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CA Trapping Laws


Any person involved in trapping wildlife in the state of
California must abide by local and state regulations.
Even property owners must abide by these regulations.

The following is an explanation of the
regulations as we understand them.

-Any individual trapping wildlife for compensation is required to have a license from the California Department of Fish and Game. The license covers the individual, not the entity. In other words, the person actually setting the trap must be licensed, not employed by someone who is licensed. They are required by law to have their trapping license in their immediate possession while trapping. To check on a license or report a possible violation contact the department of Fish & Game. Codes referenced: CA Fish & Game Code 4005; 1054.2

-No person may set a trap within 150 yards of any structure used as a permanent or temporary residence without written consent of the landowner to place the trap(s). The person trapping is required to have this written permission readily available. Title14 CCR Sect. 465.5 (3)

-It is illegal to set or maintain traps which do not bear a number or other identifying mark registered to the department. This means that any person who is planning to set a trap for a wild animals must first call the Department of Fish & Game and receive an identifying number for that particular trap. Title 14 CCR Sect. 465.5 (g) and in reference to (f)(1).

-Traps must be inspected and trapped animals removed at least once daily. Title 14 CCR Sect. 465.5

-It is only lawful to trap wildlife that have damaged crops or property. California Code 4152 & 4180. (referring to nongame & furbearing mammals respectively .) This is code, not regs. Only the legislature can undo or change code. Regs are created by the F&G Commission.

-Only the species responsible for the damage may be killed. Non target species (not responsible for the damage, but accidentally trapped) must be released.

-The trapper must either euthanize a trapped animal or release it immediately on site. Trapping and relocating of wildlife is prohibited. Title 14 CCR Sect. 465.5 (1)

-Leg-hold traps are prohibited. Leg-hold traps may be used only to protect human health or safety, and only by government agencies. Title 14 CCR 465.5

-Poison is not an authorized method of take. Title 14 CCR Sect. 465.5 & 475

-Nuisance wildlife taken by trapping may not be bought or sold. The pelts of animals taken with body-gripping traps may not be sold. Title 14 CCR Sect. 465.5

-A trapping license may be revoked for a violation of the trapping laws and regulations. FGC Sect. 4043

-Violation of any trapping rule or regulation is punishable by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.



All migratory birds in California are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is unlawful to chase, catch, trap, handle, relocate, possess, or destroy birds or their eggs or nests without a permit from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

A Wildlife Exclusion Service • 403 Mecham Rd, Petaluma 94952 • (707) 992-0276
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