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  #1  
Old 09-30-2009, 4:58 PM
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Default Distance from road to shoot...

This is a fun one, and really there is no code that I could find that states a minimum distance from the road to shoot in an otherwise legal area to shoot/hunt.

PC374(c)
Every person who shoots any firearm from or upon a public
road or highway is guilty of a misdemeanor.


This seems very ambiguous to me. Does anyone have more information or case law on this? My friends and I were talking about this, mostly related to hunting issues, and I'm sure if you ask your buddies you'll hear a lot of different responses...How far do you have be off the road to drop a deer, beer, whatever??? Most people will probably answer with 150 yards because that is the "safe area" for buildings, dwellings, etc...

I've had 4 different game wardens give me 4 different answers. In addition, these same game wardens gave different opinions on various subjects, like carrying firearms through a state game refuge, shooting across the road, etc... I'm not bashing on game wardens, I've had nothing but positive encounters with them...but it's a sad state of affairs when we have so many codes on the books that the guys enforcing them can't even keep up!
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2009, 5:07 PM
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I just assumed you had to step off it, even if it's just a couple paces. Also, if you're hunting you can't carry a loaded firearm on a road.
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2009, 5:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaparralCommando View Post
I just assumed you had to step off it, even if it's just a couple paces. Also, if you're hunting you can't carry a loaded firearm on a road.
Are you talking about walking on foot or being in a motor vehicle? Because if you are on foot, I know of no code out there that states you cannot have a round chambered. You cannot shoot from the road, but you can shoot across it so long as it is in a safe manner. This is assuming you are in an otherwise legal area to hunt. Naturally, if you are in a motor vehicle then you cannot have a round chambered.

3004. (a) It is unlawful for any person, other than the owner,
person in possession of the premises, or a person having the express
permission of the owner or person in possession of the premises, to
hunt or to discharge while hunting, any firearm or other deadly
weapon within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling house, residence, or
other building or any barn or other outbuilding used in connection
therewith. The 150-yard area is a "safety zone."
(b) It is unlawful for any person to intentionally discharge any
firearm or release any arrow or crossbow bolt over or across any
public road or way open to the public, in an unsafe manner.


Which is kind of funny because in the current regulations it states:

§354. Archery Equipment and Crossbow Regulations.
e) No arrow or crossbow bolt may be released from a bow or crossbow upon or across any highway, road or other way open to vehicular traffic.

If I was archery, I would side with the regulations.
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  #4  
Old 09-30-2009, 7:03 PM
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I was always told you just have to step off of it.
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Old 09-30-2009, 7:05 PM
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150 yards away from any public road (if you own the road then you can do whatever), 150 yards from any body of water, and 150 yards away from any building.

This is what both the Forest Service and DFG told me when I was researching laws for my camping in Kern
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Old 09-30-2009, 7:11 PM
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150 yards from a body of water. What if you are duck hunting? All blindes I have ever been in are on the water or on a levy in the middle of water.
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Old 09-30-2009, 7:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devildog999 View Post
150 yards away from any public road (if you own the road then you can do whatever), 150 yards from any body of water, and 150 yards away from any building.

This is what both the Forest Service and DFG told me when I was researching laws for my camping in Kern
I believe this is all incorrect. You can hunt on a lot of Lakes , rivers, bays etc. You can shoot next to a building if you have permission and you only need to step off of a public road.
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Old 09-30-2009, 7:16 PM
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I also have the same question concernig shooting from a road. Does it matter if it is paved or dirt. I have heard so many different answers.

When we hunt out of state its a step off of the road. I thought it was the same here, but then Ill hear someone say no its 150 yards.
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Old 09-30-2009, 7:25 PM
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PC374(c)
Every person who shoots any firearm from or upon a public
road or highway is guilty of a misdemeanor.



Where does it say anything about 150 yards??? All you have to do is step off.
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  #10  
Old 09-30-2009, 7:42 PM
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there is no distance from roads or water, only buildings without permission. if i remember correctly, you cant shoot lead shot over a body of water, only steel.
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Old 09-30-2009, 7:47 PM
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It is only mentioned that "Other than the owner or person with permission... It is unlawful to hunt or discharge while hunting any firearm within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling house, residence, or other building or any barn..... The 150 yard area is a safety zone (FGC 3004)"
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2009, 7:59 PM
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Sounds pretty cut & dry to me, step off of the road and open fire!
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Old 09-30-2009, 8:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieeater View Post
I believe this is all incorrect. You can hunt on a lot of Lakes , rivers, bays etc. You can shoot next to a building if you have permission and you only need to step off of a public road.
The water one might very well be a rule of thumb, but the road one is 150 yards I believe. I called the head of the DFG in Fresno and he told me 150 yards. That could be incorrect, but better safe than sorry.


As for the building part, we're assuming here that there is no permission.
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Or your ammo stash has replaced your wifes parking spot in the garage.
When my neighbor asked what all those crates were, I told him if he sees smoke coming from my garage, and me running down the street......he better catch up!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
Just go to safeway to shop for food. The young good looking couple buying healthy food...they're a new couple. The fat ones wearing ****ty clothes not caring about how they look, getting frozen food...they're married!

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  #14  
Old 09-30-2009, 8:12 PM
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The 150 yards specifically applies to dwelling house, residence, or other building or any barn or other outbuilding used in connection. This means a temporary residence may not qualify if it is not occupied. That is my guess, I have nothing other than my guess to support that claim.

California Fish And Game Code Section 3004
a) It is unlawful for any person, other than the owner,
person in possession of the premises, or a person having the express
permission of the owner or person in possession of the premises, to
hunt or to discharge while hunting, any firearm or other deadly
weapon within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling house, residence, or
other building or any barn or other outbuilding used in connection
therewith. The 150-yard area is a "safety zone."


The road is a different creature entirely. I've already posted the code for the road and here it is again under the 3004 section.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to intentionally discharge any
firearm or release any arrow or crossbow bolt over or across any
public road or way open to the public, in an unsafe manner.


No minimum distance is mentioned. I won't mention the name of a very friendly and candid warden I spoke to, but he told me I could shoot from 1 inch off the road, actually fire back across the road to take my kill. The only catch is it had to be a rifle and not a bow. Kind of ironic. I didn't think of it at the time, but the current regulations on archery state you cannot shot across a road. My guess is the warden assumes the current reg would superceed any Fish and Game Code. I have no idea, and I can verify after speaking with multiple wardens that they all have a different idea of what is an offense and what is legal. The point being is you cannot rely on what a warden says unless you have code to back it up, and in the case of how far you need to be off a road it is definitely ambiguous. But if you are in a legal area to hunt, you step off the road, take your shot (after making sure it is safe), then you should have nothing to worry about.

I was looking for some specific case law, if any exists. I was sure there would be case law out there, but I haven't been able to find anything yet. I haven't put the full court press on an internet search, but I've done a fair share of different Goggles.
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Old 09-30-2009, 8:21 PM
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I've talked with a few wardens i've never heard anything mentioned about a distance from the road. At the refuges everyone hunts right alongside the road for pheasant.
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Old 09-30-2009, 8:23 PM
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"actually fire back across the road to take my kill."



Hell No!!! That is not legal on a public roadway.
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Old 09-30-2009, 8:27 PM
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I'm assuming a forestry ohv trail would fall into the road category. I have hunted on many that narrow down to nothing more then a trail.
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Old 09-30-2009, 8:28 PM
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Stepping off "the road" can mean different things. There are travelled roads and paper roads. Many times a travelled road is only paved (or graded) on a portion of the legal road. Most freeways and highways are legally a lot wider than just the improved areas. That why you often see fences over 100' from the sides of the highways. So, who can tell me exactly what the law means when it says "upon a public roadway or highway"? Does it mean the legal roadway or just the improved/travelled roadway? If you just step off the pavement and shoot, you could be convicted of a crime according to the letter of the law.
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Old 09-30-2009, 8:34 PM
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also, no shooting across a road.. and i am too lazy to look that one up
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Old 09-30-2009, 9:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieeater View Post
"actually fire back across the road to take my kill."



Hell No!!! That is not legal on a public roadway.
I would have to disagree! Here is public road defined in the current 2009-2010Mammal Hunting Regs (we are talking about hunting!). I've already posted the PC374.c (which is very ambiguous as what "upon" means).

PUBLIC ROAD OTHER WAY OPEN DEFINED: “Public road or other way open”, particularly, with respect to safety regulations, includes any roads, dirt or otherwise, trails, open fields, parking lots, etc., open to public access.
Fish and Game Code specifically states you cannot shoot across the road in an "unsafe manner"...Nowhere does it say you cannot shoot across a public road in a safe manner. Here is the same safety regulations defined from the same booklet:

SAFETY: It is always unlawful to: Hunt while intoxicated (FGC 3001); Shoot at any game bird from a powerboat, sailboat, motor vehicle, or aircraft while under power or still moving from use of sail or motor (CCR/T14, Section 251); Shoot any firearm from or upon a public road or highway
PC 374(c)).


Even in the Fish and Game regs they defer back to a piece of PC that was established back in the 1930's (according to the CHP I spoke to). So back to my OP, I am extremely interested in finding some relevant case law...Ultimately this crap isn't going to apply to me when/where I hunt, but I have to say this has been pretty fun. Feel like I'm back in school
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Old 10-01-2009, 8:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSACANNONEER View Post
Stepping off "the road" can mean different things. There are travelled roads and paper roads. Many times a travelled road is only paved (or graded) on a portion of the legal road. Most freeways and highways are legally a lot wider than just the improved areas. That why you often see fences over 100' from the sides of the highways. So, who can tell me exactly what the law means when it says "upon a public roadway or highway"? Does it mean the legal roadway or just the improved/travelled roadway? If you just step off the pavement and shoot, you could be convicted of a crime according to the letter of the law.
I agree, however, I think that as long as you fire from an area that "the common man" would not ordinarily and/or regularly operate a motor vehicle, it's very likely that you will have no worries ( in regards to "roads" - I'm not sure where "trails" or "paths" fall into this discussion). My next .02 cents is for those that keep saying "I called DFG, DOJ, USFS, BLM, whatever - and they told me over the phone that "___________". IT DOES NOT MATTER what they tell you. If they can't tell you where their opinoin of the law is actually written into law, then it is not law.
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Old 10-01-2009, 9:23 AM
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150 yards from any county maintained road.


You may not shoot across roads. Why would you want to risk injuring someone. The unsafe matter pertains to shooting in the air or in crowded areas.
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Old 10-01-2009, 9:42 AM
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The "150 yard " from the road is BS. Like stated before it pertains to structures, not roads. You can shoot off the road, but not across it. This will be a long argument, but it is what it is. Everyone has their opinion, but there is no law of "how far off" you need to be. I guess many of you never hunted WILD pheasants before. Their called ditch chickens for a reason. The ditches we hunt are next to the road next to our property. We never had any problems.
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Old 10-01-2009, 9:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaymz View Post
My next .02 cents is for those that keep saying "I called DFG, DOJ, USFS, BLM, whatever - and they told me over the phone that "___________". IT DOES NOT MATTER what they tell you. If they can't tell you where their opinoin of the law is actually written into law, then it is not law.
Yes, what is actually written in the law may say "road" but, it appears that you are interpeting that to mean the improved/travelled road and not the legal road. While I want to agree with you, I do see the possibility of a problem since, any land within the legal right of way would legally be considered the "road". This is one of those things that will never be determined until it's heard in a court room.
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Old 10-01-2009, 9:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professionalcoyotehunter View Post
150 yards from any county maintained road.


You may not shoot across roads. Why would you want to risk injuring someone. The unsafe matter pertains to shooting in the air or in crowded areas.
Can you cite PC?
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:01 AM
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I think PC 374(c) is not the right code. I was just trying to look it up and it was littering. I guess it applies if the bullet lands on the road......
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:21 AM
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a DFG warden told me "a few steps off the road" is OK. 150 yds is for occupied structures only.
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:29 AM
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I just wrote Craig Stowers of the Main DFG ion Sacramento to clarify this for us and put it to rest for all of us.
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Old 10-01-2009, 1:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vtgunner View Post
I think PC 374(c) is not the right code. I was just trying to look it up and it was littering. I guess it applies if the bullet lands on the road......
PC 374(c) is absolutely the right code! You are correct in that most of the 374 section relates to dumping waste and other crap...

I'd love to hear what your warden in Rancho Cordova says. I left a message there for Cpt Mark Lucero but I didn't recieve a call from him. I've heard different things from different wardens. One left a voice message on my cell phone with a hearty explanation. I have that message saved for a rainy day should I ever need it.
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Old 10-01-2009, 1:10 PM
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Here is the link for PC 374(c) so you can see for yourself.


Penal Code 374(c)
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Old 10-01-2009, 1:11 PM
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I stand corrected. It is the shoulder of the road. In NC it was always 150 feet from any road. But that was also on a military installation where they are much more strict.

Here is the email. read from bottom to top.



nope - wardens I talk to interpret it to be the shoulder of the road.
Craig Stowers

>>> curtis wright <curtisdunnitwright@yahoo.com> 10/1/2009 1:48 PM >>>
But there is no distance stated to how far from the road you must be.

Curtis




________________________________
From: Craig Stowers <CSTOWERS@dfg.ca.gov>
To: curtis wright <curtisdunnitwright@yahoo.com>
Sent: Thu, October 1, 2009 123 PM
Subject: Re: Sport hunting of Rock Doves

Fish and Game Code 3004(b) - "It is unlawful for any person to intentionally discharge any firearm or release any arrow or crossbow bolt over or across any public road or way open to the public, in an unsafe manner" and Penal Code 374(c) - "It is always unlawful to shoot any firearm from or upon a public road or highway".

Clear as mud??

Craig Stowers
Ca. Dept. Fish and Game
Deer Program Coordinator
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-3553

>>> curtis wright <curtisdunnitwright@yahoo.com> 10/1/2009 11:28 AM >>>
I'm sorry to bother you but there is a question on a forum that pertains to how far off of a road you need to be to be legal. Can you tell me the law on this or where to look it up?

Curtis
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Old 10-01-2009, 1:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professionalcoyotehunter View Post


nope - wardens I talk to interpret it to be the shoulder of the road.
Craig Stowers





________________________________
From: Craig Stowers <CSTOWERS@dfg.ca.gov>
To: curtis wright <curtisdunnitwright@yahoo.com>
Sent: Thu, October 1, 2009 123 PM
Subject: Re: Sport hunting of Rock Doves

Fish and Game Code 3004(b) - "It is unlawful for any person to intentionally discharge any firearm or release any arrow or crossbow bolt over or across any public road or way open to the public, in an unsafe manner" and Penal Code 374(c) - "It is always unlawful to shoot any firearm from or upon a public road or highway".

Clear as mud??

Craig Stowers
Ca. Dept. Fish and Game
Deer Program Coordinator
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-3553

>>> curtis wright <curtisdunnitwright@yahoo.com> 10/1/2009 11:28 AM >>>
I'm sorry to bother you but there is a question on a forum that pertains to how far off of a road you need to be to be legal. Can you tell me the law on this or where to look it up?

Curtis

OK, so my question is where is the shoulder or edge of the road. Is it the travelled road or the legal road (often much wider than the improved or travelled area)?
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Old 10-01-2009, 1:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSACANNONEER View Post
OK, so my question is where is the shoulder or edge of the road. Is it the travelled road or the legal road (often much wider than the improved or travelled area)?
The shoulder is generally considered part of a maintained road. Unmaintained roads don't usually have shoulders. I would say if you are in the weeds with the road to your back, you're good.

For example, if there is a guard rail, other side of the guard rail is gtg. Sitting on the guard rail would probably be a bad idea.
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Old 10-01-2009, 2:48 PM
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thank you ricewatcher for showing me. I missed it.

Here is an opinion by THOMAS C. LYNCH, Attorney General; Edward W. Bergtholdt, Deputy to questions presented by the head of DFG.

(Do not rely on it because it is from the 1964, but it might help clarify)

1. Does the term "firearm" as used in Penal Code section 12031 include rifles and shotguns?

2. Does Penal Code section 12031 prohibit the carrying of a rifle or shotgun with unexpended shells or cartridges in the magazine on a public road in an unincorporated area where there are no local ordinances or other laws or regulations prohibiting the discharge of firearms?

3. Does Penal Code section 374c make every "public road or highway" a "prohibited area," as defined in section 12031?

4. Is the term "public street" as used in section 12031 synonymous with "public road or highway" as used in Penal Code section 374c?

5. Would the "safety zone" described in Fish and Game Code section 3004 be considered a "prohibited area" as defined in section 12031(d)?

The conclusions are:

1. The term "firearm" as used in Penal Code section 12031 includes rifles and shotguns.

2. Penal Code section 12031 does not prohibit the carrying of a rifle or shotgun with unexpended shells or cartridges in the magazine on a public road in an unincorporated area where there are no local ordinances or other laws or regulations prohibiting the discharge of firearms.
Question No. 2 requests an opinion whether section 12031 prohibits the carrying of a loaded firearm on a public road in an unincorporated area. We conclude that section 12031 does not prohibit the carrying of loaded firearms on such public ways. For the reasons set forth in our answer to question No. 4, the term "public streets" in section 12031 (a) must be given a narrow construction. There is a distinction between [*8] "public roads" and "public streets" which is discussed more fully below. The proscriptions of section 12031 are therefore not applicable to "public roads" because they are not "public streets" as that term is used in section 12031. n2


3. Penal Code section 374c does make every "public road or highway" a "prohibited area" as defined in section 12031.
requests an opinion whether Penal Code section 374c n3 makes every "public road" a "prohibited area" as defined by section 12031. Because [*9] the discharge of firearms is prohibited on "public roads and highways," these public ways are by definition "prohibited areas" (section 12031 (d)). This does not, however, alter our conclusion that the proscriptions of section 12031 are not applicable to such public ways because, as set forth in our response to your question No. 4, the term "public road or highway" is not synonymous with the term "public street."

4. The term "public street" as used in section 12031 is not synonymous with "public road or highway" as used in Penal Code section 374c.
Additionally, earlier versions of A.B. 1591 would have amended Fish and Game Code section 2006. Such amendment was designed to conform the definition of a loaded rifle or shotgun in Fish and Game Code section 2006 to the definition of a loaded firearm in Penal Code section 12031. Section 2006 applies on all "public highway [s] or other way[s] open to the public." The failure of the Legislature to enact such an amendment to section 2006 suggests that it did not intend that section 2006 be superseded by section 12031. Had it desired section 2006 to be superseded, it would have either amended its definition of a loaded weapon to conform to section 12031 or repealed it entirely.

For these reasons we must conclude that the Legislature intended the term "public streets" be given a narrow meaning. It is not synonymous, then, with "public roads and highways," but includes only the public ways of towns and villages and not the "open roads" in rural sections of unincorporated areas.

5. The "safety zone" described in Fish and Game Code section 3004 is a "prohibited area" as defined in section 12031, but carrying of loaded weapons is proscribed therein only when it coincides with a "public place."

Hope this does not muddy the water or get me in trouble for copy right violations
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Old 10-01-2009, 3:52 PM
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The "150 yard " from the road is BS. Like stated before it pertains to structures, not roads. You can shoot off the road, but not across it. This will be a long argument, but it is what it is. Everyone has their opinion, but there is no law of "how far off" you need to be. I guess many of you never hunted WILD pheasants before. Their called ditch chickens for a reason. The ditches we hunt are next to the road next to our property. We never had any problems.
I seriously wonder if anyone in this forum hunts.

Pheasant opens in another month or so I think ill run out to Grizzly Island and take some photos of the hundreds of pheasant hunters working the sides of the roads while DFG wardens are driving down them.
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Old 10-01-2009, 4:06 PM
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I wonder the same. Here in the AV I would like to see people shoot a coyote from the side of the road and not get fined or ticketed.
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Old 10-01-2009, 4:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Vtgunner View Post
2. Penal Code section 12031 does not prohibit the carrying of a rifle or shotgun with unexpended shells or cartridges in the magazine on a public road in an unincorporated area where there are no local ordinances or other laws or regulations prohibiting the discharge of firearms.
Note that if you are in a National Forest, there are regulations prohibiting the discharge of firearms from a road, so you can't even carry loaded while on one of their roads (whether hunting or not). More info on the National Forest and other public lands scenarios:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=186457

How far off the road do you need to be in the National Forest before you can fire? Unfortunately, their regulations don't say.
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Old 10-01-2009, 4:45 PM
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Note that if you are in a National Forest, there are regulations prohibiting the discharge of firearms from a road, so you can't even carry loaded while on one of their roads (whether hunting or not). More info on the National Forest and other public lands scenarios:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=186457

How far off the road do you need to be in the National Forest before you can fire? Unfortunately, their regulations don't say.

WRONG AGAIN!!! you are confusing national parks with national forests
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Old 10-01-2009, 5:06 PM
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WRONG AGAIN!!! you are confusing national parks with national forests
No I'm not. Here is 39 CFR 261.10 which applies to National Forests:

http://law.justia.com/us/cfr/title36...8.1.29.12.html

"The following are prohibited...

d) Discharging a firearm or any other implement capable of taking human life, causing injury, or damaging property as follows:...

Across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge."

Since you can't discharge a firearm from a National Forest service road, as per the above, 12031 then kicks in (if you are in CA) and you therefore can't even carry loaded on those roads:

http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12031.html

Q.E.D.
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Old 10-01-2009, 5:13 PM
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No I'm not. Here is 39 CFR 261.10 which applies to National Forests:

http://law.justia.com/us/cfr/title36...8.1.29.12.html

"The following are prohibited...

d) Discharging a firearm or any other implement capable of taking human life, causing injury, or damaging property as follows:...

Across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge."

Since you can't discharge a firearm from a National Forest service road, as per the above, 12031 then kicks in (if you are in CA) and you therefore can't even carry loaded on those roads:

http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12031.html

Q.E.D.
I have been stopped and checked by DFG wardens at least a half dozen times while carrying loaded but unchambered on NF roads.

Yes you cant shoot while your standing on the road or shoot across it but you can step 1 inch off the road and shoot.


You cant carry loaded meaning chambered on those roads. Your fine if they are in the magazine.

Last edited by pieeater; 10-01-2009 at 5:16 PM..
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