18 California Hunting Ammunition Regulations for the Ban on Lead and Other Toxic Shot

California hunting ammunition regulations for nonlead, nontoxic, and steel.
California hunting ammunition regulations.

Here, we fetch up federal and California hunting ammunition regulations for using firearms to hunt certain wildlife and at specific locations. We retrieve and list them by Topic and Regulation, and add links to the text and our pages with definitions and hunting seasons, laws and locations.

Warning shots!! Always check the Code of Federal RegulationsFish and Game Commission, and Department of Fish and Wildlife webpages for current laws and implementation of the ban on toxic shot. While the content of this page is not legal advice, our Legal Labrador is here to help. For hunter-friendly summaries, also see our pages for Nontoxic Shot and Firearm Regulations.


Topics

California hunting ammunition regulations for use of lead ammo.
California hunting ammunition regulations for use of lead ammo.
  1. Ammo, see 14 CCR § 250.2 [establishes nonlead ammunition coupon program beginning 2017-2018], 14 CCR § 507.1 [sets nontoxic shell shot standards for hunting waterfowlcoot, and moorhen], National Wildlife Areas, Waterfowl, and Wildlife Areas.
  2. Big Game, see 14 CCR § 353 [prohibits use or possession of lead ammo with a capable firearm, as Section 250.1 provides], Ammo, Condor Range, Deer Hunting, National Wildlife Areas, Pistols, Rifles, and Wildlife Areas.
  3. Buying, see Ammo.
  4. Certification as “nontoxic”, see 50 CFR § 20.134 [process and procedures].
  5. Coot, see 50 CFR § 20.21 [requires non-toxic shot], Ammo, Migratory Birds, and Waters.
  6. Condor Range, see Big Game, Pistols, and Rifles.
  7. Deer Hunting, see 50 CFR § 32.2 [authorizes lead slugs at National Wildlife Refuges that allow deer hunting, e.g. Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge and Imperial National Wildlife Refuge], Big Game, National Wildlife Refuges, and Wildlife Areas.
  8. Definitions, see 50 CFR § 25.12 [“nontoxic shot” under Section 20.134], 14 CCR § 250.1 [defines “projectile,” “nonlead ammunitions,” etc.], and 14 CCR § 353 [defines “softnose or expanding projectile” and “frangible” bullets].
  9. Ducks, see 50 CFR § 20.21 [requires non-toxic shot], Ammo, Migratory Birds, and Waterfowl.
  10. Firearms, see 14 CCR § 250.1 [prohibits use or possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it while taking certain wildlife and at specific locations], Ammo, Definitions, Muzzleloaders, Pistols, Rifles, and Shotguns.
  11. Furbearing Mammals, see 14 CCR § 465 [prohibits use or possession of lead ammo with a capable firearm, as Section 250.1 provides] and Raccoons.
  12. Geese, see 50 CFR § 20.21 [requires non-toxic shot], Migratory Birds, and Waterfowl.
  13. Lead (exceptions), see Ammo, Deer Hunting, and Turkey Hunting.
  14. Migratory Game Birds, see 14 CCR § 507 [prohibits use or possession of lead ammo with a capable firearm, as Section 250.1 provides], Coot, Ducks, and Geese.
  15. Muzzleloaders, see 50 CFR § 20.21 [requires non-toxic shot for waterfowl, geese, and coot] and Firearms.
  16. National Wildlife Refuges, see 50 CFR § 32.2 [nontoxic shot while “in the field” except lead slugs for deer and shell shot for turkey], 14 CCR § 550 [prohibits use or possession of lead or other toxic shot except lead shotgun slugs where the CDFW allows big game hunting], 14 CCR § 552 [prohibits use or possession of lead or other toxic shot], Deer Hunting, Big Game, and Turkey Hunting.
  17. Nongame Birds and Mammals, see 14 CCR § 485 [prohibits use or possession of lead ammo with a capable firearm, as Section 250.1 provides].
  18. Pistols, see FGC § 3004.5 [requires nonlead centerfire ammo for hunting big game in the Condor Range.
  19. Raccoons, see 14 CCR § 464 [prohibits use or possession of lead ammo with a capable firearm, as Section 250.1 provides].
  20. Rifles, see FGC § 3004.5 [requires nonlead centerfire ammo for hunting big game in the Condor Range].
  21. Shotguns, see 50 CFR § 20.21 [requires non-toxic shot for waterfowl, geese, and coot] and Firearms.
  22. Small Game Birds, see Upland Game Birds.
  23. Small Game Mammals, see
  24. Upland Game Birds, see 14 CCR § 311 [prohibits use or possession of lead ammo with a capable firearm, as Section 250.1 provides].
  25. Turkey Hunting, see 50 CFR § 32.2 [authorizes lead shot at National Wildlife Refuges that allow turkey hunting, e.g. Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge].
  26. Waterfowl, see 50 CFR § 20.21 [requires non-toxic shot], Ammo, Ducks, Geese, Migratory Birds, and Waters.
  27. Waters, see 50 CFR § 20.108 [designates territorial waters as “nontoxic shoot zone” for waterfowl and coot].
  28. Wildlife Areas, see 14 CCR § 550 [prohibits use or possession of lead or other toxic shot except lead shotgun slugs where the Area big game hunting] and 14 CCR § 552 [prohibits use or possession of lead or other toxic shot].

List of Regulations

California hunting ammunition regulations for use of toxic shot.
California hunting ammunition regulations for use of toxic shot.
  1. 50 CFR § 20.21 requires steel or other non-toxic shot when hunting ducks, geese, and coot with shotguns and muzzleloaders.
  2. 50 CFR § 20.108 designates California and US “territorial waters” as nontoxic shot zones for waterfowl and coot per Section 20.21.
  3. 50 CFR § 20.134 sets process and procedures for approval of nontoxic shot types and shot coatings.
  4. 50 CFR § 25.12 defines “nontoxic shot” as shot approved per Section 20.134.
  5. 50 CFR § 32.2  generally requires nontoxic shot while in the field in the field of National Wildlife Refuges, allows lead slugs for hunting deer and shell shot when hunting turkey unless a refuge or State law prohibits.
  6. FGC § 3004.5 requires nonlead centerfire ammo when using pistols or rifles in the Condor Range to take big game.
  7. 14 CCR § 250.1 prohibits possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it while taking certain wildlife and at specific locations; defines “projectile,” “nonlead ammunitions,” etc.;
  8. 14 CCR § 250.2 establishes coupon program beginning 2017-2018 with procedures for eligible hunters to apply for a free or discounted box of 25 nonlead centerfire cartridges or shell shot on a monthly basis by entering a free drawing before December 1. (Click here for updates.)
  9. 14 CCR § 311 prohibits, as Section 250.1 provides,  hunting resident small game while in possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it.
  10. 14 CCR § 353 prohibits, as Section 250.1 provides,  hunting big game while in possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it, and defines “softnose or expanding projectile” and “frangible” bullets.
  11. 14 CCR § 464 prohibits, as Section 250.1 provides,  hunting raccoon while in possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it.
  12. 14 CCR § 465 prohibits, as Section 250.1 provides,  hunting furbearing mammals while in possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it.
  13. 14 CCR § 475 prohibits, as Section 250.1 provides,  hunting nongame birds and nongame mammals while in possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it per.
  14. 14 CCR § 485 prohibits, as Section 250.1 provides, hunting nongame birds and nongame mammals while in possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it.
  15. 14 CCR § 507 prohibits, as Section 250.1 provides, hunting migratory game birds while in possession of lead ammo and a firearm capable of shooting it.
  16. 14 CCR § 507.1 sets nontoxic shell shot standards for hunting waterfowl, coot, and moorhen.
  17. 14 CCR § 550 generally prohibits use or possession of lead or other toxic shot on CDFW wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges, but allows lead shotgun slugs on CDFW wildlife areas that allow hunting for big game.
  18. 14 CCR § 552 prohibits use or possession of anything other than steel or other non-toxic shot on national wildlife refuges where the CDFW administers the hunting program.

Regulations

50 CFR § 20.21

What hunting methods are illegal?

California hunting ammunition regulations for migratory birds, including coot.
California hunting ammunition regulations for migratory birds.

Migratory birds on which open seasons are prescribed in this part may be taken by any method except those prohibited in this section. No persons shall take migratory game birds:

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(j)(1) While possessing loose shot for muzzle loading or shotshells containing other than the following approved shot types.

Approved shot type* Percent composition by weight Field testing device**
Bismuth-tin 97 bismuth, and 3 tin Hot Shot®***
Iron (steel) iron and carbon Magnet or Hot Shot®.
Iron-tungsten any proportion of tungsten, and ≥1 iron Magnet or Hot Shot®.
Iron-tungsten-nickel ≥1 iron, any proportion of tungsten, and up to 40 nickel Magnet or Hot Shot®.
Copper-clad iron 84 to 56.59 iron core, with copper cladding up to 44.1 of the shot mass Magnet or Hot Shot®
Tungsten-bronze 51.1 tungsten, 44.4 copper, 3.9 tin, and 0.6 iron, or 60 tungsten, 35.1 copper, 3.9 tin, and 1 iron Rare Earth Magnet.
Tungsten-iron-copper-nickel 40-76 tungsten, 10-37 iron, 9-16 copper, and 5-7 nickel Hot Shot® or Rare Earth Magnet.
Tungsten-matrix 95.9 tungsten, 4.1 polymer Hot Shot®.
Tungsten-polymer 95.5 tungsten, 4.5 Nylon 6 or 11 Hot Shot®.
Tungsten-tin-iron any proportions of tungsten and tin, and ≥1 iron Magnet or Hot Shot®.
Tungsten-tin-bismuth any proportions of tungsten, tin, and bismuth Rare Earth Magnet.
Tungsten-tin-iron-nickel 65 tungsten, 21.8 tin, 10.4 iron, and 2.8 nickel Magnet.
Tungsten-iron-polymer 41.5-95.2 tungsten, 1.5-52.0 iron, and 3.5-8.0 fluoropolymer Rare Earth Magnet or Hot Shot®.

* Coatings of copper, nickel, tin, zinc, zinc chloride, zinc chrome, and fluoropolymers on approved nontoxic shot types also are approved.

** The information in the “Field Testing Device” column is strictly informational, not regulatory.

*** The “HOT*SHOT” field testing device is from Stream Systems of Concord, CA.

(2) Each approved shot type must contain less than 1 percent residual lead (see §20.134).

(3) This shot type restriction applies to the taking of ducks, geese (including brant), swans, coots (Fulica americana), and any other species that make up aggregate bag limits with these migratory game birds during concurrent seasons in areas described in §20.108 as nontoxic shot zones.

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50 CFR § 20.108

Nontoxic shot zones.

Beginning September 1, 1991, the contiguous 48 United States, and the States of Alaska and Hawaii, the Territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and the territorial waters of the United States, are designated for the purpose of §20.21(j) as nontoxic shot zones for hunting waterfowl, coots and certain other species. “Certain other species” refers to those species, other than waterfowl or coots, that are affected by reason of being included in aggregate bags and concurrent seasons.

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50 CFR § 20.134

Approval of nontoxic shot types and shot coatings.

Click here.

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50 CFR § 25.12

What do these terms mean?

(a) As used in the rules and regulations in this subchapter:

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Nontoxic shot means steel shot or other shot approved pursuant to 50 CFR 20.134.

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50 CFR § 32.2

What are the requirements for hunting on areas of the National Wildlife Refuge System?

The following provisions shall apply to each person while engaged in public hunting on areas of the National Wildlife Refuge System:

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California hunting ammunition regulations for National Wildlife Refuges, including Lower Klamath.
California hunting ammunition regulations for National Wildlife Refuges.

(k) You may possess only approved nontoxic shot while in the field, which we identify in 50 CFR 20.21(j), while on Waterfowl Production Areas, or on certain other areas of the National Wildlife Refuge System as delineated on maps, leaflets and/or signs, available at each refuge headquarters or posted at each refuge, or as stated in refuge-specific regulations. Where we allow turkey and deer hunting, you may use slugs and shot containing lead to hunt these species unless prohibited by refuge-specific regulations and/or State law.

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FGC § 3004.5

Methods of Taking

(Click here for hunting the big game hunting regulation for pistol and rifle nonlead ammo restriction.)

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14 CCR § 250.1

Prohibition on the Use of Lead Projectiles and Ammunition Using Lead Projectiles for the Take of Wildlife

(a) Purpose.

California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting wildlife with a firearm.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting wildlife with a firearm.

This regulation phases in the requirements of Fish and Game Code Section 3004.5, which prohibits the use of any lead projectiles or ammunition containing lead projectiles when taking any wildlife with a firearm on or after July 1, 2019.

(b) Definitions.

(1) A projectile is any bullet, ball, sabot, slug, buckshot, shot, pellet or other device that is expelled from a firearm through a barrel by force.

(2) Nonlead ammunition is any centerfire, shotgun, muzzleloading, or rimfire ammunition containing projectiles certified pursuant to subsection (b)(3) or subsection (f).

(3) Shotgun ammunition containing pellets composed of materials approved as nontoxic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as identified in Section 507.1 of these regulations, is considered certified.

(4) A nonlead projectile shall contain no more than one percent lead by weight, as certified pursuant to subsection (b)(3) or subsection (f).

(c) General Provisions.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful to possess any projectile containing lead in excess of the amount allowed in subsection (b)(4) and a firearm capable of firing the projectile while taking or attempting to take wildlife.

(2) The possession of a projectile containing lead in excess of the amount allowed in subsection (b)(4) without possessing a firearm capable of firing the projectile is not a violation of this section.

(3) Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the possession of concealable firearms containing lead ammunition, provided that the firearm is possessed for personal protection and is not used to take or assist in the take of wildlife.

(d) Phased Approach to Prohibit the Use of Lead Ammunition for the Take of Wildlife.

The use of lead projectiles is authorized until the effective dates described in subsections (d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3).

(1) Effective July 1, 2015, it shall be unlawful to use, or possess with any firearm capable of firing, any projectile(s) not certified as nonlead when taking:

(A) Nelson bighorn sheep as authorized by Fish and Game Code Section 4902; or

(B) All wildlife in any wildlife area or ecological reserve, as described in sections 551, 552 and 630 of these regulations.

(2) Effective July 1, 2016, it shall be unlawful to use, or possess with any shotgun capable of firing, any projectile(s) not certified as nonlead as described in subsection (b)(3) when taking:

(A) Upland game birds as included in Fish and Game Code Section 3683, except for dove, quail, snipe, and any game birds taken under the authority of a licensed game bird club as provided for in sections 600 and 600.4 of these regulations;

(B) Resident small game mammals as defined in Section 257 of these regulations;

(C) Fur-bearing mammals as defined by Fish and Game Code Section 4000;

(D) Nongame mammals as defined by Fish and Game Code Section 4150;

(E) Nongame birds as defined by Fish and Game Code Section 3800; or

(F) Any wildlife for depredation purposes, regardless of whether the take is authorized by a permit issued pursuant to sections 401 or 402 of these regulations.

(3) Effective July 1, 2019, it shall be unlawful to use, or possess with any firearm capable of firing, any projectile(s) not certified as nonlead when taking any wildlife for any purpose in this state.

(e) Condor Range.

California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting in the Condor Range.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting in the Condor Range.

[This subsection shall be repealed effective July 1, 2019] Methods of take. Notwithstanding subsection (c)(3), it is unlawful to use, or possess with any firearm capable of firing, any projectile or ammunition containing any projectile not certified as nonlead when taking or attempting to take any big game as defined in section 350, nongame birds, or nongame mammals, in the area defined as the “California condor range” in subsection (a) of Fish and Game Code Section 3004.5.

(f) Nonlead Projectile and Ammunition Certification Process.

(1) Any person or manufacturer requesting to have their projectile(s) or ammunition certified as nonlead shall submit the information identified in subsection (2) below to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Branch in Sacramento. The department shall certify or reject the request within 60 business days of receipt.

(2) Information required for consideration of certification:

(A) Name of manufacturer of projectile or ammunition, address, and contact information;

(B) For projectile certifications, information shall include the following: caliber, weight in grains, product trade name or marketing line (if established), product or catalog number (SKUs or UPCs are acceptable), composition, percent content of lead by weight, and detailed unique identifying characteristics;

(C) For ammunition certifications, information shall include the following: caliber, cartridge designation, weight in grains of the projectile, product trade name or marketing line (if established), product or catalog number (SKUs or UPCs are acceptable), composition of projectile, percent content of lead by weight of projectile, detailed unique identifying characteristics of the projectile, and any unique identifying characteristics of the cartridge;

(D) Signed statement verifying all information provided is accurate; and

(E) Digital color image of the projectile(s) or ammunition.

(3) The department shall determine, based on the information supplied, whether the projectile contains no more than one percent of lead by weight.

(4) The department shall update the list of certified projectiles and ammunition not less than once annually and make it available on the department’s web site.

(5) The department shall decertify and remove from the list any projectile(s) or ammunition it determines does not meet the standards set forth in this section.

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14 CCR § 250.2

Nonlead Ammunition Coupon Program Process.

(a) These regulations establish a nonlead ammunition coupon program using non-state funds to provide eligible hunters with nonlead ammunition at no or reduced charge. The program will be administered by an agent of the department and awarding of non-state funds will be administered as a grant. The department’s agent will be selected through a public solicitation process, and, upon selection of an agent, the department will advertise a website address where eligible hunters may apply.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Eligible hunter” is any hunter who meets all of the following requirements:

(A) is 18 years of age or older as of July 1 of the applicable license year;

(B) holds an appropriate permit tag; and

(C) is not prohibited from possessing ammunition pursuant to Penal Code section 30305.

(2) “Appropriate permit tag” means a valid California tag, permit, or validation to hunt deer, elk, black bear, bighorn sheep, wild pig, pronghorn antelope, or upland game for the applicable license year.

(3) “Applicable license year” means the license year in which the drawing will occur.

(c) Any eligible hunter may apply to the department’s agent to be entered in the nonlead ammunition coupon program drawing. The drawing will be administered through a nonlead ammunition coupon program website that is operated by the department’s agent as established under a grant agreement.

(d) On at least a monthly basis from July 1 through December 31, eligible hunters who have applied will be randomly selected to receive a coupon redeemable for a box of nonlead ammunition at reduced or no charge. The maximum number of eligible hunters drawn on a monthly basis will be determined based on the total funds available such that the number drawn each month, over the course of the six-month drawing period, will expend the total available funds in the year allocated. An average of no more than $30 per box of nonlead ammunition will be used in determining the maximum number of eligible hunters drawn each month.

(e) To be considered, eligible hunters shall apply, at no charge, through a designated website developed and maintained by the department’s agent. Eligible hunters may apply as soon as the website is available, and must apply no later than December 1 in the applicable license year. The applicant must provide the following information, which the department will use to verify eligibility for the drawing with the agent:

(1) Name of applicant;

(2) Applicant’s date of birth;

(3) Applicant’s Document Number as printed on their hunting license for the license year in which the drawing will occur;

(4) Mailing address and email for notification and for receiving a coupon for a box of ammunition;

(5) Preferred ammunition type from the list of available ammunition as identified on the agent’s nonlead ammunition coupon program website; and

(6) Applicant’s certification under penalty of perjury that he or she is not prohibited from possessing ammunition pursuant to of Penal Code section 30305.

(f) The number of applicants to be selected during each drawing shall be determined by the department’s agent and will be published on the website after the program is established and available funding is known. An eligible hunter with an appropriate permit tag may not apply more than once, nor be awarded more than once, during a license year. Applications will be considered in each of the subsequent drawings after receipt until they are either drawn, or the drawing period ends.

(g) The list of available ammunition will be provided on the agent’s website and will be dependent on market availability. Coupons for nonlead ammunition will not be available in all calibers or in all shotgun shell gauges or loads. For purposes of this section, a box of nonlead ammunition is 20 centerfire cartridges or 25 shotgun shells.

(h) The program may be offered and implemented for license year 2017-18, and for subsequent license years, provided funding is available as determined by the department. The program will be implemented only if the department is successful at awarding a grant using non-state funding.

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14 CCR § 311

Methods Authorized for Taking Resident Small Game

California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting resident small game with a firearm.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting resident small game.

“The take or attempted take of any resident small game with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition pursuant to Section 250.1. “

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14 CCR § 353

Methods Authorized for Taking Big Game

California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting big game, like elk.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting big game.

(a) It shall be unlawful to take or attempt to take big game in violation of this section or Section 250.1. The take or attempted take of any big game (as defined by Section 350 of these regulations) with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition pursuant to Section 250.1 of these regulations.

(b) Definition.

For purposes of this section, a projectile is any bullet, ball, sabot, slug, buckshot or other device which is expelled from a firearm through a barrel by force. The following definitions shall apply:

(1) A softnose or expanding projectile is a bullet designed to increase from its original diameter, commonly referred to as “mushrooming”, and retain a significant part of its original weight upon impact with, or when passing through the tissues of an animal.

(2) Projectiles commonly referred to as “frangible” bullets, designed to disintegrate upon impact with, or when passing through the tissues of an animal are not softnose or expanding projectiles.

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14 CCR § 464

Raccoon

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(c) Method of Take:

California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting raccoon with a firearm.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting raccoon.

(1) When taking raccoon after dark, pistols and rifles not larger than .22 caliber rimfire and shotguns using shot no larger than No. BB are the only firearms which may be used during this night period. (This regulation supersedes Sections 4001 and 4002 of the Fish and Game Code.) (See Sections 264 and 264.5 for light regulations.)

(2) The take or attempted take of any raccoon with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition pursuant to Section 250.1.

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14 CCR § 465

General Provisions for Taking Furbearers.

California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting furbearing mammals with a firearm, including beaver.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting furbearing mammals.

(a) Furbearing mammals may be taken only with a firearm, bow and arrow, or with the use of dogs, or traps in accordance with the provisions of Section 465.5 of these regulations and Section 3003.1 of the Fish and Game Code. The take or attempted take of any furbearing mammal with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition pursuant to Section 250.1.

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14 CCR § 475

Methods of Take for Nongame Birds and Nongame Mammals

Nongame birds and nongame mammals may be taken in any manner except as follows:

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California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting nongame birds and mammals with a firearm, including coyote.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting nongame birds and mammals.

(f) The take or attempted take of any nongame bird or nongame mammal with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition pursuant to Section 250.1 of these regulations.

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14 CCR § 485

American Crow

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California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting American Crow with a firearm.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting American Crow with a firearm.

(b) Crows may only be taken by shotguns 10 gauge or smaller using shot shells only and incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined, bow and arrow, and falconry. The take or attempted take of any crows with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition pursuant to Section 250.1. Crows may not be hunted from aircraft.

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14 CCR § 507

Provisions Related to the Taking of Migratory Game Birds.

(a) Authorized Methods. Only the following methods may be used to take migratory game birds:

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California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting migratory game birds with a firearm, including waterfowl (ducks and geese).
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting migratory game birds.

(4) Shotguns 10 Gauge or Smaller. Shotguns 10 gauge or smaller using shot shells only and incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined may be used. except no shotgun larger than 12 gauge shall be used in areas open to hunting on, over or adjacent to the waters of Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County. If a plug is used to reduce the capacity of a magazine to fulfill the requirements of this section, the plug must be of one piece construction incapable of removal without disassembling the gun. Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB in lead or T shot in steel or other nontoxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All shot shall be loose in the shell.

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14 CCR § 507.1

Nontoxic Shot Requirement for Waterfowl, American Coot and Common Moorhen Hunting.

California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting waterfowl (ducks and geese), coot, and moorhen with a firearm.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting waterfowl, coot, and moorhen.

Only bismuth-tin, steel, copper-plated steel, nickel-plated steel, tin-plated steel, zinc-plated steel, zinc chloride-plated steel, zinc chromate-plated steel, iron-tungsten, iron-tungsten-nickel, tungsten-bronze, tungsten-iron-copper-nickel, tungsten-matrix, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-tin-iron, tungsten-tin-bismuth, and tungsten-tin-iron-nickel or other nontoxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may be used or possessed for waterfowl, American coot and common moorhen hunting statewide.

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14 CCR § 550

General Regulations for Public Use on All Department of Fish and Wildlife Lands.

(cc) Firearms, Archery, and Other Propulsive Equipment.

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California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting at wildlife areas, including some national wildlife refuges.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting at wildlife areas.

(4) Hunting Method of Take. Where hunting is allowed, it shall be conducted in accordance with general hunting regulations and subject to sections 550, 550.5, 551, 552, and 630 of these regulations.

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(C) The use or possession of shot size larger than T in steel or BB in lead or non-toxic (other than steel) shot is prohibited on all department lands and national wildlife refuges. On those department lands where big game species may be hunted, shotguns with slugs may be used.

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(E) At Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, the portion of the Tolay Creek Unit Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area south of Highway 37, and on all national wildlife refuges, only steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may be used or possessed.

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14 CCR § 552

Public Use Regulations for National Wildlife Refuges That Are Also Designated as Wildlife Areas by the Commission.

California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting at national wildlife refuges where the CDFW administers the hunting program.
California hunting ammunition regulations for hunting at national wildlife refuges.

(a) The power to control entry on the National Wildlife Refuges that are also designated as wildlife areas in subsections 551(c) and (d) is at the discretion of the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The hunting programs for the “Type A” areas listed below are administered by the department. R equirements in this section for steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are in accordance with Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 32.2(k), October 1, 2012 edition.

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While we try to fetch up all California hunting ammunition regulations, we might miss a few or make a type. If so, please leave a comment or question in the reply box below.

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