The popularity of shooting crossbows is on the increase inside the USA. Many individuals have them for target shooting and others for hunting using primitive methods. Regardless of the reason, it’s fun to use a crossbow.
However, like any firearm or hunting weapon, you need to follow regulations; each state has its own.
In our guide, you can learn more about your state’s crossbow regulations and laws, when you can hunt with a crossbow, and whether you need any specific archery license.
By the end, you’ll know much more about crossbow hunting in the United States and how to enjoy your crossbow. (Read our Crossbow Reviews)
Do You Need a License to Own a Crossbow in the US?
You will discover that crossbows are legal in any bow and arrow hunting season and hunting seasons for all species where a bow and arrow weapon is allowed. Crossbows can be bought, purchased, and owned by an adult over 18.
Crossbows must possess a minimum draw weight of 75 pounds with a minimum stock length of 25 inches. Besides this, crossbow use is permitted for certified mobility-impaired hunters during hunts.
There is more control on crossbows’ transport through states to prevent the unauthorized use of imported crossbows.
Are Crossbows Legal in Your State?
You can discover many differences between the regulations, as many are set at the state level. Crossbows are classed differently from other hunting equipment, depending on the region.
However, here are the crossbow regulations for all the states. Included are links to the websites for any updates or further crossbow regulations you could encounter. (Find the Best Crossbow Bolts)
Crossbows are legal for all persons across the deer hunting season—magnified scopes allowed only crossbows.
Crossbows are illegal to use in bow-only areas. You can use them where guns and bows are legal weapons.
They are legal in archery season for disabled hunters with an approved Methods and Means Exemption Form.
Important Note: Starting July 1, 2018, all crossbow hunters hunting big game in Alaska need to have completed an ADF&G-approved crossbow certification course and carry a certification card while hunting.
Crossbows are legal for disabled hunters on a restricted permit basis, as they are for anyone in the firearms season.
Crossbows are legal during archery seasons. Bows need a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds with mechanical safety.
Crossbows are legal for hunters in gun seasons. The California Game Commission adopted the following in 2004.
A person with a physical disability may use a crossbow to prevent them from drawing and holding a bow in a firing position. It can include a device that holds a string and arrow in the firing position to assist in taking birds and mammals under the conditions of an archery tag, archery season, or general session. (Read Is It Illegal To Shoot A Bow And Arrow In Your Backyard)
Under these conditions, archers attempting to take big game must verify their disability. Other details are name, address, date of birth, and driver’s license.
Crossbows are legal for hunters during gun seasons and disabled hunters during archery seasons. A disability permit is needed to use a crossbow in the archery season.
Effective from the 2013 Fall season, crossbows are legalized for archery hunters.
Crossbows are legal in all deer seasons. Crossbows can have a scope. You can’t transport a crossbow on or in a vehicle when it is cocked. Deer can be hunted with crossbows provided hunter orange has been displayed, and it is possible to hunt deer with a gun.
August 30, 2010. Effective July 2011, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission passed new regulations to extend zonal crossbow seasons by one month.
The rules add 30 days to each crossbow season in zones A, B, and C. Zone D has 33 days added, coinciding with the archery season on private land.
Crossbows may be used in all seasons from 2003.
Crossbows are only legal by special disabled permits.
You can hunt with a crossbow during all weapon hunting season without a permit apart from a hunting license and proper tag.
Crossbows will be legal for the disabled by permit-to-hunt with a crossbow in the archery season. Hunters also need a valid archery permit and hunting license with a tag.
Crossbows are legal during archery season
Crossbows are legal in all the archery season. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and mechanical safety.
Crossbows are legal in the last muzzleloader season. Any residents 70 or older can get one antlerless deer statewide crossbow license.
Crossbows are legal for hunters in the archery deer seasons.
Crossbows are legal at certain times of the year. Deer archery season opens on the 3rd Saturday in September and closes on the 3rd Monday in January. Youth 16 and under and 65+ will open on September 7.
Louisiana allows crossbow use with an archery license in the bow and arrow season and deer hunting seasons.
Any 16 and above person needs a valid license to hunt big game or hold a big game hunting license or an archery license to purchase a crossbow hunting permit.
There must be proof of completing an archery and crossbow hunting course. A crossbow hunting permit should also be issued for hunting with a crossbow or bow and arrow in this state or other state. Disable hunter is also legal in this state.
The Maryland DNR allows crossbows to hunt game species during the open season where vertical bows may be used. It excludes waterfowl or certain furbearers.
It permits using a crossbow in the entire deer bow season for all counties. The minimum draw weight should be 75-pounds. Telescopic sights are allowed, and a crossbow needs to have working safety.
Some permanently handicapped individuals may use crossbows by permit only.
Persons 10 years old or above can hunt with a crossbow during any season firearms are allowed for big and small games.
This doesn’t include hunters in the Upper Peninsula region who can’t use a crossbow during the Dec-1- Jan-1 late archery season and Dec. 2-11 muzzleloader season unless a disabled hunter.
Crossbow use is prohibited in the Red Oak Unit during the archery-only bear season from October 7-13.
Crossbows are legal for disabled hunters by permit and anyone during the firearms or Turkey and Bear seasons. They are also legal for 60+ deer, bear, turkey, and rough fish.
From July 1, 2013, crossbows are legal in archery season. Hunter orange must be worn during all gun seasons. Also, a separate crossbow permit isn’t required.
Crossbows will be legal in the Archery Deer & Turkey seasons. The MDC fall firearms turkey season is from Oct. 1-31.
Crossbows are legal in the gun seasons. There are no provisions for disabled hunters.
Crossbows are legal archery equipment for the big game. Starting in 2014, big game hunters beginning at 12 years of age thru 29 must have certification in Bowhunter Education.
Crossbows can only be used for big game hunting as part of an ‘Any Legal Weapon’ hunt. Crossbows aren’t allowed in archery hunts.
Crossbows need a minimum 125-pound draw weight, a draw length of 14-inches bow front to the nocking point. Also, they need an 18-inch stock and working mechanical safety. Arrows must be 16-inches or above with a broadhead.
Crossbows are legal for permit holders who are disabled hunters. They can also be used for all hunters in firearms season—legal for Long Island hunters with deer permits. Crossbow hunters need to buy a crossbow hunting permit.
Crossbows are legal in bow and arrow hunting and other hunting seasons for all species where bow and arrow hunting are allowed. Crossbows need a minimum draw weight of 75 pounds and a stock length of 25 inches.
Crossbow use is allowed with Certified Mobility Impaired Hunters in all hunts. Crossbows can be used in ‘Any Legal muzzleloader or sporting arm hunts’ or otherwise restricted.
In April 2014, the annual budget bill allowed the use of crossbows for hunting in certain circumstances. Check the state website details of the new law and listing of regulations.
From August 1, 2010, the law allows crossbows when bow and arrows are legal. Crossbows need a minimum draw weight of 100-pounds.
Crossbows are legal for disabled hunters by permit. Crossbows are legal in North Dakota during the deer gun and muzzleloader seasons.
Crossbows are legal in the archery season.
Crossbows are legal for hunting when conventional bows are allowed.
Crossbows are illegal in Oregon
Using crossbows has been expanded to include the archery deer and bear seasons. Magnified scopes can also be used.
A crossbow isn’t classed as a firearm and falls in the class as a recurve, compound, and longbow.
If they complete the Bow Hunter education course or qualify for an Archery deer permit, crossbows are approved for use by archery hunters in the archery deer season. Hunting for wild turkeys or any wild bird is prohibited.
Archery equipment defines bow and arrow equipment as a longbow, recurve, compound, or crossbow.
Crossbows are legal for disabled hunters in the archery season. They need a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and functional safety.
Using crossbows is allowed during all seasons, including archery season.
There is full inclusion of crossbow hunting in archery seasons except in Grayson County.
Crossbows are legal during archery season and firearms season. A crossbow permit will be required if the season is intended for archery only.
Crossbows can be used as a means of taking by any person in any hunting season, which permits bow and arrow use.
Crossbows are legal in the archery and firearms season. You need a crossbow permit if the season is ‘archery only.’
Crossbows are legal for archers that have a permanent non-operable upper body impairment. Applications need completing by a licensed physician and submitted to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Crossbows should come with a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and safety. Crossbows with a scope are legal in modern firearm season, as long as they are in designated and restricted areas.
You can use crossbows in archery seasons except in Logan, McDowell, Mingo, & Wyoming Counties. Class Y/YY holders can use their crossbows in these areas during archery seasons.
Legal in Archery Season and effective from 2014.
Crossbows are legal in archery seasons. Crossbows must have a peak draw weight of 90-pound minimum draw weight, minimum draw length of 14-inches, and also fire a 16-inch-long bolt as a minimum.
Are Crossbows Legal for Self-Defense?
As with any weapon, using a crossbow for self-defense depends on your actions and the reasons why.
Typically, self-defense requires your life to be in imminent danger. Thus, you are sure you’re going to die or be harmed. (Find the Best Crossbow Scope)
Even if you had a restraining order on another person, you can still only use a crossbow for self-defense if they attack or move to begin an attack if they violated this.
Self-defense is straightforward and looks to do minor damage to escape. Disabling your attacker in self-defense, although if you killed them, that could be is more questionable.
|Crossbow Legality Website