U.S. Crossbow Hunting Regulations

Category Crossbows

Here is a list of crossbow hunting regulations in the United States. This page is by no means complete and we encourage you to check with your local and state regulations before purchasing and using a crossbow. Regulations changes all the time so please contact your local DNR (or equivalent office) for more information.

For your convenience, we have provided a listing for each state along with their websites where you can learn more about crossbow regulations.

ALABAMA

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

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 specifically exclude other weapons, including crossbows. Scopes and other optical enhancement devices are not permitted.
http://www.state.ak.us

ARIZONA

Crossbows are legal only by permit for disabled hunters.
http://www.gf.state.az.us

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

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

COLORADO

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

CONNECTICUT

Crossbows are legal only for disabled hunters by permit.
http://www.dep.state.ct.us

DELAWARE

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.
http://www.dnrec.state.de.us

FLORIDA

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.
http://myfwc.com/

GEORGIA

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

HAWAII

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

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

ILLINOIS

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

INDIANA

Crossbows are legal hunting equipment during the late archery deer season for antlerless deer. Deer hunters may use crossbows to harvest deer of either sex only in the late archery season.
http://www.in.gov/dnr/

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/

KANSAS

Crossbows with a minimum draw weight of 125 will be allowed in regular forearms deer and turkey season.
http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us

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/

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

MAINE

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).
http://www.maine.gov/ifw/

MARYLAND

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 gun season.
http://www.dnr.state.md.us

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MICHIGAN

New for 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 because of
a permanent disability can continue to use a crossbow. Certain restrictions apply see state regulations for details.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/

MINNESOTA

Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit.
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us

MISSISSIPPI

Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit and hunters 65 and older, also in primitive weapon and deer gun seasons.
http://www.mdwfp.com

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/

MONTANA

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

NEBRASKA

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.
http://www.ngpc.state.ne.us

NEVADA

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

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

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 atwww.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.

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

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

NEW YORK

A Modified Crossbow Permit may be issued to permanently disabled individuals whose disability is so severe that they are physically unable to operate a mechanical device attached to a regular bow.
http://www.dec.state.ny.us

NORTH CAROLINA

Crossbows legal only for disabled hunters by permit. Regulations are pending.
http://www.ncwildlife.org

NORTH DAKOTA

Crossbows are not legal, except with a permit from the Game and Fish director. Contact the Department for additional information on crossbow regulations.
http://gf.nd.gov/

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

OKLAHOMA

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

OREGON

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

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

RHODE ISLAND

Crossbows only legal for hunters who posses an official adaptive Aid/Crossbow permit obtained through the DEM division of licensing.
http://www.dem.ri.gov/

SOUTH CAROLINA

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

SOUTH DAKOTA

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

TENNESSEE

Crossbows are legal during archery, muzzleloader and firearms season.
http://www.state.tn.us/twra

TEXAS

NEW* Where the open season is designated as “archery,” only legal archery equipment/crossbow as specified below may be used.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

UTAH

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

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

VIRGINIA

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

WASHINGTON

Crossbows approved for use by qualifying archers with disabilities.
http://www.wdfw.wa.gov

WEST VIRGINIA

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

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

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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