Non-lead shot will be required when taking upland game birds with a shotgun in California beginning July 1, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.
The rule change is the second phase of a three-part plan to phase out the use of lead ammunition for hunters in the Golden State.
Also, non-lead shot is required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, non-game mammals, non-game birds and any wildlife for depredation purposes.
However, the new rule excludes dove, quail, snipe and any game birds taken at licensed game bird clubs.
The CDFW warns non-lead ammo may be in short supply for some calibers, so hunters should plan accordingly. “Hunters are encouraged to practice shooting non-lead ammunition to make sure firearms are sighted-in properly and shoot accurately with non-lead ammunition,” the department said.
According to the department’s website, the state limited the use of lead projectiles in 2008 and then state lawmakers passed a law in October 2013 to eliminate the use of lead ammo for hunting anywhere in the state by July 1, 2019. The three-part plan was determined to be the least disruptive for hunters.
Last year, the state prohibited the use of non-lead ammo when taking Nelson bighorn sheep and all wildlife on CDFW lands.
The state will implement Phase III on July 1, 2019, when hunters must use non-lead ammo when taking any animal anywhere in the state for any purpose.
However, there are no restrictions on the use of lead ammunition for target shooting purposes.