37 Rules from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act California Bird Hunters Should Know About

Bag limits for California goose hunting seasons, California duck hunting seasons, including California Waterfowl Opening Weeking

Here, we fetch up 37 Rules from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act California bird hunters should know about.[1] In general, compliance is a requirement to hunt any migratory bird in California, as well as to possess, transport, ship, import, and export them. Warning shot!! The Act allows California to place more restrictions, so long as they don’t conflict with the Act. So in addition to these rules, also review our pages for each migratory bird listed below.[2]

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California version
Migratory Bird Treaty Act California Hunting
    1. Ducks
    2. Geese
    3. Doves
    4. Snipe
    5. American Crow
    6. Band-tailed pigeon
    7. American Coot
    8. Common Moorhen

Topics

    1. Charities.
    2. Cleaning of Birds.
    3. Common Carriers.
    4. Custody.
    5. Daily Bag Limits.
    6. Donation of Birds.
    7. Export from California.
    8. Export from the U.S..
    9. Feathers and Skins.
    10. Gifts.
    11. Heads of Birds.
    12. Hunting License.
    13. Identification of Birds.
    14. Import into California.
    15. Import into the U.S.
    16. Indian Reservations.
    17. Methods of Take.
    18. Permit Requirements.
    19. Personal Abode.
    20. Picking of Birds.
    21. Possession of Birds.
    22. Possession Limits.
    23. Preservation Facilities.
    24. Processing of Birds.
    25. Retrieval of Birds.
    26. Seasons.
    27. Shipping Birds.
    28. Shooting Hours.
    29. Skins of Birds.
    30. Storage of Birds.
    31. Tagging Requirements.
    32. Taxidermy.
    33. Transporting of Birds.
    34. Violations (Federal).
    35. Violations (State).
    36. Waste of Birds.
    37. Wings of Birds.

Charities

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California CharitiesUnder California law, a hunter may donate a possession limit of game birds to a charity. The charity can distribute the birds any time of the year under certain conditions. First, the donation has to be received for a charitable purpose. Second, the charity has to get a photocopy of the donor’s license and tags, which have to be signed and dated. The charity also has to get a statement confirming the donation.

In the alternative, the charity can accept a signed and dated document confirming the donation. It has to include the donor’s name, address, hunting license number, and tag numbers for each species. The hunting license has to be from the current or immediate prior license year. The charity has to keep the records for at least one year and make them available for inspection by the CDFW.

See FGC § 3080, warning that the section doesn’t authorize possession of game bird contrary to the Act. Warning shots!!! The Section warns that it doesn’t authorize possession of a game bird contrary contrary to the Act.

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Cleaning of Birds

See our Sections for Import into the U.S. (cleaning requirements prior to import), Possession Limits (may be exceeded by a bird cleaning service) and Tagging Requirements (tags required prior to custody for cleaning service).

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Common Carriers

Under the Act, it’s illegal for a common carrier to transport migratory game birds that were taken illegally. The same is true of agents of common carrier.

See 50 CFR § 20.41.

Under California law, it’s illegal for a common carrier to receive or transport more than a person’s Daily Bag and Possession Limit of any bird. It’s also illegal for the person to offer them to a common carrier for transport.

See FGC § 2346 and FGC § 2347.

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Custody

Under the Act, it’s generally illegal for a person to possess migratory game birds that belong to someone else. The only exception is if they are properly tagged.

See 50 CFR § 20.37. Also see our Sections for see Possession of Birds and Tagging Requirements.

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Daily Bag Limits

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California daily bag limits.Under the Act, a “Daily Bag Limit” is the maximum number of migratory game birds allowed to be hunted by one person in a single day. Of course, it has to be during open season for the particular bird. There may be different limits for different geographical areas (e.g. waterfowl zones). For more details, refer to the definition of Bag Limit.

Under California law, a “bag limit” is the maximum number of birds that may be taken by any one person during a specified period of time. It’s illegal for a person to take more that a daily bag limit. There’s also a Bag and Possession Limit,” which usually means the daily bag limit of each kind of migratory game bird you can take or possess.

See  50 CFR § 20.11(c)(2)50 CFR § 20.24FGC § 2001, and 14 CCR § 252.

Common Carriers

See the Section for Common Carriers above.

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Hunting

Under the Act, it’s illegal to Take migratory game birds unless the CDFW schedules daily bag limits. See 50 CFR § 20.100.

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Opening Day

Under the Act, it’s illegal on opening day of the season to have more than the daily bag limit of freshly killed migratory game birds. See 50 CFR § 20.34.

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Possession

In general, it’s illegal under the Act to possess migratory game birds. When allowed, it’s illegal to possess more than the daily bag limit of migratory game birds at the place where they were killed. The rule applies until you reach one of the places listed below. See 50 CFR § 20.35 and 50 CFR § 20.100.

    1. His or her principal means of transportation.
    2. Personal Abode or place of lodging.
    3. Migratory Bird Preservation Facility.
    4. A post office.
    5. A Common Carrier facility.

Warning shots!!! It doesn’t matter whether the birds are tagged or not. The same rules apply if there is an aggregate daily bag limit. These rules also apply to anyone with custody of or transporting those birds. Also see our Sections for Hunting License, Possession Limits, Tagging Requirements, and Transportation of Birds.

Under California law, it’s usually illegal to possess more than the daily bag limit. The only exception is if the birds were killed legal, properly tagged, and are being held for one of the purposes listed below. See 14 CCR § 251.7. Also see our Sections for Possession and Tagging Requirements.

    1. Transportation.
    2. Cleaning.
    3. Storage (including temporary storage).
    4. Shipment.
    5. Taxidermy.

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Retrieval of Wounded Birds

Under the Act, you have to make a reasonable effort to retrieve migratory game birds that you wound. These are commonly referred to in the field a cripples or “crips.” You also have to make a reasonable effort to take them into possession and kill them. Afterwards, they become part of your daily bag limit.

See 50 CFR § 20.38. Also see our Sections for Daily Bag Limit and Retrieval of Birds.)

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Transporting

Under the Act, it’s illegal to transport more than a daily bag limit of migratory game birds. It doesn’t matter whether the birds are tagged or not. The rule applies from the place where they were taken and one of the places listed below.

    1. Your vehicle.
    2. Your Personal Abode or place of lodging.
    3. Migratory Bird Preservation Facility.
    4. Post Office.
    5. Common Carrier facility.

See 50 CFR § 20.35. Also see our Sections for Common Carriers, Personal Abode, and Tagging Requirements.

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Donation of Birds

See our Sections for Charities (above).

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Export from California

Under the Act, you can export feathers and skins of migratory game birds. In general, you need a permit. There’s an exception, though, if the birds were taken legally and the feather or skins are for personal use. See 50 CFR § 20.92 and 50 CFR § 20.72.

Under California law, it’s usually illegal to transport or carry game birds out of the State. There’s an exception if you have a nonresident Hunting License or written permission from the CDFW. The is true for bird parts, nests or eggs. See FGC § 2350.

Also see our Section for Feathers and Skins below.

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Export from the U.S.

Under the Act, you can only export migratory game birds in accordance with federal restrictions, conditions and requirements. However, it’s  illegal to export them to a foreign country without a fully feathered wing.

See 50 CFR § 20.1(b) and 50 CFR § 20.52. Also see our Sections for Feathers and Skins, and Shipping Packages.

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Feathers and Skins

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California Feathers and Skins.Under the Act, it’s generally illegal to possess the feathers and skins of migratory game birds without a permit. There’s an exception for birds that were lawfully taken. The same rules apply for birds that you transport, ship, import or export.

See 50 CFR § 20.92 and 50 CFR § 20.91 [re commercial use of feathers].

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Gifts

Under the Act, you can give freshly killed migratory game birds to someone as a gift. That also means you can possess or receive them as a gift. In general, the birds have to be properly tagged. They don’t have to be tagged at the possessor’s Personal Abode. See 50 CFR § 20.40.

Under California law, the recipient can have a possession limit of birds at any time of the year. However, the recipient must keep a copy of the hunter’s license and bird tags. Warning shot!!! The license and tags must be from the current or immediate prior license year. See FGC § 3080.

Also see our Sections for Charities, Personal Abode, and Tagging Requirements.

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Heads of Birds

See our Section for Identification of Birds and Import Into the U.S.: Processing.

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Hunting License

The hunting of migratory game birds is considered a privilege. It can be lost if you don’t comply with the conditions and requirements listed below.

Identification

Under the Act, you have to carry evidence that you’re a migratory bird hunter. You also have to carry evidence that you’ve given your name, address, and date of birth to the CDFW. See 50 CFR § 20.20(b).

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License

Under California law, you can only hunt if you have a valid Hunting License. See 14 CCR § 251(c).

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Migratory Bird Harvest Survey

Under the Act, your require to complete the Migratory Bird Harvest Survey before hunting migratory game birds. During the survey, you have to inform the CDFW the approximate number of ducks, geese and doves bagged during the previous year. Second, you have to inform them whether you hunted snipe, American Coot, or Common Moorhen during the previous year. Finally, you have to inform them whether you intend to hunt band-tailed pigeon in the current year.

See 50 CFR § 20.20 and 50 CFR § 20.20(e).

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Identification of Birds

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California identification of birds.Under the Act, you have to keep the head or one fully feathered wing attached to most migratory game birds when transporting them in the U.S. You can’t remove them until reaching your Personal Abode or deliver them to a Migratory Bird Preservation Facility.  There’s an exception for doves and band-tailed pigeons. See 50 CFR § 20.43.

Warning shot!!! When transporting them in California law, you have to keep the head or one fully feathered wing attached. The only exception is for doves, but even for them you have to keep a fully feathered wing attached. You have to keep them on until reaching your Personal Abode, commercial preservation facility, or they are being prepared for immediate consumption. See 14 CCR § 251.7(b). Also see our Sections for Export Out of the U.S. and Import into the U.S.: Processing.

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Import into California

Under California law, it’s usually illegal to import birds, including migratory game birds. It’s only legal if all of the conditions listed below are satisfied. See FGC § 2353 and 14 CCR § 251.7.

    1. You lawfully killed or took possession of the birds outside of the State.
    2. The particular birds are legal to possess.
    3. You submitted a declaration to the appropriate agency prior to entry.*

There’s another exception for when migratory game birds are being transported into the State pursuant to federal regulation. Also see our Sections for Common Carriers and Shipping: Packages.

* You don’t need a declaration if the birds are being handled by a common carrier under a bill of lading. The same is true if the birds are food for common carrier passengers.

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Import into the U.S.

Under the Act, you can only import migratory game birds into the U.S. as allowed under federal restrictions, conditions and requirements. See 50 CFR § 20.1(b). Also see our Sections for Feathers and Skins, Identification of Birds, Personal Abode, Shipping: Packages, Tagging Requirements, and Taxidermy.

Birds Belonging to Another

In general, it’s illegal to import migratory game birds that belong to another person. See 50 CFR § 20.62.

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Documentation

To import migratory game birds that were killed in a foreign country, you have to have the documents required from that country. This includes the proper permits and tags. See 50 CFR § 20.64.

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Feathers and Skins (see above)

Foreign laws

It’s illegal to import migratory game birds in violation of foreign law. The same is true for any bird part, egg or nest. See 50 CFR § 20.73.

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Processing

In general, when you import a migratory game bird into the U.S. it must be fully dress. Plus the head and feet must be removed. There are exceptions for birds killed in Canada. There another exception for birds that will be mounted by a taxidermist.

See 50 CFR § 20.65. Also see our Sections for Heads, Identification of Birds, Taxidermy, and Wings.

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Shipping Packages (see below)

Waterfowl

When importing ducks or geese into the U.S., the rules depend on where you’re bring them from. For all countries except Canada and Mexico (see below), you can only import ten ducks and five geese in a calendar week, which begin on Sunday. See 50 CFR § 20.61.

Canada

From Canada, you have to comply with its authorities.

Mexico

From Mexico, you usually have to comply with its authorities. However, the importer must have a Mexican hunting permit. Second, the birds must be date-stamped by the appropriate Mexican wildlife authorities. Finally, the importer must comply with Mexican daily bag and possession limits. (They must correspond to the actual number of hunt days during that particular trip.)

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Wings

It’s unlawful to import a migratory game bird without a full feathered remains attached while being transported between the port of entry and either: See 50 CFR § 20.63.

    1. The Personal Abode or
    2. A Migratory Bird Preservation Facility.

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Indian Reservations

Regulations allow transport of game birds and game mammals off Indian reservations, subject to conditions, with or without CDFW permit, stamps or tag, depending on where they were taken. See 14 CCR § 251.8.

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Methods of Take

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California methods of take.Under the Act, migratory game birds may be taken by any method except those expressly prohibited in 50 CFR § 20.21. Prohibited methods include those listed below. See 50 CFR § 20.21 and 50 CFR § 105.

    1. Aid of a motor vehicle.
    2. Baited areas.
    3. Electronic calls.
    4. Fish hook.
    5. Live decoys.
    6. Pistol.
    7. Poison.
    8. Rifle.
    9. Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, larger than 10-guage, and loaded with toxic shot).

Under California law, it’s illegal to hunt any bird except by what’s called “authorized methods of take.” Those hunting methods are specific to each species of bird. Refer to our pages for the species of birds you wish to hunt.

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Permit Requirements

See Export out of the State, Import into the U.S., and Identification of Birds.

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Personal Abode

Under the Act, “personal abode” means one’s principal or ordinary home or dwelling place. The definition excludes a temporary place of abode (e.g. a hunting club, cabin, tent, or hotel used during a hunting, pleasure or business trip. See 50 CFR § 20.11(d) for the complete definition.

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Picking of Birds

See our Section for Tagging Requirements below.

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Possession of Birds

Under the Act and California law, migratory game birds may only be taken or possessed in accordance with federal restrictions, conditions and requirements, including the establishment of seasons and limits. See 50 CFR § 20.1(b) and 50 CFR § 20.100.

Charities

In general, a charitable organization is allowed to possess migratory game birds. For more details, see our Section for Charities above.

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Closed Season

During the closed seasons, it’s illegal to possess freshly killed migratory game birds. (See 50 CFR § 20.32.) Under California law, it’s generally legal to have a possession limit of game birds any time of the year. However, the person in possession must comply with at least one of the requirements listed below. See FGC § 3080.

    1. You must have a Hunting License. Plus the birds must be properly tagged. (For more details, see our Section for Tagging Requirements below.
    2. You must have received the birds as a donation and meet the other requirements. (For more details, see our Section for Charities above.).

Common Carriers

In general, it’s legal for a common carrier to possess migratory game birds. For more details, see our Section for Common Carriers above.

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Daily Bag Limit

In general, it’s illegal to possess more than a daily bag limit of migratory game birds. For more details, see our Section for Daily Bag Limit above.

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End of Possession

Under the Act, the “possession” of birds by a hunter ends when they’ve been delivered under one of two scenarios. See 50 CFR § 20.39. Also see our Sections above for Charities and Common Carriers.

    1. The hunter donated the birds.
    2. The birds where consigned for transport by a post office, common carrier, or Migratory Bird Preservation Facility.

Under California law, “possession” also ends when the birds are being prepared for immediate consumption. See 14 CCR § 251.7(b).

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Feathers and Skins

In general, the feathers and skins of migratory game birds may be possessed for personal use. (For more details, see our Section above for Feathers and Skins.

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Gifts

In general, migratory game birds may be possessed by a person that received them as a gift. For more details, see our Section above for Charities.

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Head and Wings

In general, migratory game birds may not be possessed without the head or a fully feathered wing attached. For more details (including exceptions), see our Section for Identification of Birds above).

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License and Tags

Under California law, it’s illegal to possess any game bird unless the hunter that killed them meets the requirements listed below. See FGC § 3080.

    1. The hunter has a valid Hunting License.
    2. The birds are properly tagged. (For more details, see our Section above for Tagging Requirements.)
    3. The hunter or possessor make the records available upon request to the CDFW.
    4. The possession is legal under the Act. 

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Opening Day

Under the Act, it’s illegal to possess more than the daily bag limit of freshly killed migratory game birds on opening day of the season. See 50 CFR § 20.34.

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Possession Limit

See our Section for Possession Limits below.

Processing

Under California law, processed game birds count toward a person’s possession limit. An example of processed food is sausage. For more details, see our Section for Processing below. See FGC § 3080.

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Tags

In general, migratory game birds can only be possessed if they are properly tagged. One exception to this rule is if they are possessed at your home. For more details (including exceptions), see our Section for Tagging Requirements below.

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Transport

In general, migratory game birds may be possessed for the purpose of transportation. For more details (including exceptions, see our Section below for Transportation of Birds.

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Seasons

Under the Act, it’s illegal to possess migratory game birds unless a season has been established by the CDFW. See 50 CFR § 20.100.

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Violations

It is unlawful to possess or have in custody of a migratory game bird (or any part thereof) when taken in violation of the federal, State or foreign law. For more details, see our Sections below about Violations (Federal) and Violations (State). See 50 CFR § 20.31.

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Wounded Birds

Under the Act, a hunter can possess a migratory game bird that was wounded (i.e. crippled) from hunting. However, it must be killed immediately and added to the hunter’s daily bag limit. For more details, see our Sections for Daily Bag Limit and Retrieval of Birds. See 50 CFR § 20.38 and 14 CCR § 251.5.

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Possession Limits

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California possession limits.Under the Act, a possession limit is the maximum number of migratory game birds that may be possessed by one person. The rule applies to (a) a single species of birds, (b) lawfully taken in the U.S., and (c) within a single geographic area. Warning shots!!! There may also be an aggregate possession limit and /or a possession limit for combination of species. See 50 CFR § 20.11(c)(4) and (5).

Under California law, a “bag and possession limit” is the daily bag limit of each kind of migratory game bird that may be taken and possessed by any one person unless otherwise authorized. See 14 CCR § 252. For more details, see our Section for Daily Bag Limit above.

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Closed Season

Under California law, a person can usually possess only one possession limit of migratory game birds after the season ends. There’s an exception for birds received as a donation or gift. There are other exceptions for birds received for the purpose of transportation, cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment, or taxidermy services. However, the birds must be properly tagged. See 14 CCR § 251.7(d) and our Sections for Charities, Tagging Requirements, and Transporting of Birds.

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Excess of the Limit

Under the Act, it’s illegal to possess more than the possession limit of migratory game birds. See 50 CFR § 20.33.

Under California law, a person may be charged with violating the possession limit of any bird. See FGC § 2001. However, there are exceptions people performing services on migratory game birds taken in California by another person [see Paragraph (F) below]. See 14 CCR § 251.5(a).

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Field Possession Limit

Under the Act, it’s illegal to posses more than the daily bag limit of migratory game birds in the field or place where they were otherwise taken. The is in affect until reaching your primary source of transportation (e.g. truck). The rule continues to apply until reaching one of the locations listed below.

    1. Your Personal Abode or temporary place of lodging (e.g. hunting club _).
    2. A Migratory Bird Preservation Facility.
    3. A Post office.
    4. Common carrier facility (For more details, see our Section below for Common Carriers).

Warning shots!!! The same applies if there’s an aggregate daily bag limit_. The rule also applies to anyone in custody of the birds or transporting them. It doesn’t matter whether the birds are tagged. See 50 CFR § 20.35.

Import Limits

See our Section above for Import into the U.S.

Service Providers

Service providers may possess more than a possession limit of birds belonging to another person. However, the birds must be properly tagged and they must be received for the purpose of cleaning, shipment, storage (including temporary storage), taxidermy, and/or transportation. See 14 CCR § 251.7(a). Also see our Sections for Cleaning of Birds, Tagging Requirements, Taxidermy, and Transportation of Birds.

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Preservation Facilities

Link to our summary for California Food Preservation Facility Laws, which covers Sections 50 CFR § 20.81, 50 CFR § 20.82, and 50 CFR § 20.83 of the Act.

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Processing of Birds

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California processing of birds.A hunter may process his or her possession limit into food (e.g. jerky or sausage).  Under California law, it is unclear at this time whether the birds continue to count toward the hunter’s possession limit. NOTE: The California Fish and Game Commission had until January 1, 2015 to “recommend legislation or adopt regulations to clarify when a possession limit is not violated by processing into food lawfully taken game birds or mammals.” As of June 2016, it remains unclarified. See FGC § 3080(e).

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Retrieval of Birds

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California bird retrieval.If a migratory game bird is killed or crippled, the hunter must make a reasonable effort to retrieve it. If crippled, it must be killed immediately and added to hunter’s daily bag limit. See 50 CFR § 20.25. Also see our Sections for Daily Bag Limit: Retrieval of Wounded Birds and Possession Limits: Field Possession above.

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Seasons

Open Season

Under the Act, migratory game birds may only be taken by a legal method during open season. See 50 CFR § 20.2150 CFR § 20.100.

Under California law, it’s a violation to take any bird outside of the season established by the CDFW. See FGC § 2001 and our Sections for Methods of Take and Violations (State).

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Definition

The Act defines “Open season” as the days on which it’s legal to take migratory birds. See 50 CFR § 20.11.

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Closed Season

Under the Act, it’s illegal to take migratory game birds during closed season. It’s also illegal to possess freshly killed migratory game birds during the closed season. See 50 CFR § 20.22, 50 CFR § 20.32. For more details, see our Section for Seasons above.

Under California law, there are exceptions that relate to donations, gifts, the hunter’s home, and service providers. See 14 CCR § 251.5. For more details, see our Sections for Charities, Gifts, and Possession Limits.

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Possession Limit

Under California law, only one possession limit may generally be possessed during closed season. For more details, see our Section for Possession Limits above.

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Shipping Birds

Migratory game birds can only only ship in accordance with federal restrictions, conditions and requirements. See 50 CFR § 20.1(b).

Feathers and Skins

In general, any person may use may ship feathers and skins of migratory game birds. However, they must be lawfully taken and for personal use.  For more details (including other uses), see our Section for Feathers and Skins. See 50 CFR § 20.92.

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Packages

It’s illegal to transport migratory game birds unless the outside of the container has clear and conspicuous marking with the information listed below.

    1. The name and address of the shipper and consignee.
    2. An accurate description of the number and species of birds. 

Under California law, the same is true for any bird offered to or received by a common carrier for transport. See FGC § 2348(a). See 50 CFR § 20.44, 50 CFR § 20.53, and 50 CFR § 20.66. Also see our Sections for Common Carriers, plus Import and Export.

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Parcel Post

Under California law, it is unlawful to ship any bird by parcel post, which is too slow and the birds may spoil. However, birds can ship by priority mail with proper packaging. See FGC § 2349. Also see our Sections for Common Carriers, Export out of the U.S., Import into the U.S., Tagging Requirements, and Transport.

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Shooting Hours

Migratory Bird Treaty Act California Shooting HoursAnnual shooting hours for migratory game birds vary by Flyway and time periods.  The shooting hours for ducks and geese, for example, are generally from thirty minutes before sunrise until sunset. However, shooting hours are subject to further restriction on public lands (e.g. National Wildlife Refuges). See 50 CFR § 20.23 and our page for each species of migratory game bird you intend to hunt (e.g. doves, pigeon, and crow).

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Skins of Birds

See our Section for Feathers and Skins above

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Storage of Birds

See our Section for Tagging Requirements below.

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Tagging Requirements

Under the Act, migratory game birds usually can’t be left anywhere unless the birds have proper tags. One exception is at the person’s Personal Abode. There are more exceptions when leaving them in the custody of another person for one of the purposes listed below. See 50 CFR § 20.3650 CFR § 20.37 [receiving custody], 50 CFR § 20.40 [donations and gifts], 50 § CFR 20.42 [transport], 50 § CFR 20.64 [import and export], 50 § CFR 20.81 [preservation facility]

    1. Cleaning
    2. Donations
    3. Gifts
    4. Picking
    5. Processing
    6. Shipping
    7. Storage (including temporary storage)*
    8. Taxidermy
    9. Transportation.

When traveling with your own birds, it’s not “temporary storage” and doesn’t require tags. However, when the Act requires tags, attach them to the birds with the following information.

    1. Migratory Bird Treaty Act California tagging procedures for California food preservation facility lawsHunter’s signature.
    2. Hunter’s address.
    3. Total number of birds.
    4. Species of each bird.
    5. Kill date.

Under California law, tags must also include the information listed below.

    1. Hunter’s name.
    2. Hunter’s license number.
    3. Location of kill. 

There are further restrictions under California law. See FGC § 3080 [gifts and donations], 14 CCR § 251(b)(2)(A)1 [mobility-impaired hunters], 14 CCR § 251.7 [tagging requirements], 14 CCR § 251.8 [Indian reservations]

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Taxidermy

Import

The Act allows import of migratory game birds into the U.S. for the purpose of mounting by a taxidermist. However, the requirements listed below must be satisfied. See 50 CFR § 20.36 and 50 CFR § 20.65. Also see our Sections for Import into the CaliforniaImport into the U.S.: Processing, and Tagging Requirements.

    • Migratory Bird Treaty Act California taxidermy.The birds must be:
      1. Taken legally,
      2. Fully feathered,
      3. Properly tagged, and 
      4. Consigned to a taxidermist.
    • The taxidermist must have both a federal taxidermy permit and a State decontamination license from the USDA.

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Limits

Under California law, a taxidermist may possess more than the daily bag limit and possession limit. However, the birds must have been taken lawfully taken and they must be properly tagged. See 14 CCR § 251.7(a). Also see our Section for Tagging Requirements above.

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Tagging

Under the Act, it’s illegal to leave migratory game birds in the custody of a taxidermist without proper tags. See 50 CFR § 20.36.

Under California law, a taxidermist may possess any game bird. However, the birds must have been killed legally and properly tagged. See 14 CCR § 251.7(a). Also see our Section for Tagging Requirements.

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Transporting of Birds

Transport of migratory game birds must be in accordance with federal law. The same is true for any bird part. See 50 CFR § 20.1(b).

Birds of Another

Under the Act, it’s illegal to transport someone else’s migratory game birds unless they have proper tags.  See 50 CFR § 20.42 and our Section for Tagging Requirements above.

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Daily Bag Limit

See our Section for Daily Bag Limit above.

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Violations (Federal)

Under the Act, it’s illegal for a person to take, possess, transport, or export any migratory bird, nest, egg, or any part thereof, in violation of one of the laws listed below. See 50 CFR § 20.7150 CFR § 20.72 and 50 CFR § 20.73.

    1. Any act of Congress or regulation issued pursuant thereto.
    2. California law.
    3. Foreign law. 

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Violations (State)

Under California law, it’s illegal to commit any of the acts listed below. See FGC § 2001.

    1. Possess a game bird outside of the season.
    2. Take birds outside of the established seasons.
    3. Exceed any daily bag limit or possession limit

For more details (including any exceptions, see our Sections for CharitiesGiftsDaily Bag Limit, and Possession Limits.

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Waste of Birds

See our Section for Retrieval of Birds above.

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Wings of Birds

See our Sections for Export Out of the U.S., Identification of Birds, and Import into the U.S.

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[1] The Migratory Bird Treaty Act hunters should know about begins at 16 USC § 703, but the regulations are in Title 50, Part 20, Code of Federal Regulations (“50 CFR § 20”).

[2] See 50 CFR §§ 20.1(b)20.2(d), 20.11, and 20.51, as well as 50 CFR §§ 20.100 and 50 CFR § 20.105 regarding 37 rules from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act California hunters should know about hunting, possessing, transporting, shipping, importing, and exporting migratory birds.

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