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United States: Crossbow Hunting
Written by: Kim Lockhart, Copyright.

Crossbow Hunting:
 Crossbow hunting is becoming quite popular in the United States today for the simple reason more and more states are recognizing hunting crossbows are an effective piece of archery equipment for hunting and no more, despite all the bad rumors that hunting crossbows could wipe out deer herds. The State of Ohio was and still is an excellent long term study for this, with very long Archery seasons and still after many years of this practice of Deer management, Ohio still has many record book Buck kills to offer and still plenty of Deer to hunt.


Alabama: Crossbows legal for all persons during the entire deer hunting season.
www.outdooralabama.com 334-242-3469

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.
www.state.ak.us 907-267-2347

Arizona: Crossbows are legal only by permit for disabled hunters.
www.gf.state.az.us 602-942-3000

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.
www.agfc.com 501-223-6300

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.
www.dfg.ca.gov 916-653-7203

Colorado: Crossbows legal for all hunters during gun seasons and for handicapped hunters during archery season.
www.dnr.state.co.us 303-297-1192

Connecticut: Crossbows are legal archery equipment.
www.dep.state.ct.us 860-424-3011

Delaware: 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. Check with state regulations for additional details.
www.dnrec.state.de.us 302-739-5297

Florida: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) passed a new rule that will extend zonal crossbow seasons by a month, thereby running concurrently with archery season, beginning July 2011. Starting with the 2011-2012 hunting season, any hunter with a hunting license, deer permit and crossbow permit will be able to get in the woods a month early on private lands and use a crossbow (or a bow) to take deer of either sex. Check state regulations for additional details. 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.
http://myfwc.com 850-488-8573

Georgia: Crossbows legal in all seasons.
www.gohuntgeorgia.com 770-918-6416

Hawaii: Crossbows legal by special disabled permit only.
www.hawaii.gov/dlnr 808-973-9787

Idaho: 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.
www.fishandgame.idaho.gov 800-554-8685

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.
www.dnr.state.il.us 217-782-7305

Indiana: Crossbows can now be used during the entire archery season: A crossbow means a device for propelling an arrow by means of traverse limbs mounted on a stock and a string and having a working safety that may be drawn, held, and released by a mechanical device. It has to have a mechanical safety and at least 125 lbs pull. A deer crossbow license will be required to hunt with a crossbow during the archery season, unless that individual has a valid resident youth hunt/trap, deer license bundle, lifetime comprehensive hunting, or a lifetime comprehensive hunting and fishing license, or is exempt from needing a license. A deer crossbow license is good for either one antlerless deer or one antlered deer. The bag limit for the archery season is 2 antlerless deer, or 1 antlered deer and 1 antlerless deer. Hunters are allowed to harvest only one deer per crossbow license.
www.in.gov/dnr 317-232-4080

Iowa: Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit. Residents 70 and older may purchase a statewide antler less deer license to hunt with a crossbow.
www.iowadnr.com 515-281-8688

Kansas: Crossbows legal for all hunters during archery deer seasons.
www.kdwp.state.ks.us 316-342-0658

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 800-858-1549

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.
www.wlf.state.la.us/ 225-765-2350

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).
www.maine.gov/ifw/ 207-287-8000

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.
www.dnr.state.md.us/ 410-260-8540

Massachusetts: Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit.
www.masswildlife.org 508-792-7270

Michigan: Crossbow Hunting Regulations Expanded for Hunters Statewide. Crossbow regulation changes expanding opportunities for hunters ages 10 and up statewide have been approved by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission and are effective immediately, Department of Natural Resources and Environment officials announced. The crossbow regulation changes include the following: 1) Lowering the minimum age for crossbow use from 12 to 10 years of age statewide 2) Expanding the use of crossbows to all legal hunters during all archery and firearm seasons statewide, except in the Upper Peninsula, where crossbow use will remain prohibited during the late archery and muzzle loader seasons, unless the hunter is disabled. 3) Allowing the use of modified bows where crossbows are legal......for full regulations please go to the Michigan DNR link below.
www.michigan.gov/dnr 517-373-1263

Minnesota: Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit.
www.dnr.state.mn.us 888-minndnr

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.
home.mdwfp.com 601-432-2400

Missouri: Crossbows are classified as firearms and are permitted during firearms season. Disabled hunters with a permit may use a crossbow during archery season.
www.mdc.mo.gov 573-751-4115

Montana: Crossbows are legal only during gun season. No provision for disabled hunters.
http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting 406-444-2535

Nebraska: In Nebraska, crossbows have been allowed as legal equipment during firearm seasons for decades. Starting in 1985, crossbows were allowed during the archery season for those with a permanent disability that prevented them from drawing a bow. All restrictions on crossbows have been removed, including the disability provision and draw weight. The new regulations allow, starting in 2011, crossbows as legal archery equipment for big game (deer, antelope, elk, turkey, and bighorn sheep).
www.ngpc.state.ne.us 402-471-0641

Nevada: Crossbows are are legal for all during firearms season.
www.ndow.org/about/pubs/pdf/huntregs/appbro/index.shtm 775-688-1500

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.
www.wildlife.state.nh.us 603-271-3422

New Jersey: 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 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 minimum draw weight of 75 pounds and a minimum stock length of 25 inches.
www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2009/gamecode09.htm 609-292-2965

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.
www.wildlife.state.nm.us 800-862-9310

New York: In April 2014, the annual budget bill for 2014-15 was signed and included language authorizing the use of crossbows for hunting under certain circumstances. See the state website for the provisions of the new law. See state website for complete listing of regulations.
www.dec.ny.gov 518-402-8924

North Carolina: Effective August 1, 2010, allows the use of crossbows anytime bow and arrows are legal weapons.
www.ncwildlife.org/fs_index_04_hunting.htm 919-733-7291

North Dakota: The following regulations will go into effect September 1, 2011: Crossbows are now legal for hunters during the rifle season.
www.gf.nd.gov 701-328-6300

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 muzzle loader seasons.
www.dnr.state.oh.us/ 614-265-6300

Oklahoma: The CCR removes the bill's existing language and replaces it with language that permits the use of crossbows and conventional longbows with a device that permits the bow to be held mechanically at full or partial draw during any open season when conventional longbows may be used legally. The CCR also repeals various sections that prohibit the use of crossbows in hunting. Check the state link for full details.
www.wildlifedepartment.com 405-521-2730

Oregon: Crossbows are illegal.
www.dfw.state.or.us 503-872-5268

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.
www.pgc.state.pa.us 717-787-4250

Rhode Island: Crossbows only legal for hunters who posses an official adaptive Aid/Crossbow permit obtained through the DEM division of licensing.
www.dem.ri.gov/ 401-222-6647

South Carolina: Crossbows are now allowed in archery seasons.
www.dnr.sc.gov/ 803-734-3886

South Dakota: Crossbows legal for disabled hunters during archery season.
www.state.sd.us/ 605-773-3485

Tennessee: Crossbows are legal during archery, muzzle loader and firearms season.
www.state.tn.us/twra 615-781-6500

Texas: Where the open season is designated as "archery," only legal archery equipment/crossbow as specified below may be used.
www.tpwd.state.tx.us 512-389-45055

Utah: Crossbows legal only for disabled hunters by permit.
www.wildlife.utah.gov 801-538-4700

Vermont: Crossbows may be used by disabled hunters (with permit) for any game that may be taken by bow and arrow.
www.vtfishandwildlife.com 802-241-3700

Virginia: Crossbows are legal to use by any hunter. A crossbow license is required during an archery season.
www.dgif.state.va.us/ 804-367-1000

Washington: Crossbows approved for use by qualifying archers with disabilities.
http://wdfw.wa.gov 360-902-2519

West Virginia: Class Y permit holders may hunt with a crossbow in established archery seasons.
www.wvdnr.gov 304-558-2771

Wisconsin: Crossbows are legal for disabled residents and nonresidents under Class A, B, C or crossbow permit, and residents age 65 and older.
www.dnr.state.wi.us 608-266-2621

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 307-777-4600

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