Are Crossbows Legal in Your State?

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.

Crossbows Legal in Your StateHave a look at the following to determine whether your crossbow is legal in California or if you’re asking “are crossbows legal in Massachusetts?”.

You don’t want to dig out your best recurve bow or spend a ton of money on top bow brands only to find you can’t use them in your state.

Handicapped persons only

Crossbows are legal in the following states for handicapped or disabled persons only:State Crossbow Regulations

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.

Firearm season

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,

All seasons

There are only a few states in which crossbow hunting is legal in all seasons. Although it is legal all year round, there may still be some restrictions that apply during these times: Kentucky crossbow regulations

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.

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