Shooting crossbows are becoming more popular in the United States. Many people have them for target shooting, and some have them for primitive hunting. Using a crossbow or carrying a bow is enjoyable regardless of the reason.
However, like with any firearm or hunting weapon, you must adhere to regulations, which vary by state. There are many questions, which add to the complexity. Are a bow and arrow legal, or do you need a license to own a bow and arrow?
Bow and arrow laws are complicated, especially if you intend to use them outside of archery deer season when a hunting permit is required.
In our guide, you can learn more about when and where you may use a crossbow, according to the Department of Natural Resources. (Read Do You Need A Permit To Own A Crossbow)
You can also find brief crossbow regulations and laws for your state when you can go crossbow hunting, and even if it’s concealed, carry crossbow. Can you do this or not?
By the end, you’ll know more about bow law and are bow and arrows legal permitted in your area.
Can You Keep a Crossbow in Your Car?
If you ever wonder, is it illegal to own a bow and arrow, you can find the answer to do you need a license for a bow and arrow less daunting than for a crossbow. Such weapons are classed much higher than a conventional bow, and you can find it is unlawful to carry a crossbow on or in any vehicle while the crossbow is cocked and ready to fire, regardless of whether there is a bolt in position.
The use of crossbows may be used by hunters during archery season and are limited to the list here of basic regulations set out by the Department of Natural Resources. (Read our Crossbow Reviews)
Alaska: Crossbows are illegal in bow-only areas yet can be used where guns and bows are legal weapons. The archery season for disabled hunters is legal if they have an approved Methods and Means Exemption Form.
Note: From July 1, 2018, hunting big game in Alaska with crossbows must have completed an ADF&G-approved crossbow certification course and carry a certification card at all times.
Arizona: Crossbows are legal for disabled hunters on a restricted permit basis.
Arkansas: Crossbows are legal during archery seasons, and crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds with mechanical safety.
California: Crossbows are legal for hunters in gun seasons.
A person with a physical disability preventing them from drawing and holding a bow in a firing position may use a crossbow or device holding a string and arrow in the firing position to help take birds and mammals under archery tag conditions in the archery season. Taking big game, they must verify the disability. (Read Are Crossbows Legal In California)
Colorado: Crossbows are legal for hunters during gun seasons. Handicapped hunters during archery season need a disability permit to use a crossbow.
Connecticut: Effective from 2013, in-season crossbows are legal for archery hunters.
Delaware: Crossbows are legal in all deer seasons. Crossbows can include scopes, yet you can’t transport a crossbow in any vehicle when cocked. Deer can be hunted using crossbows when hunter orange is displayed, and also possible to hunt deer with a gun.
Florida: Effective from July 2011, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission extended zonal crossbow seasons to add 30 days to each crossbow season in zones A, B, and C. Zone D has 33 days added and coincides with archery season on private land.
Georgia: Crossbows may be used in all seasons.
Hawaii: Crossbows are only legal by certain disabled permits.
Idaho: You can hunt with a crossbow in all weapon hunting season without a permit, yet you need a hunting license and proper tag.
Crossbows are legal for the disabled in the archery season. Hunters need a valid archery permit and hunting license with a tag.
Illinois: Crossbows are legal during archery season
Indiana: Crossbows are legal in the archery season. Crossbows must have a minimum 125-pound draw weight and mechanical safety.
Iowa: Crossbows are legal in muzzleloader season.
Kansas: Crossbows are legal for hunters in archery deer seasons.
Kentucky: Crossbows are legal at set times. Deer archery season opens at the end of September and ends towards the end of January.
Louisiana: Louisiana permits crossbow use with an archery license in the bow and arrow season and deer hunting seasons.
Maine: For big game or to hold a big game hunting license and archery license to purchase a crossbow hunting permit, a person has to be over 16.
Maryland: The Maryland DNR permits crossbows to hunt certain game species during the open season where vertical bows may be used. It permits a crossbow that must have a minimum draw weight of 75-pounds, and a crossbow needs working safety.
Massachusetts: Some handicapped may use crossbows by permit only.
Michigan: Persons 10 years old or above can hunt with a crossbow during any firearms season for big game and small game. Hunters in the Upper Peninsula region can’t use a crossbow during the late archery season and muzzleloader season unless disabled.
Minnesota: Crossbows are legal for disabled hunters by permit or any person in the firearms season.
Mississippi: From July 1, 2013, crossbows are legal in archery season. Hunter orange must be worn during all gun seasons, yet a separate crossbow permit isn’t needed.
Missouri: Crossbows are legal in Archery Deer & Turkey seasons.
Montana: Crossbows are legal in gun seasons without provisions for disabled hunters.
Nebraska: Crossbows are legal archery equipment for big game. Big game hunters from 12 years of age to 29 must-have Bowhunter Education certification.
Nevada: Crossbows only for big game hunting as part of ‘Any Legal Weapon’ hunt. You can’t use crossbows in archery hunts. Crossbows need a minimum draw weight of 125-pound and a draw length of 14-inches. They need a minimum stock length of 18-inches and mechanical safety.
New Hampshire: Crossbows are legal for permit registered disabled hunters and all hunters in firearms season. Crossbow hunters need a crossbow hunting permit.
New Jersey: Crossbows are legal in bow and arrow hunting season and other hunting seasons where bow and arrow hunting is allowed. Crossbows need a minimum draw weight of 75 pounds and a stock length of 25 inches.
New Mexico: Crossbow use is for Certified Mobility Impaired Hunters on all hunts, and any Legal muzzleloader or sporting arm hunts or otherwise restricted.
New York: The use of crossbows for hunting in certain circumstances is allowed, yet check the state website for updated regulations.
North Carolina: Crossbows can be used when bow and arrows are legal, and crossbows may need a minimum draw weight of 100-pounds.
North Dakota: Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by permit. Crossbows are legal in North Dakota during the deer gun season and muzzleloader season.
Ohio: Crossbows are legal in the archery season.
Oklahoma: Crossbows are legal for hunting when conventional bows are allowed.
Oregon: Crossbows are illegal in Oregon
Pennsylvania: Crossbow use is extended to include the archery deer and bear seasons, and magnified scopes can also be used.
Rhode Island: A crossbow isn’t classed as a firearm but as a recurve, compound, and longbow.
Crossbows are approved for archery hunters in archery deer season with Bow Hunter education certification or qualify for archery deer permit.
South Carolina: Archery equipment defines bow and arrow equipment as a longbow, recurve, compound, or crossbow.
South Dakota: Crossbows are legal for handicapped hunters in archery season. They need a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and safety.
Tennessee: Using crossbows is allowed in all seasons, including archery season.
Texas: There is full inclusion of crossbow hunting in archery seasons except for Grayson County.
Utah: Crossbows are legal during archery season and firearms season. A crossbow permit is required if the season is archery only.
Vermont: Crossbows used by any person in any hunting season, which permits bow and arrow use.
Virginia: Crossbows are legal in archery and firearms season. A crossbow permit is needed if an archery-only season.
Washington: Crossbows are legal for archers with a permanent non-operable upper body impairment. Crossbows need a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and safety. (Read 5 Best Hikes Near Seattle)
West Virginia: You can use crossbows in archery seasons except in Logan, McDowell, Mingo, & Wyoming Counties. Class Y/YY holders can use crossbows in archery seasons.
Wisconsin: Crossbows are legal in Archery Season.
Wyoming: Crossbows are legal in archery seasons and have a peak draw weight of 90-pound minimum draw weight, minimum draw length of 14-inches, and fire 16-inch bolts.
Can I Carry a Bow and Arrow In My Car?
You could find a couple of answers for how to carry a bow and arrow in a vehicle.
It should be acceptable as long as the bow is not strung. If the bow is strung, the cops will assume you’re carrying a weapon and will question you about your intentions. You will likely be arrested if you are carrying a strung bow without a valid reason.
However, the safer way to deal with this is. Even if you’re driving from your house to your hunting spot a few miles down the road, many US states require bows to be cased during transport. (Read about Barnett Penetrator Crossbows)
In summary, crossbows are legal in bow and arrow hunting season and hunting seasons for all game species where a bow and arrow weapon is allowed.
Crossbows can be bought, purchased, and owned by adults over 18 years of age.
Typically, crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 75 pounds and minimum stock length.
Nowadays, there is more control on crossbows’ transport through states to prevent the unauthorized use of imported crossbows. Keep them cased and inside the specifications, and if you have permits and are in season, you shouldn’t have an issue.