Crossbow Hunting Laws And Regulations in Tennessee: 10 Rules and Laws To Follow

Crossbow hunting may be the perfect hobby for you if you are looking for an exciting way to enjoy the outdoors in Tennessee. Not only is crossbow hunting a fun activity, but it’s also a legal activity in Tennessee. This means you can hunt deer, elk, and turkey with a crossbow, and even other small game species, like squirrels and rabbits. However, like other countries’ crossbow regulations in TN there are specific regulations you must follow to participate. Here we will outline the rules and laws associated with crossbow hunting in Tennessee and explain some key terms.

Crossbow Hunting Laws And Regulations in Tennessee

Laws and Regulations For Crossbow Hunting In Tennessee

To get started with crossbow hunting in Tennessee, you first need to complete the requirements of the hunter education certificates. Then purchase a big game archery license from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website or any authentic approved source or agent.

Crossbow hunting is legal for all hunters in Tennessee during archery-only seasons, according to the TWRA. Crossbows are not allowed during big game hunting season. Also, crossbows are treated the same as compound or recurve bows. A few Guidelines that need to be followed are outlined below:

Crossbow Hunting Regulations in Tennessee

  1. The draw weight and arrow length of the crossbow and arrow are unrestricted, meaning you can use any crossbow and any length of the arrow.
  2. According to Tennesse Wildlife Resource Agency, crossbows are treated as archery equipment.
  3. You can use archery equipment during the archery, muzzleloader, and gun seasons.
  4. You cannot use night vision devices while hunting.
  5. Firearms or archery equipment with a red dot sight or reticle scope are legal as long as it does not emit light toward the target.
  6. You can use a crossbow for hunting game at night, but you are not allowed to use any artificial light while hunting which could locate your prey, like a red dot sight or reticle scope.
  7. The only type of archery equipment that is illegal is when using explosive arrowheads or any poison or chemically coated arrow tips.
  8. Hunting from a vessel can be done from any location so long as the boat is not moving forward.
  9. You can not use any firearms, even an air rifle/gun which can fire arrows.
  10. The bolt and arrows of the broadheads must be razor sharpened.

Who can hunt with crossbows in Tennessee?

Any hunter who is 10 to 12 years old can hunt with a crossbow if they have a hunter education certificate. Hunters 13 to 15 years old must have a junior hunting license and may only use crossbows during archery-only seasons.

When is crossbow hunting allowed in Tennessee?

The deer archery season generally runs from late September to early November, while the deer muzzleloader season usually lasts from early November to mid-November. Additionally, you can hunt turkeys during turkey seasons, small game seasons, and archery hunting/muzzleloader seasons. Check the hunting regulations for each season to ensure you’re following all the rules and regulations. Keep in mind that hunting deer archery or muzzleloader with a crossbow is an option open to bow hunters, not just crossbow hunters. So, whether you’re a bowhunter looking to expand your hunting options or a crossbow hunter looking to try something new, crossbow hunting in Tennessee is definitely an option worth considering!

Tips For Safe And Successful Crossbow Hunting In Tennessee

  1. Follow all the hunting regulations specific to your hunt, including hunting crossbow restrictions and game season dates.
  2. Use a crossbow fitted with a safety catch and trigger guard, and practice shooting it regularly before going out on a hunt.
  3. Always wear proper clothing and equipment when hunting, including eye protection, hunter orange vest, or jacket if required by law. Also, wear hearing protection and sturdy shoes if you plan to use loud decoys or snares during your hunt (you may also want to consider wearing a firearm muzzle muff).
  4. Use crossbow bolts specifically designed for hunting with a crossbow, and practice loading and firing them before your hunt.
  5. Keep your crossbow in good condition by storing it properly after each use by –
    Checking the strings periodically for damage or wear
    Cleaning the bowstring regularly, and
    Oiling the wood & metal parts of the bow regularly (especially if you plan to store your bow outdoors), and
    Replacing the crossbow bolts before each hunt.
  6. Respect wildlife, and never use your crossbow to take an animal larger than you can reasonably handle using conventional hunting equipment.
  7. Stay alert while hunting crossbows, and always use caution when approaching a target.
  8. Have a hunting buddy with you when crossbow hunting in case of an emergency.

Are there any restrictions on the type of crossbow you can use?

No, there is no restriction on the type of crossbow you can use. There is no minimum or maximum crossbow draw weight or arrow length restriction.

What Can You Hunt With Crossbow In Tennesse?

You can hunt from big games like deer and elk to small games like turkey, rabbits, squirrels, etc.


Here we tried our best to give you all the correct and necessary instructions, but as laws and regulations can change from time to time, always consult with a hunting professional before hunting. We can not guarantee the accuracy of any of the information given in this article. Also, we are not liable if you fall in trouble or someone else while hunting using the information provided in this article.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you find any information that needs to be corrected or wants to know more about hunting regulations in a different state. We appreciate any feedback you may have.


In conclusion, crossbow hunting in Tennessee is an excellent option for those interested in trying something new and exciting. Just remember to follow all the hunting regulations specific to your hunt, use a quality crossbow that is well-maintained, be aware of your surroundings while hunting, and have someone with you should anything happen.

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