Sportsmens Report
November 12, 2019
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Sportsman’s Report: Non-lead ammo and official hunting season upland game

By: Bill Hanson
October 4, 2019

October is the official hunting season for upland game. Upland game includes pheasants, turkeys, quail, doves and snipe. The month also opens the waterfowl hunts including ducks, geese, mud hens and birds with webbed feet that quack, honk, whistle and gaack. For specific calendar days and season takes and bag limits go to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) web site: 

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Upland-Game-Birds

The big news for bird hunters is the new regulations on ammunition; Effective July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California.

In Oct. 2013, Assembly Bill 711 was signed into law requiring the use of nonlead ammunition when taking any wildlife with a firearm in California. This law required the California Fish and Game Commission to adopt regulations that phased-in the statute’s requirements by July 1, 2019.

CDFW conducted extensive public outreach during 2014 and proposed regulations that phased-in the nonlead requirement. This outreach effort included question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, meetings with hunting organizations and a series of eight public workshops throughout the state.

CDFW then presented draft regulations, as modified by public input from these workshops, to the Fish and Game Commission. In April 2015, the Fish and Game Commission adopted CDFW’s proposed regulations.

Effective July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. There is a raft of questions that arise:

Hunters have lots of bullets made of lead. What do we do with them now? 

The CDFW responds: Most public shooting ranges recycle the lead that gets shot into their berms and lead bullets are great for target practice.

Where can I purchase nonlead ammunition?

Hunters can purchase nonlead ammunition in most local gun stores and sporting goods retailers. If your bullet size, caliber or gauge is unavailable, most retail stores will special order ammunition. Just be sure to order ahead of time.

Oh yes, there is one other ordeal that we have to endure when buying this newer ammo, you have to be going through a background check before you are ‘qualified’ to buy the new ammo. Maybe the answer is to hunt in the frozen birds department at your local grocery store.

 

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.