California Target Shooting Laws

California target shooting laws

On this page, we cover California target shooting laws. We include public shooting areas, shooting ranges, shooting sites, target practice areas, and archery ranges.

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BLM Land

In general, target practice is only allowed on BLM Land in designated shooting and archery ranges. This rule includes BLM Wilderness Areas. See 43 CFR § 423.30(b)(1) and General Regulations: Shooting Ranges.

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County Parks

In general, target practice is NOT allowed in County Parks. However, there are three parks that allow hunting. Contact each park to see if target practice is allowed.

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Ecological Reserves

Ecological Reserves are classified as Wildlife Areas (see below). As of 2016, target practice is only allowed at the Carrizon Plain Ecological Reserve. See 14 CCR § 550(cc)(3)(B)14 CFR § 630(j), and our summary of General Use Regulations for Ecological Reserves: Target shooting.

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Military Bases

Click here to contact individual military bases that allow hunting and shooting.

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National Forests

In general, target practice is allowed in National Forests. For exceptions, see our summary of General Regulations for National Forests: Shooting (e.g. not wishing 150 yards of campsites).

Los Padres National Forest

In general, target practice is not allowed in the Los Padres National Forest. According to the USFWS, it is allowed at the Ojai Valley Gun Club and the Winchester Canyon Gun Club.

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National Parks & Preserves

In general, target practice is not allowed at National Parks located in California. The only exception would be if there were designated times, facilities, and locations specifically constructed for that purpose. The only one that allows hunting is the Whiskeytown National Park. However, there is not a designated target shooting area.

Warning shot!!! Target practice is NOT allowed at the Mojave National Preserve.

See 36 CFR § 2.4(b)(2)(ii) and our summary of General Use Regulations for the National Park System.

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National Wildlife Refuges

Some National Wildlife Refuges have been designated as “Wildlife Areas. For those, see Wildlife Areas below. Warning shot!!! Target shooting is NOT allowed at the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge. See 14 CCR § 552(a)(6)(B).

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State Forests

In general, target practice is allowed in State Forests. For exceptions, see our summary of General Use Regulations for State Forests: Weapons (e.g. not wishing 150 yards of campsites).

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State Recreation Areas

In general, target shooting is NOT allowed in State Recreation Areas. However, there are at least ten that allow hunting. Contact each area to see if target practice is allowed. See 14 CCR § 4313 and our summary of General Use Regulations for California Recreation Areas: Hunting.

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Wilderness Areas

In general, target practice is NOT allowed on Wilderness Areas. See BLM Land above and our summary of General Regulations for BLM Wilderness areas.

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Wildlife Areas

In general, firearms are not allowed on CDFW land, which includes Wildlife Areas, some National Wildlife Refuges, and Ecological Reserves. The are six exceptions:

  1. In designated hunting areas.
  2. In designated shooting sites.
  3. With a permit from the CDFW.
  4. As allowed for dog training in designated areas.
  5. When fishing with bow and arrow tackle.
  6. When killing an animal that was legally trapped.

These rules also apply to “propulsive devices” (e.g. air rifles and BB guns).

Concealed Weapons

In general, you can carry legally concealed weapons while visiting Wildlife Area for target practice. See 14 CCR § 551(v)(1).

Shooting Areas

Target practice is only allowed on the Wildlife Areas listed below. When target shooting is allowed on public land, there may be additional restrictions (e.g. shooting hours). See 14 CCR § 551(v).

Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve

See Ecological Reserves above.

Oroville Wildlife Area

You can shoot all legal firearms and Archery equipment in target practice area. The area is open all year-long. You can only use paper or clay targets. You have to clean them up before leaving.

San Luis Obispo Wildlife Area

When you visit, you can only use the designated public shooting area. In general, you can only do it under the supervision of the ringmaster. You can also do with written permission from the CDFW. You can’t take your firearms anywhere else on the area. The area is only open Wednesday through Monday. In general, practice hours are from sunrise to one-half hour before sunset. There is an exception or the lighted range, which is open one-half hour before sunrise until 10 PM. You have to pay the range fee at the facility. NO alcoholic beverages are allowed in the area. NO full metal jacket bullets are not allowed.

Spenceville Wildlife Area

You can shoot all legal firearms and Archery equipment in target practice area. The area is open all year-long. You can only use paper or clay targets. You have to clean them up before leaving.

Shooting Hours

In general, designated shooting sites are open daily from sunrise to sunset. There are a few exceptions at Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves. For exceptions, see 14 CCR §§ 551(v) and 630(j).

Targets

When target practice is allowed on State land, you can’t use glass or porcelain targets. You can only use clay targets and it has to be in designated shooting sites. Some areas also allow paper targets.

Youth

California Target Shooting Laws for youth and juniors.In general, youth under the age of 16 are allowed to shoot BB guns on all Wildlife Areas. However, they have to be supervised by an adult. BB guns include air and/or spring-actuated rifles (e.g. Daisy BB gun models 96 (Timberwolf), 105 (Buck), or 1938 (Red Ryder). The BB can’t be any larger than 0.177 inches in diameter (4.5 mm). The muzzle velocity can’t be any faster than 350 feet per second. Warning shot!!! It’s illegal for them to shoot at wildlife. See 14 CCR § 550(cc).

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