During the California Muzzleloader Hunting Season – Wheel-lock, 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. 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. Under the provisions of a muzzleloading rifle only tag, hunters may only possess muzzleloading rifles as described in subsection, equipped with open or peep type sights only.

California Muzzleloader Hunting Season

Hunt #TitleApproved DatesTag Quota
M-3Doyle Muzzleloading Rifle Buck Hunt21-Nov-20 –
M-4Horse Lake Muzzleloading Rifle Buck Hunt24-Oct-20 –
M-5East Lassen Muzzleloading Rifle Buck Hun24-Oct-20 –
M-6San Diego Muzzleloading Rifle Either-Sex Deer Hunt19-Dec-20 –
M-7Ventura Muzzleloading Rifle Either-Sex Deer Hunt28-Nov-20 –
M-8Bass Hill Muzzleloading Rifle Buck Hunt24-Oct-20 –
M-9Devil’s Garden Muzzleloading Rifle Buck Hunt24-Oct-20 –
M-11Northwestern California Muzzleloading Rifle Buck Hunt14-Nov-20 –
MA-1San Luis Obispo Muzzleloading Rifle/Archery Either-Sex Deer Hunt28-Nov-20 –
MA-3Santa Barbara Muzzleloading Rifle/Archery Buck Hunt28-Nov-20 –

For more details please refer to the website.

Under the provisions of a muzzleloading rifle/archery tag, hunters may only possess muzzleloading rifles with sights as described above. Upon application to the department, the department may issue a Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit, free of any charge or fee, to any person with a physical disability, as defined which prevents him/her from being able to focus on the target utilizing muzzleloading rifles equipped with open or peep sights. The Disabled Muzzleloader Scope Permit authorizes the disabled hunter to use a 1X scope on a muzzleloading rifle.


Only legal muzzleloaders allowed in muzzleloading seasons.
b. In-line muzzleloaders are legal.
c. Must be single-barrel that fires a single round-ball or conical projectile.
d. To hunt deer, pronghorn or bear, they must be minimum of a .40 caliber.
e. To hunt elk or moose, they must be minimum of a .50 caliber.
f. From a .40 caliber to a .50 caliber, bullets must weigh minimum 170 grains.
g. If greater than a .50 caliber, bullets must weigh minimum 210 grains.
h. Shotshell primers are legal. 
i. Pelletized powder systems prohibited in muzzleloading seasons.
j. Cannot be loaded from the breech in muzzleloading seasons.

Only open or iron sights allowed in muzzleloading seasons. Fiber optics and fluorescent paint incorporated into or on open or iron sights are legal. Scopes or any sighting device using artificial light, batteries and electronic gear are prohibited during muzzleloading seasons.
l. Sabots are prohibited in muzzleloading seasons. Cloth patches are not sabots.
m. Smokeless powder prohibited in muzzleloading seasons. Black powder and black-powder substitutes are legal.
n. Electronic or battery-powered devices cannot be incorporated into or attached to muzzleloader during muzzleloading seasons. ***During California Muzzleloader Hunting Season, Muzzleloading projectiles must be certified California legal. This includes Barnes T-EZ & T-MZ, Hornady SST, and Thor bullets.***

California Muzzleloader Hunting Season:

This information is subject to change, for more information visit:

Have California Muzzleloader Hunting Season Questions?

Muzzleloader Hunting season is the best time to shoot the biggest deer before they are spooked by the regular gun season. If you are new to muzzleloaders or would like more information on your states muzzleloader hunting regulations make sure to give us a call. Knight Rifles is focused on promoting black powder hunting in all states across the USA and can help you determine when your particular states hunting season starts. If you have questions about California Muzzleloader Hunting Season, please email us at

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