California Waterfowl Laws

Here, we fetch up California waterfowl laws with definitions (e.g. dark and white geese), waterfowl zones, seasons, bag limits, and possession limits for the regular season, early and late seasons, junior seasons, and for falconry. In addition to hunting, we retrieve rules for transport, possession, preservation, buying, selling, and more. We bring them back in a list of Topics and Regulations, and drop links to the text, hunter-friendly summaries, and our pages with definitions and other related topics.

Warning shots!! First, there are additional rules for all BirdsGame Birds, Migratory Game Birds, and each Species. Second, also see our page of federal rules from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Third, other rules and regulations might also apply (e.g. Penal Code and county ordinances). Finally, always check the Fish & Game Commission website for updates and any additional rules. While the contents of this page is not legal advice, feel free to ask our Legal Labrador for help.


Topics

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List of Regulations

  1. 14 CCR § 354 (a) defines “bow” and excludes crossbows from definition of “archery equipment;” (b) restricts arrow and bolt sizes for hunting big game, (c) allows any arrow or crossbow bolt for taking migratory game birdsresident small game, furbearers, and nongame mammals except no arrow or bolt (i) with an explosive headpoisonous substance, or tranquilizers on any animal or (ii) without flu-flu fletching for taking pheasant or migratory game birds unless to take waterfowl sitting on the water from a boat per Section 507(a)(2); (d) prohibits shooting across public roads and highways; (e) requires minimum casting distance of 130 yards (except flu-flu fletching arrows); (f) prohibits crossbows for game birds and game mammals during archery seasons except with a Disabled Archer’s Permit; (g) prohibits possession of firearm while hunting during any archery season or with an archery-only tag; (h) prohibits ready-to-firearm bows and crossbows in or on a vehicle; (i) allows use of lighted nocks without directional be of lights as exception t o Section 2005; and (j) provides procedures for Disabled Archer’s Permit.

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14 CCR § 502

Waterfowl, Migratory; American Coot and Common Moorhen (Common Gallinule).

(a) Definitions.

(1) Dark geese. Dark geese include Canada geese, cackling geese, Aleutian geese and white-fronted geese (“specklebelly”).

(2) Large Canada geese. Large Canada geese include western Canada geese (“honker”) and lesser Canada geese (“lessers”).
(3) Small Canada geese. Small (about the size of a mallard) Canada geese include cackling geese and Aleutian geese. Both are white-cheeked geese nearly identical in appearance to Large Canada geese. Aleutian geese have a thin white neck ring and Cackling geese have dark breasts. Both species have a high-pitched cackle as opposed to the deeper “honking”.
(4) White geese. White geese include Ross’ geese, snow geese and blue phase of both species.
(b) Waterfowl Hunting Zones.

(1) Northeastern California Zone: In that portion of California lying east and north of a line beginning at the intersection of Interstate 5 with the California-Oregon state line; south along Interstate 5 to its junction with Walters Lane south of the town of Yreka; west along Walters Lane to its junction with Easy Street; south along Easy Street to the junction with Old Highway 99; south along Old Highway 99 to the point of intersection with Interstate 5 north of the town of Weed; south along Interstate 5 to its junction with Highway 89; east and south along Highway 89 to Main Street in Greenville; north and east to its junction with North Valley Road; south to its junction of Diamond Mountain Road; north and east to its junction with North Arm Road; south and west to the junction of North Valley Road; south to the junction with Arlington Road (A22); west to the junction of Highway 89; south and west to the junction of Highway 70; east on Highway 70 to Highway 395; south and east on Highway 395 to the point of intersection with the California-Nevada state line; north along the California-Nevada state line to the junction of the California-Nevada-Oregon state lines west along the California-Oregon state line to the point of origin.

(2) Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone: All of Kings and Tulare counties and that portion of Kern County north of the Southern California Zone.

(3) Southern California Zone: In that portion of southern California (but excluding the Colorado River zone) lying south and east of a line beginning at the mouth of the Santa Maria River at the Pacific Ocean; east along the Santa Maria River to where it crosses Highway 166 near the City of Santa Maria; east on Highway 166 to the junction with Highway 99; south on Highway 99 to the crest of the Tehachapi Mountains at Tejon Pass; east and north along the crest of the Tehachapi Mountains to where it intersects Highway 178 at Walker Pass; east on Highway 178 to the junction of Highway 395 at the town of Inyokern; south on Highway 395 to the junction of Highway 58; east on Highway 58 to the junction of Interstate 15; east on Interstate 15 to the junction with Highway 127; north on Highway 127 to the point of intersection with the California-Nevada state line.

(4) Colorado River Zone: In those portions of San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial counties lying east of the following lines: Beginning at the intersection of Highway 95 with the California-Nevada state line; south along Highway 95 to Vidal Junction; south through the town of Rice to the San Bernardino-Riverside county line on a road known as “Aqueduct Road” in San Bernardino County; south from the San Bernardino-Riverside county line on road known in Riverside County as the “Desert Center to Rice Road” to the town of Desert Center; east 31 miles on Interstate 10 to its intersection with the Wiley Well Road; south on this road to Wiley Well; southeast along the Army-Milpitas Road to the Blythe, Brawley, Davis Lake intersections; south on the Blythe-Brawley paved road to its intersection with the Ogilby and Tumco Mine Road; south on this road to Highway 80; east seven miles on Highway 80 to its intersection with the Andrade-Algodones Road; south on this paved road to the intersection of the Mexican boundary line at Algodones, Mexico.

(5) Balance of State Zone: That portion of the state not included in Northeastern California, Southern California, Colorado River or the Southern San Joaquin Valley zones.

(A) Special Management Areas

1. North Coast. All of Del Norte and Humboldt counties.

2. Humboldt Bay South Spit. Beginning at the intersection of the north boundary of Table Bluff County Park and the South Jetty Road; north along the South Jetty Road to the South Jetty; west along the South Jetty to the mean low water line of the Pacific Ocean; south along the mean low water line to its intersection with the north boundary of the Table Bluff County Park; east along the north boundary of the Table Bluff County Park to the point of origin.

3. Sacramento Valley. Beginning at the town of Willows; south on Interstate 5 to the junction with Hahn Road; east on Hahn Road and the Grimes-Arbuckle Road to the town of Grimes; north on Highway 45 to its junction with Highway 162; north on Highway 45-162 to the town of Glenn; west on Highway 162 to the point of beginning.

4. Morro Bay. Beginning at a point where the high tide line intersects the State Park boundary west of Cuesta by the Sea; northeasterly to a point 200 yards offshore of the high tide line at the end of Mitchell Drive in Baywood Park; northeasterly to a point 200 yards offshore of the high tide line west of the Morro Bay State Park Boundary, adjacent to Baywood Park; north to a point 300 yards south of the high tide line at the end of White Point; north along a line 400 yards offshore of the south boundary of the Morro Bay City limit to a point adjacent to Fairbanks Point; northwesterly to the high tide line on the sand spit; southerly along the high tide line of the sand spit to the south end of Morro Bay; easterly along the Park boundary at the high tide line to the beginning point.

5. Martis Creek Lake. The waters and shoreline of Martis Creek Lake, Placer and Nevada counties.

6. Northern Brant. Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties.
7. Balance of State Brant. That portion of the state not included in the Northern Brant Special Management Area.

8. Imperial County. Beginning at Highway 86 and the Navy Test Base Road; south on Highway 86 to the town of Westmoreland; continue through the town of Westmoreland to Route S26; east on Route S26 to Highway 115; north on Highway 115 to Weist Rd.; north on Weist Rd. to Flowing Wells Rd.; northeast on Flowing Wells Rd. to the Coachella Canal; northwest on the Coachella Canal to Drop 18; a straight line from Drop 18 to Frink Rd.; south on Frink Rd. to Highway 111; north on Highway 111 to Niland Marina Rd.; southwest on Niland Marina Rd. to the old Imperial County boat ramp and the water line of the Salton Sea; from the water line of the Salton Sea, a straight line across the Salton Sea to the Salinity Control Research Facility and the Navy Test Base Road; southwest on the Navy Test Base Road to the point of beginning.

(c) Statewide Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits for American Coots, and Common Moorhens.

(1) Species
(2) Season
(3) Daily Bag and
Possession Limits
American Coot and Common Moorhen
Concurrent with duck season(s)
25 per day, 25 in possession,
either all of one species or a
mixture of these species.

(d) Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits for Ducks and Geese by Zone.

(1) Northeastern California Zone (NOTE: SEE SUBSECTION (5)(D) BELOW FOR SPECIAL SEASONS AND CLOSURES.)

(1) Species
(2) Season
(3) Daily Bag and
Possession Limits
Ducks (including
From the first Saturday in October
Daily bag limit: 7
Mergansers)
extending for 105 days.
Daily bag limit may include:
• 7 mallards, but
Scaup: from the first Saturday in
not more than 2 females.
October extending for 86 days.
• 2 pintail (either sex).
• 2 canvasback (either sex).
• 2 redheads (either sex).
• 3 scaup (either sex).
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.
Geese
Regular Season:
Daily bag limit: 10
Dark geese from the
Daily bag limit may include:
first Saturday in October
• 10 white geese.
extending for 100 days.
• 6 dark geese but not more
White geese from the
than 2 Large Canada
first Friday in November
geese (see definitions:
extending for 73 days.
502(a)).
Late Season: White-
Possession limit: triple the
fronted geese from the
daily bag limit.
first Thursday in March
extending for 5 days.
White geese from the
first Friday in February
extending for 32 days.
During the Late
Season, hunting is only
permitted on private
lands with the
permission of the land
owner under provisions
of Section 2016, Fish
and Game Code.

(2) Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone (NOTE: SEE SUBSECTION (5)(D) BELOW FOR SPECIAL SEASONS AND CLOSURES.)

(1) Species
(2) Season
(3) Daily Bag and
Possession Limits
Ducks (including
A split season from
Daily bag limit: 7
Mergansers)
the first Saturday in
Daily bag limit may include:
October extending for
• 7 mallards, but
a period of 16 days and
not more than 2 females.
from the first Saturday
• 2 pintail (either sex).
in November extending
• 2 canvasback (either sex).
for a period of 86 days.
• 2 redheads (either sex).
• 3 scaup (either sex).
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.
Scaup: from the first
Saturday in November
extending for 86 days.
Geese
From the third
Daily bag limit: 10
Saturday in October
Daily bag limit may include:
extending for 100 days.
• 10 white geese.
• 6 dark geese (see
definitions: 502(a)).
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.

(3) Southern California Zone (NOTE: SEE SUBSECTION (5)(D) BELOW FOR SPECIAL SEASONS AND CLOSURES.)

(1) Species
(2) Season
(3) Daily Bag and
Possession Limits
Ducks (including
From the third Saturday
Daily bag limit: 7
Mergansers)
in October extending
Daily bag limit may include:
for 100 days.
• 7 mallards, but
not more than 2 females.
Scaup: from the first
• 2 pintail (either sex).
Saturday in November
• 2 canvasback (either sex).
extending for 86 days.
• 2 redheads (either sex).
• 3 scaup (either sex).
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.
Geese
From the third
Daily bag limit: 10
Saturday in October
Daily bag limit may include:
extending for 100 days.
• 10 white geese.
• 3 dark geese
(see definitions:
502(a)).
Possession limit: triple
the daily bag limit.

(4) Colorado River Zone (NOTE: SEE SUBSECTION (5)(D) BELOW FOR SPECIAL SEASONS AND CLOSURES.)

(1) Species
(2) Season
(3) Daily Bag and
Possession Limits
Ducks (including
From the third Friday
Daily bag limit: 7
Mergansers).
in October extending
Daily bag limit may include:
for 101 days.
• 7 mallards, but
not more than 2 females
or Mexican-like ducks.
• 2 pintail (either sex).
• 2 canvasback (either sex).
• 2 redheads (either sex).
• 3 scaup (either sex).
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.
Geese
From the third Friday
Daily bag limit: 10
in October extending
Daily bag limit may include:
for 101 days.
• 10 white geese.
• 3 dark geese
(see definitions: 502(a)).
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.

(5) Balance of State Zone (NOTE: SEE SUBSECTION (D) BELOW FOR SPECIAL SEASONS AND CLOSURES.)

(1) Species
(2) Season
(3) Daily Bag and
Possession Limits
Ducks (including
From the third Saturday
Daily bag limit: 7
Mergansers).
in October extending for
Daily bag limit may include:
100 days.
• 7 mallards, but
not more than 2 females.
Scaup: from the first
• 2 pintail (either sex).
Saturday in November
• 2 canvasback (either sex).
extending for 86 days.
• 2 redheads (either sex).
• 3 scaup (either sex).
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.
Geese
Early Season: Large
Daily bag limit: 10
Canada geese only from
Daily bag limit may include:
the Saturday closest to
• 10 white geese.
October 1 for a period of
• 6 dark geese
5 days EXCEPT in the
EXCEPT in the
North Coast Special
Sacramento Valley
Management Area where
Special Management Area
Large Canada geese are
where only 3 may be
closed during the early
white-fronted geese (see
season.
definitions: 502(a)).
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.
Regular Season: Dark
and white geese from the
third Saturday in October
for 100 days EXCEPT in
the Sacramento Valley
Special Management Area
where the white-fronted
goose season will close
after December 21.
Late Season: White-
fronted geese and white
geese from the third
Saturday in February
extending for 5 days
EXCEPT in the Sacramento
Valley Special Management
Area where the white-
fronted goose season
is closed. During the Late
Season, hunting is not
permitted on wildlife
areas listed in Sections
550-552 EXCEPT on
Type C wildlife areas
in the North Central and
Central Regions.

(D) Special Management Areas

Area
Species
Season
1. North Coast
All Canada Geese
From the fifth Thursday
in October extending for
a period of 88 days
(Regular Season) and
from the fourth Saturday
in February extending
for a period of 17 days
(Late Season). During the
Late Season, hunting is
only permitted on private
lands with the permission
of the land owner under
provisions of Section 2016,
Fish and Game Code.
Daily bag limit:
6 Canada Geese of which
only 1 may be a Large
Canada goose (see
definitions: 502(a)),
EXCEPT during the Late
Season the bag limit
on Large Canada geese
is zero.
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.
2. Humboldt Bay
All species
Closed during brant season.
South Spit
3. Sacramento
White-Fronted
Open concurrently with
Valley
Geese
the goose season through
December 21, and
during Youth Waterfowl
Hunting Days.
Daily bag limit: 3
white-fronted geese.
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.
4. Morro Bay
All species
Open in designated area only
from the opening day of brant
season through the remainder
of waterfowl season.
5. Martis Creek
Lake
All species
Closed until November 16.
6. Northern Brant
Black Brant
From November 7
extending for 30 days.
Daily bag limit: 2
Possession limit: triple
the daily bag limit.
7. Balance of State
Black Brant
From the second Saturday
Brant
in November extending for
30 days.
Daily bag limit: 2
Possession limit: triple
the daily bag limit.
8. Imperial County
White geese
From the first Saturday in
November extending for a
period of 86 days (Regular
Season) and from the second
Saturday in February
extending for 16
days (Late Season). During the
Late Season, hunting is
only permitted on private
lands with the permission
of the land owner under
provisions of Section 2016,
Fish and Game Code.
Daily bag limit: 10
Possession limit: triple the
daily bag limit.

(e) Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Regulations (NOTE: To participate in these Youth Waterfowl Hunts, federal regulations require that hunters must be 15 years of age or younger and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older.)

(1) Statewide Provisions.

(A) Species
(B) Season
(C) Daily Bag Limit
Ducks (including
1. Northeastern
Same as regular season.
Mergansers),
California Zone: The
American Coot,
Saturday fourteen days
Common Moorhen,
before the opening of
Black Brant, Geese
waterfowl season
extending for 2 days.
2. Southern San Joaquin
Valley Zone: The
Saturday following the
closing of waterfowl
season extending for
2 days.
3. Southern California
Zone: The Saturday
following the closing
of waterfowl season
extending for 2 days.
4. Colorado River
Zone: The Saturday
following the closing
of waterfowl season
extending for 2 days.
5. Balance of State
Zone: The Saturday
following the closing
of waterfowl season
extending for 2 days.

(f) Falconry Take of Ducks (including Mergansers), Geese, American Coots, and Common Moorhens.

(1) Statewide Provisions

(A) Species
(B) Season
(C) Daily Bag and
Possession Limits
Ducks (including
1. Northeastern California
Daily bag limit: 3
Mergansers),
Zone. Open concurrently
Daily bag limit makeup:
Geese, American
with duck season.
• Either all of 1 species
Coot and
or a mixture of species
Common
allowed for take.
Moorhen
2. Balance of State Zone.
Possession limit: 9
Open concurrently
with duck season and
February 1-2, 2014,
EXCEPT in the North Coast
Special Management Area
where the falconry season
for geese runs concurrently
with the season for Small
Canada geese (see
502(d)(5)(D)1.)
3. Southern San Joaquin
Valley Zone. Open
concurrently with duck
season and January 27-29,
2014. Goose hunting in
this zone by means of
falconry is not permitted.
4. Southern California Zone.
Open concurrently with duck
season and January 27-31,
2014 EXCEPT in
the Imperial County Special
Management Area where the
falconry season for geese runs
concurrently with the season for
white geese.
5. Colorado River Zone. Open
concurrently with duck season
and January 27-30, 2014.

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