From the “Topics” below, link to our pages for over 110 California Wildlife Areas and you’ll find pretty much everything you need for hunting and other activities. For consistency, we organize them by the six regions of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”). For each wildlife area, we have hunter-friendly summaries of “general use” AND “area-specific” rules for hunting and other activities that might be allowed (e.g. auto tours, biking, dog training, fishing, and hiking).
Each of our pages for California Wildlife Areas include direct links to supporting laws and procedures. In addition, we include phone numbers, government websites, driving directions, and custom custom maps for hunting blinds, boat launches, check stations, camping areas, parking lots, etc. We also identify species that each wildlife area allows for hunting, plus any limits on bag limits, firearms, seasons, shooting hours, and much more. Finally, we provide links to general hunting calendars, definitions, forums, legal help, links, and services (e.g. meet processing).
California Wildlife Areas by CDFW Region
The CDFW organizes California Wildlife Areas by six geographical regions (see image to the right). Link below to our pages for wildlife areas within each region. There, you’ll find hunter-friendly summaries of applicable rules with direct links to support laws and other authority.
Hunting Rules for California Wildlife Areas
In this Section, we explain (a) General Use Regulations and (b) Area-Specific Regulations for over 110 California Wildlife Areas that allow hunting. Most of these laws are in Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Sections 550, 550.5, 551, and 552. Warning shots!! These laws often add to and/or limit general hunting regulations for wildlife, which we summarize by species and topic (e.g. firearms and other hunting methods). Similarly, the federal government has the Migratory Bird Treat Act for ducks, geese, and other migratory game birds that we include with our summaries.
General Use Regulations
When visiting California Wildlife Areas, there are General Use Regulations for each recreational type: Type A, Type B, and Type C. For hunting, general use rules restrict hunting methods (e.g. bow and arrows, crossbows, falcons, firearms, and traps). Second, general use rules restrict use of hunting equipment (e.g. decoys, bicycles, blinds, boats, calls, shells, shell shot, and vehicles). Third, they also limit the species you can hunt and have restrictions for specific birds (e.g. grouse, moorhen, pheasant, snipe, turkey, etc.). Fourth, they might restrict daily bag limits, hunter capacity, opening weekend of duck season, shooting hours, etc. Fifth, there are general rules and restrictions for camping areas, check stations, closed zones, entrances, and exits. Finally, they require payment of any fees and possession of hunting licenses, passes, permits, and stamps.
For non-hunting activities, general use laws for California Wildlife Areas relate to specific activities (e.g. bow fishing, dog trials, fires, fishing, hiking, shooting, swimming, and wildlife viewing; specific locations (e.g. Morro Bay); and specific people (e.g. dog trainers, disabled hunters, juniors, regional managers, and veterans). Warning shot!! Bear in mind that area-specific rules (see below) often add to and/or further restrict general use rules.
Area–specific laws for California Wildlife Areas often add to and/or further limit General Use and Federal regulations (see above). Warning shots!! Some of the laws are on CDFW’s website, but are often incomplete and misleading. (See, for example, Don’t be misled by CDFW webpage hunting symbols.) In addition, CDFW managers have can make rules when the laws are silent. Often times, you can only find them at specific wildlife areas (e.g. check station windows, hunt maps, information booths, permits, reservations, road signs, etc.). In addition to actual regulations, we try to include those rules in our pages as well.