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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Regulations vary per state
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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.
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 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.
NO INFORMATION AT THIS TIME
NO INFORMATION AT THIS TIME
No information is available at this time
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.
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 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.
- 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.
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 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 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 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 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.”
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 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 Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Crossbows may only be used by certain permanently handicapped persons with a valid permit.
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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
*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.