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

Bag limits for California goose hunting seasons, California duck hunting seasons, including California Waterfowl Opening Weeking

On this page, you’ll find info about California goose hunting seasons for the 2016 – 2017 seasons.

Topics


Types of Geese

There are California goose hunting seasons for “dark” geese, “white” geese, and brant.

Dark Geese

California goose hunting seasons
Western Canada Goose (“Honker”)
Large, dark Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

California goose hunting seasons
“Lessers” behind 3 Cacklers
Large, dark Canada Goose (B. c. parvipes). Smaller than a Honker, but bigger than a mallard. Breast varies from light to dark gray.

California goose hunting seasons
Cackling Goose
Small, dark Canada Goose (Branta hutchinsii). Smaller than a Honker, but bigger than a mallard. Darker breast than Aleutian. Makes a high-pitched cackle instead of a honk.

California goose hunting seasons.
Aleutian Goose
Small, dark Canada Goose (Branta canadensis leucopaoeia). Smaller than a Honker, but bigger than a mallard. Thin white neck ring. Makes a hight-pitched cackle instead of a honk.

California goose hunting seasons.
White-front, aka “Speckle belly.”
Dark Goose (Anser albifrons) White band at the base of the bill. Striped bars / speckles on the breast.

White Geese

California goose hunting seasons
Snow Goose
White Goose (Anser caerulescens atlantica) Pinkish bills with black grinning patches.

California goose hunting seasons
Ross’ Goose
White Goose (Chen rossii) Smaller body and shorter neck than a snow goose. Deep reddish-pink bill.

Black Brant

California goose hunting seasons
Black Brant
Large, dark goose (Branta bernicla) Short neck and small head. White necklace around the neck.

FWS Goose & Duck Identification Manual___

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California Goose Hunting License

During the California goose 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 geese, you have to keep your license in your immediate possession. See 14 CCR § 700(b).

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California Goose Hunting Stamps

California Duck Stamp for California goose hunting seasons.
2014 Duck Stamp

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

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California Goose Hunting Seasons and Limits

California goose 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 the kind of goose you’re hunting and whether you’re a Junior.

Waterfowl zones for California goose hunting seasons.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. Link to the following waterfowl zones: Colorado RiverNortheasternSouthernSouthern San Joaquin Valley, and Balance of State.


Colorado River Waterfowl Zone

In this section, you’ll find regular, late, and junior-only seasons in the Colorado River waterfowl zone for dark and white geese, plus bag and possession limits.

Seasons

Regular Seasons

The regular seasons for Dark Geese and White Geese are October 21 – January 29, 2017.

Late Seasons

There are no late seasons.

Juniors-Only Season

The species for the juniors-only goose seasons are the same as the regular seasons, and the season is open from February 4 – 5, 2017.

Daily Bag Limits

The daily bag limit for geese is 14 per day. However, the bag can’t include more than the numbers listed below.

Possession Limit

The possession limit for geese is triple the daily bag limit.

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Northeastern Waterfowl Zone

In this section, you’ll find regular, late, and junior-only seasons in the Northeastern Waterfowl waterfowl zone for white and dark geese, including white-fronts.

Seasons

Regular Seasons

The regular season is for Dark Geese is October 8 – January 15, 2017.

The regular seasons for White Geese is October 8 – December 4, 2016 and January 7 -20, 2017.

Late Seasons

The late season for White Geese is February 6 – March 10, 2017.*

The late season for White-Fronts is March 4 – 8, 2017.*

* Hunt is allowed only on private land with permission of the landowner.

Juniors-Only Season

The species for the juniors-only goose seasons are the same as the regular seasons, and the season is open from September 24 – 25, 2016.

Daily Bag Limits

The daily bag limit for geese is 30 per day. However, the bag can’t include more than the numbers listed below.

Possession Limit

The possession limit for geese is triple the daily bag limit.

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Southern Waterfowl Zone

In this section, you’ll find regular, late, and junior-only seasons in the Southern waterfowl zone for dark and white geese.

Regular Seasons

The regular season for Dark Geese is October 22 – January 29, 2017.

The regular season for White Geese is October 22 – January 29, 2017.

In the Imperial County Special Management Area, the seasons for White Geese are from November 5 – January 29, 2017 and February 4 – 19, 2017.

Late Seasons

There are no late seasons.

Juniors-Only Season

The species for the juniors-only goose seasons are the same as the regular seasons, and the season is open from February 4 – 5, 2017.

Daily Bag Limits

The daily bag limit for geese is 23 per day. However, the bag can include no more than the numbers listed below.

Possession Limit

The possession limit for geese is triple the daily bag limit.

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Southern San Joaquin Valley Waterfowl Zone

In this section, you’ll find regular, late, and junior-only seasons in the Northeastern Waterfowl zone for white and dark geese.

Seasons

Regular Seasons

There regular season for Dark Geese is October 22 – January 29, 2017.

There regular season for White Geese is October 22 – January 29, 2017.

Late Seasons

There are no late seasons.

Juniors-Only Season

The species for the juniors-only goose seasons are the same as the regular seasons, and the season is open from February 4 – 5, 2017.

Daily Bag Limits

The bag limit for geese is 30 per day. However, the bag can include no more than the numbers listed below.

Possession Limit

The possession limit for geese is triple the daily bag limit.

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Balance of State Waterfowl Zone

In this section, you’ll find regular, late, and junior-only seasons in the “Balance of State” Waterfowl zone for white and dark geese, including large Canada geese and white-fronts. You’ll also find seasons for special managements areas that affect brant.

Seasons

Early Canada Goose Season

The early season for Large Canada geese is October 1 – 5, 2016.

Regular Seasons

The regular seasons for Dark Geese and White Geese are October 22 – January 29, 2017.

Late White and White-Front Seasons

The late seasons for White Geese and White-Fronts are February 11 – 15, 2017.

Juniors-Only Season

The species for the juniors-only goose seasons are the same as the regular seasons, and the season is open from February 4 – 5, 2017.

Daily Bag Limits

The daily bag limit for geese is 30 per day. However, the bag can include no more than the numbers below. There are excepts for the Brant Special Management Areas.

Possession Limit

The possession limit for geese is triple the daily bag limit.

Special Management Areas

There are several Special Management Areas located within the Balance of State waterfowl zone that further restricts duck and goose seasons, including brant, Canada geese, and white-fronts (speckle-bellies). Each SMA has it’s own bag limits.

Black Brant (Goose)

California goose hunting seasons for brant and California Brant Special Management Area
Black Brant

In the Northern Brant Special Management Area, the season is open from November 8 – December 14, 2016. In the Balance of State Brant Special Management Area, the season is open from November 9 – December 15, 2016. The bag limits two per day.

Canada Geese

California goose hunting seasons
Western Canada Goose (“Honker”)

The North Coast Special Management Area season for Canada Geese is from November 7 – January 29, 2017 and February 18 – March 10, 2017. The bag limit is 10 per day within only one Large Canada Goose. (Large Canada goose season is closed during the late season.)

Waterfowl (All Species)

The Humboldt Bay South Spit Special Management Area is closed to all waterfowl hunting during brant season. The Martis Creek Lake Special Management Area is closed to all waterfowl hunting until November 16, 2016. The Morro Bay Special Management Area season for all waterfowl opens concurrently with the brant season and only in designated areas.

White-Front (Specklebelly)

California goose hunting seasons.
White-front, aka “Speckle belly.”

The Sacramento Valley Special Management Area season for white-fronted geese opens at the same time as the general goose season through December 21, 2016. The bag limit is three per day.

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Shooting Hours

Timetables for California snipe hunting seasons
No. Cal. Shoot Times
Shooting times for California snipe hunting seasons.
So. Cal. Shoot Times.

In general, the shooting hours for California goose 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

Bag limits for California goose hunting seasons and California goose hunting seasons.During the California goose hunting seasons, you can only shoot a certain number of geese per day. This is known 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 geese you shot. For daily bag and possession limits, go to “California Goose Hunting Seasons” above.

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Authorized Methods of Goose Hunting

California goose hunting seasons and California goose hunting seasonsDuring the California goose 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 and muzzleloader. There are also rules for hunting from a boat, and for using goose 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 geese, 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 goose 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 for California goose hunting seasons and California goose hunting seasons.In general, you can hunt geese from a boat during the California goose hunting seasons. However, you can only use your motor motor for goose 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

When calling geese and ducks, you can’t use the calls listed below. See 14 CCR § 507(c).

  1. California goose hunting seasons and California goose hunting seasons.Electronic calls
  2. Mechanically-operated calls
  3. Sound-reproducing devices

Decoys

ROTATING WINGS

During the beginning of California goose 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 geese or ducks. See 14 CCR § 507(d).

Dogs

Hunting dogs for California goose hunting seasons and California goose hunting seasons.In general, you can use dogs to hunt, take, and retrieve geese during California goose 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.

Muzzleloaders

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

Shotguns

During the California goose 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 geese 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 geese. 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

Shell shot requirements for California goose hunting seasonsFor geese, 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 goose hunting seasons, choose one of the options below:


California Goose Hunting Forum

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

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