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Crossbow Regulations & Updates
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Region Specific Crossbow Regulations
Extracted and summarized from Bow Hunting North America 2002. Originally compiled by J.R. Absher, Bow Hunting World Special Issue: Bow hunting Guide Annual 2002-2003. For states with crossbow hunting in gun season, contact the appropriate state for gun season dates and related information. The original version has been updated by TenPoint Crossbow Technologies.
SB 1699-Would allow the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to promulgate standards to allow for a legalized crossbow hunting season. In so doing, New York might soon join the 21 other states that currently allow crossbow use during the entire archery season (49 states currently allow some form of crossbow use).
Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by permit and for anyone during the January archery season on private property in Deer Management Zones 11 & 12.
Crossbows legal for all hunters during archery deer seasons.
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.
Rhode Island (2012)
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.
Effective Fall 2012, it will be legal for hunters 55 and older and those with a youth big game permit to use crossbows during archery big game and turkey seasons.
Any person with a deer permit valid during the archery deer season in deer management units 1, 12, 15, and 19 may use a crossbow during deer archery season, regardless of age or disability. Each person age 16 through 54 shall obtain a free crossbow hunter survey number from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism before hunting with a crossbow during archery season.Fort Riley deer season set: archery, Sept. 1-Dec. 31 and Jan. 14-31, 2013; youth/disabled, Sept. 8-16 and Oct. 5-8; and firearms, Nov. 23-25 and Dec. 15-23 and Jan. 19-21, 2013.
During any gun deer season, hunters can use a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow
as their weapon of choice while hunting under the authority of their gun deer license
and gun deer carcass tags. During the 10-day muzzleloader season, a hunter can use a
muzzleloading firearm, bow and arrow, or a crossbow as their weapon of choice while
hunting under the authority of their gun deer license and gun deer carcass tag.
Crossbows are legal in all of Archery Season. The rule changes include creating a crossbow license and authorizing its use during the entire Archery Season. The Archery season will also be extended without interruption from October 1st thru the first Sunday in January.
North Dakotka (2011)
Effective September 1, 2011, the following new regulations will go into effect:
1. Crossbows are now legal for hunters during the rifle season.
2. 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.
Crossbows are legal archery equipment for big game (deer, antelope, elk, turkey & bighorn sheep).
August 30, 2010. Effective
July 2011, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission passed a new rule which
will extend zonal crossbow seasons by a month. The new rule adds 30 days to each crossbow season in zones A, B, and C, and adds 33 days in zone D, thereby coinciding with the archery season. In addition, it allows any hunter with a hunting license, deer permit, and crossbow permit to take a deer of either sex with a crossbow.
August 17, 2010. Effective immediately, crossbow regulations have expanded for hunters statewide (see approved MI legislation section from 2009 below).
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.
-Allows the use of modified bows where crossbows are legal.
-Includes a temporary crossbow permit for hunters with temporary disabilities.
-Eliminates a provision limiting the maximum bolt velocity for crossbows.
-Eliminates the 3-year sunset provision for the use of crossbows in the affected section of the Wildlife Conservation Order.
Hunters using crossbows will still be required to obtain a free crossbow stamp.
July 28, 2010,magnified scopes are now legal on crossbows.
July 28, 2010 - Allows the use of crossbows during all deer seasons. Crossbows used for deer hunting must have a minimum pull weight of 125-pounds, be manufactured after 1980 and have a mechanical safety. Crossbows may be equipped with a scope.
It is unlawful to transport a crossbow on or within any vehicle while the crossbow is in the cocked position.
Deer may be hunted with crossbows provided hunter orange is displayed when it is also lawful to hunt deer with a gun.
North Carolina (2010)
July 23, 2010 - Effective August 1, 2010,
allows the use of crossbows anytime bow and arrows are legal weapons.
Nova Scotia (2010)
June 23, 2010 -
Now allows the use of crossbows in all hunting situations where conventional bows may be used, except the special open season for bowhunting deer. Also allows
the use of camouflage orange garments while hunting (in addition to blaze orange).
June 10, 2010 -
Effective July 1, 2010, crossbows will become a legal means of hunting during any archery season in Oklahoma.
The approved bill (SB 1594) states:
"The use of crossbows and conventional longbows with a device that permits the bow to be held mechanically at full or partial draw, shall be a legal hunting method during any open season when conventional longbows are a legal means of take."
May 19, 2010 - The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) Commissioners voted to approve Public Notice of Intent Number W12 3174(I). This approval applies to all Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the State, unless otherwise stated in individual WMA regulations.
The legal definition changes include:
Primitive Weapons: Primitive weapons are those defined by Public Notice LE-2280 and Archery Equipment.
Archery Equipment: Longbows, recurves, compounds, and crossbows are legal archery equipment.
Annapolis, MD (March 26, 2010) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service
will now allow 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 will 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.
New Jersey (2009)
The New Jersey Fish and Game Council has approved 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 minimum draw weight of 75 pounds and a minimum stock length of 25 inches.
Full-inclusion of crossbows in archery seasons except Grayson County.
Michigan (2009) *see updated information above*
Crossbows may now be used:
* By anyone 50 years of age or older during the Oct. 1-Nov. 14 bow hunting deer season statewide.
* By any hunter age 12 and older during any hunting season in Zone 3 of southern Michigan, including the bow hunting season.
* During any season in which a firearm may be used, for both big and small game statewide.
* Crossbows used for hunting are restricted to no more than 350 feet per second.
Under the new regulations, 10 and 11 year-old hunters may not use a crossbow. Youth hunters must be at least 12 to use a crossbow.
A crossbow stamp will be required in addition to hunting licenses for those using crossbows. Stamps will be available at all license retailers starting March 15. The stamp, which is free, will help the DNR monitor and survey crossbow hunters over the next three years.
For more information on hunting opportunities in Michigan, visit the DNR’s Web site at: www.michigan.gov/dnr.
North Carolina (2009)
The Continuing Crossbow Permit for Dealers & Manufacturers issue was approved & signed on March 19, 2009.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has approved the expanded lawful use of crossbows to include both the archery deer and bear seasons. The Board included a sunset date for the expanded crossbow use requiring a future vote on the measure again before June 30, 2012.
*The use of magnified scopes was approved on April 21, 2009.
South Carolina (2008)
Archery equipment is now defined as " a bow and arrow, a long bow, a recurve bow, a compound bow, or a cross bow.”
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.
Hunters 62 years of age and older are now permitted to use a crossbow without a special permit.
Crossbows of at least 125 pounds draw weight will be allowed during the regular firearms deer and turkey seasons.
Crossbows legal during the entire bow season in the Suburban Deer Archery Zone (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties).
Hunters 60 years of age and older are now permitted to use a crossbow.
Most bow hunting seasons were replaced with crossbow and bow hunting seasons. Please consult the table of hunting seasons to find out these new terms and conditions.
Nova Scotia (2008)
Crossbows can be used to hunt deer only during the General Open Season for hunting deer.