Coyote Hunting in California: Rules and Regulations 2023-2024

This article goes into an in-depth analysis of laws and regulations regarding coyote hunting in the Golden State of California. Along the way, I will also try to answer a few FAQs related to coyote hunting in California.

California is one of the best places to go for coyote hunting since coyotes are considered ‘Non-Game’ animals and have similar legal status to that of rats or pigeons.

Coyote Hunting in California

The Fish and Game commission regulates all the coyote hunting activities in the state of California. Most people confuse the Fish and Game Department with the Fish and Game Commission.

As per U.S. Department of Agriculture the approx. number of coyotes live in the state are 250000 to 750000. Which is a considerable number.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for executing and enforcing the Fish and Game Commission’s regulations, as well as providing biological data and expertise to aid the Commission’s decision-making process.

The commission has designated coyotes as Non-game animals. This means hunting coyotes should have neither closed season nor bag limit but this regulation has been changed a bit.

Go through the article to know everything about it.

Related: Coyote Hunting in Nevada: Rules and Regulations 2022

Do you need a license to hunt coyotes in California?

Both residents and non-residents need to purchase a California hunting license in order to hunt coyotes in California. You can purchase all the necessary hunting licenses and permits through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Furthermore, California requires Hunter Education Training for all individuals who:

  1. never had a hunting license in California,
  2.  does not have a hunter education certificate, or
  3.  does not have a hunting license from any other state or province issued within the last two years. 

Students may choose between any of the two class-format options available. They are traditional physical hunting education classes or online courses and follow-up classes.

You can get more information about the classes through the California Hunter Education portal

Coyote Hunting seasons in California

Since coyotes are designated as Non-game animals in California, there should not be any closed seasons for hunting coyotes but the department has issued a time-period in which you can hunt coyotes.

You can hunt coyotes from July , 2023 to March 31, 2024, in California which is almost a year.

Some of the other non-game birds and mammals like English sparrows, starlings, weasels, skunks, opossum, moles, and rodents may also be hunted at any time of the year but it is closed now.

However, the rodents category excludes tree and flying squirrels, and those listed as fur-bearers or endangered threatened species in California.

Visit the official website for more information.

Can you hunt coyotes at night in California?

You may hunt coyotes even at night on private properties of California. However, if you are not a landowner or landowner’s agent, you’ll need written permission issued from either the landowner himself, the tenants, or the property agent.

Additionally, you may also hunt coyotes at night in California in public lands except for these areas. 

  1. Beginning at Mendota, at the intersection of Little Panoche Road and Interstate 5,
  2. South on Interstate 5 near Mendota or to Highway 198,
  3. East on Highway 198 till Highway 99,
  4. South on Highway 99 till Interstate 5,
  5. Near Fort Tejon Historical Monument, Interstate 5 south till the Los Padres National Forest boundary in Section 8, T 9 N, R 19 W, S.B.B.M,
  6. West along the National Forest boundary till the Cerro Noroeste Road,
  7. Northwest on Cerro Noroeste Road till Highway 33-166,
  8. North on Highway 33-166 till Soda Lake Road,
  9. On the Simmler Soda Lake and northwest on the Soda Lake Road,
  10. San Diego Creek Road till Highway 58 at Simmler,
  11. West on Highway 58 till the Cammotti Shandon Road,
  12. North on the Cammotti Shandon Road till the Shandon San Juan Road;
  13. North on the Shandon San Juan Road till Highway 41, 
  14. Northeast on Highway 41 till the Cholame Valley Road,
  15. Northwest on Cholame Valley Road and Cholame Road till the Parkfield Coalinga Road in Parkfield,
  16. North on Parkfield Coalinga Road and Parkfield Grade till Highway 198, 
  17. Northwest on Highway 198 till the Fresno-Monterey county line,
  18. North along with the Fresno-Monterey county and Fresno-San Benito county lines till the Little Panoche Road,
  19. North and east on the Little Panoche Road till the point of beginning at Interstate 5.

Additionally, lights of any size and voltage may be used while hunting coyotes in Zone 1 and Zone 2.

On these zones, You may take coyotes with the aid of a spotlight or other artificial light operated from a vehicle provided such vehicle is stopped and standing with the motor off.

However, using the spotlight from a vehicle that is on a public road or highway is unlawful. 

For any other areas except Zone 1 and 2, only 9-volt lights or smaller hand-held or worn-on-heads are permitted. Hunters that use these lights must do so on foot.

You also can’t use lights in or from a vehicle, and they can’t be connected to or powered by anything other than self-contained batteries.

And lastly, it is unlawful to use or possess night vision equipment while hunting coyotes in California. The following devices are included in night vision equipment, but are not limited to:

  1. A light that emits infrared or a comparable wavelength and is used in conjunction with electronic viewing equipment.
  2. An optical instrument that utilizes electrical or battery-powered light amplification circuits, such as binoculars or a scope.

Bag limits for hunting coyotes in California

Since coyotes are classified as Nongame animals, there are no daily, or annual bag limits on hunting coyotes in California. All in all, you may hunt coyotes in California between July 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024 without having to worry about the season or bag limits.

Decoys and recorded or electronically amplified game calls are perfectly legal while hunting coyotes in California.

Baiting a Coyote through food or other materials capable of attracting them is not allowed. Furthermore, you can’t use dogs as bait for capturing a coyote in California. Bear in mind, it is illegal to poison coyotes. It is also unlawful to capture them with a leg-hold trap in California.

Always keep in mind, hunting while intoxicated is illegal.

Using a shotgun larger than 10 gauge while hunting a coyote is illegal in California. Moreover, possessing a machine gun, silencer, shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length, or rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches in length is also unlawful while coyote hunting in California.

All in all, the hunting of coyotes in California with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles and ammunition.

Can you use dogs to hunt coyotes in California?

You may use dogs while hunting coyotes in California. Just keep in mind, using dogs is prohibited during the archery season for deer or bears. 

The use of dogs for the pursuit or take of coyotes is unlawful from the first Saturday of April through the day preceding the opening of the general deer season in dog control zones. Bear in mind, it is prohibited to train dogs for coyote hunting within 400 yards of the baited area.

Visit official website for guidelines.

Can you hunt coyotes from a vehicle in California?

You may not shoot at coyotes from a powerboat, sailboat, motor vehicle, or aircraft while under power or still moving from the use of sail, motor vehicle, or airplane except when the motor of such motorboat, airboat, or sailboat has been shut off and its progress has ceased and the vessel is drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor or being propelled by paddle, oar, or pole.

Are there any bounty programs for hunting coyotes in California?

No, there aren’t any bounty programs for hunting coyotes in the state of California at this time. However, if any news pops up, we will update this section accordingly.

Important Notice: The articles published on this website are only for informational purposes and we do not promote hunting/ killing animals. If you are willing to hunt please refer to Authorized sources for correct and updated information. Writer/ Website owner will not be responsible for any consequences due to information provided on this website. You can refer to relevant Government sources for updated information.

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