State Regulations

State Regulations

Know before you go.

  • Legal during archery season
  • Legal during firearm season
  • Legal for disabled hunters during archery season
  • Legal during parts of archery season
  • Legal for elderly hunters
  • Legal during archery season in 2014; will be reviewed in 3 years
  • Legal on private land during archery season

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Alabama

Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources

Crossbows are a legal means of hunting deer, migratory birds, most predators and other big game. Hunting turkey with a crossbow is prohibited. Magnified scopes are not allowed on crossbows.

Alaska

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Crossbows are illegal in bow-only areas, but handicapped hunters may use them during archery season with an approved “Methods and Means Exemption” form. Crossbows may be used in areas where firearms are legal. Beginning July 1, 2018, all hunters using a crossbow to hunt big game must complete a crossbow certification course and carry a certification card during any big game hunts.

Arizona

Arizona Game & Fish Department

Crossbows are legal for handicapped hunters during archery-only seasons on a very restrictive permit basis, or for anyone during general firearm hunting seasons.

Arkansas

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

Crossbows are legal during archery season so long as they have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and a working mechanical safety.

California

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Crossbows are legal for all hunters during gun seasons. A crossbow may be used during archery seasons by a disabled person with an approved “Disabled Archer Permit” that must be carried while afield.

Colorado

Colorado Parks & Wildlife

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

Connecticut

Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP)

According to the Connecticut DEEP: “The use of crossbows for hunting deer, turkey and all other species is permitted. Legal crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and permanent fixed rifle-type stock with a functional mechanical safety device. Adjustable crossbow stocks are permitted, but folding stocks are not. The bolt (arrow) length must be at least 18 inches, excluding the broadhead. Crossbows are considered loaded when fully drawn with a bolt in place. Telescopic sights are permitted.”

Delaware

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)

Crossbows are legal during all deer seasons, provided hunters wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange displayed on the head, chest and back. Crossbows must have a minimum 125-pound pull weight, a working mechanical safety and 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.

District of Columbia

NO INFORMATION AT THIS TIME

NO INFORMATION AT THIS TIME

No information is available at this time

Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Crossbow season extends a month and a half before regular firearm season begins. During crossbow season, hunters are required to possess a hunting license and crossbow permit.

Georgia

Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Resources Division

Crossbows are legal during all hunting seasons in Georgia. Crossbow seasons extend a month and a half before general firearm hunting seasons begin. It is illegal to transport a cocked crossbow in a motor vehicle.

Hawaii

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

Crossbow hunting is legal only for those who hold a special disabled permit.

Idaho

Idaho Fish and Game

Crossbow hunting is allowed during general any-weapon hunting seasons so long as the hunter possesses a hunting license and proper tags. Crossbows are only legal during archery season for disabled persons with a valid archery permit, hunting license and proper tags.

Illinois

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources: “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 (no special crossbow permit required) can hunt with crossbows. These individuals may hunt game species with crossbows during seasons allowing the use of archery equipment.

More Information

Crossbows shall:

  • have a minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds and a maximum peak draw weight of 200 pounds.
  • have a minimum overall length (from butt of stock to front of limb) of 24 inches.
  • have a working safety.
  • be used with fletched bolts or arrows of not less than 14 inches in length (not including point).
  • use broadheads that may have fixed or expandable cutting surfaces, but they must have a minimum ⅞-inch diameter when fully opened. Broadheads with fixed cutting surfaces must be metal or flint-chert or obsidian-knapped; broadheads with expandable cutting surfaces must be metal.
  • NOT use electronic tracking systems utilizing radio telemetry.
Indiana

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Crossbows are legal during archery season. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and a mechanical safety.

Iowa

Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Crossbows are only legal for permit-holding disabled persons during archery season. Seniors aged 70 and older can also obtain a permit to hunt during archery season but are restricted to harvesting antlerless deer. All other hunters can use crossbows during late muzzleloader season. Furthermore, the Iowa Hunting and Trapping Regulations states: “Crossbows equipped with pistol grips and designed to be fired with one hand are illegal for taking or attempting to take deer or turkey. All projectiles used in conjunction with a crossbow for deer hunting must be equipped with a broadhead.”

Kansas

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Crossbows are legal during all archery seasons in Kansas. Additionally, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism states: “No bow, crossbow or arrow may have any electronic device attached that controls the flight of the arrow. Devices that may be attached to a bow or arrow shall include lighted pin, dot or holographic sights; illuminated nocks; rangefinders; film or video cameras; and radio-frequency location devices. Arrows used for hunting big game and turkeys must be equipped with broadhead points that cannot pass through a ring ¾-inch in diameter when fully expanded. Non-broadhead arrows may be in possession while hunting but may not be used to take or attempt to take big game animals. Devices capable of dispensing lethal, debilitating or immobilizing chemicals may not be used to take big game animals.”

Kentucky

Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources

Crossbows are legal for all hunters during crossbow, rifle and muzzleloader seasons; dates change annually. Some special circumstances may apply for hunters age 65 and older. Handicapped hunters may hunt during archery season with an approved exemption form signed by a licensed physician. All hunters must wear hunter orange clothing. There are no minimum draw weights, but crossbows must have a working safety.

Louisiana

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

The Louisiana Wildlife Commission classifies crossbows as archery equipment; an archery permit is required for use. Follow up annually for the latest season dates for information about when you can hunt with your crossbow. Sights with infrared, laser, electrical operation or night-vision technology are prohibited. Non-projecting red dot sights are allowed.

Maine

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife states: “To be eligible to purchase a crossbow hunting permit, you must hold a valid big game hunting license or an archery license and must submit proof of having successfully completed an archery hunting education course and a crossbow hunting course or satisfactory evidence of having previously held adult archery and crossbow hunting permits in this state or any other state, province or country in any year after 1979. When proof or evidence cannot be provided, the applicant may substitute a signed affidavit. By Maine State Law, a crossbow is not considered a firearm.

A person may hunt any wild bird or animal with a crossbow during any open season on that bird or animal while still following all the other laws pertinent to that species except that a licensed crossbow hunter 69 years of age or younger may not hunt wild turkey during the fall turkey season or hunt deer during the expanded archery, special October archery or muzzleloader seasons. A resident or nonresident may hunt with a crossbow if that person holds a valid junior hunting license (no crossbow permits required). Persons 70 years of age or older or persons who have a special handicap permit to use a crossbow may use a crossbow for any species in season with appropriate permits.”

More Information

These restrictions apply:

  • Crossbows must have a shouldered stock.
  • Crossbows with a pistol-like handle are prohibited.
  • Draw weight must be a minimum of 100 pounds; there is no maximum.
  • Broadheads must be at least 7/8 inches in width. Explosive or poison-tipped arrows are prohibited.
  • Crossbows must have a mechanical safety.
  • Scopes and sights are allowed.
Maryland

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

You can hunt almost all wild game with a crossbow and benefit from extended archery seasons in Maryland. Only some migratory bird species can be hunted with a crossbow. Those species are: doves, rails, snipe and woodcock. Crossbows must be equipped with a mechanical safety and have a draw of 75 pounds or more. Broadheads must be at least ⅞-inch in width. Explosive or poison-tipped arrows are prohibited.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

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

Michigan

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Anyone age 10 and up may hunt with a crossbow whenever firearms are allowed and during some archery seasons. Check with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for season dates and restrictions. Disabled hunters may acquire a permit to use crossbows during seasons when they are usually prohibited. All crossbow hunters must wear hunter orange while pursuing deer and small game.

Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

People over age 60 may legally hunt with a crossbow during deer or turkey archery seasons; disabled hunters may legally hunt with a crossbow during archery season provided they have a proper permit. In both of these instances, hunters must hold a valid archery license. Crossbows are legal for all other hunters only during regular firearm seasons with a firearms license. Crossbows must have a shoulder stock at least 30 inches in length; shoot at least 42 ft-lbs of kinetic energy; use bolts at least 10 inches in length; and have a mechanical safety.

Mississippi

Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks

Crossbows may be used by all hunters during archery season. Check with the state for detailed licensing requirements.

Missouri

Missouri Department of Conservation

Any hunter, regardless of age or disability, may hunt with a crossbow during deer and turkey archery seasons and during the fall firearms turkey season.

Montana

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Crossbows may only be used during firearm seasons in Montana; there are no special provisions for disabled hunters.

Nebraska

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Nebraska recognizes crossbows as legal hunting equipment during big game archery seasons. Big game species include: deer, antelope, elk, turkey and bighorn sheep.

Nevada

Nevada Department of Wildlife

Crossbows may only be used to hunt big game during “Any Legal Weapon” season. Crossbow use is prohibited during archery season. Crossbows must have a minimum 125-pound draw weight, minimum draw weight of 14 inches, minimum 18-inch stock and a working safety.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Fish and Game

Disabled individuals may hunt with a crossbow during any archery season if they obtain a “Disabled Crossbow Permit.” All other hunters may use a crossbow to harvest deer during muzzleloader season (with a muzzleloader license; no crossbow permit required) or during regular firearm season (crossbow deer permit required).

New Jersey

New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife

Crossbows are considered archery hunting equipment that may be used during any bow-and-arrow seasons, and during any season in which bow and arrows are allowed. Minimum draw weight is 75 pounds; minimum stock length is 25 inches.

New Mexico

New Mexico Game & Fish

Disabled individuals with “Mobility-Impaired Certification” may use a crossbow during any season. Crossbows are legal for all other hunters during “Any Legal Sporting Arm” and “Muzzleloader” seasons unless otherwise restricted.

New York

New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Hunters over age 14 may legally use a crossbow to harvest all small game (including turkeys) and any big game during a season that allows firearms. Portions of archery and muzzleloader seasons are also open to crossbow hunters. Check with the state annually for seasonal dates and limits. Certain qualifications and safety training are required. Crossbows must have a minimum limb width of 17 inches, a draw weight between 100 and 200 pounds, a minimum overall length of 24 inches, and a working safety. Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties do not allow crossbow hunting of any kind.

North Carolina

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Hunters may use crossbows during any season that allows bow and arrows. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 150 pounds.

North Dakota

North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Hunters with disabilities may procure a permit to use a crossbow during archery seasons. All other hunters may use crossbows during Deer Gun and Youth Deer Seasons. Some small game (including bobcats, beavers, raccoons, foxes and badgers) may be taken with a crossbow; check with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for specific species and regulations. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 75 pounds, a mechanical safety, a stock at least 14 inches in length and use bolts that are at least 14 inches long.

Ohio

Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Wildlife

Crossbows may be used during all seasons, including archery season. Crossbows may NOT be used to hunt migratory birds. Crossbows must have a working safety device and a stock at least 25 inches in length.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Crossbows may be used during any seasons that allow conventional bows. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 100 pounds and use a safety device. Bolts must measure at least 14 inches in length.

Oregon

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Crossbows are illegal in Oregon.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Game Commission

Crossbow hunting is legal during archery seasons for bear and deer. Crossbows are also legal during fall and spring turkey seasons, elk season, firearms bear season, firearms deer season and small game seasons. The Pennsylvania Game Commission also lays out these requirements for all crossbows: “A crossbow must have a peak drawn weight of at least 125 pounds; there is no maximum. A bolt must be equipped with a broadhead that has an outside diameter or width of at least 7/8 inches with at least two cutting edges on the same plane throughout the length of the cutting surface and shall not exceed three inches in length measured from the tip of the broadhead to the point that fits against the bolt.”

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

Crossbows are considered archery equipment and may be used during archery deer season. Hunters can also legally take small game during the smaller game season that overlaps with archery season. It is illegal to hunt turkey and all other birds with a crossbow in Rhode Island.

South Carolina

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Crossbows are considered archery equipment in South Carolina and therefore may be used during archery season and any other season that allows archery equipment.

South Dakota

South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks

Crossbows are only legal for handicapped hunters during archery season. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and a functional mechanical safety device. Telescopic sights and lighted sight pins are prohibited.

Tennessee

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

The use of crossbows is permitted during all seasons – including the regular archery season – in the state of Tennessee.

Texas

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

The state of Texas recognizes crossbows as archery equipment; crossbow hunting is legal during both archery-only and general seasons. This does not apply in Grayson County, where crossbows are limited to persons with disabilities during archery season.

Utah

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Crossbows are only legal for handicapped hunters by permit.

Vermont

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

Crossbows are only legal for hunters age 50 and older during archery season. Hunters age 49 or younger must retain a disability permit to use a crossbow during archery season. A bowhunter education course must be completed for all first-time archery hunters.

Virginia

Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries

Crossbows are legal during archery and firearms seasons in Virginia. Hunters must purchase an archery permit to use a crossbow during archery-only seasons.

Washington

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Only disabled hunters with an approved permit can hunt during archery season. Crossbows are allowed for all hunters during modern firearms season. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and a working safety.

West Virginia

West Virginia Department of Natural Resources

West Virginia includes crossbows in its archery seasons for several big game species, including wild boar, deer and bear. Crossbows may also be used during the regular firearms seasons. Licenses and permits are required. Crossbows must have a minimum 125-pound draw weight, bolts 18 inches or longer and broadheads with two or more sharp-cutting edges at least ¾-inch wide.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Crossbows are legal hunting equipment during archery seasons in Wisconsin.

Wyoming

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Crossbows may be used during archery seasons, provided they meet certain specifications: minimum 90-pound draw weight, minimum 14-inch draw length and minimum 16-inch bolts.

*DISCLAIMER: Barnett does not guarantee the below regulations as current or correct. Please consult your state government to confirm you have the most updated/detailed information and are within the law prior to taking your Barnett crossbow afield.