and (e)(2).

Firearms, Ammo & Bow Restrictions

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of firearms to shoot elk.

In general, you can kill depredating elk in any legal manner. However, the CDFW can restrict the caliber and type of firearms, ammo, archery equipment, and crossbows you can use. They can even require that you trap them alive.

Warning shots!!! If you kill them, though, it must be instantly and humanely. You also have to prevent injured bears from escaping. In addition, you have to comply with all city, county, and State firearm restrictions. See 14 CCR § 401(d)14 CCR § 465.5, and the subsections for Poison and Traps below.

Permits

If you’re application is approved, your Depredation Permit is valid for the period stated. However, it can’t be valid for more than 60 days. If the damage continues to exists, you can always request a renewal. See 14 CCR § 401(b)(2) and (4).

The CDFW can add terms and conditions that protect wildlife and public safety. They can even require that you capture the depredator alive. To be valid, you have to sign a statement that you read, understand, and agree to the terms. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(2) and (d)(1).

Poison

Poison is not allowed for killing depredating elk. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Tags & Reports

When you got your Depredation Permit from the CDFW to kill an elk, you should have received a tag. The tag has one section to put on the animal. The tag also has a report section. After you kill the animal, immediately put the tag on as instructed. At the same time, complete and sign the report section. Include your name, address, date, and location of kill. Then mail it right away to the CDFW. Warning shot!!! Carry the tag with you while hunting. See 14 CCR § 401(h).

Traps

You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals, including elk. The CDFW can, however, require that you take them live. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Violations and Penalties

It’s illegal to violate the terms of your depredation permit. Your permit will include a statement of penalties that could be imposed for a violations of the conditions (e.g. suspension or revocation). If you get charged or convicted, contact our attorney immediately.

If you’ve been convicted in the past two years of a hunting violation, you may not be able to get a permit. If the terms of probation prevent you from possessing a firearm or hunting, you can’t get a permit. One alternative is to apply to have an agent kill depredating elk for you.

Warning shot!!! Even if you get a permit, you still have to comply with any city, county, or State firearm regulations. See FGC § 4181(a)FGC § 4181.1(b), and 14 CCR § 401(f), (j)-(l).

Pigs

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including wild pig, hog, boar.Wild pigs can cause serious damage to landowners, tenants, and their property, including crops, domestic animals, and livestock. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” wild pigs. There’s an exception for hunting them. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Pig Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners and tenants to kill or capture depredating wild pigs any time of the year. Unlike other depredators, you can usually kill pigs that are damaging or about to damage your land or property, including livestock and plants, or other wildlife. You can also appoint an agent, or ask a federal, State, or county official (e.g. animal control), to do the job for you.

If you do kill a wild pig without a Depredation Permit or Pig Tag, you have to report it to the CDFW by the next business day. You also have to make the carcass available to the CDFW for inspection. After receiving the report, the CDFW has discretion to do an investigation. You have to provide them with whatever info they think is necessary. After the investigation, they can issue a written statement that you complied with the law. In general, you or the person you give the carcass to can make use of the meat or pig parts.

See FGC § 4181(a)FGC § 4181.1(b) [immediate kill], FGC § 4181.2 [damage defined], and 14 CCR § 401(e) [agencies and agents].

Agents

If a wild pig is causing damage to you or your property, and you don’t want to kill it yourself, you have options. First, there are federal, State, and local government agencies that can help (e.g. animal control, animal damage control, irrigation, flood, and natural resource reclamation). They can kill depredating animals on the property designated in your permit.

Second, you can designate up to three people/agents, including a dog handler. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, they have to follow the terms of your permit. Second, they have to be acting under your direction and control. Third, they have to be at least 21 years old. Finally, they have to be named in your permit. If you have to replace one, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(e).

Applications

On your application, provide basic info about the property owner, tenant, dog handler, and/or agents (name, address, contact info, phone number, etc.). Second, describe the current damage, threat of damage, or nuisance (location, dates, etc.). Third, give info about non-lethal efforts you’ve taken in the past to prevent the damage. Fourth, identify what you’ll do in the future to prevent the damage. Fifth, propose how you intend to trap or kill the depredator. Finally, explain why you need dogs (if any), how many you need, and who will be handling them. See 14 CCR § 401(a) and (c).

Your application will be denied if you’ve been convicted of certain hunting violations in the past two years or if the terms of any probation prevent you from hunting or possessing a firearm. If that’s the case, you can designate a qualified agent. See 14 CCR § 401(f).

Before you get a permit, the CDFW will send you written options for wild pig control. Options include a Depredation Permit, allowing periodic access to licensed hunters, and holding special hunts. (For more information, link to CDFW Guidelines for Wild Pig Depredation.)

See FGC § 4181(a) – (c)FGC § 4188(a) [option for special hunting permits], and Dogs below.

Carcass

Unlike other depredators, you can usually make use of the carcass (e.g. eat the meat). The same is true for anyone to whom you legally transfer the carcass (e.g. nonprofit organization). Warning shot!!! You cannot sell the pig or any part of it.

If the meat can’t be consumed for some reason, you can leave the carcass where the pig was killed (e.g. hot temperatures, disease, parasites, or other reason you can’t make use of it). As long as you make a reasonable effort to use the carcass (or legally transfer it to someone else for use), you can’t be charged with waste.

See FGC § 4181(a) and (c) [sale, shipment, use], FGC § 4181.1(b) and (c) [use of carcass and transfers], FGC § 4304 [waste], and 14 CCR § 401(i) [use of carcass].

Dogs

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of dogs to pursue wild pigs. You may want to use dogs to purse depredating wild pigs. In your application, you have to explain why you need them and how many you need. You can designate up to three people/agents to help you, including the dog handler. You agents have to be under your direction and control. They also have to be at least 21 years old and named on the permit. If you need a substitute, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(1)(J) and (e)(2).

Firearms, Ammo & Bow Restrictions

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of firearms to kill wild pigs, hogs, and boar.

In general, you can kill depredating wild pigs in any legal manner. However, the CDFW can restrict the caliber and type of firearms, ammo, archery equipment, and crossbows you can use. They can even require that you trap them alive.

Warning shots!!! If you kill them, though, it must be instantly and humanely. You also have to prevent injured bears from escaping. In addition, you have to comply with all city, county, and State firearm restrictions. See 14 CCR § 401(d)14 CCR § 465.5, and the subsections for Poison and Traps below.

Licensed Hunters

Before you get Depredation Permit, the CDFW will send you written options for wild pig control. Options include a Depredation Permit, allowing periodic access to licensed hunters, and holding special hunts. If you consent to these special hunts, the CDFW will do an investigation to determine how many permits are necessary to prevent the damage. They’ll send you a lists of hunters that are interested and nonprofit organizations that are allowed to make use of the meat and other pig parts. See FGC § 4181(c) and 4188(b) [permits for hunts by licensed hunters]. For more information, link to CDFW Guidelines for Wild Pig Depredation.

Permits

If you’re application is approved, your Depredation Permit is valid for the period stated. However, it can’t be valid for more than one year. If the damage continues to exists, you can always request a renewal. See 14 CCR § 401(b)(1) and (4).

The CDFW can add terms and conditions that protect wildlife and public safety. They can even require that you capture the depredator alive. To be valid, you have to sign a statement that you read, understand, and agree to the terms. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(2) and (d)(1).

Poison

Poison is not allowed for killing depredating wild pigs. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Reports

If you report to the CDFW that pigs are causing damage you people or property, they’ll send you written options for wild pig control. Options include a Depredation Permit, allowing periodic access to licensed hunters, and holding special hunts. For more information, link to CDFW Guidelines for Wild Pig Depredation.

If you kill a wild pig without a Pig Tag or Depredation Permit, you have to report it to the CDFW by the next business day. If they investigate, you have to provide them with info they request and make the carcass available to them. At the end of the investigation, ask them for a written confirmation of compliance. See 14 CCR § 401(c) and FGC § 4181.1(b)-(c).

If you kill a pig with a Depredation Permit, you have to send mostly reports to the CDFW. It’s due on the 15th of each month. It has to include the date and sex of each pig you killed. Warning shot!!! You have to send the report even if you didn’t kill one. See 14 CCR § 401(g).

Tags & Reports

When you got your Depredation Permit, you should have received tags. The tag includes a report section. Unlike other depredators, you don’t have to tag wild pigs when you kill them. If you transport the carcass from the property, then you have to tag it before you leave. You also have to complete and mail the report section before you leave. Include your name, address, date, and location of the kill. Then sign and mail it to the CDFW without delay. See FGC § 4181.1(b) [tag exception], 4652 [pig tag requirement], and 14 CCR § 401(h).

Traps

You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals, including wild pigs. The CDFW can, however, require that you take them live. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Violations and Penalties

If you’ve been convicted in the past two years of a hunting violation, you may not be able to get a permit. If the terms of probation prevent you from possessing a firearm or hunting, you can’t get a permit. One alternative is to apply to have an agent kill depredating pig for you.

It’s illegal to violate the terms of your depredation permit. Your permit will include a statement of penalties that could be imposed for a violations of the conditions (e.g. suspension or revocation). If you get charged or convicted, contact our attorney immediately.

Warning shot!!! Even if you get a permit, you still have to comply with any city, county, or State firearm regulations. See FGC § 4181(a) and (b) and 14 CCR § 401(f), (j)-(l).

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Furbearing Mammals

All Furbearing Mammals

Hunting Methods

In general, you can kill depredating furbearers at any time, day or night, and in any legal manner. See FGC § 4005(c)FGC § 4180(a), and Lights below.

Lights

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including raccoons.

In general, you cannot use lights for killing Furbearing Mammals at night. If certain “zones,” you can use them, but not in any area where the general deer season is open. In those “zones,” you can use spotlights from a vehicle, but it has to be parked with the motor off and it can’t be from a public road or highway. For the zones, see 14 CCR § 264.

Outside of those “zones,” landowners, tenants, or their agent can use lights to kill Furbearing Mammals that are causing property damage, including damage to livestock. Agents must have your written permission to use lights in excess of nine volts. When a furbearing mammal is killed, you have to notify the closest “fish and game office,” which is the CDFW. Warning shot!!! You still have to follow any other restrictions related to the mammal you wish to kill. See 14 CCR § 264.5(d).

Sales of Furs

If you kill a depredating furbearer, you cannot sell the raw furs, which is “any fur, pelt, or skin that has not been tanned or cured, except that salt-cured or sun-cured pelts are raw furs.” If you provide trapping services, you can’t sell them either. See FGC § 4005(a) and (d) and FGC § 4180(a).

Traps

If you use traps to kill depredating furbearers, you, your agent, or the person that set the traps have to check them daily and remove any that are trapped. See FGC § 4180(b).

If you chose to trap depredating furbearers, you don’t need a trapping license unless you’re being paid to provide the service. You don’t need the license if you’re a government official providing the service. See FGC § 4005(c) and (e) and FGC § 4180(a).

Beavers

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including beavers.Beavers can cause serious property damage, including crops and livestock. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” beavers. There’s an exception for hunting and trapping them. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Beaver Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners and tenants to kill or capture depredating beavers any time of the year. In general, you need a Depredation Permit from the CDFW. In this Section, you’ll find hunting rules for dealing with depredating beavers, including permit applications, terms, and conditions, as well as non-lethal options. There are similar rules for bear, bobcat, deer, elk, wild pigs, wild turkeys, and gray squirrels. See FGC § 4181(a).

Agents

If a beaver is causing damage to you or your property, and you don’t want to kill it yourself, you have options. First, there are federal, State, and local government agencies that can help (e.g. animal control, animal damage control, irrigation, flood, and natural resource reclamation). They can kill depredating animals on the property designated in your permit.

Second, you can designate up to three people/agents, including a dog handler. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, they have to follow the terms of your permit. Second, they have to be acting under your direction and control. Third, they have to be at least 21 years old. Finally, they have to be named in your permit. If you have to replace one, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(e).

Applications

On your application, provide basic info about the property owner, tenant, dog handler, and/or agents (name, address, contact info, phone number, etc.). Second, describe the current damage, threat of damage, or nuisance (location, dates, etc.). Third, give info about non-lethal efforts you’ve taken in the past to prevent the damage. Fourth, identify what you’ll do in the future to prevent the damage. Fifth, propose how you intend to trap or kill the depredator. Finally, explain why you need dogs (if any), how many you need, and who will be handling them. See 14 CCR § 401(a) and (c).

Your application will be denied if you’ve been convicted of certain hunting violations in the past two years or if the terms of any probation prevent you from hunting or possessing a firearm. If that’s the case, you can designate a qualified agent. See 14 CCR § 401(f).

See FGC § 4181(a)Living with Beavers [CDFW publication], and Dogs below.

Carcasses

After killing a depredating beaver, you have to dispose of the carcass as required in your permit. Neither you nor your agents (if any) can use the carcass in any way. It cannot be sold or shipped from the premises without prior written consent from the CDFW. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(i).

Dogs

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of dogs to pursue forbearing mammals.You may want to use dogs to purse depredating beavers. In your application, you have to explain why you need them and how many you need. You can designate up to three people/agents to help you, including the dog handler. You agents have to be under your direction and control. They also have to be at least 21 years old and named on the permit. If you need a substitute, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(1)(J) and (e)(2).

Firearms, Ammo & Bow Restrictions

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of firearms to kill furbearing mammals.

In general, you can kill depredating beavers in any legal manner. However, the CDFW can restrict the caliber and type of firearms, ammo, archery equipment, and crossbows you can use. They can even require that you trap them alive.

Warning shots!!! If you kill them, though, it must be instantly and humanely. You also have to prevent injured bears from escaping. In addition, you have to comply with all city, county, and State firearm restrictions. See 14 CCR § 401(d)14 CCR § 465.5, and the subsections for Poison and Traps below.

Poison

Poison is not allowed for killing depredating beavers. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Permits

If you’re application is approved, your Depredation Permit is valid for the period stated. However, it can’t be valid for more than one year. If the damage continues to exists, you can always request a renewal. See 14 CCR § 401(b)(1) and (4).

The CDFW can add terms and conditions that protect wildlife and public safety. They can even require that you capture the depredator alive. To be valid, you have to sign a statement that you read, understand, and agree to the terms. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(2) and (d)(1).

Tags

Carcass tags are not required for killing depredating beavers. See 14 CCR § 401(g).

Traps

You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals, including beaver.  The CDFW can, however, require that you take them live. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Violations and Penalties

If you’ve been convicted in the past two years of a hunting violation, you may not be able to get a permit. If the terms of probation prevent you from possessing a firearm or hunting, you can’t get a permit. One alternative is to apply to have an agent kill depredating beavers for you.

It’s illegal to violate the terms of your depredation permit. Your permit will include a statement of penalties that could be imposed for a violations of the conditions (e.g. suspension or revocation). If you get charged or convicted, contact our attorney immediately.

Warning shot!!! Even if you get a permit, you still have to comply with any city, county, or State firearm regulations. See FGC § 4181(a) and (b) and 14 CCR § 401(f), (j)-(l).

Muskrats

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including Muskrat.Muskrats can cause serious damage to people and property. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” them. There’s an exception for hunting. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the and our summary for California Muskrat Hunting Seasons and Trapping.

There are other exceptions for landowners, tenants, and/or their agents to trap or kill muskrats any time of the year and in any manner when they are causing damage to crops or forage. See FGC § 4152.

Agents & Employees

If your employee or agent does the job for you, they need to carry your written permission.  You can also ask certain officers and employees of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. See FGC § 4152.

Sales

You cannot sell depredating muskrats that are killed. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

Traps

If you use traps, you usually don’t need a Trapping License. (There’s an exception for people providing a service.) You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals. You have to check the traps at least once a day. Immediately remove any animals that are caught. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

Red Fox

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including Red FoxRed foxes can cause serious damage to people and property. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” them. There’s an exception for subspecies of red fox that are not the native Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes nectar). Landowners, tenants, and/or their agents can trap or kill them any time of the year and in any manner when they are causing damage to crops or forage. See FGC § 4152.

Agents & Employees

If your employee or agent does the job for you, they need to carry your written permission.  You can also ask certain officers and employees of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. See FGC § 4152.

Sales

When these red foxes are killed, you cannot sell them or any part of them. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

Traps

If you use traps, you usually don’t need a Trapping License. (There’s an exception for people providing a service.) You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals. You have to check the traps at least once a day. Immediately remove any animals that are caught. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

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Mammals

Dens

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including bears in dens.It is unlawful to use snares, hooks, or barbed wire to remove from the den, or fire to kill in the den, any immature depredator mammal. See FGC § 4180.1.

Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of fire-ignited gas cartridges or other products registered or permitted under the Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act (7 U.S.C. 135 et seq.).

Dogs

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of dogs.In general, you can’t use dogs to trap or hunt depredating mammals during archery seasons for Black Bear or Deer. You usually can’t use them at all for taking Black Bear, Bobcat, or Elk. You have to have a Depredation Permit to use them for going after Black Bear, Bobcat, and Mountain Lions.

In dog control zones, you can’t use them from the first Saturday in April through the day before the general Deer season opens for that area. Outside of the dog control zones, they’re allowed all year long except for closures and restrictions (e.g. Big Game mammals during closed seasons, Mountain Lions, etc.). You can usually use them for Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals during open hunting seasons, but most of the same closures and restrictions apply.

With a Depredation Permit, however, you can use dogs to capture and/or kill depredating mammals. In your application, you have to explain why you need dogs and how many you need. Ultimately, the CDFW will say how many you can use, which is typically no more than three.  See 14 CCR § 265.

Relocation

Sometimes, the CDFW will capture and relocate large depredating mammals (e.g. Black Bear). They can also authorize others to do the same. If the animal is relocated, it has to be marked in a clear way (e.g. tag or brand). See FGC § 4190.

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Migratory Game Birds

Vehicles

In general, you can’t use vehicles to herd Migratory Game Birds. There’s another exception for when they are causing crop damage. See 14 CCR § 503(a) [adopting all relevant federal orders].

Canada Geese

Canada Geese can cause serious damage to people and property, including agricultural crops. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” them. There’s an exception for hunting, but you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Geese Hunting Seasons. There are other exceptions for landowners, tenants, and/or agents to kill or capture depredating Canada Geese any time of the year.

Airports

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including geese at airports.If Canada geese are located at an airport, they can be trapped and released to a new location. However, you need a special permit from the CDFW. Send written requests to 1812 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Include your name, address, location, number of geese, and permission to use the release site. See 50 CFR § 21.49 [Airport Control Order] and 14 CCR § 503(b).

Eggs & Nests

If Canada geese are causing damage, you may be able to destroy their nests and eggs. However, you need a permit from the CDFW unless you live in a county listed below. Send your requests to the CDFW at 1812 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Include your name, address, location and number of nests and eggs to be destroyed. Warning shot!!! You have to register with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You don’t need a permit if you live in the following counties. See 50 CFR § 21.50 [Nest and Egg Control Order] and 14 CCR § 503(c).

    1. Sonoma County.
    2. Napa County.
    3. Solano County.
    4. Marin County.
    5. Contra Costa County.
    6. Alameda County.
    7. San Francisco County.
    8. San Mateo County.
    9. Santa Clara County.
    10. Santa Cruz County.
    11. San Benito County.
    12. Monterey County.
    13. San Luis Obispo County.
    14. Santa Barbara County.
    15. Ventura County.
    16. Los Angeles County.
    17. Orange County.
    18. San Diego County.

Public Health

When resident Canada geese are a threat to public health, the CDFW can authorize you to kill them. Methods include: egg oiling, egg and nest destructions (see above), shotguns, traps, drugs, pesticides, replants, cervical dislocation, and asphyxiation. For more information, see 50 CFR § 21.52 and 14 CCR § 503.

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Nongame Birds & Mammals

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including nongame like American CrowIn general, it’s illegal to kill Nongame Birds or Nongame Mammals.  There’s an exception for hunting certain species like the American Crow (see below). In this Section, we cover exceptions for trapping and killing Nongame Birds and Nongame Mammals any time of the year for causing or threatening to cause damage to you or your property, including crops, forage, and domestic animals. Warning shot!!! You still have to follow any other restrictions related to the specific mammal you wish to trap or kill. Also see the Section for Predators below.

Agents & Employees

Agents and employees of landowners and tenants can kill Nongame Mammals any time of the year and in any manner when they are causing or threatening to cause damage to you or your property, including crops and forage. Warning shot!!! If they do the job for you, they have to carry your written permission with them when they do it.  You can also ask certain officers and employees of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. See FGC § 4152.

American Crows

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including nongame birds like American CrowAmerican Crows can serious damage to people, property, and wildlife. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” them. There’s an exception for hunting them. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Crow Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners, tenants, and/or agents to kill or capture depredating American Crows any time of the year. In general, landowners and tenants can kill them if they’re causing or are about to cause damage, including trees and crops. It also includes wildlife and livestock. You can also kill them if they are so many that they are a health hazard or nuisance.  See 14 CCR § 472(d) and 14 CCR § 485.

Agents

Agents must have written permission from landowners and tenants before killing, taking them into possession, or transporting them.

Location

They can only be killed on the property where the damage, hazard, or nuisance is taking place.

Methods of Killing

To kill depredating crows, you can use a firearm, bow and arrow, or Falconry. You can also use toxicants approved by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Warning shots!!! To use toxicants, you have to be supervised by qualified government authorities (e.g. officers of the CDFA, pest control).

Permits

You may need a Federal Migratory Bird Depredation Permit before killing them.

Lights

In general, there are restrictions on the use of lights to Take mammals at night. There’s an exception for landowners and tenants when Nongame Mammals are causing damage to livestock of other property. Artificial lights can be used to help kill those mammals. If you or they kill one while using artificial lights, you have to notify the close CDFW office.  See 14 CCR § 264.5(d) and Predators.

Sales

If you kill a Nongame Mammal causing or threatening to cause damage to you or your property, including crops and forage, you cannot sell them or any part of them. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

Traps

If you use traps for Nongame Mammals causing or threatening to cause damage to you or your property, including crops and forage, you usually don’t need a Trapping License. (There’s an exception for people providing a service.) You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps. You have to check the traps at least once a day. Immediately remove any animals that are caught. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

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Predators

Bobcats

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including bobcats.Bobcats can cause or threaten to cause serious damage to landowners, tenants, and their property, including domestic animals and livestock. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” bobcats. There’s an exception for hunting them. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Bobcat Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners and tenants to kill or capture depredating bobcats any time of the year. In general, you need a Depredation Permit from the CDFW killing it. If they are in the act of causing certain types of damage (e.g. livestock), though, you may be able to kill it immediately and then report it to the CDFW.

In this Section, you’ll find hunting rules for dealing with depredating bobcats, including permit applications, terms, and conditions, as well as non-lethal options. There are similar rules for bear, beaver, deer, elk, wild pigs, wild turkeys, and gray squirrels.  See 14 CCR § 401(a).

Agents

If a bobcat is causing damage to you or your property, and you don’t want to kill it yourself, you have options. First, there are federal, State, and local government agencies that can help (e.g. animal control, animal damage control, irrigation, flood, and natural resource reclamation). They can kill depredating animals on the property designated in your permit.

Second, you can designate up to three people/agents, including a dog handler. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, they have to follow the terms of your permit. Second, they have to be acting under your direction and control. Third, they have to be at least 21 years old. Finally, they have to be named in your permit. If you have to replace one, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(e).

Applications

On your application, provide basic info about the property owner, tenant, dog handler, and/or agents (name, address, contact info, phone number, etc.). Second, describe the current damage, threat of damage, or nuisance (location, dates, etc.). Third, give info about non-lethal efforts you’ve taken in the past to prevent the damage. Fourth, identify what you’ll do in the future to prevent the damage. Fifth, propose how you intend to trap or kill the depredator. Finally, explain why you need dogs (if any), how many you need, and who will be handling them. See 14 CCR § 401(a) and (c).

Your application will be denied if you’ve been convicted of certain hunting violations in the past two years or if the terms of any probation prevent you from hunting or possessing a firearm. If that’s the case, you can designate a qualified agent. See 14 CCR § 401(f).

Also see Dogs below.

Carcass

After killing a depredating bobcat, you have to dispose of the carcass as required in your permit. Neither you nor your agents (if any) can use the carcass in any way. It cannot be sold or shipped from the premises without prior written consent from the CDFW. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(i).

Compensation

If you have a Depredation Permit, you can’t ask for or receive compensation from another person to carry out the terms of the permit (e.g. kill a bobcat or pursue it with dogs). “Compensation” includes “money, property, or anything else of value.” See FGC § 3960.2(d).

Dogs

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of hound dogs to pursue bobcats.For bobcats and bears, in particular, you have to meet certain qualifications to pursue them with dogs. In your application, you have to prove that you’ve tried other things first to take care of the problem. You also have to show why you need dogs.

If you get the permit, it’s only good for one bear or bobcat. You can’t use more than three dogs. The permit can’t be fore more than 20 days. If the problem continues to exist, you can always request a renewal.

If you use a dog handler, his or her name and address has to be on the permit. The handler has to carry the permit during the chase. The handler can chase them more than one mile of the property where the damage occurred.

Within 30 days of getting the permit, you have to file a report with the CDFW. Report the details of every chase. If you didn’t kill one, report why it wasn’t killed and whether it was harmed. If you did kill one, report the date of kill and sex.

See FGC § 3960.2(a)-(c) and 14 CCR § 401(b)(3), (c)(1)(J), (d)(1), (e)(2) and (g)(2).

Firearms, Ammo & Bow Restrictions

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of firearms like shotguns to kill bobcats.

In general, you can kill depredating bobcats in any legal manner. However, the CDFW can restrict the caliber and type of firearms, ammo, archery equipment, and crossbows you can use. They can even require that you trap them alive.

Warning shots!!! If you kill them, though, it must be instantly and humanely. You also have to prevent injured bears from escaping. In addition, you have to comply with all city, county, and State firearm restrictions. See 14 CCR § 401(d)14 CCR § 465.5, and the subsections for Poison and Traps below.

Livestock

If a bobcat is in the act of injuring or killing livestock, landowners and tenants can kill it immediately. However, you have to apply to the CDFW for a Depredation Permit the very next business day. See 14 CCR § 401(a).

Permits

If you’re application is approved, your Depredation Permit is valid for the period stated. However, it can’t be valid for more than 60 days. If the damage continues to exists, you can always request a renewal. See 14 CCR § 401(b)(2) and (4).

The CDFW can add terms and conditions that protect wildlife and public safety. They can even require that you capture the depredator alive. To be valid, you have to sign a statement that you read, understand, and agree to the terms. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(2) and (d)(1).See 14 CCR § 401(c)(2) and (d)(1) and subsection for Dogs above.

Poison

Poison is not allowed for killing depredating bobcats. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).. See 14 CCR § 401(d).

Reports

If your application is approved for the use of dogs, you have to file a report with the CDFW within 30 days of issuance. You have to describe any pursuits, including the date of kill and sex of the bobcat. If you didn’t kill it, you have to state whether it was harmed. (The same is true for bear.) See 14 CCR § 401(g).

Tags & Reports

When you got your Depredation Permit from the CDFW to kill a bobcat, you should have received a tag. The tag has one section to put on the animal. The tag also has a report section. After you kill the animal, immediately put the tag on as instructed. At the same time, complete and sign the report section. Include your name, address, date, and location of kill. Then mail it right away to the CDFW. Warning shot!!! Carry the tag with you while hunting. See 14 CCR § 401(h).

Traps

You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals, including bobcats. The CDFW can, however, require that you take them live. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Violations & Penalties

If you’ve been convicted in the past two years of a hunting violation, you may not be able to get a permit. If the terms of probation prevent you from possessing a firearm or hunting, you can’t get a permit. One alternative is to apply to have an agent kill depredating bobcats for you.

It’s illegal to violate the terms of your depredation permit. Your permit will include a statement of penalties that could be imposed for a violations of the conditions (e.g. suspension or revocation). If you get charged or convicted, contact our attorney immediately.

Warning shot!!! Even if you get a permit, you still have to comply with any city, county, or State firearm regulations. See 14 CCR § 401(f), (j)-(l).

Dogs

In general, dogs are not allowed for pursuing bobcat.  The same is true for bear and elk. If you need to use dogs for depredating bobcat, you need to say so in your application. You need to explain why you need them and how many you intend to use. In the end, the CDFW will say how many you can use, if any. See 14 CCR § 265(a)(2) and 14 CCR § 401(c)(1)(J).

Coyotes

Coyotes can cause serious damage to people and property, including domestic animals and livestock. In general, you can trap and kill depredating coyotes all year long. However, you have to follow hunting rules for California Coyote Hunting Seasons and Trapping.

Mountain Lions

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including Mountain LionMountain lion can cause serious damage to landowners, tenants, and their property, including domestic animals and livestock. In general, you need to get a Depredation Permit from the CDFW before capturing or killing them. If they are in the act of causing certain types of damage (e.g. livestock), you may be able to kill it immediately and then report it to the CDFW.

In this Section, you’ll find hunting rules for dealing with depredating mountain lions, including permit applications, terms, and conditions, as well as non-lethal options. In addition to the topics below, you should review the CDFW Mountain Lion Depredation Statistics Summary.

Agents

Agents include any employee or agent of landowners, predator control officers, USDA Animal Damage Control Section CDFW, or “houndsman” registered with the CDFW. See FGC § 4808.

Application

See 14 CCR § 402(a).

Carcass

Within five days, you have to take the entire carcass to the agreed upon location. Warning shots!!! They can’t make you take it off your property. The body becomes the property of California. You have to do your best to prevent it from spoiling. See 14 CCR § 402(f) and (h).

Dogs

You can’t pursue mountain lions with dogs unless you have a Depredation Permit from the CDFW. In your application, you have to explain why you need dogs and how many you need. Ultimately, the CDFW will say how many you can use, which is typically no more than three.  See 14 CCR § 265 and subsection for Applications above.

Domestic Animals

If a mountain lion is threatening or killing domestic animals (e.g. dogs, cats), you can kill it immediately. Warning shots!!! However, you have to report the kill to the CDFW within 72 hours. You also have to make the carcass available to them for inspection. If you suspect that a mountain lion is threatening or injured your domestic animals, you may be able to get verbal authorization from the CDFW to go after it immediately. After an investigation, the CDFW can issue a fee permit and carcass tag.  See 14 CCR § 402(a).

Livestock

If a mountain lion is threatening or killing livestock, you can kill it immediately. Warning shots!!! However, you have to report the kill to the CDFW within 72 hours. You also have to make the carcass available to them for inspection. If you suspect that a mountain lion is threatening or injured your livestock, you may be able to get verbal authorization from the CDFW to go after it immediately. After an investigation, the CDFW can issue a fee permit and carcass tag.  See 14 CCR § 402(a).

Methods of Killing

When you kill a depredating mountain lion, you have to do it humanely (i.e. prevent undue suffering). Warning shot!!!  You still have to follow any city, county, or state firearm regulations. You can’t start the pursuit more than one mile from the reported damage. You can only continue a pursuit within a ten-mile radius of the reported damage. See 14 CCR § 402(g), (i) and (j), Poison, Traps, and Snares below.

Permit

To get a Depredation Permit, landowners and tenants have to report property damage to the CDFW.  The CDFW has to do an investigation within 48 hours of receiving the report. To qualify, you have to be at least 21 years old and be eligible for a California hunting license. If your application is approved, landowners can kill male and female mountain lions. The same is true for the employees and agents. Warning shot!!! Your permit is valid for only ten days and is non-transferrable. If the threat continues to exist, you can get a renewal. See 14 CCR § 402(a) – (d) and (j).

Poison

You cannot use poison to kill a depredating mountain lion. See 14 CCR § 402(b).

Reports

If you capture, kill or injure a depredating mountain lion, you have to report it to the CDFW. You either have to call a CDFW office within 24 hours or give it to them in writing within five days. See 14 CCR § 402(e).

Snares

You cannot use snares to kill a depredating mountain lion. See 14 CCR § 402(b).

Tags

When you got your permit, you should have received two tags. When you kill a depredating mountain lion, put one tag on the animal. Within five days, send the duplicate tag to the California Department of Fish & Game in Sacramento. See 14 CCR § 402(e).

Traps

You cannot use leg-hold or metal-jawed traps to kill a depredating mountain lion. See 14 CCR § 402(b).

Wolves

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including grey WolvesGray wolves are endangered species and protected under federal and State law. In general, you can’t “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect” them. “Harass” means to “disrupt normal behavioral patterns” (e.g. breeding, feeding and sheltering).” If convicted of a violation, there’s a penalty of at least $100,000 and imprisonment. See 50 CFR § 17.3 [definitions] and FGC §§ 2080.1, 2081 [permits] and 2800.

Self-Protection

According to the CDFW, you can use a firearm to protect yourself and others from wolf attacks. While it’s rare to even see a wolf, here’s a few tips on how to avoid an attack.

  • Don’t run!
  • If it approaches you, stare straight at it. Slowly retreat while aggressively yelling and clapping your hands. Don’t turn your back!
  • If you’re with someone, stand back-to-back.
  • If it attacks, fight it with everything you’ve got (e.g. firearms, bear spray, sticks, rocks, ski poles, fishing rods).
  • Make as much noise as possible (e.g. air horns, pots and pans).
  • If you have time, climb a tree if possible.

Guard Dogs

In general, you can’t use dogs to pursue wolves. However, you can have guard dogs. In California, they’re specially allowed to protect livestock and crops from bears and bobcats. However, the same should apply to wolves. Just make sure your dogs are kept and remain near the livestock and crops that you’re protecting. See FGC § 3960.6 [guard dogs for bear and bobcats].

Livestock

To report livestock depredation, call the US Fish and Wildlife Service at (916) 979-2675 or (530) 336-5623. They will conduct an investigation and issue a report. To see an example, go to the CDFW California Wolf Depredation Protocol for Livestock Producers.

Reports

If you see a wolf, use CDFW’s Gray Wolf Sighting Report. For more information, go to the CDFW FAQ page.

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Rodents & Pests

Rodents can cause serious damage to people and property (e.g. rats, mice, voles, moles, or gophers). While you usually needing a Trapping License to kill rodents, there are exceptions for government workers acting in their official capacity. There are also exceptions for licensed professionals (e.g. structural pest control operators). See FGC § 4005 and article form the CDFW, “When it Comes to Rodent Control, Consider Alternatives to Poison.”

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Small Game Mammals

Gray Squirrels

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including gray tree squirrel.Gray squirrels can cause serious damage to people and property. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” beavers. There’s an exception for hunting them. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Squirrel Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners and tenants to kill or capture depredating beavers any time of the year. In general, landowners, tenants, and/or their agents need a Depredation Permit from the CDFW before killing them.

In this Section, you’ll find hunting rules for dealing with depredating gray squirrels, including permit applications, terms, and conditions, as well as non-lethal options. There are similar rules for bear, bobcat, beaver, deer, elk, wild pigs, and wild turkeys. See FGC § 4181(a).

Agents

If a gray squirrel is causing damage to you or your property, and you don’t want to kill it yourself, you have options. First, there are federal, State, and local government agencies that can help (e.g. animal control, animal damage control, irrigation, flood, and natural resource reclamation). They can kill depredating animals on the property designated in your permit.

Second, you can designate up to three people/agents, including a dog handler. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, they have to follow the terms of your permit. Second, they have to be acting under your direction and control. Third, they have to be at least 21 years old. Finally, they have to be named in your permit. If you have to replace one, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(e).

Applications

On your application, provide basic info about the property owner, tenant, dog handler, and/or agents (name, address, contact info, phone number, etc.). Second, describe the current damage, threat of damage, or nuisance (location, dates, etc.). Third, give info about non-lethal efforts you’ve taken in the past to prevent the damage. Fourth, identify what you’ll do in the future to prevent the damage. Fifth, propose how you intend to trap or kill the depredator. Finally, explain why you need dogs (if any), how many you need, and who will be handling them. See 14 CCR § 401(a) and (c).

Your application will be denied if you’ve been convicted of certain hunting violations in the past two years or if the terms of any probation prevent you from hunting or possessing a firearm. If that’s the case, you can designate a qualified agent. See 14 CCR § 401(f).

Also see FGC § 4181(a) and Dogs below.

Carcasses

After killing a depredating gray squirrel, you have to dispose of the carcass as required in your permit. Neither you nor your agents (if any) can use the carcass in any way. It cannot be sold or shipped from the premises without prior written consent from the CDFW. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(i).

Dogs

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of dogs to pursue small game like squirrels and rabbits.You may want to use dogs to purse depredating gray squirrels. In your application, you have to explain why you need them and how many you need. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(1)(J).

Firearms, Ammo & Bow Restrictions

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of firearms, like shotguns, to kill small game.

In general, you can kill depredating gray squirrels in any legal manner. However, the CDFW can restrict the caliber and type of firearms, ammo, archery equipment, and crossbows you can use. They can even require that you trap them alive.

Warning shots!!! If you kill them, though, it must be instantly and humanely. You also have to prevent injured bears from escaping. In addition, you have to comply with all city, county, and State firearm restrictions. See 14 CCR § 401(d)14 CCR § 465.5, and the subsections for Poison and Traps below.

Permits

If you’re application is approved, your Depredation Permit is valid for the period stated. However, it can’t be valid for more than one year. If the damage continues to exists, you can always request a renewal.

The CDFW can add terms and conditions that protect wildlife and public safety. They can even require that you capture the depredator alive. To be valid, you have to sign a statement that you read, understand, and agree to the terms. See 14 CCR § 401(b)(1), (b)(4) and (c)(2).

Poison

Poison is not allowed for killing depredating gray squirrels. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(d).

Tags

Carcass tags are not required for killing depredating gray squirrels. See 14 CCR § 401(g).

Traps

If you intend to use traps, the permit will state what kinds you can use. They idea is to make it as humane as possible. They might even require that you take them alive and release them in parks or other nonagricultural areas. Warning shot!!! No iron, metal, or steel-jawed traps can be used to trap or kill depredating bears or gray squirrels or bears. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Violations and Penalties

If you’ve been convicted in the past two years of a hunting violation, you may not be able to get a permit. If the terms of probation prevent you from possessing a firearm or hunting, you can’t get a permit. One alternative is to apply to have an agent kill depredating beavers for you.

It’s illegal to violate the terms of your depredation permit. Your permit will include a statement of penalties that could be imposed for a violations of the conditions (e.g. suspension or revocation). If you get charged or convicted, contact our attorney immediately.

Warning shot!!! Even if you get a permit, you still have to comply with any city, county, or State firearm regulations. See FGC § 4181(a) and (b) and 14 CCR § 401(f), (j)-(l).

Rabbits & Jackrabbits

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including Cottontail RabbitRabbits and jackrabbits can cause serious damage to people and property. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” them. There’s an exception for hunting. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Rabbit Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners, tenants, and/or their agents to trap or kill cottontail, brush rabbits, and black-tailed jackrabbits any time of the year and in any manner when they are causing damage to crops or forage. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4186.

Agents & Employees

If your employee or agent does the job for you, they need to carry your written permission.  You can also ask certain officers and employees of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Anyone that transports cottontail, brush rabbits from your property must also have your written permission. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4186.

Sales

You cannot sell depredating cottontail and brush rabbits that are killed. In general, you cannot sell the “raw fur” of black-tailed jackrabbits (i.e. any fur, pelt, or skin that has not been tanned or cured, except that salt-cured or sun-cured pelts are raw furs). See FGC § 4152FGC § 4186, and FGC § 4005.

Traps

If you use traps, you usually don’t need a Trapping License. (There’s an exception for people providing a service.) You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals. You have to check the traps at least once a day. Immediately remove any animals that are caught. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

Red Fox Squirrels

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including Red Fox SquirrelRed fox squirrels can cause serious damage to people and property. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” them. There’s an exception for hunting. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the and our summary for California Squirrel Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners, tenants, and/or their agents to trap or kill red fox squirrels any time of the year and in any manner when they are causing damage to crops or forage. See FGC § 4152.

Agents & Employees

If your employee or agent does the job for you, they need to carry your written permission.  You can also ask certain officers and employees of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. See FGC § 4152.

Sales

You cannot sell depredating red fox squirrels that are killed. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

Traps

If you use traps, you usually don’t need a Trapping License. (There’s an exception for people providing a service.) You can never use steel-jawed leghold traps to kill mammals. You have to check the traps at least once a day. Immediately remove any animals that are caught. See FGC § 4152 and FGC § 4005.

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Turkeys

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including wild turkeys.Wild Turkeys can cause serious damage to people and property. In general, it’s illegal to “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill” them. There’s an exception for hunting. However, you have to follow the general hunting rules for the California Turkey Hunting Seasons.

There are other exceptions for landowners and tenants to kill or capture depredating beavers any time of the year. In general, landowners, tenants, and/or their agents need a Depredation Permit from the CDFW before killing them. In this Section, you’ll find hunting rules for dealing with depredating wild turkeys, including permit applications, terms, and conditions, as well as non-lethal options. There are similar rules for bear, bobcat, beaver, deer, elk, wild pigs, and gray squirrels. In addition to the topics below, see CDFW’s Strategic Plan for Wild Turkey Management.

Agents

If a wild turkey is causing damage to you or your property, and you don’t want to kill it yourself, you have options. First, there are federal, State, and local government agencies that can help (e.g. animal control, animal damage control, irrigation, flood, and natural resource reclamation). They can kill depredating animals on the property designated in your permit.

Second, you can designate up to three people/agents, including a dog handler. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, they have to follow the terms of your permit. Second, they have to be acting under your direction and control. Third, they have to be at least 21 years old. Finally, they have to be named in your permit. If you have to replace one, you have to get prior written consent form the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(e).

Applications

On your application, provide basic info about the property owner, tenant, dog handler, and/or agents (name, address, contact info, phone number, etc.). Second, describe the current damage, threat of damage, or nuisance (location, dates, etc.). Third, give info about non-lethal efforts you’ve taken in the past to prevent the damage. Fourth, identify what you’ll do in the future to prevent the damage. Fifth, propose how you intend to trap or kill the depredator. Finally, explain why you need dogs (if any), how many you need, and who will be handling them. See 14 CCR § 401(a) and (c).

Your application will be denied if you’ve been convicted of certain hunting violations in the past two years or if the terms of any probation prevent you from hunting or possessing a firearm. If that’s the case, you can designate a qualified agent. See 14 CCR § 401(f).

Once the application is received, the CDFW will provide you with a written list of options (e.g. access by licensed hunters). See FGC § 4181(a)FGC § 4188(a), and Dogs below.

Carcasses

After killing a depredating wild turkey, you must dispose of the carcass as required in your permit. Neither you nor your agents (if any) can use the carcass in any way. It cannot be sold or shipped from the premises without prior written consent from the CDFW. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(i).

Dogs

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including dogs to pursue turkeys.You may want to use dogs to purse depredating wild turkeys. In your application, you must explain why you need them and how many you need. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(1)(J).

Firearms & Ammo

California Depredation Permits for landowners and tenants protecting themselves from wildlife, including the use of shotguns to kill wild turkeys.In general, you can kill depredating wild turkeys in any legal manner. However, the CDFW can restrict the caliber and type of firearms, ammo, archery equipment, and crossbows you can use. They can even require that you trap them alive.

Warning shots!!! If you kill them, though, it must be instantly and humanely. You also have to prevent injured bears from escaping. In addition, you have to comply with all city, county, and State firearm restrictions. See 14 CCR § 401(d)14 CCR § 465.5, and the subsections for Poison and Traps below.

Licensed Hunters

If you agree, the CDFW may authorize access to your property by licensed hunters. If so, the CDFW will do an investigation to find out how many permits to issue. They’ll also determine the territory, dates of proposed hunts, the manner of issuing the permits, and any fees. Hunters will them apply for the special permit. See FGC § 4188(a) and (b).

Permits

If you’re application is approved, your Depredation Permit is valid for the period stated. However, it can’t be valid for more than 60 days. If the damage continues to exists, you can always request a renewal. See 14 CCR § 401(b)(2) and (4).

The CDFW can add terms and conditions that protect wildlife and public safety. They can even require that you capture the depredator alive. To be valid, you have to sign a statement that you read, understand, and agree to the terms. See 14 CCR § 401(c)(2) and (d)(1).

Poison

Poison is not allowed for killing depredating wild turkeys. See FGC § 4181(a) and 14 CCR § 401(d).

Tags & Reports

When you got your Depredation Permit from the CDFW to kill a wild turkey, you should have received a tag. The tag has one section to put on the bird. The tag also has a report section. After you kill a wild turkey, immediately put the tag on as instructed. At the same time, complete and sign the report section. Include your name, address, date, and location of kill. Then mail it right away to the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 401(h).

Traps

If you intend to use traps, the CDFW can require that you take them live. See 14 CCR § 401(d)(1).

Violations and Penalties

If you’ve been convicted in the past two years of a hunting violation, you may not be able to get a permit. If the terms of probation prevent you from possessing a firearm or hunting, you can’t get a permit. One alternative is to apply to have an agent kill depredating beavers for you.

It’s illegal to violate the terms of your depredation permit. Your permit will include a statement of penalties that could be imposed for a violations of the conditions (e.g. suspension or revocation). If you get charged or convicted, contact our attorney immediately.

Warning shot!!! Even if you get a permit, you still have to comply with any city, county, or State firearm regulations. See FGC § 4181(a) and (b) and 14 CCR § 401(f), (j)-(l).

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While we try to fetch up all regulations for California depredation permits, 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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