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Local Law and Regulations

United States Regulations

Alaska

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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907-465-4190

Alabama

Crossbows legal for all persons during the entire deer hunting season.  Magnified scopes are now allowed on crossbows only.

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334-242-3469

Arkansas

Crossbows legal during archery seasons; must have minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and mechanical safety.

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501-223-6300

Arizona

Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters on a very restrictive permit basis, or for anyone during general firearms seasons.

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602-942-3000

California

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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916-445-0411

Colorado

Crossbows legal for all hunters during gun seasons and for handicapped hunters during archery season.

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Accomodation Permit

303-297-1192

Connecticut

Effective 2013 Fall seasons, crossbows will be legalized for all archery hunters.

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860-424-3011

Delaware

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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302-739-9911

Florida

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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850-488-3831

Georgia

Crossbows legal in all seasons starting 2003.

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770-918-6416

Hawaii

Crossbows legal by special disabled permit only.

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808-587-0400

Iowa

Crossbows legal for all hunters during the primitive weapons season. Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters with permit.  Resident hunters 70 years old and older may purchase one statewide antlerless-deer only license to hunt deer with a crossbow.

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515-281-5918

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.

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208-334-3700

Illinois

Crossbows legal for all hunters in LATE archery deer season. Crossbow legal for handicapped hunters in EARLY deer archery season.

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217-782-6384

Indiana

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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317-232-4200

Kansas

Crossbows legal for all hunters during archery deer seasons.

Read more here: http://blogs.kansas.com/outdoors/#storylink=cpy

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620-672-5911

Kentucky

Crossbows legal for all hunters during rifle and muzzleloader seasons, and portions of archery season (dates change annually). Legal in archery season for handicapped hunters.

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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.

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225-765-2350

Massachusetts

Crossbows may be used by certain permanently handicapped persons by permit only.

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508-389-6300

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.

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1-877-620-8367 (in state) or 410-260-8367 (out of state)

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.

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L.D. 1015 An Act To Expand Crossbow Hunting

207-287-8000

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.

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517-373-1263

Minnesota

 A person age 60 or over may take deer, bear, turkey, or rough fish by crossbow during the respective regular archery seasons. Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by permit.  Also legal for anyone during firearms season and Turkey and Bear seasons.

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888-646-6367 or 651-296-6157

Missouri

Crossbows for handicapped archers by permit and during firearms season.

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573-751-4115

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.

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601-432-2400

Montana

Crossbows legal only during gun seasons. No provision for handicapped hunters.

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406-444-2535

North Carolina

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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919-707-0050

North Dakota

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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701-328-6300

Nebraska

Crossbows are legal archery equipment for big game (deer, antelope, elk, turkey & bighorn sheep).

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402-471-0641

New Hampshire

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

New Jersey

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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609-292-2965

New Mexico

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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505-476-8000

Nevada

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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775-688-1500

New York

Legal during a portion of archery season. More details to come.

www.dec.ny.gov

518-402-8924 or 518-402-8985

Ohio

Crossbows legal during archery season.

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614-265-6300

Oklahoma

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

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405-521-3851

Oregon

Crossbows illegal.

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503-947-6000

Pennsylvania

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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717-787-4250

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.

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401-222-6800

South Carolina

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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803-734-3886

South Dakota

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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605-223-7665

Tennessee

The use of crossbows is now permitted during all seasons including the regular archery season.

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615-781-6500

Texas

Full-inclusion of crossbows in archery seasons except Grayson County.

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

Utah

A person who has obtained an any weapon permit for a big game hunt may use archery equipment authorized in this section to take the species authorized in the permit, including a crossbow or draw-lok.

Crossbows are legal for handicap hunters during the archery season by permit.

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801-538-4700

Virginia

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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804-367-1000

Vermont

Crossbows legal for all hunters for all species EXCEPT deer. Crossbow deer hunting legal for handicapped hunters with permit.

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802-241-3700

Washington

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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360-902-2200

Wisconsin

Legal in all of Archery Season - effective 2014 Seasons (will be reviewed in three years).

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608-266-2621

West Virginia

Crossbows are legal for all hunters in the full archery season for deer, bear and turkey. Crossbows are also legal in all firearms seasons. Crossbows are NOT legal in the counties of Logan, Mingo, Wyoming & McDowell.

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304-558-2758

Wyoming

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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307-777-4600

Canada Regulations

Alberta

Crossbows legal for all seasons except archery-only. Legal in archery season for eligible handicapped hunters with a crossbow license.  Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 100-pounds.

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780-944-0313

British Columbia

Crossbows legal.

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250-387-9771

Manitoba

Crossbows may be used during muzzleloader deer seasons and big game rifle seasons.  A hunter may not be in possession of a crossbow while hunting during archery or shotgun/muzzloader seasons.  A person hunting big game shall not be in possession of a crossbow requiring less than 150-pounds draw weight or an arrow using a broadhead less than 7/8 of an inch in width.  Under the authority of a Disabled Crossbow permit, a permanently disabled archer may use a crossbow during an archery season.

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204-945-6784

New Brunswick

In New Brunswick crossbows may be used by certified hunters during all hunting seasons

except for the deer archery season and for hunting migratory game birds.

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506-453-3826

Newfoundland

Crossbows illegal.

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709-729-2830

Northwest Territories

Crossbows legal.

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867-873-7500

Nova Scotia

Allows the use of crossbows in all hunting situations where conventional bows may be used, except the special open season for bowhunting deer. The crossbow must have a draw weight of 150lbs (68kg) or greater and bolts with heads more than 2.2 cm in diameter. Crossbow hunters must also wear hunter orange or camouflage orange garments.

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902-424-6723

Nunavut

Crossbows legal.

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867-975-7700

Ontario

Crossbows legal; Minimum 119-pound draw weight and 12-inch draw length for moose and bear, 100-pound draw weight and 12-inch draw length for deer.

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800-667-1940 or 705-755-2000

Prince Edward Island

Legal for hunting all game species, except migratory birds.  A Firearm Safety Certificate is required.

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902-368-4683

Quebec

Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by special authorizations during bow season.

In 2008, 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. This new development does not apply to moose hunting in zones 13, 15, 16, 17 and 22 which have retained exclusive bow hunting seasons, except for certain wildlife sanctuaries, zecs and outfitter establishments with exclusive rights of these zones which had already replaced their bow hunting seasons with crossbow and bow hunting seasons.

Except in zones 17, 22, 23 and 24, hunting with a crossbow is always permitted during a firearm, a shotgun or a muzzle-loading firearm hunting period. In order to hunt with a crossbow, a resident must be the holder of a hunter's certificate bearing code A or B. Despite the information appearing on the back of the hunter's certificate, since 2007 code F no longer allows the holder to hunt with a crossbow.

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418-627-8600

Saskatchewan

Crossbows legal only during muzzleloader and rifle seasons, except in the Regina, Moosejaw, Saskatoon, Buckland and Prince Albert wildlife management zones where crossbows are permitted during all open seasons.  Crossbows must have a minimum drwa weight of 150-pounds and broadheads must have a cutting diameter of 7/8 of an inch.

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306-975-4087

Yukon Territories

Crossbows illegal.

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867-667-5652