California Duck Hunting Seasons, Laws, and Locations for Public and Private Land

Hunting dogs for California duck hunting seasons and California goose hunting seasons.

Here, we fetch up California duck hunting seasons, laws, and hunting locations.

Topics

  1. Duck seasons.
  2. Bag and possession limits.
  3. Shooting hours.
  4. Hunting planner.
  5. License.
  6. Stamps.
  7. Types of ducks.
  8. Hunting methods.
  9. Hunting forum.

Dabbling Ducks & Divers

There are California duck hunting seasons for several species of ducks, including dabbling and diver ducks. Here are some of the more common species.

Dabbling Ducks

California duck hunting seasons for wigeon California duck hunting seasons for wigeon.
California duck hunting seasons for Gadwall. California duck hunting seasons for Gadwall.
California duck hunting seasons for teal. California duck hunting seasons for teal.
California duck hunting seasons for teal. California duck hunting seasons for teal.
Mallard (drake)
California duck hunting seasons for pintail.
California duck hunting seasons for shovelers.
Wood Ducks (drake and hen)

 

Diving Ducks

California duck hunting seasons for Bufflehead (Drake).
California duck hunting seasons for canvasback.
California duck hunting seasons for goldeneye.
California duck hunting seasons for mergansers.
California duck hunting seasons for mergansers
California duck hunting seasons for ring-necked ducks.
California duck hunting seasons for ruddy ducks.
California duck hunting seasons for scaup. California duck hunting seasons for lesser scaup.
California duck hunting seasons for redheads.

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California Duck Hunting License

During the California duck hunting seasons, you have to have a hunting license.  You have to buy it from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), formerly known as the “DFG.”  You can get your license online, a license office, or license agent.

The hunting license fee is less for disabled veterans and recovering service members.

Hunting licenses are g00d from July 1 or the date of purchase through August 31. While hunting ducks, you have to keep your license in your immediate possession. See 14 CCR § 700(b).

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California Duck Hunting Stamps

California Duck Stamp for the California duck hunting seasons.
2014 Duck Stamp

During the California duck hunting seasons, you need a hunting license (see above), plus a federal duck stamp and a California duck validation.

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California Duck Hunting Seasons and Limits

Waterfowl zones for the California duck hunting seasons and goose hunting seasons.California duck hunting seasons and limits depend on what Waterfowl Zone you intend to hunt and whether you’re in a Special Management Area. It also depends on whether you’re a Junior, hunting scaup, or using falconry. Use the map to the right to figure on what waterfowl zone you’re in. If you’re hunting right on the boarder of a zone, use our map of  legal boundaries that we plotted from the coordinatesWarning shot!!! The CDFW waterfowl zone map is for general guidance only.


Colorado River Waterfowl Zone

In this Section, you’ll find the general, falconry, junior, and scaup seasons, plus bag and possession limits, for hunting in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone.

Seasons

General Season

The general duck hunting season in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 21 – Jan. 29, 2017. (See Scaup below.)

Falconry Season

The falconry duck hunting season in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 21 – Feb. 1, 2017.

Juniors-Only Season

The junior-only duck hunting season in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone is Feb. 4-5, 2017.

Scaup

The scaup hunting season is in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone Nov. 5 – Jan. 29, 2017.

Daily Bag Limits

For the general seasons, the daily bag limit in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone is seven ducks. However, the limit cannot include more than the numbers listed below. There’s an exception for falconry, for which the limit is three ducks per day.

    • Mallards: seven (7) with no more than two (2) hens or Mexican-like ducks.
    • Pintail: two (2) of either sex.
    • Canvasback: two (2) of either sex.
    • Redheads: two (2) of either sex.
    • Scaup: three (3) of either sex.

Possession Limit

The possession limit in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone is triple the daily bag limit.

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Northeastern Waterfowl Zone

In this Section, you’ll find the general, falconry, junior, and scaup seasons, plus bag and possession limits, for hunting in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone.

Seasons

General Season

The general duck hunting season in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 8 – Jan. 20, 2017.

Falconry Season

The falconry duck hunting season in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 8 – Jan. 15, 2017.

Juniors-Only Seasons

The junior-only duck hunting season in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone is Sept. 24-25, 2016.

Scaup Seasons

The scaup hunting season in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone are Oct. 18 – Dec. 4, 2016 and Dec. 24 – Jan. 20, 2017.

Daily Bag Limits

For the general seasons, the daily bag limit in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone is seven ducks. However, the limit cannot include more than the numbers listed below. There’s an exception for falconry, for which the limit is three ducks per day.

    • Mallards: seven (7) with no more than two (2) hens/females.
    • Pintail: two (2) of either sex.
    • Canvasback: two (2) of either sex.
    • Redheads: two (2) of either sex.
    • Scaup: three (3) of either sex.

Possession Limit

The possession limit in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone is triple the daily bag limit.

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Southern Waterfowl Zone

In this Section, you’ll find the general, falconry, junior, and scaup seasons, plus bag and possession limits, for hunting in the Southern Waterfowl Zone.

Seasons

General Season

The general duck hunting season in the Southern Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 22 – Jan. 29, 2017.

Falconry Season

The falconry duck hunting season in the Southern Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 24 – Feb. 3, 2017.

Juniors-Only Season

The juniors-only duck hunting season in the Southern Waterfowl Zone is Feb. 4-5, 2017.

Scaup Season

The scaup hunting season in the Southern Waterfowl Zone is Nov. 5 – Jan. 29, 2017.

Daily Bag Limits

For the general seasons, the daily bag limit in the Southern Waterfowl Zone is seven ducks. However, the limit cannot include more than the numbers listed below. There’s an exception for falconry, for which the limit is three ducks per day.

    • Mallards: seven (7) with no more than two (2) hens/females.
    • Pintail: two (2) of either sex.
    • Canvasback: two (2) of either sex.
    • Redheads: two (2) of either sex.
    • Scaup: three (3) of either sex.

Possession Limit

The possession limit in the Southern Waterfowl Zone is triple the daily bag limit.

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Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone

In this Section, you’ll find the general, falconry, junior, and scaup seasons, plus bag and possession limits, for hunting in the Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone.

Seasons

General Season

The general duck hunting season in the Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 22 – Jan. 29, 2017.

Falconry Season

The falconry duck hunting season in the Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 22 – Feb. 1, 2017.

Juniors-Only Season

The juniors-only duck hunting season in the Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone is Feb. 4-5, 2017.

Scaup Season

The scaup hunting season in the Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone is Nov. 5 – Jan. 29, 2017.

Daily Bag Limits

For the general seasons, the daily bag limit in the Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone is seven ducks. However, the limit cannot include more than the numbers listed below. There’s an exception for falconry, for which the limit is three ducks per day.

    • Mallards: seven (7) with no more than two (2) hens/females.
    • Pintail: two (2) of either sex.
    • Canvasback: two (2) of either sex.
    • Redheads: two (2) of either sex.
    • Scaup: three (3) of either sex.

Possession Limit

The possession limit in the Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone is triple the daily bag limit.

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Balance of State Waterfowl Zone

In this Section, you’ll find the general, falconry, junior, and scaup seasons, plus bag and possession limits, for hunting in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone.

Seasons

General Season

The general duck hunting season in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 22 – Jan. 29, 2017.

Falconry Season

The falconry duck hunting season in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone is Oct. 22 – Jan. 29, 2017 and Feb. 4 – 5, 2017.

Juniors-Only Season

The juniors-only duck hunting season in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone is Feb. 4-5, 2017.

Scaup Season

The scaup hunting season in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone is Nov. 5 – Jan. 29, 2016.

Special Management Areas

In the Humboldt Bay/ South Spit (west side) Special Management Area, duck season is closed during the brant goose season.

In the Martis Creek Lake Special Management Area, duck season is closed until November 16, 2015.

In the Morro Bay Special Management Area, duck season opens concurrently with the brant goose season, and only in designated areas.

Daily Bag Limits

For the general seasons, the daily bag limit in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone is seven ducks. However, the limit cannot include more than the numbers listed below. There’s an exception for falconry, for which the limit is three ducks per day.

    • Mallards: seven (7) with no more than two (2) hens/females.
    • Pintail: two (2) of either sex.
    • Canvasback: two (2) of either sex.
    • Redheads: two (2) of either sex.
    • Scaup: three (3) of either sex.

Possession Limit

The possession limit in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone is triple the daily bag limit.

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Shooting Hours

Shoot Times NoCalIn general, the shooting hours for California duck hunting seasons are from one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise until sunset.  There are exceptions in certain areas, like Morro Bay and some public hunting areas.  California is so big, that shooting hours depend on where you’re hunting.

See  14 CCR § 506 and and summary for shooting times for birds.

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Bag and Possession Limits

Geese Daily Bag LimitsDuring the California duck hunting seasons, you can only shoot a certain number of ducks per day. This is know as a “daily bag limit.” In general, you ca have no more than three daily bag limits at home, which is called “possession limit.” These limits depend on things like where you’re hunting, how you’re hunting, and what type of ducks you shot.  For daily bag and possession limits, go to “California Duck Hunting Seasons” above.

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Authorized Methods of Duck Hunting

During the California duck hunting seasons, there’s more to consider than just what type of shotgun shells you’re gonna use.  You can actually kill them with a bow and arrow, falcon, and muzzleloader.  There are also rules for hunting from a boat, and for using duck calls, decoys, and dogs.

Archery

ARROWS

For most migratory game birds, you can only use arrows or crossbows bolts with “flu- flu fletching.”  For waterfowl, including ducks, you can use regularly fletched arrows to shoot them on the water from a boat or kayak. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(2).

CROSSBOWS

To kill a duck with a crossbow, you’ll need a Disabled Archer Permit.

FIREARMS

Warning shot!!!  If you’re hunting with a bow or crossbow during archery season, you cannot carry a firearm.* See our summary for archery-specific rules.

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

Boats

Boats during California duck hunting seasons.In general, you can hunt ducks from a boat during the California duck hunting seasons.  However, you can only use your motor motor for picking up dead or injured birds.  While hunting, make sure your motor is removed from the mountings before even approaching a bird.  Make sure you’re either beached, anchored, drifting, or using a paddle to move forward. See 14 CCR § 251(a), 14 CCR § 507.5, and FGC § 3003.5.

Calls

Duck callingWhen calling ducks and geese, it’s illegal to use the call listed below.

  1. Electronic calls.
  2. Mechanically-operated calls.
  3. Sound-reproducing devices.

See 14 CCR § 507(c).

Decoys

ROTATING WINGS

During the beginning of California duck hunting seasons, you cannot you electric decoys with rotating wings or blades.  You can use them no earlier than December 1st. See 14 CCR § 507(c).

LIVE BIRDS

You can’t use live birds to hunt ducks or geese. See 14 CCR § 507(d).

Dogs

In general, you can use dogs to hunt, take, and retrieve ducks during California duck hunting seasons.  Warning shot!!! The use of dogs may be restricted on public hunting areas. See 14 CCR § 507(b), and click here for more California hunting dog laws, including hunting and training.

Falconry

There are separate rules for using raptors during the California duck hunting seasons. For falconry seasons, see “California Duck Hunting Seasons”  above. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(1).

Muzzleloaders

Muzzleloading shotguns are allowed for hunting ducks. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(3).

Shotguns

During the California duck hunting seasons, you have to be careful with what type of shotgun and shells you use.

GAUGE

In general, you can use a 10-gauge or smaller to shoot ducks in California.

In some public hunting areas, you can only use a 12-gauge or smaller (e.g. Morro Bay and  Type A and Type B Wildlife Areas.)

See  14 CCR § 507(a)(4) and 14 CCR § 550(cc)(4)(A).

PLUGS

You can only use a shotgun capable of holding no more than three shells. If you use a plug, it has to be one piece that can’t be removed without taking the gun apart. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(4).

SHELLS

You can only shoot shotgun shells at ducks.  The shot itself has to be loose in the shell. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(4).

SHELL CAPACITY

You can only use a shotgun that is capable of holding no more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. See 14 CCR § 507(a)(4).

SHOT SIZE

For ducks, you can only use steel or other nontoxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The steel shot has to be size “T” or small. For all other migratory migratory game birds, lead shot has to be “No. BB” or smaller. See  14 CCR § 507(a)(4).

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Hunt Planner

To help with planning during the California duck hunting seasons, choose one of the options below.

    1. Archery.
    2. Area Types
    3. County.
    4. Disabled Hunters.
    5. Falconry.
    6. Guides.
    7. Hunt Days.
    8. Hunting Clubs.
    9. Juniors.
    10. Ladies.
    11. Modes of Transportation.
    12. Private Land (SHARE Program).
    13. Waterfowl Zones.

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California Duck Hunting Forum

For tips during the California duck hunting seasons, feel free to ask or answer a question in the comment section below.

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While we try to fetch up all California duck 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.