As we all know the death by a thousand cuts is upon us, so it is time to get the lead out of our hunting in California. In the past year we have had hunting Nelson Big Horn Sheep anywhere in the state added to the no-lead hunting program in addition to the Condor zone. Non-lead projectiles are required when taking big game or non-game species in the condor range. Existing regulations also prohibit the possession of lead projectiles with a firearm capable of firing such projectiles when hunting for big game or non-game species within the existing California condor range. Download Google Earth™ map of Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act range and deer hunt zones (KML file) from this page.
This year we have the following added:
No hunting on any Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) property. Hunting is not allowed at all CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For those areas where hunting is allowed, nonlead ammunition will be required starting July 1, 2015. Hunters are reminded to be familiar with all hunting regulations before going into the field, the Waterfowl and Upland game regulations can be found here. Each area has its own additional specific regulations, and those can be found here. Certain CDFW lands are subject to seasonal and other closures, and visitors are responsible for knowing laws and regulations governing their use. Please contact the appropriate CDFW regional office for more information before visiting these areas. Additional information and map for some Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves can be found here. The important thing to remember it is not just the hunting with lead ammunition in the firearm, it is also unlawful to possess lead projectiles with a firearm capable of firing such projectiles while hunting on wildlife areas or ecological reserves or while hunting Nelson bighorn sheep.
Further phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting in California will occur on July 1, 2016, when hunters must use non-lead ammunition when hunting with shotguns for upland game birds (except for dove, quail and snipe), small game mammals, fur-bearing mammals, and non-game birds (except for when hunting at licensed game bird clubs). Non-lead ammunition will also be required when taking wildlife for depredation purposes anywhere in the state.
Starting on July 1, 2019 hunters must use non-lead ammunition when taking any animal, anywhere in the state for any purpose. Hunters are also encouraged to practice shooting non-lead ammunition to make sure firearms are sighted-in properly and shoot accurately with non-lead ammunition. Please note non-lead ammunition for some firearm calibers may be in short supply and hunters should plan accordingly. Lead ammunition may still be used for all non-hunting purposes including target shooting.
A list of manufacturers making non-lead ammunition which has been approved by the CDFW can be found here while approved non toxic shot for use on migratory birds can be found here