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US Crossbow Regulations

US Regulations

  • 25 States: Legal for use in archery season.
  • 11 States: Legal in firearm season.
  • 6 States: Legal for physically challenged hunters during archery season.
  • 3 States: Legal during a portion of archery season.
  • 2 States: Legal for hunters over a certain age.
    (60+ in MN)
  • 1 State: Legal for use in Archery Season beginning with 2014 season – will be reviewed again after three years.
  • 1 State: Legal for use in archery season-private land only (FL).
  • 1 State: Illegal hunting equipment.

Crossbows are illegal in bow-only areas, but can be used where guns and bows are legal weapons. Legal in archery season for handicapped hunters with an approved Methods and Means Exemption Form.
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Crossbows legal for all persons during the entire deer hunting season.  Magnified scopes are now allowed on crossbows only.
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Crossbows legal during archery seasons; must have minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and mechanical safety.
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Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters on a very restrictive permit basis, or for anyone during general firearms seasons.
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Crossbows legal for all hunters during gun seasons. Also, the California Game Commission voted on April 22, 2004 to adopt the following language to their regulations: "Any person with a physical disability which prevents him/her from being able to draw and hold a bow in a firing position, may use a crossbow or device which holds a string and arrow in the firing position to assist in the taking of birds and mammals under the conditions of an archery tag, archery season, or general session.  Under these conditions, archers must provide to the Department and retain in his/her immediate possession while taking or attempting to take big game written verification of the disability, including: the person's name and signature, address, date of birth, driver's license or DMV number, physician's name and signature, physician's license number and address and a description of the disability."
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Effective 2013 Fall seasons, crossbows will be legalized for all archery hunters.
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Crossbows legal during all deer seasons.  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.

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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 on private land only.
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Crossbows legal by special disabled permit only.
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Crossbows are legal during the late Muzzleloader season. Also, Residents 70 and older may obtain one Antlerless-only statewide crossbow deer license.
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During an any-weapon hunting season you can hunt with a crossbow without any other permit besides your hunting license and proper tag. Crossbows also legal for handicapped persons by permit-to hunt with a crossbow during an archery season, you must also have a valid archery permit as well as a hunting license and a proper tag.
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A legally permitted archery hunter may use a crossbow from the second Monday following Thanksgiving through the end of the archery hunting seasons also certain disabled persons with a special crossbow permit or persons 62 years of age or older with photo ID can hunt with crossbows. These individuals may hunt game species with crossbows during seasons allowing the use of archery equipment. 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.
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Crossbows legal in entire archery season beginning December 31, 2011.  Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a mechanical safety.
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A legal resident hunter age 65 years or older may hunt deer with a crossbow from the first Saturday in September through the third Monday in January.

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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.
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Crossbows may be used by certain permanently handicapped persons by permit only.
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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.
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1-877-620-8367 (in state) or 410-260-8367 (out of state)

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.
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L.D. 1015 An Act To Expand Crossbow Hunting

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. Read More

Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by permit.  Also legal for anyone during firearms season and Turkey and Bear seasons.
Legal for 60+ for deer, bear, turkey and rough fish.
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888-646-6367 or 651-296-6157

Crossbows are legal during Archery Deer & Turkey seasons.
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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.

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Crossbows legal only during gun seasons. No provision for handicapped hunters.
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Effective August 1, 2010, allows the use of crossbows anytime bow and arrows are legal weapons. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 150-pounds.
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Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by permit.

Deer Gun & Youth Deer Seasons--Crossbows are legal during the deer gun season.  Crossbows must: a) have a peak draw weight of 75 pounds and not more than 200 pounds, b) be equipped with a working safety to prevent accidental firing, c) have a stock at least 14 inches long, d) use bolts at least 14 inches in length.

Muzzleloader Season--Crossbows must: a) have a peak draw weight of 75 pounds and not more than 200 pounds, b) be equipped with a working safety to prevent accidental firing, c) have a stock at least 14 inches long, d) use bolts at least 14 inches in length.  No magnification (1X) scopes are legal to use on crossbows during the muzzleloader season.

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Crossbows are legal archery equipment for big game (deer, antelope, elk, turkey & bighorn sheep).
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Beginning in 2014, big game hunters between the ages of 12 thru 29 must be certified in Bowhunter Education.

Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by permit. Legal for all hunters to take a deer in firearms season. Legal for all hunters on Long Island in Moultonborough with Long Island Deer Permit.  Crossbow hunters must purchase a crossbow hunting permit.
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603-271-2461 or 603-271-2462

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. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 75 pounds and a minimum stock length of 25 inches.

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Crossbow use is allowed by Certified Mobility Impaired Hunters during all hunts.  Crossbows may now be used in "Any Legal Sporting Arm" or Muzzleloader" hunts unless otherwise restricted.
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Crossbows may only be used for hunting big game during an "Any Legal Weapon" hunt.  Crossbows are not allowed for archery hunts.  Crossbows must have a minimum 125-pound draw weight, minimum draw length of 14-inches from front of bow to nocking point, minimum 18-inch stock and a positive mechanical safety.  Arrows must be minimum 16-inches and have a broadhead.
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Deer or Bear
South - November 1-14, 2014
North - October 15-24, 2014
Please check NY Hunting Regulations for additional information.

518-402-8924 or 518-402-8985

Crossbows legal during archery season.
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Crossbows and conventional bows with draw lock devices are a legal means of hunting whenever conventional bows are allowed.
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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.

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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.

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Archery equipment is now defined as " a bow and arrow, a long bow, a recurve bow, a compound bow, or a cross bow.”

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Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters during archery season. Must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a functional mechanical safety device.  Telescopic sights and lighted sight pins are prohibited.
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The use of crossbows is now permitted during all seasons including the regular archery season.
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Full-inclusion of crossbows in archery seasons except Grayson County.

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512-389-4800 or 1-800-792-1112

The general-season any legal weapon (rifle) buck deer hunt runs from Oct. 18 to Oct. 26. If you obtained a general-season any legal weapon buck permit, you may use any legal weapon to take one buck deer in the hunting unit listed on your permit. 2014 is the first year you may use a crossbow, a draw lock or a muzzleloader with a magnifying scope during the rifle hunt. (You may not use them during the archery or muzzleloader hunts.)
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Crossbows are legal during archery season and firearms season.  A crossbow permit will be required if the season is "archery only".
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Hunters 50 and older may use a crossbow without first obtaining a crossbow disability permit. Hunters 49 or younger need a disability permit to hunt with a crossbow.
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Crossbows are legal for qualifying archers with a permanent non-operable upper extremity impairment. An application must be completed by a licensed Physician and submitted by the hunter to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for consideration. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a working safety. Retractable broadheads are not legal. Crossbows with a scope are legal during modern firearm season within “restricted areas”.

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Legal in all of Archery Season - effective 2014 Seasons (will be reviewed in three years).
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Full-inclusion of crossbows in archery seasons except Logan, McDowell, Mingo, & Wyoming County. However, Class Y/YY holders may still use crossbows in these counties during the archery seasons.
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Crossbows legal during archery seasons; Must have 90-pound minimum draw weight, minimum draw length of 14-inches and shoot a minimum 16-inch bolt.
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Crossbow Law


Learn the crossbow laws for the state of Virginia.