Below is a summary of crossbow hunting regulations in the United States. Although this information is believed to be accurate and current, this page is intended as a quick reference only, and as such there may be details about regulations in your state that are not mentioned here (e.g. are scopes legal? can I use a crank? etc.). Regulations can and do change frequently from state to state. Please contact your state agency or visit the DNR links below to verify all the regulations you must follow. This summary page SHOULD NOT be considered official legal advice and it may contain errors or omissions for which Crossbow Supplies will not be held responsible.
Crossbows are legal for all persons during the entire deer-hunting season.
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.
Crossbows are legal only by permit for disabled hunters.
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.
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.
Crossbows legal for all hunters during gun seasons and for handicapped hunters during archery season.
Crossbows are legal only for disabled hunters by permit.
A crossbow may be substituted for a shotgun in November and December. May be used during archery season by disabled hunters with a permit. Check with state regulations for additional details.
Crossbows are now legal in the Central zone (October 20-24, 2008), South zone (October 6-10, 2008), and in the Northwest Zone, the crossbow season will be seven days long and will open the Monday following Thanksgiving (December 1-7, 2008). Click on the Florida link below for additional crossbow information. Crossbows also legal for handicapped hunters by permit.
Crossbows legal in all seasons.
Crossbows are legal by special disabled permit only.
Crossbows are legal in big game seasons restricted to short-range weapons. Permitted for use during archery season by disabled persons with a permit.
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.
During the archery deer season, crossbows are legal equipment for hunting deers. Deer hunters may use crossbows for male or female deer only in the archery season. Archery seaspm has been extended as a law change in 2011.
Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit. Residents 70 and older may purchase a statewide antlerless deer license to hunt with a crossbow.
Crossbows with a minimum draw weight of 125 will be allowed in regular forearms deer and turkey season.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit.
New for the 2009 season! In Zone 3 (southern Michigan), anyone
12 and older can hunt with a crossbow during any hunting season as long as they have the
appropriate licenses. Meanwhile, anyone who has obtained a crossbow permit because of
a permanent disability can continue to use a crossbow. Certain restrictions apply see state regulations for details.
Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit.
Crossbows are permitted for disabled hunters with permit and hunters 65 and older, also in primitive weapon and deer gun seasons.
Crossbows are classified as firearms and are permitted during firearms season. Disabled hunters with a permit may use a crossbow during archery season.
Crossbows are legal only during gun season. No provision for disabled hunters.
Crossbows with a draw weight of 125lbs or more are legal to hunt deer and antelope during the firearms season. Disabled hunters with a permit may use a crossbow during archery season.
Crossbows are are legal for all during firearms season.
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.
NEW * 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 (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 minumum draw weight of 75 pounds and a minimum stock length of 25 inches.
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.
No permit required for everyone to use crossbow during regular rifle season for big game and muzzle loading season, but no crossbows allowed during bow season even with disability.
Crossbows are legal hunting weapons for licensed hunters anytime bow-and-arrow hunting is allowed. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 150 pounds. Bolts must use broadheads as described for arrows in the preceding section. (Effective from August 1, 2011 to July 31, 2012).
Crossbows are not legal, except with a permit from the Game and Fish director. Contact the Department for additional information on crossbow regulations.
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 muzzleloader seasons.
Crossbows are now legal for use by all Oklahoma hunters with an Archery License this year 2012 during archery seasons. There are no restrictions on who can use a crossbow. However, they have to have a minimum 100 lb draw weight and shoot a 14 inch minimum bolt/arrow. The use of crossbows and conventional longbows with a device that permits the bow to be held mechanically at full or partial draw are legal hunting methods during any open season when conventional longbows (archery equipment) are a legal means of take. See individual species’ regulations for any draw weight, bolt length and broadhead size requirements. (Before residents of Oklahoma who are 60 years of age or older may use a crossbow. In addition, hunters who have a permanent disability to the extent that they cannot use a conventional longbow, as certified by a physician licensed to practice in Oklahoma or bordering state, may hunt with a crossbow. A disabled person who qualifies to use a crossbow shall have in their possession while in the field written evidence of such certification signed by the physician.)
Crossbows are illegal.
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. There is a sunset review scheduled for 2012.
Crossbows only legal for hunters who posses an official adaptive Aid/Crossbow permit obtained through the DEM division of licensing.
Crossbows are now allowed in archery seasons.
Crossbows legal for disabled hunters during archery season.
Crossbows are legal during archery, muzzleloader and firearms season.
NEW* Where the open season is designated as “archery,” only legal archery equipment/crossbow as specified below may be used.
Crossbows legal only for disabled hunters by permit.
Crossbows may be used by disabled hunters (with permit) for any game that may be taken by bow and arrow.
Crossbows are legal to use by any hunter. A crossbow license is required during an archery season.
Crossbows approved for use by qualifying archers with disabilities.
Class Y permit holders may hunt with a crossbow in established archery seasons.
Crossbows are legal for disabled residents and nonresidents under Class A, B, C or crossbow permit, and residents age 65 and older.
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.