First Phase of California’s Lead Ammo Ban In Force Starting July 1, 2015

The first step in the complete statewide ban of lead ammunition has officially begun in California.

Legislation passed by the anti-hunting/anti-gun Legislature and signed by an equally narrow-minded Governor in 2013 launched a dramatic expansion of restrictions on lead ammunition for hunters.   It wasn’t enough that the Legislature had already relied on junk science to prohibit the use of lead ammo while hunting animals in an area of the state designated as the “California Condor Zone” –  they broadened those restrictions to include all ammunition when hunting any wildlife anywhere in the state. 

The phased-in approach, which includes regulations adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission officially begins July 1, 2015, the new fiscal year.

Hunters must not be caught unaware; while some of these regulations begin immediately, others will continue to be phased in.  According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

  • Beginning in July, nonlead ammunition will be required when hunting on all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) lands and for all Nelson bighorn sheep hunts anywhere in the state.
  • Further phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting in California will continue on July 1, 2016, when nonlead ammunition will be required when hunting with shotguns for upland game birds (except for dove, quail and snipe), small game mammals, fur-bearing mammals and nongame birds except for when hunting at licensed game bird clubs. Nonlead ammunition will also be required when taking wildlife with shotguns for depredation purposes anywhere in the state.
  • Starting July 1, 2019, hunters must use nonlead ammunition when taking any animal anywhere in the state for any purpose.
  • Lead ammunition may still be used for target shooting. Existing restrictions on the use of lead ammunition in the California condor range remain in effect while implementation proceeds.
  • 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.

Although Gun Owners of California fought vigorously in opposition to the original legislation that banned lead in the condor zone and the more recent expansion, we strongly encourage all hunters to become educated on the new regulations. Additional, more detailed information, plus a list of “frequently asked questions” can be found at the links below:

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