The proliferation and advancement of crossbows have led to the continuous evolution of statewide laws and regulations governing their use. It is incumbent upon crossbow users to familiarize themselves with and adhere to these dynamic laws established by their respective states.
It should be noted that these laws, specific to each state, are subject to sudden changes without prior notification.
The growing acceptance and popularity of crossbows among hunters have prompted manufacturers to engineer exceptionally lightweight, durable, and high-speed crossbows. Consequently, ensuring the safety of crossbow users has become an even greater concern for lawmakers at the state level.
Each crossbow user must be well-informed about the state laws and regulations concerning the ownership and use of crossbows. Regularly checking your state's crossbow laws and staying updated on any modifications is highly recommended.
State By State Crossbow Laws
Crossbows are legal for all persons during the entire deer hunting season. Magnified scopes are now allowed on crossbows only.
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.
Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters on a very restrictive permit basis, or for anyone during general firearms seasons.
Crossbows legal during archery seasons; must have minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and mechanical safety.
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."
Crossbows legal for all hunters during gun seasons and for handicapped hunters during archery season.
Effective 2013 Fall seasons, crossbows will be legalized for all archery hunters.
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.
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.
Crossbows legal in all seasons starting 2003.
Crossbows legal by special disabled permit only.
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.
Crossbows are legal during archery season.
Crossbows legal in entire archery season beginning December 31, 2011. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a mechanical safety.
Crossbows are legal during the late Muzzleloader season. Also, Residents 70 and older may obtain one Antlerless-only statewide crossbow deer license.
Crossbows legal for all hunters during archery deer seasons.
Legal in all of archery season. Deer archery season will open the 3rd Saturday in September and close on the 3rd Monday in January. Additionally, youth 16 and under, and 65+ will open on September 7th.
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 new law began January 1, 2020, and lasts through December 31, 2022, which expands crossbow hunting to the Regular October Archery Season on deer and during the Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Season. It specifies that a person using a crossbow during the open archery season may not harvest an antlerless deer unless that person possesses an antlerless deer permit.
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.
Crossbows may be used by certain permanently handicapped persons by permit only.
Anyone who is 10 years old or older can hunt with a crossbow during any season when a firearm is allowed, for big game or small game, except that hunters in the Upper Peninsula may not use a crossbow during the Dec. 1-Jan. 1 late archery season and Dec. 2-11 muzzleloader season, unless the hunter is disabled. Crossbow use is not allowed in the Red Oak Unit during the archery-only bear season (Oct. 7-13).
Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by permit. Also legal for anyone during firearms season and Turkey and Bear seasons.
Legal for 60+ for deer, bear, turkey and rough fish.
Effective July 1, 2013, crossbows are legal in all of Archery Season. Archers are reminded that they are required to wear hunter orange during all gun seasons. The separate crossbow permit is no longer required.
Crossbows are legal during Archery Deer & Turkey seasons.
Crossbows legal only during gun seasons. No provision for handicapped hunters.
Crossbows are legal archery equipment for big game (deer, antelope, elk, turkey & bighorn sheep). Beginning in 2014, big game hunters between the ages of 12 thru 29 must be certified in Bowhunter Education.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Deer or Bear
South - November 1-14, 2014
North - October 15-24, 2014
Please check NY Hunting Regulations for additional information.
Effective August 1, 2010, allows the use of crossbows anytime bow and arrows are legal weapons. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 100-pounds.
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.
Crossbows legal during archery season.
Crossbows and conventional bows with draw lock devices are a legal means of hunting whenever conventional bows are allowed.
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.
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.
Archery equipment is now defined as "a bow and arrow, a long bow, a recurve bow, a compound bow, or a crossbow”.
Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters during archery season. Must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a functional mechanical safety device.
The use of crossbows is now permitted during all seasons including the regular archery season.
Full inclusion of crossbows in archery seasons except Grayson County.
The general season any legal weapon (rifle) buck deer hunt runs from Oct. 18 to Oct. 26. If you obtained a general season any legal weapon buck permit, you may use any legal weapon to take one buck deer in the hunting unit listed on your permit. 2014 is the first year you may use a crossbow, a draw lock or a muzzleloader with a magnifying scope during the rifle hunt. (You may not use them during the archery or muzzleloader hunts.)
A crossbow may be used as a means of take by any person during any hunting season that permits the use of a bow and arrow.
Crossbows are legal during archery season and firearms season. A crossbow permit will be required if the season is "archery only".
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”.
Full inclusion of crossbows in archery seasons except Logan, McDowell, Mingo, & Wyoming County. However, Class Y/YY holders may still use crossbows in these counties during the archery seasons.
Legal in all of Archery Season - effective 2014 Seasons.
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.
Today's crossbows have become incredibly popular for hunting in states where they are legal, thanks to their impressive speed, accuracy, safety, and user-friendly operation. It is crucial for every individual to take personal responsibility and familiarize themselves with the crossbow laws in their respective state.
*Disclaimer - This article is intended for informational purposes only. We highly advise you to visit your states Fish & Wildlife official website to view and learn about the most recent crossbow laws.