U.S. Crossbow Hunting Regulations
is a summary of
crossbow hunting regulations in the United States. This page is intended
as a quick reference, and as such there may be details about regulations in your
state that are not mentioned here (e.g. are scopes legal? can I use a crank?
etcetera). Regulations can change frequently from state to state. Please contact
your local DNR (or equivalent) office or click the link under your state for the
Crossbows are legal for all persons during the entire deer-hunting
You may use a crossbow in any hunt that does not restrict weapons. "Certified
bow hunters only", "bow and arrow only", or "muzzleloader only" hunts or areas
specifically exclude other weapons, including
crossbows. Scopes and other optical enhancement devices are not
Crossbows are legal only by permit for disabled hunters.
Crossbows must have at least a 125-pound pull and
a mechanical safety. Deer, turkey and bear hunters are required to use
arrowheads at least 7/8-inch wide. Poison may not be used on arrows. Magnifying
sights may be used. Crossbows are not allowed for taking elk.
California states that "a crossbow is not archery equipment and may not be
used during the archery season." Except with a Disabled Archer Permit, crossbows
may not be used during any archery season or during the general season when
using an archery only tag.
Crossbows legal for all hunters during gun seasons and for handicapped
hunters during archery season.
A crossbow may be
substituted for a shotgun in November and December. May be used during
archery season by disabled hunters with a permit. Check with state
regulations for additional details.
Crossbows are now legal in the Central zone (October 20-24, 2008), South zone
(October 6-10, 2008), and in the Northwest Zone, the crossbow season will be
seven days long and will open the Monday following Thanksgiving (December 1-7,
2008). Click on the Florida link below for additional crossbow information.
Crossbows also legal for handicapped hunters by permit.
Crossbows are legal in big game seasons
restricted to short-range weapons. Permitted for use during archery
season by disabled persons with a permit.
Crossbows are legal for disabled hunters by permit only and hunters over the age
of 62 with permits and tag. See state regulations for details.
During the archery deer season, crossbows are legal equipment for hunting deers.
Deer hunters may use crossbows for male or female deer only in the archery
season. Archery seaspm has been extended as a law change in 2011.
Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit. Residents 70 and older
may purchase a statewide antlerless deer license to hunt with a crossbow.
Crossbows may be used in designated weeks, see state regulations. Hunters using
crossbows during a firearms deer season must follow all firearm season
restrictions, zone guidelines and hunting requirements in effect during firearms
seasons. Crossbows are also permitted during muzzle-loader only season. Disabled
hunters with a permit may use a crossbow to hunt deer during the bow-only deer
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission now has the ability to
establish a bow and arrow only season, and a bow and arrow and crossbow
season in special deer hunting seasons.
A crossbow hunting license is required for hunters 16 years of age or older to
hunt bear with a crossbow during the bear hunting season, or to hunt deer with a
crossbow during the open firearm season on deer.
A resident or nonresident 10 years of age or older and under 16 years of age may
hunt with a crossbow if that person holds a valid junior hunting license (no
crossbow license required).
Crossbows may be used to hunt deer only, with the exception of special crossbow
permits for disabled hunters who may pursue all game legal for a vertical bow.
All hunters may use crossbows for four weeks of archery season and four weeks of
the 2009 season! In Zone 3 (southern Michigan), anyone
12 and older can hunt with a crossbow during any hunting season as long as
they have the
appropriate licenses. Meanwhile, anyone who has obtained a crossbow permit
a permanent disability can continue to use a crossbow. Certain restrictions
apply see state regulations for details.
Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit and hunters 65 and
older, also in primitive weapon and deer gun seasons.
Crossbows are classified as firearms and are permitted during firearms season.
Disabled hunters with a permit may use a crossbow during archery season.
Crossbows with a draw weight of 125lbs or more are legal to hunt deer and
antelope during the firearms season. Disabled hunters with a permit may use a
crossbow during archery season.
Crossbows are legal for all hunters with a crossbow hunting permit during
firearms season and for all hunters on Long Island with a Long Island deer
permit. Disabled hunters may use a crossbow pursuant to disabled hunter
regulations without purchasing a crossbow permit. Crossbows are prohibited
during the youth hunting weekend for deer.
NEW * On Tuesday,
June 16, the New Jersey
Fish and Game Council
voted on adopting proposed amendments to the 2009 – 2012 Game Code.
The Council voted to adopt all the proposed amendments except amendment 29,
which proposed boundary changes to Deer Management Zones 19 and 23.
The full proposal containing the amendments can be viewed at
(PDF) on the NJ DEP website.
The most significant
amendment adopted expands the definition of "bow" by removing the
prohibition on all draw locking and draw holding devices and by including
crossbows in the definition. This allows the use of crossbows in any bow and
arrow hunting season and other hunting seasons for all species where the use
of bow and arrow is allowed. Crossbows must have a minumum draw weight of 75
pounds and a minimum stock length of 25 inches.
Crossbows are legal sporting arms for cougar, bear, deer, elk, pronghorn,
javelina, Barbary sheep, persian ibex, oryx, turkey, and bighorn sheep. Hunters
that qualify with a permanent mobility limitation may use crossbows to hunt
waterfowl and upland game. Sights on crossbows shall not project light nor
No permit required for everyone to use crossbow during regular rifle season for
big game and muzzle loading season, but no crossbows allowed during bow season
even with disability.Please note: the law allowing use of crossbows expired on December 31, 2012. Crossbows may no longer be used for hunting in New York.
Crossbows are legal hunting weapons for
licensed hunters anytime bow-and-arrow hunting is allowed. Crossbows
must have a minimum draw weight of 150 pounds. Bolts must use broadheads
as described for arrows in the preceding section. (Effective from August
1, 2011 to July 31, 2012).
Crossbows are not legal, except with a permit from the Game and Fish director.
Contact the Department for additional information on crossbow regulations.
Crossbows with a draw weight of not less than 75 lbs and no more than 200 lbs.
Crossbows are legal arms for archery, firearms and muzzleloader seasons.
Crossbows are now legal for use by all Oklahoma hunters with an Archery License
this year 2012 during archery seasons. There are no restrictions on who can use
a crossbow. However, they have to have a minimum 100 lb draw weight and shoot a
14 inch minimum bolt/arrow. The use of crossbows and conventional longbows with
a device that permits the bow to be held mechanically at full or partial draw
are legal hunting methods during any open season when conventional longbows
(archery equipment) are a legal means of take. See individual species’
regulations for any draw weight, bolt length and broadhead size requirements.
(Before residents of Oklahoma who are 60 years of age or older may use a
crossbow. In addition, hunters who have a permanent disability to the extent
that they cannot use a conventional longbow, as certified by a physician
licensed to practice in Oklahoma or bordering state, may hunt with a crossbow. A
disabled person who qualifies to use a crossbow shall have in their possession
while in the field written evidence of such certification signed by the
Commissioners gave final approval to a proposal to legalize crossbows
for archery hunting statewide beginning with the 2009-2010 seasons.
Magnifying scopes are legal. There is a sunset review scheduled for
Crossbows only legal for hunters who posses an official adaptive Aid/Crossbow
permit obtained through the DEM division of licensing.
NEW* Where the
open season is designated as “archery,” only legal archery
equipment/crossbow as specified below may be used.
Crossbows are legal for disabled residents and nonresidents under Class A, B, C
or crossbow permit, and residents age 65 and older.
Crossbows are legal during archery seasons, and must have a 90 pound minimum
draw weight, shoot a 16 inch bolt and can not be cocked with a leverage-gaining
If you cannot find any information regarding crossbow hunting regulations,