California Hunting Dog Laws for Birds and Mammals

California hunting dog laws.

Here, we fetch up California hunting dog laws for pointers, retrievers, hounds, coursing dogs, and dogs for protection from predators. We address rules for electronic tracking devices, GPS, leashes, vaccinations, identification, tags, and physical restraint. We cover dog hunting and training for all wildlife in California, including dog control zones, public areas, private land, shooting clubs, and baited areas. We identify rules for hunting while in possession of firearms, archery equipment, and crossbows. We include topics for dog catchers, trappers, game bird breeders, law enforcement, landowners, farmers, and tenants. Finally, we discuss rules related to people who interfere with your rights (e.g. removing your dog’s collar and disturbing your hunt). If you get cited for an alleged violation, or just need some help, contact our attorney immediately for a free consultation.

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Hunting Dogs for Birds

Mammal Blinds

Here’s an interesting law. In general, you cannot use a mammal as a blind to hunt–or even approach– Game Birds. The same imitation mammals that you wish to use as a blind (e.g. a “confidence cow”).

The only exception is a dog or imitation of a dog. This made a great episode on Duck Dynasty. See FGC § 3502.

Migratory Game Birds

California hunting dog laws for migratory game birds like ducks and geese.Hunting dogs are allowed for taking and retrieving Migratory Game Birds. Those birds including certain species of DovesDucksGeese, PigeonsSnipe, Coot, and Moorhen. See 14 CCR § 507(b).

Shooting Clubs

You have to have a retriever in order to shoot at a License Domesticated Migratory Game Bird Shooting Area. If you don’t have one, they have to provide you with one free of charge. The reason is to prevent the loss of dead or wounded birds. See FGC § 3307.

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Hunting Dogs for Mammals

California hunting dog laws for mammals, like rabbits.Here, we fetch up California hunting dog laws that either prohibit or limit the use of hunting dogs. There are exceptions relating to: all mammals, baited areasdog control zones, big game, ecological reserves, endangered species, furbearing mammals, a hound dog tag program, national wildlife refuges, nongame mammals, depredating mammals, small game mammals, tracking devices, vaccinations, and wildlife areas.

All Mammals

Mammals are warm-blooded animals with hair on their bodies.  They also have a spine and give birth to babies that feed on mother’s milk. In general, dogs may be used to Take mammals.  That includes any attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill them. However, there are restrictions during certain seasons.

Control

You have to maintain physical control of your dog while engaged in hunting. See FGC § 3008.

Deer Season

California hunting dog laws for deer.In general, the use of dogs for chasing or hunting mammals is allowed year-round. However, in Dog Control Zones (see below), they’re never allowed from the first Saturday in April through the day before the general Deer season opens. They are allowed in those are areas from the opening day of the general deer season through the first Friday in April. The same is true for training dogs on mammals during that time periods.

Warning shot!!! There are exceptions to these general rules for using dogs to pursue Big Game during closed seasons, or for Mountain Lions, Elk, or Endangered Species (see those topics below). Also see 14 CCR § 265(a)(4), (b)(1) and (b)(2).

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Antelope.

See Big Game below.

Archery Seasons.

See Big Game: Deer and Black Bear below.

Badger.

See Furbearers below.

Baited Areas

When hunting dogs are allowed, the chase cannot begin with 400 yards of a Baited Area. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(5).

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Bear

See Big Game below.

Beaver

See Furbearers below.

Big Game

California hunting dog laws for big game, like wild pigs, boar, and hogs.In general, hunting dogs are allowed for hunting mammals year-round. There are major exceptions related to Big Game. Those mammals include Pronghorn AntelopeBlack BearDeerElkBighorn Sheep, and Wild Pig.

First, hunting dogs are never allowed for pursuing Big Game during closed seasons. Second, there are restrictions in areas known as Dog Control Zones (see below). Third, there are restrictions for the specific Big Game listed below. Warning shots!!! The CDFW can capture your dog if it gets out of control and illegally chases Big Game. They can even kill your dog if it’s threatening to injure Big Game. If they catch your dog–and it has ID–they have to give you notice within three days. See FGC § 3960(b) and (c) and 14 CCR § 265(b)(2).

Antelope

The use of dogs for hunting Pronghorn Antelope is never allowed. See 14 CCR § 265(a)(2).

Bear

California hunting dog laws for big game, like black bear.In general, the use of dogs for hunting or chasing bears is never allowed for bear. The use of dogs is never allowed during archery season for Black Bear. There are several exceptions to the general rule. First is with a permit from the CDFW to kill bears causing or threatening to cause damage to people or property. Even then, you can never use more than three (3) dogs to kill them.

A second exception is for dogs that a guarding your livestock or crops. However, the dog has to be kept pretty close to your property. This exception is true to landowners, tenants, and people who lease land. There are a few more exceptions for people with special permission from the CDFW (e.g. scientific researchers).

See FGC § 3960.2(b) [permits], FGC § 3960.4 [exceptions], See FGC § 3960.6 [guard dogs], 14 CCR § 265(a)(1) – (3), 14 CCR § 366(d) [bear archery season], and 14 CCR § 401(b)(3) [property owners]. Also see Training Dogs on Mammals below.

Deer

California hunting dog laws for deer.
Sika Buck

The use of dogs for chasing or hunting Deer is never allowed during archery season. During the general season for Deer, you can’t use more than one hunting dog per hunter. See There are special deer hunts where dogs are NOT allowed. One example is the “A-25 (Lake Sonoma Archery Either-Sex Deer Hunting).” See 14 CCR § 265(a)(1)14 CCR § 265(c)(1), and 14 CCR § 361(b)(22)Warning shot!!! Also see Dog Control Zones below.

Elk

California hunting dog laws for elk.Hunting dogs are never allowed for hunting Elk. The same is true for SHARE hunts coordinated between the CDFW and private landowners. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(2)14 CCR § 364(p), and 314 CCR § 364.1(h).

Pig

In general, you can use hunting dogs to hunt Wild Pig. However, you can never use more than three (3) dogs. During any Deer season, you can use no more than one dog. You cannot use any dogs during a closed season for Big Game. See 14 CCR § 265(c)(2).

Sheep

The use of dogs for hunting Bighorn Sheep is never allowed. See 14 CCR § 265(a)(2).

Trespassing

There’s a limited exception for a landowner to catch or even kill your dog. It applies when your dog is threatening to injure certain Big Game during closed season. Those animals include Deer, Elk, and Pronghorn Antelope. The landowner has to have a livestock grazing permit from the CDFW. If your dog has ID and only threatening to injure the animal, the landowner has to at least give you three days to come get your dog before killing it. See FGC § 3961.

[Back to All Mammals]

Bobcat

See Nongame Mammals below.

Deer

See Big Game above.

Ecological Reserves

California hunting dog laws for ecological reserves.The regulations allow hunting dogs, training, and field trials at ecological reserves that allow hunting, but requires compliance Section 265 and site-specific restrictions in Section 630. The regulations also require owners and handlers to control dogs when not engaged in hunting, training, or trials. Also, see 14 CCR 550(n) and Ecological Reserves that allow hunting.

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Elk

See Big Game above.

Endangered Species

California hunting dog laws for mountain lions and other endangered speciesHunting dogs are never allowed for Taking a fully protected, rare, or endangered mammal. “Take” includes any attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill them. Warning shot!!! The CDFW can capture your dog if it gets out of control and illegally chases such a mammal. They can even kill your dog if it’s threatening to injure it. If they catch your dog–and it has ID–they have to give you notice within three days. See FGC § 3960(b) and (c) and 14 CCR § 265(b)(2).

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Fox

See Furbearers below.

Furbearers

California hunting dog laws for fox and other furbearing mammalsIn general, the use of dogs is allowed for hunting “Furbearing Mammals.” However, it has to be during the individual seasons for Badger, Beaver, Gray Fox, Mink, Muskrat and RaccoonWarning shots!!! All other closures and restrictions apply (e.g “All Mammals” above and Dog Control Zones below). See FGC § 400214 CCR § 265(b)(4) and 14 CCR § 461(b) [gray fox], 14 CCR § 464 [raccoon], and 14 CCR § 4659(a) [fur].

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Hound Tag Program

The California Fish & Game Commission has authority to start a “Hound Tag Program” for dogs that pursue mammals. As of 2016, the programs has not been established.

Under the program, the hound would be assigned a unique ID number. It must be worn on the dog’s collar and match it’s microchip implant. The dog must be current on vaccinations and treated for certain diseases (e.g. rabies).

If a mammal is killed while hunting the dog, the dog’s tag ID must be recorded on the hunting tag. This includes hunting and/or tracking. If a hound is lost while hunting, the owner must report the last sighting within 24 hours. See FGC § 3032.

[Back to All Mammals]

Mink

See Furbearers above.

Mountain Lions

See Nongame Mammals below.

Muskrat

See Furbearers above.

National Wildlife Refuges

California hunting dog laws for national wildlife refuges.See relevant State rules, see Wildlife Areas above.

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Nongame Mammals

California hunting dog laws coyotes and other nongame mammals,In general, the use of dogs is allowed for hunting Nongame Mammals. However, it has to be during the individual season, if any (e.g. Coyote). Warning shots!!! All other closures and restrictions apply. See “All Mammals” above, Bobcat below, Dog Control Zones below, and 14 CCR § 265(b)(4).

Bobcat

California hunting dog laws for bobcats and other nongame mammals.In general, the use of dogs for hunting or chasing Bobcat is never allowed. One exception is with a permit from the CDFW to kill bobcats causing or threatening to cause damage to people or property. Even then, you can never use more than three dogs to kill them.

A second exception is for dogs guarding livestock and crops. However, the dog has to be kept pretty close to your property. This exception is true to landowners, tenants, and people who lease land.

There are a few more exceptions for people with special permission from the CDFW (e.g. scientific researchers).

Warning shot!!! The CDFW can capture your dog if it gets out of control and illegally chases a bobcat. They can even kill your dog if it’s threatening to injure a bobcat. If they catch your dog–and it has ID–they have to give you notice within three days. See FGC § 3960(c)FGC § 3960.2(b) [permits], FGC § 3960.4 [exceptions], See FGC § 3960.6 [guard dogs], 14 CCR § 265(a)(2) and (3)14 CCR § 401(b)(3). Also see Training Dogs on Mammals below.

Mountain Lions

In general, hunting dogs are never allowed for chasing mountain lions. One exception is with a permit from the CDFW when mountain lions are causing or threatening to cause damage to people or property. See 14 CCR § 265(a)(3) and Training Dogs on Mammals below.

Traps

In general, hunting dogs are allowed to follow a trap drag. See 14 CCR § 475(e).

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Pig

See Big Game above.

Property Damage

California hunting dog laws for bobcats and other wildlife causing property damage.Sometimes mammals pose a threat to people and private property. The law refers to this as “depredation.” Before killing a “depredator,” you usually need a “depredation permit” from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Dog hunting laws allow landowners and tenants to use hunting dogs to eliminate the threat. Warning shot!!! You can never use more than three dogs–even with a permit–to kill Black Bear, Bobcat, and Mountain Lions. See FGC § 3960.2(b) [bobcat], FGC § 4802 [mountain lion] and 14 CCR § 265(b)(3).

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Raccoons

See Furbearers above.

Small Game Mammals

California hunting dog laws for rabbits and other small game like squirrels.In general, California hunting dog laws allow the use of dogs to hunt Small Game Mammals. Those mammals include Rabbits and Tree SquirrelsWarning shot!!! Also see Dog Control Zones below. There, hunting dogs are not allowed for hunting any mammal both before and during Deer season. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(4)14 CCR § 265(a)(2), 311(o) [resident small game], 311(j) [rabbits].

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Tracking Devices

Hunting dogs with certain tracking devices are never allowed. First, the cannot be fitted with treeing switches. Those devices transmit a different signal when the dog’s head is lifted to a treed animal. See 14 CCR § 265(d)(1). Second, they cannot be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) Equipment. Those devices use a satellite transmission to track the dog’s position. See 14 CCR § 265(d)(2).

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Vaccinations

If you’re hunting dog was vaccinated for rabbits in your county of residence, you don’t have to to it again anywhere else in the State. That’s true even if it’s required by local laws. See FGC § 3008.

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Wildlife Areas

The regulations allow hunting, training, and field trials at wildlife areas, but only in compliance with Section 265 and subject to site-specific restrictions per subsection 551(i) and closures in 551(o). When doing so, dogs must be on leash in parking lots and check stations, and kept within 10 feet while in transit to areas for hunting, training, or trials. Also, see 14 CCR 550(n) and 14 CCR 55o(b)(13)-(14), which defines “dog hunting” and “dog trials.”

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Dog Control Zones

California hunting dog laws for dog control zones.There are restrictions on hunting and training dogs in certain areas of California. Those areas are called “Dog Control Zones.” Dogs are NOT allowed for hunting mammals from the 1st Sat. in Apr. through the day before the general Deer season. For legal boundaries, go to 14 CCR § 265(a)(4). To the right is a map of deer zones located within the Dog Control Zones.

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Training Dogs on Mammals

California hunting dog laws for training on mammalsIn this Section, you’ll find information about dog training, including animals that you cannot train on. When dog training is allowed, we cover restrictions related to type of animal, the hunting seasons, interference by others, training within Dog Control Zones, and activities of the trainer.

Definition of Training

In general, training on mammals is allowed only if authorized under California hunting dog laws. Here’s the legal definition of “dog training:”

[T]he education of dogs through “breaking” or “practicing” under strict provisions that preclude the injuring or take of animals. Training is distinguished from “pursuit”, as used in Section 86 of the Fish and Game Code, in that the animal being chased shall not be killed, captured, or injured.

The definition refers to the word “pursuit” in Section 86. That Section defines the term Take, which means “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill.” So “dog training” does NOT include practicing with your dog while hunting. When training your dog, you cannot kill, capture, or injure any mammal. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(A).

All Mammals

In general, dog training on mammals is allowed year-round. However, all of the restrictions and closure in the all of the Sections below apply. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(F)(3).

Control

You have to maintain physical control of your dog while engaged in training. See FGC § 3008.

Deer Season

In Dog Control Zones (see above), dog training is never allowed from the first Saturday in April through the day before the general Deer season opens. Training is allowed in those are areas from the opening day of the general deer season through the first Friday in April. The same is true for hunting dogs on mammals during that time periods.

Warning shot!!! There are exceptions to these general rules for using dogs to pursue Big Game during closed seasons, or for Mountain Lions, Elk, or Endangered Species (see those topics below). Also see 14 CCR § 265(a)(4), (b)(1), (b)(2) and (b)(6).

Antelope.

See Big Game below.

Archery Equipment

California hunting dog laws for bow and arrows and other archery equipment.In general, you can’t have archery gear while dog training. There’s a limited exception for carry it to or from your campsite or home. However, the dog(s) have to be secured and under the control of the dog handler. Also see Gray Fox, Raccoon, and 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(C) and (F).

Baited Areas

When training dogs, the chase cannot begin with 400 yards of a Baited Area. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(D).

Bear.

See Big Game below.

Big Game

California hunting dog laws for bear archery seasons.In general, it’s illegal to train dogs on any Big Game mammal. Those mammals include Pronghorn AntelopeBlack BearDeerElkBighorn Sheep, and Wild Pig. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(E).

Bear Archery season

Dog training on mammals is never allowed during archery season for Black Bear. The same is true for Deer. See 14 CCR § 265(a)(1).

Deer

In general, you can train your dog on Deer during the general deer season. Warning shots!!! However, there are several restrictions. First, you can only use one dog. Second, you must have a deer tag for the area in which you are training. Third, in Dog Control Zones (see above), you can only train from opening day of the general season through the first Friday in April. During archery season for deer, dog training on any mammals is never allowed. See 14 CCR § 265(a)(1), (b)(E) and (c)(1).

Bobcat.

See Nongame Mammals below.

Crossbows

California hunting dog laws for crossbows.In general, you can’t have crossbow while dog training. There’s a limited exception for carry it to or from your campsite or home. However, the dog(s) have to be secured and under the control of the dog handler. Also see Gray Fox, Raccoon, and 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(C) and (F).

Deer.

See Big Game above.

Elk.

See Big Game above.

Endangered Species

Dogs may NOT be trained on any fully protected, rare of endangered mammal. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(E).

Firearms

California hunting dog laws for firearms while hunting.In general, you can’t have firearms while dog training. There’s a limited exception for carry it to or from your campsite or home. However, the dog(s) have to be secured and under the control of the dog handler.  Also see Gray Fox, Raccoon, and 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(C) and (F).

Gray Fox Season

California hunting dog laws for gray fox.In general, dog training is allowed on Gray Fox from March 1 through the day before the general gray fox season opens. However, there are a few of very important restrictions. In Dog Control Zones (see above), dog training is never allowed from the first Saturday in April through the day before the general Deer season opens. Second, dog trainers can’t be in possession of a firearm that could be used to kill an animal. Third, it may not be allowed on public lands, like National Wildlife Refuges, Wildlife Areas, and Ecological Reserves. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(C) and (F)(1).

Interference

If you’re lawfully engaged in hunting dog training, it’s illegal for another person to intentionally interfere with you or your training. The interfering person could be charged with an infraction and get fined between $100 and $1,000. See FGC § 2009(a) and (e) and FGC § 12000.

Mountain Lions.

See Nongame Mammals below.

Nongame Mammals

Bobcat

Dog training on Bobcat is never allowed. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(E).

Mountain Lions

Dog training on Mountain Lion is never allowed. See 14 CCR § 265(a)(3).

Pig.

See Big Game above.

Raccoon

California hunting dog laws for raccoons.In general, dog training is allowed on Raccoon from April 1 through the day before the general raccoon season opens. However, there are a few of very important restrictions. In Dog Control Zones (see above), dog training is never allowed from the first Saturday in April through the day before the general Deer season opens. Second, dog trainers can’t be in possession of a firearm that could be used to kill an animal. Third, it may not be allowed on public lands, like National Wildlife RefugesWildlife Areas, and Ecological Reserves. See 14 CCR § 265(b)(6)(C) and (F)(1).

Sheep.

See Big Game above.

Wildlife Areas

See Public Land: Wildlife Areas in the next Section.

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Training Dogs on Birds

General Rules

California hunting dog laws for bird hunting.In general, you can train dogs on birds, so long as you don’t catch, injure, or kill the birds. This is true for teaching dogs to retrieve, point, or flush birds. You can do this any time of the year from sunrise to sunset. These rules also apply to organized dog field trial or similar events.

You usually can’t release animals into the wild. However, you can release and Take certain birds while training your dog. Those birds are listed below.

    1. Chukar*
    2. Hungarian partridge*
    3. Mallard ducks* (captive-reared)
    4. Pheasants* (Phasianus colchicum, including all ring-necked races)
    5. Pigeon (domestic)
    6. Quails (bobwhite and coturnix)

* See special rules below for training on Domestically Reared Game Birds (see subsection below). Warning shot!!! You still have to follow general rules for hunting Resident Game Birds and Licensed Game Bird Clubs.  See FGC § 3508, 14 CCR §§ 671.6 and 14 CCR § 677(a) and (b)

Domestically Reared Game Birds

There are special rules for training your dog on the domestically reared game birds listed below.

    1. Chukar
    2. Hungarian partridge
    3. Mallard ducks (captive-reared)
    4. Pheasants (Phasianus colchicum, including all ring-necked races)

You have to have a Hunting License. Everyone except Juniors also have to have an Upland Game Bird Stamp.  You also have to give at least three days notice to the CDFW before releasing them.. They might also require that you mark the birds.

You can only Take them on the day of release or during the appropriate season.  After killing a bird In The Field, you have to tag it immediately with the appropriate seal. You also have to keep it identifiable (i.e. the head or fully-feathered wing).

The CDFW has the right to inspect the birds if there’s a significant potential to transmit diseases into the wild bird population. (NOTE: You can take bobwhite and coturnix quail on any day, and you don’t have to tag them.)  See FGC § 3508 and 14 CCR § 677(b).

Endanger Birds

You’re not allowed to train dogs on fully protected, endangered, threatened, or “candidate species.” See 50 CFR § 17.1114 CCR §, 670.5, and 14 CCR § 677(b).

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Private Land

Licensed Game Bird Clubs

Hunting dogs are encouraged at Licensed Game Bird Clubs. If you don’t have one, the club is allowed to provide one for you. Dog handlers cannot serve as a guide at the club (the use of dogs at a club isn’t considered guiding). See 14 CCR § 600(a)(17).

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Public Land

Ecological Reserves

California hunting dog laws for ecological reserves and other public land.In general, dogs must be under control when visiting an Ecological Reserve. There are exceptions for legal hunting and training, and at an official dog trials. Training is specifically allowed at the Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve. However, it’s only allowed in the designated area, and you must have written permission from the Area Manager. See 14 CCR § 550(n)14 CCR § 630(i), and Training Dogs on Mammals below.

Parks & Recreation

Control of Animals

You’re not allowed to let your dog run loose without written permission from the District Superintendent. See 14 CCR § 4312(a).

Disturbance

You’re not allowed to have a dog that is noisy, vicious, dangerous, or others. Otherwise, a peace office may ask you to leave. See 14 CCR § 4312(c).

Nighttime

You’re not allowed to keep your dog outside your tent, camper, or in a vehicle during the night. 14 CCR § 4312(d).

Units

You can go into a Unit unless your dog is either in your vehicle or on a six-foot or shorter leash and under the immediate control. 14 CCR § 4312(e).

Beaches

You can’t let your dog an any beach next to a Unit unless it’s designated for dogs. 14 CCR § 4312(f).

Campgrounds & Roads

In general, you can’t let your dog go outside of the campgrounds, picnic areas, parking areas, roads, structures or in posted portions of units except as provided elsewhere in this section. 14 CCR § 4312(f)

Hunting

You can use hunting dogs in areas open to hunting. 14 CCR § 4312(g).

State Forests

Animal Waste

Dog keepers have to remove and bury all dog droppings. If not, you could be cited for a violation. See 14 CCR § 1423.

Control

You have to have your dog under control in the camping area. That means you have to either have it under physical control, leave it in your vehicle, or on a leash no longer than six feet long. See 14 CCR § 1424(a).

Disturbance

You cannot have a dog that is noisy, vicious, dangerous or disturbing to other people. Otherwise, you could get ordered by a State forest officer to leave the forest. See 14 CCR § 1424(b).

Wildlife Areas

Hunting

In general, you can use dogs for hunting at Wildlife Areas. However, it has to be during an open season at the Area you wish to hunt. There are also Areas that are closed at certain times of the year and/or for specified activities.

    1. Cache Creek Wildlife Area: Dogs are not allowed for Wild Pig hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(6).
    2. Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area: Dogs are not allowed for Wild Pig hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(7).
    3. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area: Dogs are not allowed from March 1 to June 30, all of August, and during the Tule Elk hunting season in September. Dogs may be used to assist in the take of game which is in season, authorized by area (Grizzly Island Unit) regulations and in portions of the area open to such take. Dogs are otherwise prohibited during October and through the end of waterfowl season. Closed to uses other than hunting from the last Monday in July to the end of the Grizzly Island tule elk season and from October 1 through the end of waterfowl season. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(21).
    4. Little Panoche Reservoir Wildlife Area: Dogs are not allowed for Wild Pig hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(33).
    5. San Luis Reservoir Wildlife Area: Dogs are not allowed for Wild Pig hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(54).
    6. Tehama Wildlife Area: Dogs are not allowed for Wild Pig hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(58) and 14 CCR § 551(s)(24).

Warning shots!!! For hunting mammals, you have to comply with the closures and restrictions for Hunting dogs for mammals in the Sections above. Always check each area before you go there.  See 14 CCR § 550(m) and 14 CCR § 550(n)(3)-(4). Also see Leashes below.

Leashes

In general, dogs must be leashed when visiting a Wildlife Area, including any parking lots and check stations. Between those areas, the dog has to be within ten feet of the handler. Warning shot!!! The leash can’t be any longer than ten feet long.

There’s an exception for when the dog is in your vehicle. There are also exceptions for Hunting and Training (see above and below). See 14 CCR § 550(m) and (n).

At the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge, dogs usually have to be on a leash. There’s an exception for hunting dogs when under control of a licensed hunter. See 14 CCR § 552(a)(6)(E)(11).

Training

Dog training is allowed at State Wildlife Areas when there is a designated area. There, “dog training” means: “

[T]he noncommercial act of training a hunting dog to improve the dog’s performance in hunting migratory or upland game birds and retrieval of downed game, and to enhance the hunting experience.”

Warning shots!!! Training may require written consent from the Area Manager. You might also need a permit to relate animals for training. Always check each area before you go there. For training on mammals, you have to comply with the closures and restrictions for Training Dogs on Mammals in the Sections above. Firearms and archery equipment is allowed only as authorized for the training.

Dog training is allowed at the Wildlife Areas listed below. See 14 CCR § 551(i) for details. Warning shot!!! You still have to follow the general rules for Training Dogs on Mammals and Training Dogs on Birds.

    1. Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.
    2. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area.
    3. Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area.
    4. Imperial Wildlife Area.
    5. Los Banos Wildlife Area.
    6. Mendota Wildlife Area.
    7. North Grasslands Wildlife Area.
    8. O’Neill Forebay Wildlife Area.
    9. Oroville Wildlife Area.
    10. San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area.
    11. San Jacinto Wildlife Area.
    12. Spenceville Wildlife Area.
    13. Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.

See 14 CCR § 550(b)(13) [definition], 14 CCR § 550(k) [releasing animals], 14 CCR § 550(m) [hunting],  14 CCR § 550(n)(1) [designated areas], 14 CCR § 550(n)(3)-(4) [mammals], and 4 CCR § 550(cc)(2) [firearms and archery gear]. Also see Ecological Reserves and Leashes above.

Trials

Dog trials are allowed at State Wildlife Areas. There “dog trial” means ” an organized competitive or scored event for testing hunting dog performance.

Warning shots!!! You have to have a Special Use Permit, which depends on the number and activity of dogs. For dog trials on mammals, you have to comply with the closures and restrictions for Training Dogs on Mammals in the Sections above. Always check each area before you go there.   

Dog trials are allowed at the Wildlife Areas listed below. See 14 CCR § 551(i) for details. Warning shot!!! You still have to follow the general rules for Training Dogs on Mammals and Training Dogs on Birds.

    1. Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.
    2. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area.
    3. Imperial Wildlife Area.
    4. Little Panoche Reservoir Wildlife Area
    5. Los Banos Wildlife Area.
    6. Mendota Wildlife Area.
    7. North Grasslands Wildlife Area.
    8. O’Neill Forebay Wildlife Area.
    9. Oroville Wildlife Area.
    10. San Jacinto Wildlife Area.
    11. Spenceville Wildlife Area.

See 14 CCR § 550(b)(14) [definition], 14 CCR § 550(n)(2) [Special Use Permit], 14 CCR § 550(n)(3)-(4) [mammals], 14 CCR § 550(m) [leashes], 14 CCR § 550.5(d) [Special Use Permits], and 14 CCR § 551(i)(1) [Special Use Permits].

Visiting

When visiting some Wildlife Areas, you can only have dogs at or for specific places, purposes, and times of the year.

Hallelujah Junction Wildlife Area

Dogs are only allowed for hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(22).

Little Panoche Wildlife Area

When visiting the Little Panoche Wildlife Area, dogs are usually allowed only in the parking lot. There’s an exception for dog trials. See 14 CCR § 551(m)(17).

Laguna Wildlife Area

Dogs are not allowed from March 2 through June 30. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(29).

Lake Berryessa

Dogs are not allowed from February 15 through July 15. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(30).

Lake Earl Wildlife Area

Dogs are only allowed for hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(31).

Lake Sonoma Wildlife Area

Dogs are not allowed. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(32).

Los Banos Wildlife Area

When visiting the Los Banos Wildlife Area, dogs are allowed only in the main office parking area, and only during waterfowl season. Dogs are not allowed in the “interpretive viewing” area. See 14 CCR § 551(m)(18) and 14 CCR § 551(o)(34).

Mad River Slough Wildlife Area

Dogs are only allowed for hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(35).

Mendota Wildlife Area

When visiting the Mendota Wildlife Area, dogs are allowed only in checking station parking lot, and only during waterfowl season. See 14 CCR § 551(m)(19).

Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area

Dogs aren’t allowed from March 2 through June 30. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(39).

North Grasslands Wildlife Area

When visiting the North Grasslands Wildlife Area, dogs are allowed only in checking station parking lot, and only during waterfowl season. See 14 CCR § 551(m)(20).

O’Neill Forebay Wildlife Area

When visiting the O’Neil Forebay Wildlife Area, dogs are usually only allowed in parking lot. There’s an exception for dog trials. See “Trials” above and 14 CCR § 551(m)(21).

Oroville Wildlife Area

Dogs aren’t allowed from March 2 through June 30. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(42).

Petaluma Marsh Wildlife Area

Dogs aren’t allowed on any unit from March 2 through June 30. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(44).

Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area

Dogs are only allowed for hunting. See 14 CCR § 551(o)(59).

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Miscellaneous

Collars

It’s illegal for another person to remove your hunting dog’s collar. The only exception is for law enforcement. See FGC § 2011.5.

Traps

It’s illegal for any person, including government officials, to trap your dog with a steel-jawed leg hold trap. See FGC § 3003.1 and 14 CCR § 465.5(e).

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Warning shot!! While we try to fetch up all  California dog hunting laws and summarize the accurately, we might miss a few or make a few errors. If so, please leave a comment or question in the reply box below.

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