California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Nonlead Certification Information for ammo manufacturers

To Whom It May Concern:

In October 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill passed by the California Legislature to create a "non-lead" zone relative to hunting within the range of the California condor. The purpose of this law is to reduce the risk of indirect lead poisoning to the California condor (as well as other scavenging birds) from hunting activities and facilitate the management/recovery of this Federal and State listed endangered species. The California Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations in December 2007 to implement this law.

Effective July 1, 2008, ammunition used for hunting of big-game and non-game species within the range of the California condor must use a projectile which has been certified to contain ≤ 1% lead by weight. Projectiles here are defined as "any bullet, ball, sabot, slug, buckshot or other device which is expelled from a firearm through a barrel by force." A map of the geographic area of this "non-lead" hunting zone can be found on our website at The Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that this regulation change will affect between 30,000-50,000 hunters, primarily of deer, wild pigs, and nongame species.

The law also requires the Commission and Department to implement a certification process that will identify legal projectiles for hunting in the area. If you would like your product(s) considered as legal projectiles in California, an application form for the certification can be located at Non-lead Cartridge/Projectile Certification Application. If you desire to make your product available for legal use in this area, you will need to fill out the application completely and submit it to the address provided on the form. Once your application is received and approved, the ammunition/projectile(s) will be added to CDFW's list of certified non-lead ammunition made available to California's hunters through CDFW's web site. The Department will notify each applicant after a review has been made of the information submitted.

If you have any questions about the process or the forms, please contact Mary Sommer at (916) 445-3549 or

Thank you in advance for your participation and assistance in reducing the risk of indirect lead poisoning resulting from hunting activities for California's wildlife species.