(a) (1) Nonlead centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition, as determined by the commission, shall be required when taking big game, as defined in the department’s mammal hunting regulations (14 Cal. Code Regs. 350), with rifle or pistol, and when taking coyote, within the California condor range.
(2) For purposes of this section, “California condor range” means:
(A) The department’s deer hunting zone A South, but excluding Santa Cruz, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and San Joaquin Counties, areas west of Highway 101 within Santa Clara County, and areas between Highway 5 and Highway 99 within Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern Counties.
(B) Areas within deer hunting zones D7, D8, D9, D10, D11, and D13.
(3) The requirements of this subdivision shall remain in effect in the California condor range unless and until the more restrictive nonlead prohibitions required pursuant to subdivision (b) are implemented.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (j), and as soon as is practicable as implemented by the commission pursuant to subdivision (i), but by no later than July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition, as determined by the commission, shall be required when taking all wildlife, including game mammals, game birds, nongame birds, and nongame mammals, with any firearm.
(c) (1) The commission shall maintain, by regulation, a public process to certify ammunition as nonlead ammunition, and shall define, by regulation, nonlead ammunition as including only ammunition in which there is no lead content, excluding the presence of trace amounts of lead. The commission shall establish and annually update a list of certified ammunition.
(2) The list of certified ammunition shall include, but not be limited to, any federally approved nontoxic shotgun ammunition.
(d) (1) To the extent that funding is available, the commission shall establish a process that will provide hunters with nonlead ammunition at no or reduced charge. The process shall provide that the offer for nonlead ammunition at no or reduced charge may be redeemed through a coupon sent to a permitholder with the appropriate permit tag. If available funding is not sufficient to provide nonlead ammunition at no charge, the commission shall set the value of the reduced charge coupon at the maximum value possible through available funding, up to the average cost within this state for nonlead ammunition, as determined by the commission.
(2) The nonlead ammunition coupon program described in paragraph (1) shall be implemented only to the extent that sufficient funding, as determined by the Department of Finance, is obtained from local, federal, public, or other nonstate sources in order to implement the program.
(3) If the nonlead ammunition coupon program is implemented, the commission shall issue a report on the usage and redemption rates of ammunition coupons. The report shall cover calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2012. Each report shall be issued by June of the following year.
(e) The commission shall issue a report on the levels of lead found in California condors. This report shall cover calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2012. Each report shall be issued by June of the following year.
(f) The department shall notify those hunters who may be affected by this section.
(g) A person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500). A second or subsequent offense shall be punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(h) This section does not apply to government officials or their agents when carrying out a statutory duty required by law.
(i) The commission shall promulgate regulations by July 1, 2015, that phase in the requirements of this section. The requirements of this section shall be fully implemented statewide by no later than July 1, 2019. If any of the requirements of this section can be implemented practicably, in whole or in part, in advance of July 1, 2019, the commission shall implement those requirements. The commission shall not reduce or eliminate any existing regulatory restrictions on the use of lead ammunition in California condor range unless or until the additional requirements for use of nonlead ammunition as required by this section are implemented.
(j) (1) The prohibition in subdivision (b) shall be temporarily suspended for a specific hunting season and caliber upon a finding by the director that nonlead ammunition of a specific caliber is not commercially available from any manufacturer because of federal prohibitions relating to armor-piercing ammunition pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code.
(2) Notwithstanding a suspension pursuant to paragraph (1), nonlead ammunition shall be used when taking big game mammals, nongame birds, or nongame mammals in the California condor range, as defined in subdivision (a).
(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 742, Sec. 2. (AB 711) Effective January 1, 2014.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018