Laws for California Hunting Club Memberships, Clubs, Breeders, Buyers, Sellers, and Consumers

Laws for California hunting club memberships.
Laws for California hunting club memberships.

Here, we fetch laws for California hunting club memberships, including clubs and shooting areas for game mammals and domesticated birds like pheasantturkeychukar, and waterfowl. In addition to rules for members, we also retrieve them for clubs, breeders, buyers, sellers, and consumers. We explain how to start and manage clubs, and how members can use them. We also cover laws about the release and hunt of domesticated birds. Finally, we include seasons, existing clubs, and links to forms and other government resources.

Topics

  1. Domesticated Game Breeding for Birds and Mammals
  2. Commercial Hunting Clubs for Birds and Mammals
  3. Diseased Birds
  4. Domesticated Game Bird Hunting Clubs
  5. Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas
  6. Links
  7. Purchase & Sale of Domestically Raised Game Birds

Introduction

Introduction to laws for California hunting club memberships.
Introduction to laws for California hunting club memberships.

There are several kinds of clubs for California hunting club memberships. First, there are “commercial hunting clubs,” which allow hunting for birds and mammals. Second, there are two kinds of clubs that allow hunting for “domesticated birds,” which means they either buy or breed birds held in captivity for a certain period of time. One kind of club offers hunting for species of Upland Game Birds (e.g. pheasant); the other offers hunting for Migratory Game Birds (e.g. ducks). For all of them, there are special rules for diseased birds and for buying and selling birds taken from the Club.

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Domesticated Game Breeding

Domesticated game breeding for California hunting club memberships
Domesticated game breeding for California hunting club memberships

In this Section, we cover hunting rules for breeding Birds and Mammals that normally exist in the California wild and are are kept more than 30 days after you get them. We list exceptions for Laws for California hunting club memberships. We address different classes of breeder licenses, record keeping requirements, and shooting restrictions. We also cover special rules for buying, selling, and transporting carcasses.

Breeder’s License

If you raise Domesticated Game Birds or domesticated game mammals that normally exist in the California wild, you may need a Domesticated Game Breeder’s License. The same is true if you import or hold them in captivity. Warning shot!!! If you need the license, you have to get it within 30 days after getting the birds or mammals. If you get the license, it’s valid for up to one year, beginning on January 1. It must be displayed at your breeding facility. See FGC § 3200, FGC § 3204, and Exceptions below.

License Classes

In general, a “Class 1” breeders license allows you to do all domesticated game breeding activities. However, you can’t sell more than 175 Chinese ringneck or Mongolian ringneck pheasants. The rule also applies to hybrids of those birds. See FGC § 3202.

With a “Class 2” breeders license, you to do all domesticated game breeding activities, plus sell more than 175 Chinese ringneck or Mongolian ringneck pheasants. FGC § 3202.

License Exceptions

Pheasant Clubs

A breeder’s license is not required for Licensed Pheasant Clubs. See FGC § 3200(a) referring to Section 3283, which doesn’t exist.

Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas

A breeder’s license is not required for some Licensed Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas .

Restaurant, Hotels, Boardinghouses, and Clubs

A breeder’s license is not required for restaurants that serve meat of those birds for consumption on the premises. The same is true for hotels, boarding houses, and clubs that serve the meat there.

Buying & Selling Carcasses

Buying and selling carcasses for California hunting club memberships.
Buying and selling carcasses from California hunting club memberships.

In general, it’s illegal to sell the carcass of a domesticated game bird or mammal. There are exceptions for breeders, as well as those who serve or sell them for consumptions. Warning shot!!! If you buy a carcass, don’t take it off until it’s being prepared for immediate consumption. See FGC § 3201FGC § 3206, and the exceptions below. (Also see FGC § 3209 for poultry exception.)

Breeders

There’s an exception for Licensed Domesticated Game Breeders. However, a breeder’s tag / seal must be attached. See FGC § 3201.

Restaurants, Etc.

There’s also an exception for restaurants, which can serve domesticated game birds and mammals without a Breeder’s License (The same is true for hotels, boardinghouses, and clubs that serve them.). Warning shot!!! It must be served to patrons for consumption on the premises. You have to allow inspections by the CDFW upon request. See FGC § 3212.

Retail Meat Dealers

There’s also an exception for retail meat dealers, which can can sell domesticated game birds and mammals to customers for consumption. You have to allow inspections by the CDFW upon request. See FGC § 3200(d).

Record Keeping

Domesticated Game Breeder’s must file an annual report with the CDFW by January 31. First, record the number of each species were killed, sold, or shipped. Second, record the names everyone that bought or shipped the animals. Third, record the names of everyone present when the animals where tagged. Finally, record the number of each species in your possession when the report is made. Warning shot!!! Verify the report with an affidavit. See FGC § 3208.

Shooting Restrictions

Shooting restrictions for California hunting club memberships.
Shooting restrictions for California hunting club memberships.

In general, it’s illegal to shoot domesticated game birds and mammals. There are exceptions for the following clubs and practices, per  FGC § 3216:

    1. Licensed Pheasant Clubs,
    2. Licensed Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas, and
    3. Training or Practice of Hunting Dogs.

Transporting Carcasses

In general, you can’t transport a dead domesticated game birds or mammals. There an exception for when the animals are tagged with a Domesticated Game Breeder’s Tag or seal. Warning shot!!! Leave them on until animal is being prepared for immediate consumption. See FGC § 3206.

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Commercial Hunting Clubs

A “commercial hunting club” is a property where a fee is charged to hunt Birds and/or Mammals. See FGC § 3240.5(a). Also see Domesticated Game Bird Clubs and Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Clubs below.

License

California hunting club memberships and commercial hunting club license requirements.
California hunting club memberships and commercial hunting club license requirements.

In general, a Commercial Hunting Club License is required when a fee is collected to hunt mammals and/or birds. The same is true when a permit is sold for the privilege of hunting there. There are exceptions for property owners that lease or rent the property to the club–so long as the owner isn’t involved with the club. See FGC §§ 3240.5 and additional Exceptions below.

Applications

To apply for a Commercial Hunting Club License, you have to use the form provided by the CDFW. Use Form DFW 1426. Include the information listed below. If you think you’re exempt from need a Commercial Hunting Club License, you have to state your reason on the application. See FGC § 3241, FGC § 3242 and 3245.

    1. Name of the Club.
    2. Club owners.
    3. Mailing address of the Club.
    4. Business telephone number.
    5. The number of properties used by the Club.
    6. The physical location of each property.
    7. The total acreage of the Club.
    8. A list of all species of game to be hunted.
    9. Whether the Club owner owns any of the properties used by the Club.
    10. The name and address of each property owner, if the property owner is substantially involved in the operation of the Club, but does not own the Club.
    11. The signature and title of the applicant.
    12. Any other information the CDFW may require.

Exceptions

There are at least eight exceptions to the general rule requiring a Commercial Hunting Club License.

1. Domesticated Game Bird Hunting Club

Domesticated Game Bird Hunting Clubs don’t also need a Commercial Hunting Club License.

2. Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas

Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas don’t also need a Commercial Hunting Club License.

3. Easement Exception

A Commercial Hunting Club License is required for certain wildlife conservation and agricultural easements. Also see FGC § 3460.

4. Field Trial Exception

A Commercial Hunting Club License is required for officially sanctioned field trial events. Also see our summary of California Hunting Dog Laws.

5. Licensed Hunting Club Exception

Other Licensed Hunting Clubs don’t also need a Commercial Hunting Club License.

6. Private Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Management Program Exception

A Commercial Hunting Club License isn’t required for properties used under the private Wildlife Habitat Enhancement and Management Program (WHEMP). Also see FGC § 3400 and 14 CCR 601.

7. SHARE Program Exception

A Commercial Hunting Club License isn’t required for properties used under the SHARE Program of the CDFW. Also see 14 CCR § 602 and our summary for California SHARE Hunting Program.

8. Small Business Exception

A Commercial Hunting Club License isn’t required if (a) the fee charged by the club is less than $100 per entrant AND (b) less than $1,000 is collected between July 1 and June 30). Warning shot!!! The figures have been adjusted annually. See FGC § 713.

Fees

The fee for a Commercial Hunting Club License is based on the number of properties. In 2016, the fee ranges from about $225 for one property and $2,200 for eleven or more. The fee is adjusted annually. See FGC § 3242 and 3245.

Validity

If you get a Commercial Hunting Club License, it’s valid from July 1 through June 30. If you think you’re exempt from the license requirement, you have to state your reason on the application. See FGC § 3242 and 3245.


Licensed Game Bird Clubs

California hunting club memberships at licensed game bird clubs.
California hunting club memberships at licensed game bird clubs.

In this Section, we cover rules for Laws for California hunting club memberships, including Zone A and Zone B. We address topics for the birds allowed, banding of birds, club agents, dog training and field trials, disease control, inspections, licensing, permits, record keeping, purchasing, release, sale, shooting hours, signs, seals, and violations. For hunting, we include special rules for ammo, baited areas, dogs for hunting, license, methods of take, permits, species allowed, and stamps.

Birds Allowed

California game bird clubs may only release to the species of birds listed below. See 14 CCR § 600 and 600(a)(13).

    1. Pheasants (Phasianus colchicus), including all ring-necked pheasant races.
    2. Indian chukar.
    3. Domestically reared wild turkey.
    4. Hungarian partridge.
    5. Bobwhite quail.
    6. Coturnix quail.
    7. Any other species designated by the Fish and Game Commission.

Agents of the Club

The Club may appoint an authorized agent. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(9).

Age requirement

The Club agent must be at least 16 years old.

Form

The Club must submit the LICENSED GAME BIRD CLUB’S – AUTHORIZED AGENTS (Form LGBC 600A) to the CDFW.

Posting

The Agent Form must be posted at the Club Headquarters for the rest of the season. (Also see “Headquarters” below.)

Banding

The CDFW may require the Club to deliver birds to the Licensed Area (see below) for inspection and/or banding. If banding is required, the Club must remove all leg bands from birds killed on the Club and return them to the CDFW’s Wildlife Management Division (see subsection (a)(7) for address). See 14 CCR § 600(a)(10)(A).

Dog Training & Field Trials

California hunting club memberships and use of dogs at licensed game bird clubs.
California hunting club memberships and use of dogs at licensed game bird clubs.

Sometime, California game bird clubs hold organized events for dog training and field trials. If qualified, the Club can release the species listed below. See 14 CCR 677(b).

    1. Bobwhite and coturnix quail.
    2. Domestic pigeons.
    3. Pheasants (Phasianus colchicus), including all ring-necked pheasant races.
    4. Chukar.
    5. Hungarian partridge.
    6. Captive-reared mallard ducks.

Disease Control

Birds being reared for release by the Club must be maintained under conditions which are not conducive to the spread of diseases. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(15).

Hunting

Ammo

In general, it’s illegal to possess lead ammo with a shotgun capable of shooting it. There’s an exception for game birds taken under the authority of a licensed game bird club. See 14 CCR 250.1.

Baited Areas

In general, it’s illegal to hunt any game bird or mammal within 400 yards of any Baited Area.  There’s an exception for domestically reared and released game birds on licensed pheasant clubs and other licensed game bird clubs. See 14 CCR 257.5.

Hunting Dogs

The use of retrievers is encouraged. For hunters without retrieving dogs, the Club may provide dogs and the handlers may serve as guides.  NOTE: The use of dogs on licensed game bird club does NOT constitute guiding, as defined in Section 2535 of the Code. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(17).

Hunting License & Stamps

California hunting club memberships and license requirements at licensed game bird clubs.
California hunting club memberships and license requirements at licensed game bird clubs.

The following are required to hunt domestically reared game birds on a licensed game bird club per 14 CCR § 600(a)(4):

    1. Hunting License.
    2. Upland Game Bird Stamp.
    3. Game Bird Club Shooting Permit.

Method of Take

Game birds may NOT be removed from the premises unless taken by an authorized method of take. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(14).

Noncompliance

Hunting is NOT allowed on licensed California game bird clubs in California that haven’t complied with Section 600. See 14 CCR §§ 600(a)(3).

Permits

The Club is responsible for issuing a Permit to hunters. It must include the hunter’s name, hunting license number, and permit date(s). The Club may revoke a hunter’s permit if the hunter does one of the things listed below. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(4) and (a)(12).

Carelessness

A hunter’s permit can be revoke if the hunter handles a firearm in a careless and dangerous manner.

Intoxication

A hunter’s permit can be revoke if the hunter appears intoxicated.

Property damage

A hunter’s permit can be revoke if the hunter destroys or endangers Club property.

Safety

A hunter’s permit can be revoke if the hunter endangers the safety of other hunters.

Violations

A hunter’s permit can be revoke if the hunter violates any fish and game regulations.

Waste

A hunter’s permit can be revoke if the hunter fails to attempt to recover crippled or dead birds which he/she has shot.

Waste

Hunters must make a reasonable effort to locate all downed birds consistent with sections 203.1 and 4304 of the Fish and Game Code. See 14 CCR §§ 600(a)(13) and 600(a)(17).

Wild Game

When hunting species other than domesticate game birds, follow the general rules for hunting Birds and Mammals. See 14 CCR §§ 600(a)(13).

Inspections

The CDFW may conduct the following inspections at any time. See 14 CCR § 600(a).

    1. Birds.
    2. Game Bird Purchase Invoices.
    3. Licensed Game Bird Monthly Reports
    4. Pens.
    5. Premises to determine compliance.
    6. Rearing facilities.
    7. Shooting permit records.
    8. Tracts proposed for licensing to determine if it is suitable for a licensed game bird club or to determine compliance.

License for Game Bird Clubs

Also see Permits below. Click here for more information from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife for how to become a LGBC.

Applications

If a club stocks domestically propagated game birds for the purpose of hunting, the owner or operator of the hunting program can apply to the CDFW for a Game Bird Club License. Applicants must use the LICENSED GAME BIRD CLUB APPLICATION, Form LGBC 600 (5/95), which is available from the License and Revenue Branch of the CDFW (follow link for instructions). See FGC § 3270 and 14 CCR § 600(a)(1).

Headquarters

The location of the building, housetrailer, or site must be designated on the license application.

Hunting Rights

Applications involving lands not owned by the applicant must include written verification of exclusive hunting rights on the land in question for the total period of the license.

Licensed Area

The licensed area includes the total area within the exterior boundary. NOTE: The headquarters and authorized travel routes shall be considered part of the licensed premises for the requirements of sealing birds, but shall not affect the gross area of the club.

Map Requirements

Applications for new areas and boundary changes must include a current 7.5 minute U.S. Geological Survey topographic map denoting the boundaries of the proposed area or areas.

Travel Routes

If hunters have to travel off the licensed area to get from the Club headquarters to the hunting area, the application must include (a) a request for an authorized travel route, which may NOT exceed 10 miles, and a scaled map of the route.

Cancellations

The Hunting Club may submit a written request to CDFW’s License and Revenue Branch, but the license fee is nonrefundable. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(1)(J).

Duration

The license is valid for one year, beginning on or after Aug. 1 until July 31. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(1)(H).

Fees

The base license fee is $280 for over 500 acres and $210 for game bird clubs less than 500 acres. Also FGC § 713 for annual increase. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(1)(I).

Transfers

The CDFW may transfer a license to other land owned or controlled by a licensee if (a) the land is located in the same county and (b) the new land is suitable for the purposes of the license. There is no additional fee, but the CDFW may require an inspection (see above). See 14 CCR § 600(a)(1)(F).

License, Stamps, & Permits for Hunters

The following are required to hunt domestically reared game birds on a licensed game bird club per 14 CCR § 600(a)(4):

    1. Hunting License,
    2. Upland Game Bird Stamp, and
    3. Game Bird Club Shooting Permit.

Purchase & Sale of Birds

Birds Killed at the Club

Domestic game birds taken from such Club may NOT be purchased or sold. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(14) and (16).

Purchase of Game Bird

All invoices must be retained by the Club and made available to the CDFW for inspection during the license year. Information concerning the date and number of birds delivered shall be recorded on all invoices. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(14) and (16).

Record Keeping by the Club

Daily Entries

Daily shooting records are required on the LICENSED GAME BIRD CLUB MONTHLY REPORT, Form LGBC 600B (5/97), which is supplied by the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(6)-(7).

Kill Cards

Within 30 days after shooting has ceased, the Club must submit all LGBC 600B forms provided by the CDFW showing the daily and monthly numbers of each species released and taken. The licensee must maintain a legible copy of such record. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(6)-(7).

Maintenance

Shooting permit records and other records required by these regulations must be open to inspection by the CDFW or authorized agent. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(6)-(7).

Retention

Records must be retained for inspection for a period of one year after the close of the shooting season. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(6).

Release of Birds

Wings

At time of release, all birds shall be fully-winged and otherwise in condition to go wild.  Warning shot!!! Birds that are altered in any manner which would, in the opinion of the CDFW, render them incapable of surviving in the wild, or which are diseased, or show evidence of malnutrition, shall be rejected for release. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(10)(B) and (C).

Turkey

California hunting club memberships and release of turkey at licensed game bird clubs.
California hunting club memberships and release of turkey at licensed game bird clubs.

Approval for the release and take of domestically reared wild turkeys will not be granted in areas where wild turkeys have been released by the CDFW or where a population of wild turkeys exists. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(10)(B) and (C).

Seals

Accountability

The licensee must account for all used and unused seals (upon request by the CDFW), and destroy all unused seals at the end of each season. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(8).

Attachment

Immediately upon return to the club headquarters, the Club must affix a CDFW-issued seal to chukarpheasants, and turkey. It cannot be removed until final preparation for consumption. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(8).

Sign-In Sheets

All hunters must sign in on a daily log sheet at the location designated on the license application prior to going into the field in pursuit of domestically reared game birds. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(5).

Sign Requirements for the Boundaries

Game bird clubs must post the exterior boundary with signs of a size not less than 8 1/2 by 11 inches at intervals of at least three (3) to the mile and at all corners and entrances. The signs shall include the name of the club and the words: “private licensed game bird club or private licensed pheasant club-authorized under regulations of the Fish and Game Commission -no trespassing.” These signs shall be visible at least twenty-five (25) feet from the boundaries of such club. The CDFW does NOT furnish such signs. Signs must be removed prior to Sept. 15 of the succeeding year if no license is granted for that year. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(2).

Shooting Hours

The shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(11).

Violations

The CDFW may revoke, suspend or decline to renew a license for non-compliance with the terms and conditions, after which the licensee may request a hearing before the Fish & Game Commission. See 14 CCR § 600(a)(1)(K).

Zone A Licensed Game Bird Clubs.

See 14 CCR § 600(b)(1)(A) for legal description.

Daily Bag Limit

 There is no Daily Bag Limit at Zone A Licensed Game Bird Clubs. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(1)(D)

Firearms

While on the travel route, if the Club has one, firearms must remain unloaded in conformance with California law. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(1)(F).

Headquarters

The headquarters must be established before any shooting permits are issued or birds taken. during the shooting season, each Club must maintain a headquarters building, house-trailer, or site for record inspection. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(1)(F).

Limitation on Pheasants Taken

No more than 80% of the total number of pheasants previously released on the licensed area during the license year and up to 12 days prior to the season. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(1)(C).

Shooting Season

In general, the season for all domestically reared game birds is from September 1 to March 31 of the following year except for pheasant, which is from the Saturday nearest the 15th day of October and extend for 114 consecutive days. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(1)(B).

Unused Seals

Unused seals shall not be given to other hunters. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(1)(E).

Zone B Licensed Game Bird Clubs

See 14 CCR § 600(b)(2)(B) for legal description.

Daily Bag Limit

There is no Daily Bag Limit. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(2)(E).

Limitation on Pheasant Taken

The total number of pheasant taken may NOT exceed the number previously released during the current license year. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(2)(C).

Release of Pheasants Required

Pheasants may not be taken on a Zone B licensed pheasant club unless domestically reared pheasants have previously been released on the licensed area during the current license year. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(2)(D).

Shooting Season

The shooting seasons is from September 1 and close on May 31. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(2)(B).

Unused Seals

Unused seals may be possessed only by the licensee or a duly authorized agent. See 14 CCR § 600(b)(2)(F).

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Diseased Birds

In general, it’s illegal to propagate or release a diseased bird detrimental to wild populations. One possible exception is with a fee written permit from the CDFW. The same rules apply to transporting, selling, or disposing of the bird. See 14 CCR § 680.

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Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas

California hunting club memberships at migratory game bird shooting areas.
California hunting club memberships at migratory game bird shooting areas.

A “domesticated migratory game bird” includes any species of Migratory Game Bird, as defined in Section 3500(b), that is held in captivity after the age of six weeks. Those birds include Ducks, Geese, Doves (Western mourning and White-winged), Snipe (Jacksnipe), Band-tailed Pigeon, Coots, and Moorhen). See FGC § 3300 and FGC § 500(b).

Area License

A Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Area License is required to raise and/or release domesticated migratory game birds for shooting by hunters who to hunt there. Shooting Areas get the license from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW).  See FGC § 3300.

Applications

Shooting Areas have to apply using the appropriate CDFW form must. It has to be signed by the applicant, corporate officer, or general partner, depending on the type of entity. Warning shot!!! If a natural person is doing business under a fictitious name, the application must include a statement of the fictitious name. See 14 CCR § 600.4(a)(3).

Hunting Rights

If the property does not belong to the applicant, the applicant must (a) declare that he or she has exclusive hunting rights from the landowner and (b) provide written verification upon request from the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 600.4(a)(1).

Inspection

Before granting the license, the CDFW must investigate the property and determine that (1) the proposed shooting area will NOT conflict with wild migratory game bird hunting and will be in the public interest and (2) operation of the Club will NOT have a detrimental effect upon wild migratory game birds. See 14 CCR § 600.4(b).

Property

The application has to include the size and location of the area to be licensed. See FGC § 3301.

Rejection

If the application is rejected by the CDFW, the applicant may appeal to the Fish and Game Commission. See 14 CCR § 600.4(b).

Renewal

The license will NOT be renewed the following year if the Fish & Game Commission determines that the Club failed to comply with the terms and conditions.  Warning shot!!!  The applicant may appear in person or by representative before the Commission to present evidence that would constitute a justifiable excuse. See 14 CCR § 600.4(a)(4).

Transfers

The license is nontransferable.

Violations

In general, the CDFW can cancel or revoke the Shooting Area license. However, they have to first give notice and an opportunity to be heard by the Shooting Area. See FGC § 3302.

Withdrawal

The Club may submit a request for withdrawal to the CDFW, which must include a statement of reasons. See 14 CCR § 600.4(a)(5).

Bird Care

Breeding

See Domesticated Game Breeding above.

Facilities

The shooting area has to provide proper and adequate care for the domesticated migratory game birds. There facilities where the birds are reared or held for release must be sanitary. Upon request, the Shooting Area has to allow the CDFW to inspect those areas. See FGC § 3303.

Release

All domesticated migratory game birds have to be at least 14 weeks old before they’re released for shooting. In addition, they have to capable of surviving in the wild (e.g. sustained flight and fully-feathered). Warning shots!!! Do not release birds that are diseased, malnourished or injured. See FGC § 3305.

Hunting License

Required from the CDFW for the taking of domesticated migratory game birds in areas licensed for shooting those birds, upon the payment of a base fee of fifteen dollars ($15). See FGC § 3031(a)(5) and FGC § 3310.

Hunting

Ammo

In general, it’s illegal to possess lead ammo with a shotgun capable of shooting it. There’s an exception for game birds taken under the authority of a licensed game bird club. See 14 CCR 250.1 and 14 CCR § 600.4(g).

Baited Areas

In general, it’s illegal to hunt any game bird or mammal within 400 yards of any Baited Area.  There’s an exception for domestically reared and released game birds on licensed pheasant clubs and other licensed game bird clubs. See 14 CCR 257.5.

Methods

Domesticated migratory game birds may be taken on licensed areas only by the following equipment or methods, per 14 CCR § 600.4(g):

    1. Falconry
    2. Longbow and arrow
    3. Muzzleloading shotguns
    4. Shotguns (10-gauge or smaller, capable of holding no more than three shells, and with shot shells only)

Inspections

The CDFW must inspect for bird health and facility sanitation. See 14 CCR § 600.4(d).

Fees

Licensees must pay the CDFW an inspection fee for each migratory game bird raised or imported for shooting purposes. See FGC § 3308 and 14 CCR § 600.4(d).

Import

Any person that imports live domestically reared migratory game birds into the State must have them inspected at the point of entry by a licensed veterinarian for disease and health condition. The certificate must be (1) signed by the veterinarian, (2) endorsed by a federal veterinarian, and (3) forwarded to the CDFW for each shipment. Warning shot!!! Without a certificate, the importer must either destroy the birds or return them to the point of origin. See 14 CCR § 600.4(d).

Preservation Facilities

There are additional record-keeping requirements for hunting clubs that fully process migratory birds by removal of both the head and wings. See 50 CFR 20.81 and our summary for California Food Preservation Facility Laws.

Regulations

the CDFW will furnish a complete copy, which must be posted by the Club in the area headquarters where they may be read by any person using the facilities of the area. See 14 CCR § 600.4(j).

Seals / Tags

Before a bird can leave the Shooting Area, a seal has to be attached to the bird. You have to buy them from the CDFW. Upon request, you have to account for unused tags. If you have any left over, you can’t transfer them to someone else. You can, though, get a refund from the CDFW. Warning shot!!! Do not give them to other shooters. See FGC § 3309 and 14 CCR § 600.4(i).

Shooting Area

Blinds

In general, shooting has to be from blinds. There’s an exception for shooting while retrieving a downed bird (i.e. a “crip”). No more than three shooters can use a blind. Blinds have to be built so that the birds cannot be shot over water OR see the release site. They also have to be built to insure maximum safety to shooters in other blinds. See FGC § 3306.

Release Site

Bird may not be shot at or killed within 500 feet of the release site. See FGC § 3306.

Retrieval

California hunting club memberships and retrieval of birds at Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Areas.
California hunting club memberships and retrieval of birds at domesticated migratory game bird shooting areas.

When a bird is shot dead or wounded, it must be retrieved immediately. If wounded, it must be killed humanely. The Shooting Area can leave injured birds to remain in ponds or feeding areas, or allow them to be used during another release. The Shooting Area must provide retrieving dogs, at no cost, or allow hunters to bring their own. See FGC § 3307.

Shooting Hours

In general, Shooting Area hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. See 14 CCR § 600.4(f).

Shooting Records

Inspections

Shooting records must be open for inspection by the CDFW at all times. During shooting season, the records must be maintained at the area headquarters. For the remainder of the shooting season, the records must be maintained at the club headquarters or in the possession of the license (or his or her agent). Afterwards, the records must be maintained for a period of one year at an area designated by the licensee. See 14 CCR § 600.4(h).

Maintenance

The Shooting Area must maintain current record of the number of hunters and birds taken on forms supplied by the CDFW. See 14 CCR § 600.4(h).

Originals

Originals must be submitted to the Wildlife Protection Branch of the CDFW within 10 days after the close of each month during shooting season (1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814). See 14 CCR § 600.4(h).

Photocopies

The licensee must retain a legible copy of each record. See 14 CCR § 600.4(h).

Shooting Season

In general, the Shooting Area season is from September 1 through May 31. However, the CDFW has discretion to shorten the season. See 14 CCR § 600.4(e).

Signs

The Shooting Area must post signs and, if the license is not renewed, remove them before to September 15 of the following year. See FGC § 3301 and 14 CCR § 600.4(c).

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Licensed Pheasant Clubs

Baited Areas

California hunting club memberships and use of bait at licensed pheasant clubs.
California hunting club memberships and use of bait at licensed pheasant clubs.

In general, it’s illegal to possess lead ammo with a shotgun capable of shooting it. There’s an exception for game birds taken under the authority of a licensed game bird club. See 14 CCR 250.1 and 14 CCR § 600.4(g). Also see Domesticated Bird Breeding: Breeder’s License and Shooting above.

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Purchase and Sale of Domestically Raised Game Birds

In general, it’s illegal to buy or sell sell or purchase a bird found in the California wild. However, it’s legal to sell or purchase the inedible parts of domestically raised game birds. See FGC § 3309 and 3504.


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While we try to fetch up all laws for California hunting club memberships, 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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