Here, we fetch up a selection of major California night hunting regulations for birds and mammals from the Fish and Game Code, as well as Title 14 of the Code of Regulations. We also retrieve custom maps, definitions, and links to our pages with other relevant hunting laws like Shooting Hours. Warning shots!! The contents of this page is not legal advice, but feel free to contact our attorney for help. Always check the Fish and Game website for current and any additional hunting regulations. Other rules and regulations might also apply (e.g. Penal Code and county ordinances).
Topics from California Night Hunting Regulations
In this section are topics from California night hunting regulations with links to the text and our pages with other relevant hunting laws about hunting methods.
- Archery, see 14 CCR §§ 353(i) and 354(c).
- Arrests, see FGC § 2005.
- Binoculars, see 14 CCR §§ 353(i) and 354(c), as well as Lights and Scopes below.
- Big game, see 14 CCR § 353(i) and Mammals below.
- Birds, see FGC § 2005 and Game birds below.
- Crossbows, see 14 CCR § 354(c).
- Counties, see 14 CCR § 263.
- Deer (game and nongame), see 14 CCR §§ 264 and 474, as well as Mammals below.
- Firearms, see FGC § 2005 and 14 CCR § 464(c), as well as Pistols, Rifles, and Shotguns below.
- Flashlights, see FGC § 2005 and Lights below.
- Furbearing mammals, see 14 CCR §§ 264, 264.5, and 466, as well as Mammals below.
- Forests and woodlands, see FGC § 2005.
- Game birds, see FGC § 2005 and 14 CCR § 263.
- Game mammals, see FGC § 2005, and Big game and Deer above.
- Headlamps, see 14 CCR § 264 and Lights below.
- Lamps and lanterns, see FGC § 2005 and Lights below.
- Landowners and tenants, FGC § 2005, 14 CCR § 264.5 and 474, and Private property below.
- Lights, see FGC § 2005 and 14 CCR §§ 264, 264.5, 353(i), and 354(c), as well as Flashlights, Headlamps, and Lamps and lanterns above.
- Night hunting zones, see 14 CCR §§ 264, 264.5, 466, and 474, and our custom map.
- Night vision equipment, see FGC § 2005 and 14 CCR § 353(i), as well as Lights and Scopes.
- Mammals, see FGC § 2005, Furbearing mammals, Game mammals, Big game, Deer, and Nongame mammals.
- Nongame mammals, seeFGC § 3000, and 14 CCR §§ 264, 264.5, and 474, as well as Deer and Raccoon.
- Pistols, see 14 CCR § 464(c) and Firearms above.
- Private property, see 4 CCR § 474, as well as Landowners and tenants above.
- Raccoon, see 14 CCR § 464(c).
- Rangefinders, see 14 CCR § 353(i) and Scopes below.
- Rifles, see 14 CCR § 464(c) and Firearms above.
- Roads and highways, see FGC § 2005, 14 CCR § 264, and Vehicles.
- Scopes, see 14 CCR § 353(i), Binoculars, Night vision, and Rangefinders above.
- Shotguns, see 14 CCR § 464(c) and Firearms above.
- Trapping, see 14 CCR § 464(c).
- Vehicles, see FGC § 2005 and 14 CCR § 264, as well as Roads and highways.
California Night Hunting Regulations
In this section are California night hunting regulations with summaries and links to the text.
- FGC § 2005 (a) prohibits use of “artificial lights,” like a spotlight or vehicle headlight, to help take a game bird or game mammal; (b) prohibits use of “artificial lights” (i) on a highway, (ii) where game mammals, furbearing mammals, or nongame mammals are commonly found, or (ii) upon those same mammals while in possession of a firearm or other weapon; (c) prohibits use of “night vision equipment” (e.g. infrared) to help take any bird or mammal; and (d) exempts certain (i) agricultural landowners and employees, (ii) private landowners preventing property damage by furbearing mammals per Section 4180, (ii) handheld flashlights, lamps, and lanterns, and (iii) unintentional use of vehicle headlights.
- FGC § 3000 generally prohibits night hunting except nongame mammals or as hunting Codes or regulations otherwise provide.
- 14 CCR § 263 prohibits night hunting in Monterey County and San Benito County east of Highway 101.
- 14 CCR § 264 allows lights of any size or voltage for hunting furbearing mammals and nongame mammals in Zone 1 and Zone 2 (as described) except (a) during the general deer season, (b) in a moving vehicle, (c) in a vehicle with the motor running, (d) from a vehicle on a public road or highway.
- 14 CCR § 264.5 generally allows lights for hunting furbearing mammals and nongame mammals outside of Zone 1 and Zone 2, as described in Section 264, but only if the light is (a) powered only with a 9-volt battery or smaller, (b) held in the hand or worn on the head, and (c) being used while on foot; and exempts landowners preventing property damage, e.g. livestock, by furbearing and nongame.
- 14 CCR § 353(i) generally prohibits hunting big game while in possession of any light or electronic that intensify the light source for visible enhancement of the animal or point of aim, e.g. “sniperscopes”, night vision scopes, binoculars, or non-visible spectrum light technology (e.g. infrared) and exempts devices self-illuminating sights or pins that don’t project light on the animal (e.g. laser rangefinders, “red-dot” scopes, and fiberoptic sights).
- 14 CCR § 354(c) allows arrows and crossbow bolts with lighted nocks that do not send a directional beam of light, as an exception to FGC § 2005.
- 14 CCR § 464(c) restricts use of firearms for taking raccoon after dark to only (a) pistols and rifles no larger than .22 caliber rimfire and (b) shotguns with shell shot no larger than No. BB. NOTE: This is still subject to light regulations in 14 CCR §§ 264 and 264.5.
- 14 CCR § 466 allows night hunting for furbearers except in areas described in Section 474(a).
- 14 CCR § 474 allows night hunting for nongame mammals except in the area closed to night hunting; exempts (a) nongame deer, e.g. Sika, (b) legal trapping, and (c) hunting on private property by landowners, tenants, and hunters in possession of written permission.
Fish and Game Code with California Night Hunting Regulations
FGC § 2005 (California Night Hunting Regulations)
Taking and Possessing in General
(a) Except as otherwise authorized by this section, it is unlawful to use an artificial light to assist in the taking of a game bird, game mammal, or game fish.
(b) It is unlawful for one or more persons to throw or cast the rays of a spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light on a highway or in a field, woodland, or forest where game mammals, fur-bearing mammals, or nongame mammals are commonly found, or upon a game mammal, fur-bearing mammal, or nongame mammal, while having in his or her possession or under his or her control a firearm or weapon with which that mammal could be killed, even though the mammal is not killed, injured, shot at, or otherwise pursued.
(c) It is unlawful to use or possess night vision equipment to assist in the taking of a bird, mammal, amphibian, reptile, or fish. For purposes of this subdivision, “night vision equipment” includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) An infrared or similar light, used in connection with an electronic viewing device.
(2) An optical device, including, but not limited to, binoculars or a scope, that uses electrical or battery powered light amplifying circuits.
(d) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) Sport fishing in ocean waters, or other waters where night fishing is permitted, if an artificial light is not used on or as part of the fishing tackle.
(2) Commercial fishing.
(3) The taking of mammals governed by Article 2 (commencing with Section 4180) of Chapter 3 of Part 3 of Division 4.
(4) The use of a hand-held flashlight that is no larger and emits no more light than a two-cell, three-volt flashlight, and is not affixed to a weapon.
(5) The use of a lamp or lantern that does not cast a directional beam of light.
(6) Headlights of a motor vehicle that are operated in a usual manner and without attempt or intent to locate a game mammal, fur-bearing mammal, or nongame mammal.
(7) An owner of land devoted to the agricultural industry, or the owner’s employee, while on that land.
(8) An owner of land devoted to the agricultural industry, or the owner’s employee, while on land controlled by the owner in connection with the agricultural industry.
(9) Other uses as the commission may authorize by regulation.
(e) A person shall not be arrested for violation of this section except by a peace officer.
FGC § 3000
Methods of Taking
It is unlawful to take any bird or mammal, except a nongame mammal, between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise of the following day at the place of taking, except as otherwise provided in this code or under such regulations as the commission may adopt. The commission may adopt regulations prohibiting the taking of any nongame mammal between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise of the following day at the place of taking.
Title 14 with California Night Hunting Regulations
14 CCR § 263 (California Night Hunting Regulations)
Prohibition Against Night Hunting
Notwithstanding any other provisions of these regulations, hunting wildlife from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise is prohibited in Monterey and San Benito counties east of Highway 101.
14 CCR § 264 (California Night Hunting Regulations)
Use of Lights While Hunting Specific Areas
(a) Lights of any size or voltage may be used to take furbearing or nongame mammals only in the areas described in subsections (b) and (c) below, and only under the following conditions:
(1) The use of lights for night hunting is prohibited in any area where the general deer season is open.
(2) Furbearing mammals and nongame mammals may be taken with the aid of a spotlight or other artificial light operated from a vehicle provided such vehicle is stopped and standing with the motor off. No spotlight may be used from a vehicle which is on a public road or highway.
(b) Zone 1.
(Portions of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba counties.)
Area: Within the boundary beginning at the junction of Interstate 880 and Interstate 5 near Sacramento; east on Interstate 880 to its junction with Interstate 80; north and east on Interstate 80 to its junction with Highway 65 near Roseville, along Highway 65 to its junction with Highway 20 at Marysville; west on Highway 20 to its junction with Highway 45; north on Highway 45 to its junction with Highway 162; east on Highway 162 to its junction with Highway 99; north on Highway 99 to South Avenue near the town of Corning; west on South Avenue to Interstate 5 in Corning; north on Interstate 5 to Corning Road; west on Corning Road to Paskenta Road; west on the Paskenta Road to the town of Paskenta; southwest on the Round Valley Road to the Garland Road; south on the Garland Road to the town of Newville; south on the Newville-Elk Creek Road to the town of Elk Creek; south on the Elk Creek-Stonyford Road to the town of Stonyford; south on the Stonyford-Leesville Road to the town of Ladoga; south on the Stonyford-Leesville Road to the town of Leesville; south from Leesville on the Bear Valley Road to its intersection with Highway 20; east on Highway 20 to its intersection with Highway 16; south and east on Highway 16 to its intersection with Interstate 5; east on Interstate 5 to Interstate 880 and the point of beginning.
(c) Zone 2.
(Portions of Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono and San Bernardino counties and all of Imperial, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.)
Area: Inyo, Mono and Kern counties south and east of a line beginning at the junction of Highway 182 and the California-Nevada state line; south on Highway 182 to its junction with Highway 395; south on Highway 395 to its intersection with Highway 168 at Bishop; west on Highway 168 to its intersection with the Inyo National Forest boundary; south on the Inyo National Forest boundary to its junction with County Highway J41; south and east on County Highway J41 to its junction with Highway 395; south on Highway 395 to its junction with Highway 14 near Inyokern; south on Highway 14 to its junction with Highway 178 at Freeman; west on Highway 178 to its junction with the Bodfish-Caliente Road at Isabella; south on the Bodfish-Caliente Road to its junction with Highway 58; east on Highway 58 to its junction with the Los Angeles Aqueduct; south and west on the Los Angeles Aqueduct Road to its junction with 265th Street West near Neenach; south on 265th Street West to its junction with the Elizabeth Lake-Pine Canyon Road at Three Points; east along the Elizabeth Lake-Pine Canyon Road to its junction with Highway 14 at Palmdale; south on Highway 14 to its intersection with the Angeles Forest Highway; south on the Angeles Forest Highway to the Mill Creek Summit Road; east and south on the Mill Creek Summit Road to its intersection with the Angeles Crest Highway (Highway 2) at Upper Chilao Campground; east on the Angeles Crest Highway to its intersection with the Los Angeles-San Bernardino county line; north on the Los Angeles-Kern-San Bernardino county line to its intersection with Highway 58; east on Highway 58 to its intersection with the range line between R3W and R4W; south along the range line between R3W and R4W to the southeast corner of T8N, R4W; east along T8N to its intersection with the west boundary of the U.S. Marine Corps Training Center; south and east on that boundary to its intersection with Giant Rock Road; east along Giant Rock Road to a point where it turns southeast and corresponding with a projected north extension of Sunfair Road; south on Sunfair Road and its projected extension to the San Bernardino-Riverside county line; and all of Imperial, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.
14 CCR § 264.5 (California Night Hunting Regulations)
Use of Lights While Hunting -Remainder of State.
Lights may be used, in those portions of the state not listed in Section 264, to take furbearers and nongame mammals under the following conditions only:
(a) Only 9 volt lights or smaller, hand-held or worn on the head are permitted.
(b) Persons using such lights must be on foot.
(c) Lights may not be used in or from a vehicle and may not be attached or powered from any source other than self-contained batteries.
(d) A landowner or tenant suffering damage to livestock or other property by furbearing mammals or nongame mammals may designate, in writing, persons allowed by such landowner or tenant to use artificial lights in excess of 9 volts to assist in taking the depredating mammals. The landowner or tenants shall notify the closest fish and game office whenever furbearing or nongame mammals are taken under this authority.
No furbearing or nongame mammals including any threatened, endangered or fully protected species may be taken contrary to any other prohibition set forth in these regulations.
While we try to fetch up all California night hunting regulations, we might miss a few or make a typo. If so, please leave a comment or question in the reply box below