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California bans lead bullets on public, private land

Effective July 1, 2019, hunters must use non-lead ammo

Posted July 3, 2019

Beginning July 1, 2019, hunting with lead ammunition is no longer allowed in the state of California. Assembly Bill 711, signed into law in October 2013, required the California Fish and Game Commission to adopt regulations that phased in the ban on the use of lead ammunition.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the ban applies to hunting with a firearm on both public and private lands. Wildlife officers may inspect all ammunition in a hunter’s possession and may seize a cartridge or bullet for further analysis. CDFW encourages hunters to retain and carry in the field ammunition boxes or other packaging to prove they are using non-lead bullets.

California is the first state to ban the use of all lead ammunition for hunting. Environmental groups and scientists across the country have called for the ban to keep lead fragments from spent lead bullets and shot from poisoning wildlife, especially the endangered California condor. Every year, non-target birds such as eagles, hawks, and owls are poisoned from eating animal carcasses containing lead-bullet fragments.

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