The laws surrounding crossbows differ from state to state, this is because the laws are set at the state level. In some states, they may be legal all year round, and in other states, the laws may be more restrictive.
Make sure you take an in-depth look at your state and the laws surrounding crossbows. Your crossbow may need to have a certain draw weight, or you may need to purchase a special license to use it.
Handicapped persons only
Crossbows are legal in the following states for handicapped or disabled persons only:
Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Dakota
Archery season only
Crossbows are legal in the following states during archery seasons only:
Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming
Make sure you check when the season starts and ends and look for any restrictions that apply during these times. It may be that you need to hold an archery license or be of a certain age.
Deer/game hunting season only
The use of a crossbow is legal in the following states during deer or game hunting seasons only:
Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah
Again, there may be further restrictions applied during these seasons such draw weights and the use of scopes.
In the following states, crossbows can be used during firearm season:
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington
Lots of states ask you to wear hunter’s orange, so you are easily recognized. Make sure you do your research and see if this applies to you when you are hunting with your crossbow,
Georgia, Louisiana (no waterfowl), North Dakota (with restrictions), Tennessee
Kentucky: a resident over the age of 65 is allowed to hunt deer with a crossbow between September and January.
Maine: you will require a crossbow hunting permit. You must have a license to hunt large game and have completed an archery/crossbow course.
Vermont: if you are over the age of 50 you can hunt with a crossbow without a permit. If you are younger than that you will need to obtain a license.
Oregon is not one of the crossbow legal states and is the only state where it is illegal to hunt with a crossbow. The state has a very firm stance on the issue, and even disabled hunters are not permitted to use them in any season.