26 California Trapping Laws for Birds and Mammals Every Hunting Should Know

California hunting seasons and trapping laws.

In general, traps include “padded-jaw leg-hold, steel-jawed leg-hold, and conibear traps, snares, dead-falls, cage traps and other devices designed to confine, hold, grasp, grhip, clamp or crush animals’ bodies or body parts,” e.g. box traps, nets, suitcase-style live bear traps, and common rat and mouse traps (see 14 CCR § 465.5(a) and (b)). Here, we fetch up California trapping laws for recreational, commercial, and private trapping of birds and mammals. We retrieve rules related to legal and illegal traps, trap requirements, licensing, methods of killing trapped animals, special rules for particular locations and species, the purchase and sale of fur and handicraft products, and much more. Finally, we drop important definitions, public trapping locations, related links, and a trapping forum.

Topics

    1. Big Game.
    2. Dogs for Trapping.
    3. Domestic Animals (e.g. dogs and cats).
    4. Falcons and Raptors.
    5. Forum and Blog.
    6. Fur Dealers and Agents.
    7. Furbearing Mammals.
    8. Game Birds.
    9. Game Mammals.
    10. Licenses.
    11. Links.
    12. Mammals.
    13. Migratory Birds (e.g. blackbirds, crows, geese).
    14. Miscellaneous Acts.
    15. Nongame Birds.
    16. Nongame Mammals.
    17. Permits.
    18. Poison.
    19. Predators.
    20. Property Damage.
    21. Protected Mammals.
    22. Public Trapping Areas.
    23. Rodents.
    24. Selling
    25. Service Providers.
    26. Small Game Birds & Mammals.

Warning shot!!! This page covers rules directly related to trapping. For additional hunting methods, go to the Bird or Mammal you wish to hunt.


Big Game Mammals

California Trapping Laws for black bear.This section covers California trapping laws for Big Game Mammals, which includes Pronghorn AntelopeBlack BearDeerElkBighorn Sheep, and Wild Pigs. In general, you can only trap Big Game causing property damage. However, there are special rules for bears, body-gripping traps, steel-jawed leghold traps, and wild pigs. For hunting seasons, authorized methods of Take, and related laws, follow the links above. Warning shot!!! Also see California trapping laws that cover all Game Mammals and Mammals.

Bears

Beehives & Black Bears

In San Bernardino County and Riverside County, Black Bear can be trapped near beehives. You have to use a “good and substantial fence,” which can’t be any more than 50 yards from the beehive. You have to put a warning sign at each entrance to the enclosure. You can’t use steel or metal-jawed traps. See FGC § 4185.

Livestock

See California Depredation Permits: Big Game Mammals.

Tags

You have to buy a bear tag before you can trap a Black Bear. However, you can’t use an iron, steel, or metal-jawed trap. See FGC § 4750.

Dogs for Trapping

See Dogs for Trapping below.

Property Damage

In general, landowners and tenants can protect themselves and their property from Big Game Mammals. For more information, see California Depredation Permits.

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

California Trapping Laws for steel-jawed leghold traps.In general, no one (including government officials) can use any type of steel-jawed leghold trap for Big Game Mammals. There’s a limited exception for government officials to use padded steel-jawed leghold traps. However, it has to be an extraordinary case where it’s the only method available to protect human health or safety. The same rule applies for Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, Protected Mammals, cats, and dogs. See FGC § 3003.1(c)FGC § 4005(a) [fur], and 14 CCR § 465.5(d) [use of traps on mammals].

Pigs

 California Trapping Laws pigsThe CDFW has to prepare a management plan for Wild Pigs, including population studies, management zones. If they’re causing property damage, the plan can include live trapping procedures. See FGC 4651(a)(5), and the CDFW Wild Pig Management Program.

Trapped Animals

If you legally trap a Big Game Mammal, you either have to release or kill it immediately. If killed, it becomes part of the Daily Bag Limit. These rules apply all Game Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, and Game Birds. See FGC § 251.5 (c).

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Dogs for Trapping

California Trapping Laws dogsIn this section, we cover California trapping laws for the use of dogs. We include rules for certain mammals, including bear, bobcat, Big Game Mammals, Nongame Mammals, and Protected Mammals.  We also cover public trapping on ecological reserves and refuges.

Warning shots!!! The CDFW can capture your dog if it gets out of control and illegally chases wildlife. They can even kill your dog if it’s threatening to injure certain species. If they catch your dog–and it has ID–they have to give you notice within three days. See FGC § 3960(b) and (c)14 CCR § 265(b)(2), and California Hunting Dog Laws.

Bear

California Trapping Laws black bearsIn general, it’s illegal to let dogs chase Black Bear. There’s an exception for bears causing or threatening to cause damage to people or property. However, there are limits to the number of dogs you can use. See Hunting Dogs for Mammals: Big Game, California Black Bear Hunting Seasons, and California Depredation Permits.

Big Game

In general, it’s illegal to let dogs chase Big Game during the closed season for the particular mammal. See FGC § 3960(b) and Big Game Mammals above.

Bobcat

In general, it’s illegal to let dogs chase a bobcat. See FGC § 3960(b)Predators below, and our summary for California Bobcat Hunting Season.

Ecological Reserves

In general, it’s illegal to let dogs chase any mammal at an ecological reserve. The only possible exception is if the reserve specifically allows hunting for the particular species. FGC § 3960(b)Public Trapping Areas below, and our summary for Ecological Reserves.

Endangered Mammals

In general, it’s illegal to let dogs chase a fully protected, rare, or endangered species. See FGC § 3960(b) and Protected Mammals.

Game Refuges

In general, it’s illegal to let dogs chase any mammal at a Game Refuge. The only possible exception is if the refuge specifically allows hunting for the particular species. See FGC § 3960(b) and Public Trapping Areas below.

Hound Tag Program

California Trapping Laws hunting dogsThe California Fish & Game Commission (FGC) 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, 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(a) and our page for Hunting Dog Laws.

Nongame Mammals

California Trapping Laws coyotesIn general, you cannot use dogs and bait to trap Nongame Mammals (e.g. Coyote). There’s an exception for letting your dog follow a drag to Take a nongame mammal caught in a trap. See 14 CCR §§ 475(e) and 465.5.

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Domestic Animals

In this section, we cover California trapping laws related to domestic animals, including cats and dogs. Warning shot!!! Also see California trapping laws that cover all Mammals.

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

California Trapping Laws wild dogsIn general, no one (including government officials) can use any type of steel-jawed leghold trap for trapping cats and dogs. There’s a limited exception for federal, State, county, and municipal to use padded steel-jawed leghold traps. However, it has to be an extraordinary case where it’s the only method available to protect human health or safety. The same rule applies for Furbearing Mammals, Game Mammals, Nongame Mammals, and Protected Mammals. See FGC § 3003.1(a) and (c) and 14 CCR § 465.5(e).

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Falcons and Raptors

See California Falconry Hunting Seasons: Capturing.

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Fur Dealers and Agents

California Trapping Laws for fur dealers.In this section we cover California trapping laws for fur dealers and agents. “Fur dealers” are people in the business of buying, selling, trading and/or dealing in raw furs of Furbearing Mammals or Nongame Mammals. This is true even if you’re part-time. “Raw fur” is any fur, pelt, or skin that hasn’t been tanned or cured. However, salt-cured and sun-cured pelts are considered “raw furs.” See FGC § 4005(a) and FGC § 4030.

Fur Agent License

A “Fur Agent” is anyone employed by a Fur Dealer to buy, sell, trade, or deal in Raw Furs. Fur Agents are required to purchase a Fur Agent License from the CDFW ($91.41 in 2016). To get the license, you have to make sure the Fur Dealer has filed his or her Annual Report (see below). The license is valid from July 1 through June 30. To get it renewed, you have to file an annual report (see Record Keeping below). Click here to renew online.

Warning shot!!! If a person responsible for enforcing these rules asks to see your license, you have to show it to them (e.g. CDFW and FGC employees). See FGC § 4032FGC § 4033FGC § 4035, and 14 CFR § 696(a) and (b). Also see Purchasing and Record Keeping below.

Fur Dealer License

Fur Dealers are required to purchase a Fur Dealer License from the CDFW ($182.05 in 2016). The license is valid from July 1 through June 30. To get it renewed, you have to file an annual report (see Record Keeping below). Click here to renew online.

Warning shot!!! If a person responsible for enforcing these rules asks to see your license, you have to show it to them (e.g. CDFW and FGC employees). The CDFW can revoke your Fur Dealers License for if you’re convicted of a violation of these rules. See FGC § 4030FGC § 4031FGC § 4035, FGC § 4043, and 14 CFR § 696(a). Also see Purchasing below.

Purchasing

It’s illegal for a Fur Dealer or Fur Dealer Agent  to buy Raw Fur of Furbearing Mammals or Nongame Mammals from a person who doesn’t have the appropriate license, i.e. a Fur Dealer Agent License, Fur Dealer License, Trapping License. See FGC § 4036 and 14 CFR § 696(c).

Record Keeping

Annual Report

Fur Dealers have to submit an annual report to the CDFW on the sale, exchange, barter, or gift of raw furs. You have to use the forms furnished by the CDFW. You can’t get your Fur Dealer License renewed until the CDFW receives your report. The report is due by July 1. Mail the report to 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California 95814. See FGC § 4040 and 14 CFR § 696(a).

Confidentiality

The CDFW is supposed to keep all your record confidential. They can disclose them to the public through the Public Records Act if they maintain confidentiality of all people involved. See FGC § 4041.

Transfers

Fur Dealers have to keep a record of all Raw Fur transfers (e.g. sales, exchanges, barters, and gifts). The record has to be accurate and legible. It has to be available to the CDFW for inspection at any time.

It has to include the information listed below.

    1. The license number, name, and address of the seller.
    2. The signature, name, and license number, if applicable, of the buyer.
    3. The number and species of raw furs transferred, by county of take.
    4. The price paid or terms of exchange.
    5. The date of transfer.
    6. Any other info that the CDFW may require.

See FGC § 4037 [record requirements] and FGC § 4038 [records inspections].

Trappers License

See Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals below.

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Furbearing Mammals

California Trapping LawsSome Furbearing Mammals can be trapped, including BadgerBeaverGray FoxMinkMuskrat, and Raccoon. Other types of fur are Protected Mammals: (1) Desert Kit Fox, (2) Fisher, (3) Marten, (4) Red Fox or (5) River Otter. In this Section, we cover rules for  traps, including body-gripping, conibear, spike-jawed, and steel-jawed trap. We include rules for trap registration, placement, visitation, and reports. We also include special rules for contests, handling live animals, the use of poison, sale of products, hours of take, license requirements, property damage, refuges, and reports. For more information on trapping seasons, follow the links above. See FGC § 4000 [furbearing mammals]; FGC § 4002 [authorized hunting methods]; 14 CCR § 460 [protected species]; and 14 CCR § 465(a) [authorized hunting methods].

Warning shot!!! Also see California trapping laws that cover all Game Mammals and Mammals.

Body-Gripping Traps

Recreation & Commerce

In general, body-gripping traps are illegal when trapping Furbearing Mammals for recreation or commerce. Body-gripping traps grip the mammal’s body or body part and include the ones listed below.

    1. Steel-jawed leghold traps.
    2. Padded-jaw leghold traps.*
    3. Conibear traps.
    4. Snares.

They do NOT include cage traps, box traps, nets, suitcase-type live beaver traps, and common rat and mouse traps. They may be allowed by landowners and tenants protecting property from damage. The same rule applies to Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 3003.1(a)FGC § 4004(a) [unlawful acts], and California Depredation Permits.

*  Also see the subsection below for Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps.

Raw Furs

If a Furbearing Mammal is caught in a body-gripping trap, it’s illegal to buy, sell, or barter the raw fur, “raw fur,” which includes fur, pelts and skins that have not been tanned or cured (except with salt). See FGC § 3003.1(a) and FGC § 4005(a) [definition of raw fur].

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

In general, no one (including government officials) can use any type of steel-jawed leghold trap. There’s a limited exception for federal, State, county, and municipal to use padded steel-jawed leghold traps. However, it has to be an extraordinary case where it’s the only method available to protect human health or safety. The same rule applies for Game Mammals, Nongame Mammals, Protected Mammals, cats, and dogs. See FGC § 3003.1(c), FGC § 4004(a) [unlawful acts], and 14 CCR § 465.5(e).

Conibear Traps

See Mammals below.

Contests

It’s illegal to offer rewards (e.g. prizes) during a hunting contest, tournament, or derby. The same is true for any Game Bird, Mammal, fish, reptile, or amphibian. See FGC § 2003 and 14 CCR § 465(b) [fur].

Dealers and Agents

See Fur Dealers and Agents above.

Dens

It’s illegal to use snares, hooks, or barbed wire to remove from the den, or fire to kill in the den, any immature depredator mammal. See FGC § 4180.1.

Hours of Take

In general, you can trap Furbearing Mammals any time, day or night. There’s an exception in areas closed for hunting. There, it appears you can only trap Furbearing Mammals between one-half hour after sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The closure does not apply to Nongame Mammals, though. See FGC § 466 referring to FGC § 474(a) [areas closed for night hunting].

License

In general, trappers are required to purchase a Trapping License before trapping Furbearing Mammals or Nongame Mammals. The license is also required before selling raw furs of those mammals. Licensed trappers don’t need a Fur Dealer License to selling raw furs. The only exception is for Fur Dealers. See FGC § 4005(a)FGC § 4030, and Furbearing Mammals below.

Term

Your Trapping License authorizes you to Take Furbearing Mammals for up to one year from July 1 through June 30. Warning shot!!! You can only trap them during the open season. The same rules apply to Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 4005(a) and FGC § 4007.

Fur Dealer Exception

A Trapping License is not required for Fur Dealers that trap certain Furbearing Mammals or sells the “raw fur,” which includes fur, pelts and skins that have not been tanned or cured (except with salt). See FGC § 4005(a) and Fur Dealers and Agents above.

Fur Sales

Your Trapping License also authorizes you to sell the raw fur of Furbearing Mammals you trap. Warning shot!!! You can only trap them during the open season. The same rules apply to Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 4005(a) and FGC § 4007.

Property Damage Exception

In general, a Trapping License is not required for landowners and tenants protecting their property from wildlife damage under the authority of a Depredation Permit. The same rules apply for Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 4005(a) and our summary for California Depredation Permits: Furbearing Mammals.

Reporting

See the subsection for Reports below.

Lights

You might be able to use lights for trapping furbearing mammals and Nongame Mammals, including beaver, 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, there are several exceptions to the general rule:

    • You can’t use lights during the general deer season,
    • You can’t use lights from a moving vehicle or with the motor on, and
    • You can’t use lights 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 still use lights but:

    • First, the batteries have to be 9 volts or less (hand-held and headlights are okay),
    • Second, you have to be on foot,
    • Third, you cannot use them from a vehicle, and
    • Fourth, they can’t be powered from any other source.

See 14 CCR § 264.5. Also see California Depredation Permits for mammals causing damage to people and property.

Live Animals

California Trapping Laws for live animalsIn general, it’s illegal to catch live birds and mammals, including Furbearing Mammals. It’s also illegal to possess or confine them. There’s an exception for injured or diseased animals. You can temporarily confine them for the purpose of treatment. If you catch one, you should take it to your local animal shelter. See FGC § 3005.5 and 14 CCR § 671.3(a)(10) [minimum facility and caging standards for housing at permanent facilities].

Poison

In general, you can’t poison a Furbearing Mammal that you trap. The only exception is with a permit from the CDFW. See FGC § 4003.

Products

In general, you can buy and sell products and handicraft items made from Furbearing Mammals. The same is true for their carcasses and animal parts (e.g. castor sacs). Warning shot!!! To be legal, the animal had to be taken with a Trapping License. See FGC § 3039(b) and Licenses below.

Property Damage

Furbearing Mammals can cause serious property damage, including crops and livestock. In general, landowners and tenants–and/or their employees and agents–can protect their property by trapping those mammals. For some of them, you need a Depredation Permit from the CDFW. For more information, see FGC § 4180(a)FGC § 4181, and our summary California Depredation Permits.

Refuges

California Trapping Laws wildlife areasThe CDFW has discretion to issue a free permit to trap beavers causing property damage. If they do, you have to apply for the permit, including your name, address, refuge, and the approximate number of beavers you expect to Take. For more information, see FGC § 656 [report requirements and permit violations].

Reports

By July 1, trappers with a Trapping License must submit a sworn statement to the CDFW reporting two things. First, report the number of each kind of Furbearing Mammals that you took that year. Second, report the names and addresses of anyone to whom your Furbearing Mammals were shipped or sold. Click here to submit your report. Click here for a summary from the CDFW of fur trappers and dealer reports.

Warning shot!!! If you fail to do so, your license will be suspended. The FGC can then either revoke or reinstate your renewal application after you receive notice and opportunity to be heard. If this happens to you, contact our Attorney immediately.  The same rules apply to Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 4008 and 14 CCR § 467.

Snares

The prohibitions of subsections (c) and (d) above shall apply to any Furbearing Mammal or Nongame Mammal taken by a conibear trap or snare pursuant to this subsection (g). See 14 CCR § 465.5(g) and the subsection for Dens above.

Spiked-Jaw Traps

It’s illegal to use traps with saw-toothed jaws for trapping Furbearing Mammals. See FGC § 4004(a).

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

See Body-Gripping Traps above.

Traps

Trap Numbers

In general, you have to register non-body gripping traps with the CDFW. Registration is free. On the trap, put the registration number of the trap or person using it. You can either stamp it on the trap or attach a metal tag. If you’re required to register with a different federal, State, county, or city agency, you might have to the name of that agency. If you have a Depredation Permit to prevent property damage, the CDFW might require additional markings. See FGC § 4004(c)14 CCR § 465.5(f)(1), the subsection above for Body-Gripping Traps, and Section for Property Damage below.

Trap Placement

In general, it’s illegal to place traps within 150 yards of a residence. This includes permanent and temporary residences. The only exceptions are if you control the property or if you a carrying written permission from the landowner. See 14 CCR § 465.5(f)(1) and (g)(1).

Trap Visitation

When you set legal traps, you have to check them at least once a day. If someone else checks them for you, they have to carry your written permission. These rules also apply to Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 251.5 (c)FGC § 4004(d)14 CCR § 465.5(f)(1) and (g)(1), and the Section for Property Damage below.

Trapped Animals

When you legally trap a Furbearing Mammal, you either have to kill or release it immediately. If you kill it, you have to shoot unless it’s unsafe or not allowed by local ordinance or the landowner. The animal must then be added to your Daily Bag Limit. If you don’t want to kill or release it, you can ask federal, State, or local government for help. They’re allowed to use chemical euthanasia to kill it.

These rules also apply to Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 251.5 (c)FGC § 4004(d)14 CCR § 465.5(f)(1) and (g)(1), and the Section for Property Damage below.

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Game Birds

In this Section we cover California trapping laws applicable to all Game Birds, including Migratory Game Birds, Domestically Reared Game Birds, and Upland Game Birds.

Domestically Raised Game Birds

For domestically raised game birds, you can buy or sell the inedible parts. See FGC § 3039(d) and our summary for Game Bird Clubs.

Migratory Game Birds

Trapping is not an authorized “method of take” for Migratory Game Birds, which includes alternative hunting methods, seasons, and bag limits for Doves, Ducks, GeesePigeon, and Snipe. Also see the subsection for Property Damage below.

Property Damage

Trapping may be allowed by landowners and tenants suffering property damage caused by Game Birds. See California Depredation Permits.

Trapped Birds

 

If you legally Take a Game Bird under the authority of a Trapping License, you either have to release or kill it immediately. If killed, it becomes part of the Daily Bag Limit. These rules also apply to Game Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, and Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 251.5 (c).

Upland Game Birds

Trapping is not an authorized “method of take” for Upland Game Birds, which includes alternative hunting methods, seasons, and bag limits for Band-Tailed Pigeon, Chukar, Doves, Grouse, Pheasant, Ptarmigan, Quail, Snipe, and Wild Turkey.

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Game Mammals

Game Mammals” include the Big Game Mammals and Small Game Mammals listed below. In this section, we cover California trapping laws applicable to all Game Mammals. We include special rules for certain traps and animals caught in them.

    1. Antelope (Prong-horned, genus Antilocapra)
    2. Bears (Black and brown or cinnamon bears, genus Euarctos,
    3. Deer (genus Odocoileus)
    4. Elk (genus Cervus)
    5. Jackrabbits and varying hares (genus Lepus)
    6. Pigs (wild pigs, including feral pigs and European wild boars, genus Sus)
    7. Rabbits (cottontails, brush rabbits, pigmy rabbits, genus Sylvilagus
    8. Sheep (Nelson bighorn sheep, subspecies Ovis canadensis nelsoni)
    9. Tree squirrels (genus Sciurus and Tamiasciurus).

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

In general, no one (including government officials) can use any type of steel-jawed leghold trap for Game Mammals. There’s a limited exception for federal, State, county, and municipal to use padded steel-jawed leghold traps. However, it has to be an extraordinary case where it’s the only method available to protect human health or safety. The same rule applies for Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, Protected Mammals, cats, and dogs. See FGC § 3003.1(c) and 14 CCR § 465.5(e).

Trapped Animals

If you legally trap a Game Mammal, you either have to release or kill it immediately. If killed, it becomes part of the Daily Bag Limit. These rules apply to all Game Birds, Furbearing Mammals, and Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 251.5 (c).

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Licenses

There are several kinds of licenses that you might need to trap birds and mammals. In this section, we cover trapping license applications, exams, fees, as well as exemptions and special rules for Juniors and Non-Residents. Also see Fur Dealers and Agents above.

Abatement

A Trapping License is required if you’re trapping for the purpose of abatement.

Application & Fees

If it’s your first Trapping License, you have to pass the Exam (see below). Take a your application to the test and have it filled out.

Exam

To get your first Trapping License, you have to pass the CDFW trapping test. It tests your knowledge about trapping laws and California history for Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals. To prepare, use the CDFW Trapping Guide. See FGC § 4005(b). When you’re ready to take the test, make an appointment with a CDFW office. Warning shot!!! Bring a completed Trapping License Application. After passing the test, send the Application and appropriate fee to the License and Revenue Branch located at 1740 N. Market Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95834. Fees include a nonrefundable three percent (3%) application fee, not to exceed $7.50 per item. All applicants have to provide their individual identification (e.g. Driver’s License). If paying with a credit card, you need to submit your Authorization.

Exemptions

Government

Certain government officials don’t need a trapping license when trapping in their official capacity. In general, a trapping license isn’t needed for pest control (e.g. rats, mice, moles, or gophers). See FGC § 4005(e).

Property Damage

If you’re a landowner or tenant suffering damage from certain mammals, you usually don’t need a Trapping License to trap them. Those mammals include all Nongame Mammals, plus black-tailed jackrabbitsmuskrats, subspecies of red fox that are not the native Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator), and red fox squirrels. Warning shot!!! You do need the license if you’re providing trapping services for a profit. See FGC § 4005(c), FGC § 4152, and FGC § 4180.

 Fur Dealers & Agents

See Fur Dealers and Agents above.

ID Number

When you get your Trapping License, you will be assigned a permanent trap number. It will be printed onto your Trapping License. That number has to be clearly stamped onto either (a) your Traps, (b) a metal tag attached to the chain of the trap, or (c) any part of the trap. Also Traps section below.

Juniors

California residents under the age of 16 can get a Trapping License for a reduced fee. In 2016, the fee for a Junior Trapping License was $39.40. See FGC § 4005(a) [trapping license], FGC § 4006(a), Furbearing Mammals above, and Nongame Mammals below. Click here for information from the CDFW.

Nongame Mammals

A Trapping License from the CDFW is required for Nongame Mammals and Furbearing Mammals.

Nonresidents

Nonresidents can only get a Trapping License if their home state issues them to California residents. Seasons and bag limits are limited to what the nonresident can take in his or her home state. The nonresident has to provide a copy of their trapping license from their home state. The license is available to nonresidents (16 and older) for two consecutive days. In 2016, the fee for a Nonresident Trapping License was $577.50. See FGC § 4005(a) [trapping license], FGC § 4006(a) and (b), Furbearing Mammals above, and Nongame Mammals below. Click here for information from the CDFW.

Recreational Trapping

A Trapping License is required if you’re trapping for the purpose of recreation.

Residents

In 2016, the fee for a Nonresident Trapping License was $117.16. See FGC § 4005(a) [trapping license], FGC § 4006(a), Furbearing Mammals above, and Nongame Mammals below. Click here for information from the CDFW. See FGC 3031(a)(4).

Renewal

To renew your Trapping License, you have to complete a renewal workshop and submit a report. Click here for more information from the CDFW.

Trapping License

The Trapping License is required if you’re trapping for the purpose of abatement, recreation, or commerce in fur any Furbearing Mammals or Nongame Mammals. If it’s your first license, you have to pass the Exam (see above). The license is good from July 1 through June 30. To renew a license, you’ll have to submit a sworn statement to the CDFW showing how many you took during the previous year. The license authorizes the holder to trap and sell the raw fur. See FGC § 4005(a) [trapping license], FGC § 4006(a). Click here for information from the CDFW.

Violations

To check on a license or report a possible trapping violation, contact a CDFW License Office 916-928-5852 or one of the regional offices:

    • FRESNO – 1234 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno, CA 93710 (559) 222-3761
    • MONTEREY – 20 Lower Ragsdale Dr., Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 649-2810
    • NAPA – 7329 Silverado Trl., Napa, CA 94558 (707) 944-5500
    • ONTARIO – 3602 Inland Empire Blvd., Suite C-220, Ontario, CA 91764 (909) 484-0167
    • RANCHO CORDOVA – 1701 Nimbus Rd., Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 (916) 358-2900
    • REDDING – 601 Locust St., Redding, CA 96001 (530) 225-2300
    • SAN DIEGO – 4949 Viewridge Ave., San Diego, CA 92123 (858) 467-4201

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Human Wildlife Control

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Mammals

In this Section, we cover California trapping laws for Mammals, which includes Big Game Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, Protected Mammals, and Small Game Mammals.  We cover the use of legal and illegal traps for the purpose of recreational, commercial, and private trapping. We include special rules for killing trapped mammals, including chemical injection, chest crushing, drowning, and poison. We also address special rules for licensing, the use of lights, and sale of fur and other byproducts.

Body-Gripping Traps

Refer to Sections above and below for Furbearing Mammals or Nongame Mammals. See 14 CCR § 465.5(c) and (d) [restrictions against body-gripping traps and sale of raw fur]

Chemical Injection

In general, chemical injections are not allowed for killing legally trapped mammals. The only exception is with chemicals sold for the purpose of euthanizing animals. See FGC § 4004(g).

Chest Crushing

In general, it’s illegal to use thoracic compression to kill any mammal that’s been legally trapped. This is commonly known as chest crushing. There’s an exception for Beaver and Muskrat caught in legally set conibear traps that are submerged in water. There’s another exception for lawfully set colony traps set in water for muskrat. See FGC § 4004(g) and California Depredation Permits.

Commercial Trapping

For commercial trapping, see Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals above and below. See 14 CCR § 465.5(f) and (g) [trap registration, identification, placement, visitation, animal removal, and reports].

Conibear Traps

In general, conibear traps are a type of body-gripping trap. They are illegal for recreational and commercial trapping. However, there are limited exceptions for Beaver and Muskrat trapped by landowners and tenants with depredation permits for the purpose of protecting their property. For more info, see our pages for BeaverMuskrat, and California Depredation Permits.

Drowning

In general, it’s illegal to intentionally drown any mammal that’s been legally trapped. There’s an exception for Beaver and Muskrat trapped in legally set conibear traps. See FGC § (g) and California Depredation Permits.

Hunting License

When trapping, you must have valid Hunting License in your immediate possession. It’s the hunting license that grants you the privilege of taking / trapping mammals. See FGC § 3031(a)14 CCR § 700(b), and the Section for License below.

Lights

In general, it’s illegal to use lights for hunting or trapping any Game Mammals. There are exceptions for Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals. For other game mammals, there are limited exceptions for certain equipment, locations, and uses. Violators of these rules could be arrested by a peace officer. If you’re arrested or cited for a violation, contact our Attorney immediately. See FGC § 2005(a) – (e).

Habitats

If you have a firearm or other weapon in your possession, it’s illegal to use artificial lights in areas where Game Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, or Nongame Mammals are commonly found (e.g. fields, forests, and woodlands). Warning shots!!! This includes spotlights and headlights. See FGC § 2005(b).

Highways

In general, it’s illegal to use artificial lights on highways. See FGC § 2005(b).

Night Vision

In general, it’s to use or possess “night vision equipment” for help Take any bird or mammal. Examples include infrared with an electronic viewing device and binoculars with electrical or battery powered light amplifying circuits). See FGC § 2005(c) and Depredation Permits [FGC § 4180 exception for Furbearing Mammals causing property damage].

Other Exceptions

There are at least five more exceptions to the General Rules noted above. First, there are regulations for using lights when you have a permit to kill Furbearing Mammals causing property damage. Second, you can use two or three volt handheld flashlights so long as they’re NOT attached to a weapon. Third, you can use a regular lamp or lantern. Fourth, you can use vehicle headlights, but only if you’re not trying to find animals. Fifth, there’s an exception for agricultural practices. See FGC § 2005(b) and (d).

Weapons

If you have a weapon in your possession, it’s illegal to shine artificial lights on Game Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, or Nongame Mammals,. This is true even if you don’t kill, injure, shot at, or pursue the mammal. See FGC § 2005(b).

Padded-Jawed Leghold Traps

See the Sections above for Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 3003.1(a).

Poison

In general, it’s illegal to use poison to kill any mammal that’s been legally trapped.  See FGC § 4004(g).

Property Damage

To protect your property against wildlife damage, see Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals above and below. There are exceptions for landowners and tenants to use box traps, cage traps, conibear traps, nets, snares, suitcase-type live beaver traps and common rat and mouse traps. See 14 CCR § 465.5(g) [trap registration, identification, placement, visitation, animal removal, and reports] and California Depredation Permits.

Recreational Trapping

For recreational trapping, see Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals above and below. See 14 CCR § 465.5(f) and (g) [trap registration, identification, placement, visitation, animal removal, and reports].

Sale of Raw Fur

“Raw fur” includes fur, pelts and skins that have not been tanned or cured (except with salt). Refer to Sections above and below for Furbearing Mammals or Nongame Mammals. Also see 14 CCR § 465.5(c) and (d) [restrictions against sale of raw fur caught in body-gripping traps].

Saw-Toothed Jawed Traps

See the Sections above for Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 3003.1(a).

Snares

See the Sections above for Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 3003.1(a).

Spiked-Jaw Traps

See the Sections above for Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals. See FGC § 3003.1(a).

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

In general, it’s illegal to use any kind of steel-jawed leghold trap for trapping mammals, including Big Game Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, Protected Mammals and Small Game Mammals, plus cats and dogs. This rule applies even if the trap is padded. The only exception is for certain government officials as a last resort in extraordinary cases to protect human health and safety. See FGC § 4004(a)FGC § 3003.1(a), and 14 CCR § 465.5(e).

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Migratory Birds

In this Section, we cover California trapping laws related to all Migratory Birds, both game and nongame birds. We address rules for specific birds, including Canada geese, falcons, and raptors. We also address rules for banding and marking birds, as well as birds causing property damage. Warning shot!!! Also see the Sections for Game Birds and Nongame Birds.

Banding and Marking

There are exceptions under federal law for using certain traps and nets for the purpose of banding migratory game birds. See 50 CFR § 21.22.

Canada Geese

There are exceptions under federal law for trapping resident Canada geese causing property damage, including airports and military airports, and to protect public health. See 50 CFR §§ 21.26, 21.49, 21.51, 21.52 and our summary for California Depredation Permits: Canada Geese.

Falcons and Raptors

There are exceptions under federal law for trapping certain falcons and raptors.  See 50 CFR § 21.29 and our summary for California Falconry Hunting Seasons: Capturing.

Migratory Game Birds

California Trapping Laws migratory game birds
“Lessers” behind 3 Cacklers

In general, it’s illegal to trap migratory birds that have open seasons (e.g. ducks, geese, pigeon, snipe, and a some species of doves). This rule includes snares and nets. See 50 CFR § 20.21 and Canada Geese above.

Property Damage & Public Health

California Trapping Laws wildlife damageIn general, you need a federal permit to trap blackbirds, cowbirds, crows, grackles, and magpies. You can apply when those birds are causing harm to certain crops, livestock feed, public health, structural property damage, and to protect threatened, endangered species, and protected species. To qualify, you’ll have to show what non-lethal methods you’ve taken to prevent the harm (e.g. netting and flagging, the use of trained raptors, propane cannons, and recordings). See 50 CFR § 21.43(f) for conditions.

Buildings

There are exceptions under federal law for migratory game birds that are trapped within residential, commercial, and government buildings. See 50 CFR § 21.12(d) for conditions.

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Miscellaneous Acts

Disturbance of Traps

California Trapping Laws trap disturbance In general, it’s illegal to remove or disturb traps legally set by trappers with a valid Trapping License. The rule applies if the trap is being used. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on public land or anywhere the trapper has permission to set them. There’s an exception for CDFW employees when they’re on duty. See FGC § 2009(a) and (e) and FGC § 4009.

Sale of Products

Domestically Raised Game Birds

For domestically raised game birds, you can buy or sell the inedible parts. See FGC § 3039(d) and our summary for Game Bird Clubs.

Furbearing & Nongame Mammals

In general, it’s illegal to buy or sell birds and mammals found in the wild. There’s an exception for “products and handicraft items” made from Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals taking legally with a valid Trapping License.

Shed Antlers

There’s a similar exception for antlers from domestically reared animals. Warning shot!!! It’s usually illegal, though, to sell complete antlers, head mounts, and antlers in velvet.

Violations

If you violate these rules, you could be subject to civil liability. See FGC § 2582 and FGC § 3039(e).

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Nongame Birds

California Trapping Laws nongame birdsIn this Section, we cover California trapping laws related to Nongame Birds, which includes American Crow, English sparrows, and starlings. We cover special rules for bag and possession limits, licensing, and trapping hours. Also see the Sections for Falcons and Raptors and Migratory Birds above.

Daily Bag & Possession Limits

When trapping of Nongame Birds is allowed, you can Take as many as you want. See 14 CCR § 472.

Hunting License

When trapping of Nongame Birds, you must have a valid Hunting License in your immediate possession. It’s the hunting license that grants you the privilege of taking / trapping birds. See FGC § 3031(a)14 CCR § 700(b), and the Section for License below.

Seasons & Trapping Hours

In general, it’s illegal to trap Nongame Birds, including American Crow. However, you can trap English sparrow and starling on any day of the year from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. See FGC § 3000 and 14 CCR § 472.

Trapping

In general, Nongame Birds may be taken in any manner, including traps. However, American Crow may only be taken by shotguns, bow and arrow, and falconry. Also see 14 CCR § 47214 CCR § 475 [general rule], and Section 485(b) [limitation for American crow].

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Nongame Mammals

California Trapping Laws skunksNongame Mammals include all mammals occurring naturally in California which are not Big Game Mammals, Small Game Mammals, or fully Protected Mammals. Some more common examples include predators, like bobcat and coyote, as well as skunks and rodents. Less known examples include certain species of goats, sheep, and deer (e.g. Sika). Also see 14 CCR § 472 [nongame mammals] and Dogs for Trapping above.

Bobcat

In general, it’s illegal to trap Bobcat. However, see Predators for exceptions related to the protection of people and private property.

Body-Gripping Traps

Recreation & Commerce

In general, body-gripping traps are illegal when trapping Nongame Mammals for recreation or commerce. Body-gripping traps grip the mammal’s body or body part and include the ones listed below.

    1. Steel-jawed leghold traps.
    2. Padded-jaw leghold traps.*
    3. Conibear traps.
    4. Snares.

They do NOT include cage traps, box traps, nets, suitcase-type live beaver traps, and common rat and mouse traps. The same rule applies to Furbearing Mammals. See FGC § 3003.1(a)

*  Also see the subsection below for Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps.

Raw Furs

“Raw fur” includes fur, pelts and skins that have not been tanned or cured (except with salt). If a Nongame Mammal is caught in a body-gripping trap, it’s illegal to buy sell, or barter the raw fur. See FGC § 3003.1(a) and FGC § 4005(a) [definition of raw fur].

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

In general, no one (including government officials) can use any type of steel-jawed leghold trap. There’s a limited exception for federal, State, county, and municipal to use padded steel-jawed leghold traps. However, it has to be an extraordinary case where it’s the only method available to protect human health or safety. The same rule applies to Furbearing MammalsGame Mammals, Protected Mammals, cats, and dogs. See FGC § 3003.1(c) and 14 CCR § 465.5(e).

Coyote

There are also special trapping rules for Coyote (follow link).

Dealers

See Fur Dealers and Agents above.

Deer and Goats

In general, you cannot trap “fallow deer, axis deer, sambar deer, sika deer, aoudad, mouflon, tahr and feral goats.” One of the only possible exceptions is by landowners and tenants using a California Depredation Permit to protect their property. See 14 CCR § 472(b)-(c) [authorized hunting methods for nongame mammals referring to 14 CCR § 353, authorized hunting methods for big game].

Dogs for Trapping

See Dogs for Trapping below.

Goats and Deer

See subsection above for Deer and Goats above.

Hours of Take

In general, Nongame Mammals may be trapped any time of the day or night. However, there are exceptions in areas closed to night hunting and on private property. See 14 CCR § 474.

Areas Closed to Night Hunting

See 14 CCR § 474(a) for areas closed to night hunting, which is from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.

Private Property

In general, Nongame Mammals can be taken at any time. However, there are certain geographical areas in which hunting is not allowed at night. On private property outside of those areas, landowners, tenants, or their agents can take Nongame Mammals at night, which is one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise. Warning shot!!! Agents must carry written permission stating they can trespass during those hours. See 14 CCR § 474(b).

License

In general, you have to get a Trapping License from the CDFW before trapping Nongame Mammals. The same rules apply to Furbearing Mammals.

Term

Your Trapping License authorizes you to Take Nongame Mammals for up to one year from July 1 through June 30. Warning shot!!! You can only take them during the open season. The same rules apply to Furbearing Mammals. See FGC § 4005(a) and FGC § 4007.

Fur Dealer Exception

A Trapping License is not required for fur dealers that trap Nongame Mammals or Nongame Mammals, or sells the “raw fur,” which includes fur, pelts and skins that have not been tanned or cured (except with salt). See FGC § 4005(a) and our Section for Fur Dealers above.

Fur Sales

“Raw fur” includes fur, pelts and skins that have not been tanned or cured (except with salt). Your Trapping License also authorizes you to sell the raw fur of Nongame Mammals that you trap. Warning shot!!! You can only take them during the open season. The same rules apply to Furbearing Mammals. See FGC § 4005(a) and FGC § 4007.

Property Damage Exception

A Trapping License is not required for landowners and tenants protecting their property from wildlife damage under the authority of a Depredation Permit. The same rules apply for Furbearing Mammals. See FGC § 4005(a) and our summary for California Depredation Permits: Nongame Birds and Mammals.

Reporting

See the subsection for Reports below.

Lights

You might be able to use lights for trapping Nongame Mammals (and Furbearing Mammals), 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, there are several exceptions to the general rule:

    1. You can’t use lights during the general deer season,
    2. You can’t use lights from a moving vehicle or with the motor on, and
    3. You can’t use lights 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 still use lights but:

    • First, the batteries have to be 9 volts or less (hand-held and headlights are okay),
    • Second, you have to be on foot,
    • Third, you cannot use them from a vehicle, and
    • Fourth, they can’t be powered from any other source.

See 14 CCR § 264.5. Also see California Depredation Permits for mammals causing damage to people and property.

Mountain Lion

In general, it’s illegal to trap Mountain Lions. However, see Predators for exceptions related to the protection of people and private property.

Poison

It is unlawful to use poison to take Nongame Mammals without a permit from the CDFW. To get one, your application has to say what the kind of poison you wish to you, plus when and where you intend to use it. See FGC § 4003 and 14 CCR § 475(a) [illegal to poison Nongame Birds and Nongame Mammals].

Products

In general, you can buy and sell products and handicraft items made from Nongame Mammals. The same is true for their carcasses and animal parts (e.g. castor sacs). Warning shot!!! To be legal, the animal had to be taken with a Trapping License. See FGC § 3039(b)Licenses, and Miscellaneous Acts.

Property Damage

In general, landowners, tenants, and their agents can protect people and property from Nongame Mammals at any time of the day or night. However, a California Depredation Permit may be required before trapping them. Also, see 14 CC4R § 4152.

Reports

By July 1, trappers with a Trapping License must submit a sworn statement to the CDFW reporting two things. First, report the number of each kind of Nongame Mammals that you took that year. Second, report the names and addresses of anyone to whom your Nongame Mammals were shipped or sold.  Click here to submit your report. Click here for a summary from the CDFW of fur trappers and dealer reports.

Warning shot!!! If you fail to do so, your license will be suspended. The FGC can then either revoke or reinstate your renewal application after you receive notice and opportunity to be heard. If this happens to you, contact our Attorney immediately.  The same rules apply to Furbearing Mammals. See FGC § 4008 and 14 CCR § 467.

Rodents

There are also special rules and exceptions for Rodents like rats and mice (see below). Also see 14 CCR § 465.5(g).

Seasons

In general, you cannot trap Nongame Mammals, including Bobcat. However, you can trap coyote, weasels, skunks, opossum, moles and rodents any time of the year (excluding tree and flying squirrels, and those listed as Furbearing Mammals, endangered or threatened species). See 14 CCR § 472(a) [authorized species] and 14 CCR §§ 475 [authorized hunting methods].

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

See the subsection above for Body-Gripping Traps.

Trapped Animals

When you Take a Nongame Mammal that’s legal to trap, you either have to kill or release it immediately. If you kill it, you usually have to shoot it. If shooting is unsafe or not allowed by local ordinance or the landowner, use the best legal alternative possible. The animal must then be added to your Daily Bag Limit. If you don’t want to kill or release it, you can ask federal, State, or local government for help. They are allowed to use chemical euthanasia to kill it. The rules also apply to Furbearing Mammals. See FGC § 251.5 (c) and 14 CCR § 465.5(g)(1).

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

In general, it’s illegal to use any kind of steel-jawed leghold trap for trapping mammals, including Big Game Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, Protected Mammals and Small Game Mammals, plus cats and dogs. This rule applies even if the trap is padded. The only exception is for certain government officials as a last resort in extraordinary cases to protect human health and safety. See FGC § 4004(a)FGC § 3003.1(a), and 14 CCR § 465.5(e).

Violations

A violation of these rules may result in up to one year in jail and a $2000 fine. If you get cited, contact our Attorney immediately. See 14 CCR § 465.5(h).

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Permits

In this Section, we cover special California trapping laws for permits related to property damage and survival training.

Depredation Permits

In general, landowners and tenants can protect themselves and their property from wildlife causing or threatening to cause damage. For some animals, though, you might first need a California Depredation Permit from the CDFW.

Survival Training Permit

 A person engaged in survival training taking a fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal pursuant to a permit issued under this section shall not use a firearm, bow and arrow, steel trap, explosive, chemical, poison, drug, net, or fish tackle, except that hooks, handlines, and improvised poles and lines may be used to take fish. See FGC § 312(e).

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Poison

Sodium Fluoroacetate

It’s illegal to use sodium fluoroacetate to poison any animal. This poison is also known as Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide. See FGC § 3003.2. Also see Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals above.

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Predators

In this Section, we cover California trapping laws for Bobcat and Mountain Lion, which are both predators. Warning shot!!! Also see Mammals and Nongame Mammals above.

Bobcat

California Trapping Laws bobcatAs of November 2015, trapping of bobcat for commerce and recreation has been illegal. However, landowners, tenants, employees and/or their agents can usually protect themselves and their property by trapping bobcats. However, you may need a Depredation Permit from the CDFW before killing it and there may be restrictions place on how you trap them. For more information, see our summary for California Depredation Permits: Predators and Dogs for Trapping above. Also see 14 CCR § 472(a) referring to Section 478 of Chapter 6.

Mountain Lions

 

California Trapping Laws mountain lionLandowners, tenants, employees, and/or there agents can usually protect themselves and their property by trapping mountain lions. However, you may need a California Depredation Permit from the CDFW before killing it. You also have to use the most effective means available, which might not be by trapping. Warning shot!!! You’re never allowed to use poison, leghold or metal-jawed traps, or snares. See 14 CCR § 402(a).

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Property Damage

See California Depredation Permits.

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Protected Mammals

In this Section, we cover special California trapping laws related to mammals that are protected under the law, including the use of dogs and certain traps. We also identify rules for trappers with certain licenses and permits. Warning shot!!! Also see California trapping laws that cover all Mammals.

Dogs for Trapping

See Dogs for Trapping above.

Licensing

California Trapping Laws WolverineIn general, it’s illegal to trap fully protected mammals with any license (e.g. all sheep other than the Nelson Bighorn Sheep and wolverines). There are limited exceptions for scientific research and legal imported mammals. See FGC § 4700 for a list of protected mammals.

Permits

In general, it’s illegal to trap fully protected mammals with any permit (e.g. all sheep other than the Nelson Bighorn Sheep and wolverines). There are limited exceptions for scientific research and legal imported mammals. See FGC § 4700 for a list of protected mammals.

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

In general, no one (including government officials) can use any type of steel-jawed leghold trap for Protected Mammals. There’s a limited exception for federal, State, county, and municipal to use padded steel-jawed leghold traps. However, it has to be an extraordinary case where it’s the only method available to protect human health or safety. The same rule applies for Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, Protected Mammals, cats, and dogs. See FGC § 3003.1(c)FGC § 4005(a), and 14 CCR § 465.5(d).

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Public Trapping Areas

In this Section, we cover California trapping laws related to public trapping areas.

Ecological Reserves

See Dogs for Trapping above and the specific Ecological Reserve in which you intend to trap.

Game Refuges

In general, it’s illegal to have or possess a trap at a game refuge. You may be allowed to trap with “special authorization” or a permit from the CDFW. There’s also an exception for occupants of privately owned land in the California Sea Otter Game Refuge. See FGC § 10500(b) and FGC § 10659.

Parks and Recreation Areas

In general, it’s illegal to use or possess traps within State Recreation Area or County Park. This includes the use of nets. There are exceptions for certain kinds of commercial trapping. See 14 CCR § 4305(b) and 14 CCR § 4313(a).

State Forests

In general, trapping, hunting, and the use of firearms is allowed in State Forests. However, some areas within certain counties are expressly closed.

    1. Tulare County.
    2. Mendocino County.

Wildlife Areas

In general, trapping is allowed on all Type C Wildlife Areas. See 14 CCR §§ 460-467 and 14 CCR § 550(ee). However, you have to comply with general trapping regulations. Here are a few reminders:

    1. You can never trap Fisher, Marten, River Otter, Desert Kit Fox or Red Fox. See 14 CCR § 460.
    2. There are restrictions related the categories of Furbearing Mammals and Nongame Mammals.
    3. There are restrictions related to seasons, limits, hunting hours, reports, and trapping for certain species: BadgerBeaver, CoyoteGray FoxMinkMuskrat, and Raccoon.
    4. There are closures and restrictions related to certain specific Wildlife Areas. See 14 CCR § 551(o) and 14 CCR § 551(r).
    5. There are restrictions at some Wildlife Areas related to the use of firearms and archery equipment for killing trapped animals. See 14 CCR § 550(cc)(2).

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Rodents

In general, a Trapping License isn’t need for pest control (e.g. rats, mice, moles, or gophers). See FGC § 4005(e) and (f).

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Selling Fur

In this Section, we cover California trapping laws related to particular people who wish to sell  the fur of animals. “Raw fur” includes fur, pelts and skins that have not been tanned or cured (except with salt). See FGC § 4005(a) and our Section for Fur Dealers above.

Game Breeders

Domesticated game breeders can sell raw furs of animals that he or she has raised without a Dealer License. See FGC § 4030.

Trappers

Licensed trappers can sell legally trapped raw furs without a Dealer License. See FGC § 4030.

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Service Providers

In this Section, we cover California trapping laws for people who provide trapping services for hire.

Fur Sales

If you provide trapping services for a profit, you can’t sell the “Raw Furs,” which includes any fur, pelt, or skin that has not been tanned or cured (except with salt). See FGC § 4005(a) and (c).

Property Damage

If you provide trapping services for a profit, you must have a Trapping License. The same is true even if your client is suffering property damage caused by wildlife. See FGC § 4005(c)-(d) and our summary for California Depredation Permits, which covers restrictions related to specific birds and mammals, plus trap setting, trap visitation, animal removal, reports, etc. Also see Property Damage above.

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Small Game Birds and Mammals

California Trapping Laws squirrelIn this Section, we cover California trapping laws for resident Small Game Birds and Small Game Mammals, which include animals like Gray Squirrel, Rabbit, Red Fox, and wild Turkey. We include special rules related to property damage, particular counties, specific traps, and handling trapped animals. Warning shot!!! Also see California trapping laws that cover all Game BirdsGame Mammals, and Mammals.

Property Damage

Small Game Birds and Mammals can cause serious damage to people and property, including livestock, domestic animals, and crops. In general, landowners and tenants–and/or their employees and agents–can protect themselves and their property by trapping them. However, you may need to first get a Depredation Permit from the CDFW. For more information, see FGC § 4181(a) and our summary for California Depredation Permits: Small Game Mammals and California Depredation Permits: Wild Turkeys.

Rabbits

California Trapping Laws rabbits box trapsIn San Diego and Orange counties only, you can use box traps to take Rabbits. However, it can only be during an open season for rabbits and there are size restrictions on the trap. It cannot be larger than 24 inches in any dimension. You also have to check it at least once a day. Make sure that you display your name and address on the trap. When you trap one, you have to kill it immediately and it become part of your Daily Bag Limit. See 14 CCR § 311(h).

Steel-Jawed Leghold Traps

In general, no one (including government officials) can use any type of steel-jawed leghold trap for Small Game Mammals. There’s a limited exception for federal, State, county, and municipal to use padded steel-jawed leghold traps. However, it has to be an extraordinary case where it’s the only method available to protect human health or safety. The same rule applies for Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, Protected Mammals, cats, and dogs. See FGC § 3003.1(c)FGC § 4005(a), and 14 CCR § 465.5(d).

Trapped Animals

If you Take a Small Game Mammal under the authority of a Trapping License, you either have to release or kill it immediately. If killed, it becomes part of the Daily Bag Limit. The rules apply all Big Game Mammals, Furbearing Mammals, Nongame Mammals, and Game Birds. See FGC § 251.5 (c).

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Forum and Blog

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