California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Nonlead Ammunition

After nearly a full year of public testimony, discussion, and environmental analyses, the Fish and Game Commission modified the Methods Authorized for Taking Big Game (Section 353, Title 14, CCR) in December, 2007 to prohibit the use of projectiles containing lead for hunting deer, bear, wild pig, elk, and pronghorn antelope in areas designated as California condor range. Modifications to Methods of Take for Nongame Birds and Mammals (Section 475, Title 14, CCR) were also adopted to prohibit the use of lead projectiles in the same areas when hunting coyotes, ground squirrels, and other non-game wildlife. Effective July 1, 2008, all big-game and non-game hunters within this area (Lead-Free Ammunition area link below) are required to use lead-free ammunition. In addition, while hunting in this area hunters may not possess any lead projectiles/ammunition and a firearm capable of firing that lead projectile or ammunition.

In October, 2013 Assembly Bill 711 was approved by the Governor and chaptered into law by the Secretary of State. AB 711 added several sections to Fish and Game Code, one of which (3005.5(b)) requires a complete ban on the use of lead ammunition for any hunting purposes anywhere in the State by July 1, 2019. This section also requires the Fish and Game Commission to develop a phase-in regulation by July 1, 2015 designed to impose the least burden on California's hunters while still implementing the intent of the law. The new law builds on the previously enacted ban (described above) on the use of lead ammunition for big-game/non-game hunting within the range of the California condor.