California Mink Hunting Seasons, Laws, and Locations

California mink hunting seasons and California mink trapping.

Here, we fetch up California mink hunting seasons, laws, and hunting locations. Also see our page for mink trapping.

Topics

  1. Seasons.
  2. Bag limits.
  3. Shooting hours.
  4. Methods of Take.
  5. Hunting licenses.
  6. Locations for hunting.
  7. Hunting forum.
  8. Trapping.
  9. Buying and selling.
  10. Possession of live mink.
  11. Violations.
  12. Regulations.

Hunting Laws for California Mink hunting seasons

For California mink hunting seasons, there are hunting laws just for mink (e.g. seasons, bag limits, and possession limits). Mink are more broadly regulated as MammalsFurbearing Mammals, and Wild Animals. The law also refers to them as as “furbearers” and “fur-bearing mammals.” See FGC § 4000.

Hunting laws for mink are mostly found in the California Fish and Game Code (“FGC”) and Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (“14 CCR”).  You can link to current regulations from the Fish and Game Commission’s webpage.  Warning shot!!! When on public lands, like Wildlife Areas, there may be area-specific rules that may further restrict mink hunting .

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Hunting Licenses

For California mink hunting seasons, you need a hunting license and/or trapping license from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (“CDFW”). There are also licenses for disabled hunters and junior huntersWarning shot!!! You have to have your license with you while hunting. 14 CCR § 770(b).

Hunting License

To hunt mink in California, you have to have a valid Hunting License from the CDFW. Hunting licenses are available to residents and nonresident, who are at least 18 years old. See FGC § 3031(a)(1) and (3).

Junior Hunting License

If you’re under the age of 18 on July 1, you qualify for  Junior Hunting License. If you’re 16 or 17 years old, you can hunt alone on State Wildlife Areas but can’t supervise anyone under the age 16. See FGC § 3031(a)(2) and our page for Juniors.

Trapping License

To trap mink, and all other Furbearing Mammals or Nongame Mammals, you also need a Trapping License (see below).

Disabled Hunters

If you’re a disabled and want to hunt mink, you can apply for a Recovering Service Member Hunting LicenseDisabled Veteran Hunting License, or Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle License.

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Hunting Seasons

The season for hunting mink in California is from November 16 through March 31, 2017.  The seasons applies statewide. See 14 CCR § 462.

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Daily Bag and Possession Limits

There is no Daily Bag Limit or Possession Limit for hunting mink in California. See 14 CCR § 462.

Warning shot!!! If you legally injure or trap a mink in California, you have to kill it immediately. See 14 CCR § 251.5(c).

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Possession of Live Mink

Under very limited circumstances, you may possess a live mink.  However, you have to meet minimum facility and caging standards for housing them at a permanent facilities. See 14 CCR § 671.3(a)(10).

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Methods of Take

California mink hunting seasons methods of take.
California mink hunting seasons methods of take.

In this section, you’ll find info about methods of hunting during the California mink hunting seasons. In general, furbearing mammals, including mink, may only be taken with a “trap, a firearm, bow and arrow, poison under a proper permit, or with the use of dogs.” See FGC § 4002. However, additional rules and restrictions related to: airplanesarchery, boatscapturecontestscrossbowsdogsfirearmsharassmentherding & drivinginfraredlights, motorized vehiclespoisonproperty damagesnowmobiles, and traps.

Archery

In general, you can hunt furbearing mammals, including mink, with a Bow and Arrow.  Any type of arrow can be used except arrows with (1) lighted nocks with a beam of light, (2) an explosive head, (3) tranquilizers, or (4) poison. The same is true for migratory game birds, resident small game, and nongame mammals and birds.

Warning shots!!!

 

Archery for California mink hunting seasons.
California mink hunting seasons archery.
  1. Don’t shoot from or across any highway, road, or place open to the pubic for vehicles.
  2. Your bow has to be capable of casting a legal arrow at least 130 yards.
  3. In general, you’re not allowed to have a firearm during archery season or with an archery-only tag (the only exception is with a Disabled Archer’s Permit).
  4. Don’t put a bow in your vehicle if it’s nocked or the end of an arrow is fit to the notch.

See FGC § 400214 CCR § 465, and 14 CCR § 354. Also see and our summary of archery-specific regulations and Crossbows.

Boats

See Motorized Vehicles below.

Capture

In general, it’s illegal to capture and confine furbearing mammals, including mink, taken from the wild.  There are limited exceptions for injured or diseased animals. See FGC § 3005.5

Contests

It’s illegal to offer a reward for killing furbearing mammals, including mink, in an individual contest, tournament, or derby. This rule is an exception to the general rule that those events are allowed for most game birds, fish, reptiles, or amphibians, so long as you have a permit from the CDFW or if the reward is less than $500. See FGC § 2003 and 14 CCR § 465(b) [illegal for furbearing mammals].

Crossbows

Crossbows for California mink hunting seasons.
California mink hunting seasons crossbows.

In general, you can only hunt furbearing mammals with bow and arrows. However, you can use a crossbow with a Disabled Archer’s Permit. See 14 CCR § 354(j).  Any type of crossbow bolt can be used except crossbow bolts with (1) lighted nocks with a beam of light, (2) an explosive head, (3) tranquilizers, or (4) poison. The same is true for migratory game birds, resident small game, and nongame mammals and birds.

Warning shots!!!

  1. Don’t shoot from or across any highway, road, or place open to the pubic for vehicles.
  2. Your crossbow has to be capable of casting a legal arrow at least 130 yards.
  3. In general, you’re not allowed to have a firearm during archery season or with an archery-only tag (the only exception is with a Disabled Archer’s Permit).
  4. Don’t put a crossbow in your vehicle if it’s nocked or the end of an arrow is fit to the notch.

See FGC § 400214 CCR § 465, and 14 CCR § 354. Also see and our summary of archery-specific regulations.

Dogs for Hunting and Training

Hunting dogs during the California mink hunting seasons
California mink hunting seasons hound dogs.

In general, you can use dogs to hunt furbearing mammals, including mink, during the California mink hunting seasons. You can also use them to train your dog. Warning shot!!!  This rule does not apply in areas closed to dogs. However, there are several restrictions you should read about. Link to our page for Dog Hunting Laws, and see FGC § 400214 CCR § 465, and 14 CCR § 265.

Firearms

Firearms for the California mink hunting seasons
California mink hunting seasons firearms.

In general, firearms are allowed for hunting furbearing mammals, including mink, during the California mink hunting seasons. Warning shot!!! As of July 1, 2015, you can only use nontoxic ammo. on Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves. As of July 1, 2016, you can only use nontoxic ammo for furbearing and nongame mammals. See FGC § 400214 CCR § 250.1(d), and 14 CCR § 465.

Harassment

In general, it’s illegal to Harass furbearing mammals, including mink.

Herding & Driving

In general, it’s illegal to herd or drive furbearing mammals, including mink. The only exceptions are for landowners and tenants preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops. See FGC § 3003.5 and 14 CCR § 251.1 and Motor Vehicles below.

Infrared & Night-Vision

In general, you cannot use night vision equipment to hunt in California, including mink. Examples include infra red, plus binos and scope with light amplifying circuits. See FGC § 2005(c).

Lights

In general, you can use lights to hunt furbearing and nongame mammals, including mink, but it depends on your location.

Zones 1 and 2

In general, you can the Zone 1 and Zone 2, you can use lights of any size or voltage, and use a spotlight from your vehicle. However, you cannot use lights:

  1. During the general deer season.
  2. From a moving vehicle or with the motor on.
  3. From a public road or highway. 

See 14 CCR § 264 for zone descriptions.

Balance of State

Outside of Zone 1 and Zone two, you can use lights but only if you satisfy the conditions listed below.

  1. The batteries have to be nine volts or less (hand-held and headlights are okay).
  2. You have to be on foot.
  3. You cannot use them from a vehicle.
  4. They can’t be powered from any other source.

See 14 CCR § 264.5.

There is another exception when mink are causing Property Damage (see below).

Motor Vehicles

In general, it’s illegal to:

“[T]o pursue, drive, or herd any bird or mammal with any motorized water, land, or air vehicle, including, but not limited to, a motor vehicle, airplane, powerboat, or snowmobile…”

The only exceptions are (1) with a permit from the CDFW, (2) landowners and tenants trying to prevent property damage, and (3) during agricultural practices. See FGC § 3003.5.

Poison Permit

In general, a poison permit from the CDFW is required to take furbearing mammals, including mink. The application must indicate the kind of poison that you want to use and the time and place you plan to use them. See FGC § 4002 and FGC § 4003.

Property Damage

If you’re a landowner or tenant, and a mink is causing property damage, you can kill it any time, day or night, and in any legal manner.  If someone else does it for you at night, they’ll need your written permission before using more than 9 volts of artificial light. After it’s killed, you have to notify the closest CDFW office. In the alternative, the CDFW might be willing to send an employee to kill if for you too.

Warning shot!!! If you kill a mink in this manner, you can’t sell the raw fun. If traps are used, they have to be checked and emptied daily.  See FGC § 3005(d) [exempt from restrictions on the use of any net, pound, cage, trap, set line or wire], FGC § 4180, FGC § 4181 [permit required only for elk, bear, beaver, wild pig, wild turkeys, or gray squirrels], and 14 CCR § 264.5(d) [use of lights].

Snowmobiles

See Motorized Vehicles below.

Traps

See our page for mink trapping.

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Shooting Hours

In general, furbearing mammals, including mink, can be hunted at any hour of the day or night.

Areas Closed to Night Hunting

One exception is that night hunting (one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise) is not allowed in the zones closed to night hunting. See 14 CCR § 474 for a legal description of those areas. See 14 CCR § 466 and our custom map (rough draft).

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Purchase and Sale

In general, it’s illegal to buy or sell birds and mammals taken from the wild. However, there’s an exception for nongame and furbearing mammals.  The exception includes mink taken during the mink trapping seasons.  You can buy and sell handcrafted items made from the mink, including the carcass. See FGC § 3039(b).

If you kill a mink under the authority of a trapping license, you can also sell the raw fur.  You need a dealer license you’re in the business of buying, selling, trading, or dealing raw fur. If you’re a domesticated breeder, you don’t need a dealer license. See summary for Buying and Selling Birds and Mammals; andFGC §§ 4030, 40344036, and 4042.

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Violations

If you get charged with a potential hunting violation, we’re here to help. Contact our attorney for a free consultation.

If you get convicted of a hunting violation, you could loose your trapping license.  You wouldn’t be able to trap any furbearing or nongame mammals for up to three years. In fact, it would be illegal to even apply for a trapping license during that time. FGC § 12156.

If you misuse lights during the California mink hunting seasons, you could be arrested by a peace office. See FGC § 12156 and FGC § 2005(e).

If you break a trapping law, you could be fined up to $2,000 and go to jail for up to one year. See 14 CCR § 465.5(h)

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Hunting Areas

In this section, you’ll find public areas where you might find mink during the California mink hunting seasons.

Lakes

In general, hunting is allowed on land surrounding several lakes managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). See 36 CFR § 327.8(b).

Wildlife Areas

In general, it’s illegal to take any mammal from a game refuge unless it’s specifically allowed.   Trapping is specially allowed on all “Type CWildlife AreasWarning shots!!!  Make sure you follow all the rules for California mink hunting seasons and any special rules at the wildlife area, like closures and firearm restrictions. See FGC § 10500 [generally not allowed]14 CCR § 550(ee)14 CCR § 551(o)14 CCR § 551(r), and CDFW’s trapping law handout.

Here are a few Wildlife Areas where the CDFW indicates that you can find mink:

  1. Decker Island Wildlife Area.
  2. East Walker Wildlife Area.
  3. Elk River Wildlife Area.

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Mink Hunting Forum and Blog

To participate in our forum for the California mink hunting seasons, just leave a question or comment below.

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While we try to fetch up all California mink hunting seasons, laws and locations, we might miss a few or make a typo. If so, please leave a comment or question in the reply box below.

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