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U.S. Crossbow Hunting Regulations


US Crossbow Hunting RegulationsU.S. Regulations: Below 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? etc...) 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 latest information.

Select from the menu to view that State's Crossbow Regulations.

ALABAMA

Crossbows are legal for all persons during the entire deer-hunting season.
http://www.outdooralabama.com

334-242-3469

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Alaska

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 that specifically exclude other weapons, including crossbows. They are legal in archery season with a special exemption form. Scopes and other optical enhancement devices are not permitted.
http://www.state.ak.us

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Arizona

Crossbows are legal only by permit for disabled hunters. You can also use them during general firearms season.
http://www.gf.state.az.us

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Arkansas

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.

http://www.agfc.state.ar.us

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California

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.
http://www.dfg.ca.gov

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Colorado

Crossbows legal for all hunters during gun seasons and for handicapped hunters during archery season.
http://www.dnr.state.co.us

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Connecticut

Crossbows are legal only for disabled hunters by permit. As of 2013, crossbows are legal.
http://www.dep.state.ct.us

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Delaware

Crossbows are legal during all deer seasons. If you hunt deer, you must wear hunter orange.
http://www.dnrec.state.de.us

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Florida

Crossbows are now legal in the Central zone (October 20-24, 2008), South zone (October 6-10, 2008), and in the Northwest Zone. Effective July 2011: zonal crossbow seasons extended by 30 days. Click on the Florida link below for additional crossbow information. Crossbows also legal for handicapped hunters by permit.
http://myfwc.com/

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Georgia

Crossbows legal in all seasons.
http://www.gohuntgeorgia.com

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Hawaii

Crossbows are legal by special disabled permit only.
http://www.hawaii.gov/dlnr

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Idaho

Crossbows are legal in big game seasons restricted to short-range weapons. Permitted for use during archery season by disabled persons with a permit.
http://www.fishandgame.idaho.gov

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Illinois

Hunters 62 years of age and older are now permitted to use a crossbow without a special permit. Hunters using a crossbow will need an archery deer permit and proof of age in the form of an official ID. Crossbows used in hunting as authorized by a permit issued under this section shall meet all of the following specifications:

  1. Shall have a minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds and a maximum peak draw weight of 200 pounds.

  2. Shall have a minimum overall length (from butt of stock to front of limbs) of 24 inches.

  3. Shall have a working safety.

  4. Shall be used with bolts or arrows of not less than 14 inches in length (not including point) with a broadhead. Broadheads may have fixed or expandable blades, but they must be barbless and have a minimum 7/8 inch diameter when fully opened. Broadheads with fixed blade must be metal or flint-, chert-, or obsidian-napped. Broadheads with expandable blades must be metal.

Crossbows also legal for handicapped hunters by permit
http://www.dnr.state.il.us

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Indiana

During the archery deer season, crossbows are legal equipment for hunting deer. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a mechanical safety.
http://www.in.gov/dnr/

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Iowa

Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit. Residents 70 and older may purchase a statewide antlerless deer license to hunt with a crossbow.
http://www.iowadnr.com/

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Kansas

Crossbows legal for all hunters during archery deer season.
http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us

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Kentucky

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 season.
http://fw.ky.gov/

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Louisiana

The Louisiana 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.
http://www.wlf.state.la.us

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Maine

Effective June 11, 2013, crossbows will be legal during any wild bird, or wild animal, open season (including archery) EXCEPT deer archery or deer muzzle-loading only seasons. Hunters may only hunt deer with a crossbow during the open firearm season. Also legal for disabled hunters.
http://www.maine.gov/ifw/

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Maryland

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service now allows crossbows to be used to hunt any game species during any open season where a vertical bow may be used (excluding waterfowl and certain furbearers). This would permit the use of a crossbow during the entire deer bow season in all counties. Minimum draw weight is 75-pounds, telescopic sights are permitted and the crossbow must have a working safety.
http://www.dnr.state.md.us

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Massachusetts

Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit.
http://www.masswildlife.org

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Michigan

August 17, 2010, Effective immediately, crossbow regulations have expanded for hunters statewide.

The crossbow regulation changes include the following:

  • Lowered the minimum age for crossbow use from 12 to 10 years of age statewide.
  • Expanded the use of crossbows to all legal hunters during all archery and firearms seasons statewide, except in the Upper Peninsula, where crossbow use will remain prohibited during the late archery and muzzleloader seasons, unless the hunter is disabled (Crossbows may only be used in the Upper Peninsula by anyone 50 years of age or older during the Oct. 1-Nov. 14 bow hunting deer season statewide).

Hunters using crossbows will still be required to obtain a free crossbow stamp. The stamp, which is free, will help the DNR monitor and survey crossbow hunters.
http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/

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Minnesota

Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit. Also legal for anyone during firearms season and Turkey and Bear seasons.
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

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Mississippi

Effective July 1, 2013, crossbows are legal in all of Archery Season. Archer's are reminded that they are required to wear hunter orange during all gun seasons. The separate crossbow permit is no longer required.
http://www.mdwfp.com

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Missouri

Crossbows are classified as firearms and are permitted during firearms season. Disabled hunters with a permit may use a crossbow during archery season.
http://www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/

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Montana

Crossbows are legal only during gun season. No provision for disabled hunters.
http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting

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Nebraska

Crossbows are legal archery equipment for big game (deer, antelope, elk, turkey & bighorn sheep).
http://www.ngpc.state.ne.us

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Nevada

Crossbows are are legal for all during firearms season.
http://www.ndow.org/about/pubs/pdf/huntregs/appbro/index.shtm

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New Hampshire

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.
http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us

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New Jersey

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 www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/040609b.pdf (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 in any bow and arrow hunting season and other hunting seasons for all species where the use of bow and arrow is allowed.

http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2009/gamecode09.htm

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New Mexico

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 magnify.
http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us

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New York

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.
http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html

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North Carolina

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).
http://www.ncwildlife.org

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North Dakota

Effective September 1, 2011, the following new regulations will go into effect:

  • Crossbows are now legal for hunters during the rifle season.
  • Crossbows are now legal for all hunters during primitive weapons season. Note: Crossbows used during the primitive weapons season may NOT be equipped with optics that have any magnification. Only scopes and red dots with 1x magnification may be used during the primitive weapons season.
http://gf.nd.gov/

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Ohio

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.
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us

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Oklahoma

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 physician.)
http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/license/crossbows.htm

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Oregon

Crossbows are illegal.
http://www.dfw.state.or.us

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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Game 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 2012.

http://www.pgc.state.pa.us

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Rhode Island

The crossbow is no longer classified as a firearm - it is now in the same classification as recurves, compounds and longbows. Crossbows are now approved for use by all archery hunters during the Archery deer season provided the hunter has successfully completed the Bow Hunter education course or otherwise qualifies for an Archery deer permit.

The use of crossbow for hunting wild turkey or any wild bird is prohibited by law (RIGL 20-14-7).

Special permits are no longer required to hunt with the crossbow including those previously required for disabled hunters; however, use of Adaptive Aids for archery hunting still requires the special permit. http://www.dem.ri.gov/

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South Carolina

Crossbows are now allowed in archery seasons.
http://www.dnr.sc.gov/

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South Dakota

Crossbows legal for disabled hunters during archery season.
http://www.state.sd.us

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Tennessee

The use of crossbows is now permitted during all seasons including the regular archery season.
http://www.state.tn.us/twra

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Texas

Full-inclusion of crossbows in archery seasons except Grayson County.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

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Utah

Crossbows legal only for disabled hunters by permit.
http://www.wildlife.utah.gov

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Vermont

Crossbows may be used by disabled hunters (with permit) for any game that may be taken by bow and arrow.
http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com

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Virginia

Crossbows are legal to use by any hunter. A crossbow license is required during an archery season.
http://www.dgif.state.va.us

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Washington

Crossbows approved for use by qualifying archers with disabilities. Crossbows are also legal in firearms season. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a working safety. Retractable broadheads are not legal. Using a scope on a crossbow during a modern firearm season is now allowed.
http://www.wdfw.wa.gov

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West Virginia

Class Y permit holders may hunt with a crossbow in established archery seasons.
http://www.wvdnr.gov/

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Wisconsin

Crossbows are legal for disabled residents and nonresidents under Class A, B, C or crossbow permit, and residents age 65 and older.
http://www.dnr.state.wi.us

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Wyoming

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 device.
http://gf.state.wy.us/

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If you cannot find any information regarding crossbow hunting regulations or there are errors on this page, please contact us.

Last revised on 10/3/2013.

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