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View Full Version : Can we hunt deer/bear with AR15 type rifle in CA?


pingpongball
04-10-2011, 9:42 AM
If anyone can share some info with me regarding hunting big game with an AR15 in "CALIFORNIA"? I'm not talking about what calibers or mag capacity etc etc. I'm more concern about its features. I don't want to be out stalking deer and bear and scare another hunter or LEO thinking I'm a dope grower and by the time I know DFG Wardens and Sheriff is everywhere.

I've spend a few days searching online on threads, CA DFG and DOJ and I can't seem to find a good answer unless I missed something on those sites and there is always a WTF penal code I never heard off.

I would really appreciate it if anyone can shine some light on this as I am preping for this year hunt.

toby
04-10-2011, 9:56 AM
Yes. if you really want to.. go ahead it's legal.

themailman
04-10-2011, 10:03 AM
As far as I can tell, CA allows the taking of big game with calibers under .30, which is surprising. I also could not find a centerfire magazine capacity regulation for hunting other than the CA 10rd Limit.

ADAM
04-10-2011, 10:06 AM
yes you can.ar15 is legal,Terry at turners in west covina hunts deer, pig and bears with 223 caliber with great results.I stick to 270 or bigger just for margin of error.

1911ShooterPhil
04-10-2011, 10:11 AM
2010-2011 Mammal Hunting Regulations
http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.asp

Chapter 3. Big Game

350. Big Game Defined.

"Big game" means the following: deer (genus Odocoileus), elk (genus Cervus), pronghorn antelope (genus Antilocarpa), wild pig (feral pigs, European wild pigs and their hybrids (genus Sus), black bear (genus Ursus) and Nelson bighorn sheep (subspecies Ovis canadensis nelsoni) in the areas described in subsection 4902(b) of the Fish and Game Code.

Amendment of section filed 6-28-91; operative 6-28-91.
[break]

352. Shooting Hours on Big Game.

Hunting and shooting hours for big game, including but not limited to deer, antelope, elk, bear, and wild pig shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Renumbering of Section 356 to Section 352 filed 5-13-81; designated effective 5-23-81.

[break]

353. Methods Authorized for Taking Big Game.

(a) Except for the provisions of subsections 353(b) through (h), Title 14, CCR, big game (as defined by Section 350, Title 14, CCR) may only be taken by rifles using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles; bow and arrow (see Section 354, Title 14, CCR, for archery equipment regulations); or wheellock, 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. For purposes of Section 353, 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.

(b) Shotguns capable of holding not more than three shells firing single slugs may be used for the taking of deer, bear and wild pigs. In areas where the discharge of rifles or shotguns with slugs is prohibited by county ordinance, shotguns capable of holding not more than three shells firing size 0 or 00 buckshot may be used for the taking of deer only.

(c) Pistols and revolvers using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles may be used to take deer, bear, and wild pigs.

(d) Pistols and revolvers with minimum barrel lengths of 4 inches, using centerfire cartridges with softnose or expanding projectiles may be used to take elk and bighorn sheep.

(e) Except as provided in subsection 354(j), crossbows may be used to take deer and wild pigs only during the regular seasons.

(f) Under the provisions of a muzzleloading rifle only tag, hunters may only possess muzzleloading rifles as described in subsection 353(a) equipped with open or "peep" type sights only except as describled in subsection 353(k).

(g) Under the provisions of a muzzleloading rifle/archery tag, hunters may only possess muzzleloading rifles with sights as described in subsection 353(f); archery equipment as described in Section 354; or both. For purposes of this subsection, archery equipment does not include crossbows, except as provided in subsection 354(j).

(h) Methods of take within the California condor range. Except as otherwise provided, it is unlawful to use or possess projectiles containing more than one percent lead by weight while taking or attempting to take any big game (as defined in Section 350, Title 14, CCR) in those areas described in Section 3004.5, Fish and Game Code.

[break] And...don't you forget...

367.5. Presentation of Bear Skull.

Any person who takes a bear shall present the skull (even if damaged) to a department office/officer within 10 days of taking the bear. The skull shall become property of the department. That portion of the skull not needed for scientific purposes shall be returned.

[break]

You're really going to take an AR to hunt black bear? I hope it's in any other caliber other than 223, or I hope you're bringing a buddy with a bigger gun as your second, just to be safe. I'd use a .45-70 GOVT myself, but that's just my humble opinion. Good luck, be safe, and happy hunting. --1911ShooterPhil

CSACANNONEER
04-10-2011, 10:23 AM
You can hunt big game with any centerfire cartridge fired from ANY legal firearm using any magazine that you legally own and can legally use in that firearm. OK, there are capacity limits on shotguns when hunting certain game in CA but, I don't think you're talking about AR15 type shotguns.

That said, please be a ethical hunter and don't use a .223/5.56 to hunt bear. I would not even use it for deer or pig but, with proper shot placement, it will work.

toby
04-10-2011, 11:47 AM
That said, please be a ethical hunter and don't use a .223/5.56 to hunt bear. I would not even use it for deer or pig but, with proper shot placement, it CAN work.

^^^Fixed it for you...;)

7.62 Charlie
04-11-2011, 12:09 AM
If your going to hunt bear you should use a larger caliber such as 450 bushmaster, 458 socom, or 50 beowulf.
The best all around hunting rifle would probably be an AR-10 platform rifle in 308.

CSACANNONEER
04-11-2011, 7:06 AM
^^^Fixed it for you...;)

Touche

pdugan6
04-11-2011, 6:22 PM
I just ordered a complete upper in 6.8spc that i will use for the occasional deer or pig hunt. I would not be worried to take a black bear with that setup either.

BC9696
04-11-2011, 7:33 PM
That said, please be a ethical hunter and don't use a .223/5.56 to hunt bear. I would not even use it for deer or pig but, with proper shot placement, it can work.

READ THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN UNTIL IT SINKS IN. Then hunt with the right rifle.

a1c
04-11-2011, 7:59 PM
I just ordered a complete upper in 6.8spc that i will use for the occasional deer or pig hunt. I would not be worried to take a black bear with that setup either.

There you go. AR platform? No problem. But use the right caliber - 6.8 SPC, .308 are just fine.

You can hunt pig, bear and deer legally with an AR in .223/5.56. But legality and ethics are two different things. Be an ethical hunter, and use the right caliber for a clean and humane kill - assuming you're a decent shot, obviously. A meatcutter friend of mine recently broke my heart when he told me about the messy kills some guys would bring into his shop.

BC9696
04-12-2011, 6:45 AM
My guides told me about a bear they treed that was shot four times with a 45-70 Govt, fell 170' outta the tree, rolled off a ledge and dropped another 200' onto granite...and got up. A 5th shot took him down. You wanna try and take a bear with that puny round? That's just dumb and not something an ethical hunter would do. One guy emptied a .357 revolver into a pig (up close & personal) and only when his buddy shot it with a .44 did it drop. Upon dressing it out they found all six .357 rounds failed to penetrate the hide and fat.

clay32
04-12-2011, 10:41 AM
Durwood Hollis (editor of Boar Hunter magazine IIRC) told me about a guy sneaking up on a large wild boar and dropping it in it's tracks with a .17 HMR right in the earhole. So yeah, shot placement is key.

Rusty_Buckhorn
04-12-2011, 11:27 AM
I'd use a .45-70 GOVT myself, but that's just my humble opinion.
If your going to hunt bear you should use a larger caliber such as 450 bushmaster, 458 socom, or 50 beowulf.

I agree 100% that a bigger round than a .223 should be used on most big game animals in CA, but this is a bit overkill. IMHO, anything bigger than 6mm is good for hogs/bears. Shot placement is much more important than caliber, though.
My guides told me about a bear they treed that was shot four times with a 45-70 Govt

I'd be curious to know how many of those shots were near vitals, and how many were just aimed towards center mass. Even when shooting a cannon, you still have to actually aim.

woods
04-12-2011, 11:54 AM
A game warden in the El dorado hills last season gave me hell for having my ar 15 with a magazine over 5 rounds while in possession of a deer/bear tag even though I was just plinking at the time and obviously not hunting. He said it was illegal to hunt with a magazine over 5 rounds in CA. He could not show me where the law was written.

Forest rangers stop me and wait for backup from real Leos every time they see a black rifle, featureless or BB. I'm obviously a threat.

theseacow
04-12-2011, 11:59 AM
A game warden in the El dorado hills last season gave me hell for having my ar 15 with a magazine over 5 rounds while in possession of a deer/bear tag even though I was just plinking at the time and obviously not hunting. He said it was illegal to hunt with a magazine over 5 rounds in CA. He could not show me where the law was written.

Forest rangers stop me and wait for backup from real Leos every time they see a black rifle, featureless or BB. I'm obviously a threat.

that game warden was full of it then. there is no mag limit for hunting.

Super Spy
04-12-2011, 12:06 PM
Just use your .50 BMG upper and your GTG (Although per regs you must use expanding ammo, because even the mighty 50 isn't enough in FMJ)

I have used .223 for deer, CA deer aren't much bigger than a German Sheppard anyway, although I made sure I had good ammo. A 16" AR is pretty convenient for hunting in the Sierra Nevada's. On day's when we had the opportunity for long shots I switched to a different rifle.

No way I would use .223 for Pig or Bear. 6.8, .308, or bigger is all I would ever try....

woods
04-12-2011, 12:28 PM
My point was not about the legality it was about the troubles. All I was saying is you will enrage fud-fed misinformed overlords of the forest and they will waste your time or even ban you from "their" forest. Be prepared for a fight.

Rather have a hunting trip than a legal fight.

r3dn3ck
04-12-2011, 1:12 PM
Hunt with mine all the time lately.

taperxz
04-12-2011, 4:27 PM
A game warden in the El dorado hills last season gave me hell for having my ar 15 with a magazine over 5 rounds while in possession of a deer/bear tag even though I was just plinking at the time and obviously not hunting. He said it was illegal to hunt with a magazine over 5 rounds in CA. He could not show me where the law was written.

Forest rangers stop me and wait for backup from real Leos every time they see a black rifle, featureless or BB. I'm obviously a threat.

Sorry, i don't believe you.

taperxz
04-12-2011, 4:30 PM
Just use your .50 BMG upper and your GTG (Although per regs you must use expanding ammo, because even the mighty 50 isn't enough in FMJ)

I have used .223 for deer, CA deer aren't much bigger than a German Sheppard anyway, although I made sure I had good ammo. A 16" AR is pretty convenient for hunting in the Sierra Nevada's. On day's when we had the opportunity for long shots I switched to a different rifle.

No way I would use .223 for Pig or Bear. 6.8, .308, or bigger is all I would ever try....

I shot a wild dog (german sheppard) as it was running from me and ended up gut shooting it, I found it 300 yards away a day latter because the buzzards found it. Oh, and i was using a 7mm rem. mag with a 150 grain bullet.

pieeater
04-12-2011, 8:16 PM
Sorry, i don't believe you.

Me either.

VytamenC Tactical
04-12-2011, 9:02 PM
A game warden in the El dorado hills last season gave me hell for having my ar 15 with a magazine over 5 rounds while in possession of a deer/bear tag even though I was just plinking at the time and obviously not hunting. He said it was illegal to hunt with a magazine over 5 rounds in CA. He could not show me where the law was written.

Forest rangers stop me and wait for backup from real Leos every time they see a black rifle, featureless or BB. I'm obviously a threat.


B.S. ALERT B.S. ALERT B.S. ALERT

7.62 Charlie
04-13-2011, 12:03 AM
I shot a wild dog (german sheppard) as it was running from me and ended up gut shooting it, I found it 300 yards away a day latter because the buzzards found it. Oh, and i was using a 7mm rem. mag with a 150 grain bullet.

Why were you shooting at a german shepherd?:confused:

taperxz
04-13-2011, 8:06 AM
Why were you shooting at a german shepherd?:confused:


It was a "wild dog". It roamed freely, had no owner, lived in the wild, and is a threat to my livestock.

GrizzlyGuy
04-13-2011, 10:43 AM
My point was not about the legality it was about the troubles. All I was saying is you will enrage fud-fed misinformed overlords of the forest and they will waste your time or even ban you from "their" forest. Be prepared for a fight.

There does seem to be some truth to that. Recent info from CGF director Oaklander (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=418190):

The USFS/BLM "issue" involving apparent harassment of law-abiding gun owners appears to be MUCH more widespread than some of us thought.

I have spoken with people who have inside knowledge and they tell me that it is happening in both SoCal and NorCal, both on USFS and BLM land...

taperxz
04-13-2011, 3:40 PM
There does seem to be some truth to that. Recent info from CGF director Oaklander (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=418190):

That has to do with forest service and BLM, "Woods" claimed a GAME WARDEN told him this. A game warden would certainly know "this" law.

Rusty_Buckhorn
04-13-2011, 3:49 PM
wow, of the 4-5 CA NF I frequent, I've NEVER had a problem with forestry/wardens. San Benito Co. has 1 ***** warden, but I haven't had any issues with him.
Hunter Ligett police/game warden are another story. Base wardens seem ok, but CA wardens on the fort.... major pain in the rear.

winxp_man
04-13-2011, 3:51 PM
That has to do with forest service and BLM, "Woods" claimed a GAME WARDEN told him this. A game warden would certainly know "this" law.


If he would not then he would not be a warden for long someone somewhere would of called it in. To me it seem like a fishy story.........







PS PCH :D aint trying to start nothing just saying :D

pingpongball
04-13-2011, 8:28 PM
Thanks everyone for your feed back and the links it is very helpful. I will look it over and decide between the AR or my old bolt Rem 30.06. I ejnoy reading all your post, I should of left more info so there wasn't so much assumptions. In respones;

I have a AR15 .223/5.56 and an 6.5 upper so I can use both on big game. Also I usually don't hunt bear but I added it to the title cause a friend wanted to know.

My younger brother hunts with a .223 bolt action rifle and shoots deer with no problem "Only witht he right type of ammo".

I Do hunt in the El Dorado area towards Ice House. Never had any issues with Wardens but I dont like the Forest Service. I also hunt up north in Plumas, the wardens there are a little up tight. But really it depends upon the mood of the law at the given time.

Thanks again foks.

winxp_man
04-13-2011, 8:34 PM
Basic answer yes. Now I would make sure your running a decent round. A 6.8 SPC would do fine. I have a buddy in WA state that got a few with his 6.8 SPC.

TNLK
04-14-2011, 12:37 PM
Thanks for posting up this thread, I was looking and asking for the same question too. I've seen hunters hunt deer with SKS and at first glance it will look like an AK to anyone. So I guess it is all up to the law-man/women to give you a hard time or not.

85yota
04-15-2011, 12:25 PM
All these people with there big calibers, it all about shot placement.

chicoredneck
04-15-2011, 12:46 PM
All these people with there big calibers, it all about shot placement.

+ 1
The only game I have ever seen lost were shot with larger calibers. I have never lost, nor seen any of my hunting partners and family lose game using small caliber centerfier rifles. Shot placement and bullet construction is everything. A gun that kicks harder just makes it harder to keep from flinching and dosen't make you more manly. There is nothing wrong using a 223 on hogs with an adaquately constructed bullet. Those that have used them and can shoot straight will contest to this. Most people who say that a caliber is to small because they saw and/or heard of such and such's animal getting away simply made a bad shot or used a bullet that did not penetrate deeply enough.

I have taken pigs and deer using 64gr winchester power points in 223 and they work wonderfully.

theseacow
04-15-2011, 1:22 PM
All these people with there big calibers, it all about shot placement.

how often do you get perfect shot placement?

Rusty_Buckhorn
04-15-2011, 1:51 PM
Most people who say that a caliber is to small because they saw and/or heard of such and such's animal getting away simply made a bad shot or used a bullet that did not penetrate deeply enough.

yup, and most people who tout the .223 as a good big game round are just paper punchers, who have only hunted a few times.

see, blanket statements work both ways :rolleyes:

TNLK
04-15-2011, 2:09 PM
I think its the adrenaline that kicks in when you see a game animal that throws shooting skills out the window turing the rush. I remember my dad miss the buck of his life time at 150 yrds in UT when he shoots paper targets at 100 yrds perfectly with his 30.06. Thought it might a bump to the scope during the hike but test fired at the range the next day bullseye on every hit.

TNLK
04-15-2011, 2:16 PM
+ 1

I have taken pigs and deer using 64gr winchester power points in 223 and they work wonderfully.

Are you talking about the winchester .223 wssm or just the .223 rem?

taperxz
04-15-2011, 2:25 PM
All these people with there big calibers, it all about shot placement.

Something that can not be achieved @ 350-450 yards with a 223, at a moving animal, through any brush at all or with any kind of wind.

I just love folks who tout this shot placement thing! What do you think hunting is?? A fake sport where as F&G puts up paper targets of deer and bear out in the woods and you shoot at them??

YES! Shot placement is important! The question is what situation will ever give you perfect shot placement while hunting if lets say you are on the side of a hill with very little foot traction, waiting for a buck to clear the timber at the right time in order to shoot, you've been hiking uphill and your heart is pounding and you are out of breath, i can go on and on about this. When you hunt you need the right tool to aid in a clean ethical kill and a tool that can reach out and touch that animal so you don't hate life because your 223 missed a monster buck at 400 yards. Either that or it wounded the animal and will end up dead in two weeks from infection.

Rob454
04-15-2011, 5:00 PM
if you are gonna use a 223 I hope you are a pretty decent shot. I personally use a 308 or 30-06. If you are gonna go for bear or boar i would say go with something besides a .223. you may not always have the time to take that perfect shot or the animal may simply not be in the right position for that shot placement.
Either way I never had a problem with my 308 or 30-06 and bringing down game.