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California Muzzleloader Hunting Season

California Muzzleloader Hunting Season

Updated 1/5/2020 - “Wheel-lock, matchlock, flintlock or percussion type, including “in-line” muzzleloading rifles using black powder or equivalent black powder substitute, including pellets, with a single projectile loaded from the muzzle and at least .40 caliber in designation. A “projectile” is defined as any bullet, ball, sabot, slug, buckshot or other device, which is expelled from a firearm through a barrel by force. Under the provisions of a muzzleloading rifle only tag, hunters may only possess muzzleloading rifles as described in subsection, equipped with open or “peep” type sights only. Under the provisions of a muzzleloading rifle/archery tag, hunters may only possess muzzleloading rifles with sights as described above. Upon application to the department, the department may issue a Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit, free of any charge or fee, to any person with a physical disability, as defined which prevents him/her from being able to focus on the target utilizing muzzleloading rifles equipped with open or “peep” sights. The Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit authorizes the disabled hunter to use a 1X scope on a muzzleloading rifle.”

a. Only legal muzzleloaders allowed in muzzleloading seasons

b. In-line muzzleloaders are legal

c. Must be single-barrel that fires a single round-ball or conical projectile

d. To hunt deer, pronghorn or bear, they must be minimum of a .40 caliber

e. To hunt elk or moose, they must be minimum of a .50 caliber

f. All bullets/projectiles must be California certified lead free bullets/projectiles

g From a .40 caliber to a .50 caliber, bullets must weigh minimum 170 grains

h. If greater than a .50 caliber, bullets must weigh minimum 210 grains

i. Shotshell primers are legal

j. Pelletized powder systems prohibited in muzzleloading seasons

k. Cannot be loaded from the breech in muzzleloading seasons

l. Only open or iron sights allowed in muzzleloading seasons. Fiber optics and fluorescent paint incorporated into or on open or iron sights are legal. Scopes or any sighting device using artificial light, batteries and electronic gear are prohibited during muzzleloading seasons

m. Sabots are legal in muzzleloading seasons

n. Smokeless powder prohibited in muzzleloading seasons. Black powder and black-powder substitutes are legal

o. Electronic or battery-powered devices cannot be incorporated into or attached to muzzleloader during muzzleloading seasons.

***Muzzleloading projectiles must be certified California legal. This includes Barnes T-EZ & T-MZ, Hornady SST, and Thor bullets***

 

CALIFORNIA MUZZLELOADER HUNTING SEASONS

 

Muzzleloader Deer Hunts 

Hunt Area Season Season Dates Bag Limit
M-3 Muzzleloader Only Nov 21st - Nov 29th 1 Buck
M-4 Muzzleloader Only Oct 24th - Nov 1st 1 Buck
M-5 Muzzleloader Only Oct 24th - Nov 1st 1 Buck
M-6 Muzzleloader Only Dec 19th - Dec 31st 1 Either Sex
M-7 Muzzleloader Only Nov 28th - Dec 13th 1 Either Sex
M-8 Muzzleloader Only Oct 24th - Nov 1st 1 Buck
M-9 Muzzleloader Only Oct 24th - Nov 8th 1 Buck
M-11 Muzzleloader Only Nov 14th - Nov 29th 1 Buck
MA-1 Muzzleloader Nov 28th - Dec 13th 1 Either Sex
MA-3 Muzzleloader Nov 28th - Dec 13th 1 Buck

 

Muzzleloader Elk Hunts

Hunt Code Hunt Name Season Legal Elk Season Dates
303 Marble Mountains Muzzleloader Either Sex Oct 26th - Nov 3rd
326 Fort Hunter Liggett Muzzleloader Bull Nov 21st - Jan 1st
364 Goodale Period 1 Muzzleloader Antlerless Sept 14th - Sept 29th
367 Independence Period 1 Muzzleloader Bull Sept 14th - Sept 29th
326** Fort Hunter Liggett Muzzleloader Bull Dec 21st - Jan 1st

 

CALIFORNIA MUZZLELOADER HUNTING SEASON REGULATIONS 

  • It is illegal to hunt with pelletized powders or propellants during muzzleloader-only seasons.
  • Muzzleloading firearms with revolving actions are prohibited during muzzleloader-only seasons.
  • Muzzleloader rifles and muskets must be a minimum of .45 caliber for deer, pronghorn, mountain lion or gray wolf.
  • Muzzleloader rifles and muskets be a minimum of .50 caliber for, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat or black bear.
  • It is legal to use a 209 primer during muzzleloader only seasons.
  • Muzzleloaders must be equipped with open or peep sights only during muzzleloader only seasons, fiber optic sights are legal as long as they do not produce their own light.
  • Scopes and electronics of any kind are prohibited during muzzleloader only seasons.
  • Persons who are visually disabled may apply for a permit to use a non-magnifying scope.
     

This information is subject to change, for more information visit: California Department of Fish & Wildlife

 
HAVE CALIFORNIA MUZZLELOADER HUNTING SEASON QUESTIONS?

Muzzleloader Hunting season is the best for low-pressure hunting and plentiful wildlife. If you are new to muzzleloaders or would like more information on your state's muzzleloader hunting regulations, make sure to give us a call. Muzzle-Loaders.com is focused on promoting black powder hunting in all 50 states and can help you determine when your particular state's hunting season starts. If you have questions about California Muzzleloader Hunting Season, please call us at 1-855-236-5000 or email us at sales@muzzle-loaders.com.

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