Crossbow Laws By State: US Crossbow Regulations For 50 States

Question, are crossbows legal? Except for Oregon, crossbows are permitted in US states. However, crossbow regulations vary from state to state. Therefore, if you plan on hunting with a crossbow, it is essential to know your state’s crossbow regulations.

In this article, we are going to cover crossbow laws by state. We are going to cover what are the requirements to hunt with a crossbow in different states. And also go over restrictions on scopes, sights, electronic calls for crossbow hunters in different states.

Crossbow Regulation - Crossbow Laws State By State

Crossbow Laws By State: Learn The Regulations and Where Are Crossbows Legal?

Table Of Contents
  1. Crossbow Laws By State: Learn The Regulations and Where Are Crossbows Legal?
  2. FAQ

Alabama crossbow laws and Regulations

Alabama allows the use of crossbows during deer season. However, a permit has to be obtained. More importantly, only hunters above the age of 16 are permitted to hunt with crossbows. An adult must accompany minors below this age.

When it comes to the crossbow itself, it must have a minimum draw weight of 100 pounds to be allowed for hunting. Furthermore, the broadheads need to have a cutting diameter of ⅞ inches, and the arrow itself be at least 14 inches long.

Crossbow hunting is only permissible during the day except only for possum and raccoon seasons. Also, electronic calls are not allowed. However, sights with magnification and laser range finders with computational capabilities are allowed.

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Alaska crossbow laws and Regulations

In Alaska, crossbows are not considered as archery equipment. Therefore, crossbows can be used in any hunt that does not restrict the use of weapons. For big game hunting, the crossbow used must have a draw weight of at least 100 pounds.

Furthermore, the arrows used must be at least 16 inches long with a total weight of 300 grain with the broadheads included. Barbed broadheads are illegal, but expandable ones are permitted. Electronic sights and crossbow scopes are allowed as long as they do not emit external light.

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Arizona crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows are considered similar to guns in Arizona. So can you hunt with a crossbow in Arizona? Yes, crossbows can be used during the general hunting season. However, disabled persons can obtain permits to use crossbows during archery season.

A general hunting license is thus required to use a crossbow. In terms of specifications, the crossbow must have at least 125 pounds of draw weight, this type of crossbow is generally found under $300. The arrows need to be at least 16 inches long with ⅞ inch diameter broadheads.

You can use crossbows for hunting most big and small games except for bison. When it comes to age, crossbows can be used for hunting by anyone over 18 years.

Arkansas crossbow laws

You can use a crossbow to take down a big game in Arkansas. Also, crossbows are classified under archery weapons. However, it is not legal to take down elks using a crossbow. The crossbow you use must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds.

As for the broadheads, they need to be at least ⅞ inches wide. You can use scopes and sights for crossbow hunting. Crossbows are allowed during archery and firearm seasons. However, during firearm seasons, hunters must follow bag limit regulations.

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California crossbow laws and Regulations

Are crossbows legal in California? Yes, crossbows can be used during gun hunting seasons. However, they cannot be used during archery season. To use a crossbow during archery season, you need a special permit if you are disabled or have a disease. 

The arrowheads you can use on the crossbow should be at least ⅞ inches wide. It is illegal to transport a crossbow in a car with the arrow seated on the light rail.

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Colorado crossbow laws and Regulations

It is legal to use crossbows in Colorado during the general firearm season but not so during archery season. A hunting license is required to use a crossbow, and a special disability permit is needed for any disabled person looking to use a crossbow during archery season. 

Crossbows used for hunting must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds, and the arrows used be at least 16 inches with at least ⅞ inch wide broadheads and have at least two steel cutting edges.

The crossbow should also have a minimum draw length of 14 inches and have a positive mechanical safety device. 

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Connecticut crossbow laws and Regulations

The use of crossbows for hunting during archery season is allowed in Connecticut. Crossbows can be used to hunt deer, turkey, and all other permitted species. For a crossbow to be legally used it must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and permanent fixed gun-type stock.

As for the arrows, they must be at least 18 inches long without including the broadheads. The broadheads must be at least ⅞ inches wide with at least two blades. Also, the crossbow must have a functional mechanical safety device.

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Delaware crossbow laws and Regulations

In Delaware, crossbows can be used during the general firearm hunting seasons. However, crossbows are not allowed during archery season. Disabled hunters may use crossbows with legal permits during archery season.

For the general specifications, the crossbow used must have at least 125 pounds of draw weight. The broadheads must be at least ⅞ inches wide with two cutting blades. For hunting deer, you are required to have both the quality buck deer tag and the hunter’s choice deer tag.

Florida crossbow laws and Regulations

In Florida, crossbows can be used during deer season as well as during crossbow season. Several permits are required, though. This includes a hunting license, crossbow hunting permit, and a deer permit for deer hunters.

Arrowheads used on crossbows must be at least ⅞ inches wide with at least two edges. It is legal to use scopes on crossbows. The crossbow must also have been manufactured after 1980 and be equipped with mechanical safety to be legal.

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Georgia crossbow laws and Regulations

If you are wondering, are crossbows legal in Georgia, the answer is yes. Crossbows are legal during all hunting seasons. Thus you can use them during firearm and even archery seasons.

However, any person born after January 1rst, 1961, must first complete a hunter education course before obtaining a hunting license. As for the crossbows used, they need to use broadheads. Also, you can install scopes on your crossbow for hunting.

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Hawaii crossbow laws and Regulations

Only disabled persons with permits are allowed to use crossbows for hunting. To get this permit, a physician must certify that you are disabled to the degree of being unable to use other weapons. 

Feral hogs can be hunted with crossbows under special permits. Allowed crossbows must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and have ⅞ inch broadheads with at least two blades. 

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Idaho crossbow laws and Regulations

Generally, crossbows are legal to use during general hunting season except for during archery season. As with other states, disabled persons can get a special permit to use crossbows during archery season.

For a crossbow to be acceptable, it must have broadheads measuring at least ⅞ inches wide and 0.015 inches thick. The crossbow must have a peak draw weight of not less than 40 pounds. You can use electronic or tritium powered scopes on the bow.

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crossbow crossbow laws and Regulations

As of 2017, it is legal to use crossbows during all hunting seasons, including archery seasons. A valid archery hunting license is required for crossbow hunting. For the crossbow specifications, the crossbow must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds.

The maximum allowed draw weight is 200 pounds. Also, the crossbow must measure 24 inches in length from the stock butt to the back of one of the limbs. Using crossbows to hunt migratory birds is however prohibited. 

Legal arrows are 14 inches long without the broadhead. The broadheads must have a diameter of ⅞ inches.

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Indiana crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows can be used in Indiana during the archery season. A valid crossbow license is, however, required for all crossbow hunters. This license cannot be issued to persons who are 13 years old and younger.

To get this license, all applicants need to first complete the DNR’s hunter education classes. Crossbows can legally be used any time 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. The use of electronic deer calls is prohibited. But the use of scopes and laser sights is legal.

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Iowa crossbow laws and Regulations

During the primitive weapon hunting season, crossbows are legal. For any other season, a permit must be obtained for disabled hunters. Persons aged 70 years and over can get an antlerless deer permit to hunt deer with a crossbow.

The allowed crossbow specs are; The broadheads used must have at least three broadheads. There are no regulations as to draw weight and the width of broadheads to be used. Only persons aged 16 and over are allowed for crossbow hunting.

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Kansas crossbow laws and Regulations

So are crossbows legal in Kansas? As of 2013, crossbows are permitted to use for taking big games. However, crossbows can only be used during the January archery season. Electronic devices that control the arrow flight are not allowed.

However, other attachments such as sights, laser range finders are allowed. The broadheads used need to be at least ¾ inch in width when expanded. 

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Kentucky crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbow hunting in Kentucky is restricted to certain weeks that make up crossbow season. All hunters aged 18 years and over can use crossbows for hunting during this season. Crossbows used must use broadheads that are at least ⅞ inches wide.

Explosive and chemically treated broadheads are all legal. However, harvest restrictions and bag limits apply to all hunters. Crossbows are only permissible during portions of archery season.

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Louisiana crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows are considered archery equipment and can be used in all hunting seasons except for hunting migratory birds. An archery permit is required for all hunters. To be allowed to crossbow hunt, one must be at least 16 years and not beyond 59 years old.

You can use broadheads with your crossbow. The official hunting time is between the hours 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. 

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Maine crossbow laws and Regulations

The question are crossbows legal in Maine can be answered by examining the hunting seasons they are permitted. Crossbows can be used during bear hunting season and open firearm hunting season. 

To hunt with a crossbow, one must be at least 16 years old. For a crossbow to be legal for hunting, it must have a draw weight of at least 100 pounds. Also, it must have a shoulder-type stock while the broadheads used must be at least ⅞ inches wide. 

Crossbows must be equipped with mechanical safety triggers. Arrows with explosive or poisonous tips are prohibited, and so are hand-held pistol crossbows.

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Maryland crossbow laws and Regulations

For Maryland hunters, the use of crossbows is permitted except for hunting waterfowl, weasels, beavers, minks, muskrats, and river otters. Also, crossbows are not permitted during the primitive weapon season.

The type of crossbow accepted is those with a draw weight of at least 75 pounds and working safety. Broadheads should have a width of at least ⅞ inches. Explosive and poisonous arrows are not permitted. 

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Massachusetts crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows in Massachusetts can only be used by permanently disabled persons incapable of using regular vertical bows. A certification from a certified physician is required to get a special crossbow permit. 

Crossbows broadheads used must have a width of at least ⅞ inches. Expanding broadheads and mechanical releases can be used. However, explosive or poisoned broadheads are illegal

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Michigan crossbow laws and Regulations

The use of crossbows for hunting is permitted in all hunting seasons in Michigan. Also, persons aged ten years and over can use crossbows for hunting. However, hunters in the Upper Peninsula cannot use crossbows during the Dec 1 to Jan 1 late archery season.

Also, hunters from the upper Peninsula can not use crossbows during the December muzzleloader season. Hunters in the Lower Peninsula can use crossbows in all archery seasons.

Broadheads used in crossbows must be at least ⅞ inches wide and 14 inches long. Hunting of migratory birds using crossbows is prohibited.

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Minnesota crossbow laws and Regulations

A valid firearm license is required to use a crossbow for hunting in Minnesota. Crossbows can be used during firearm season. And during archery season by persons aged 60 years and above.

Also, persons certified as having a permanent disability can use crossbows during archery season as long as they have an archery license.

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Mississippi crossbow laws and Regulations

In Mississippi, it is permitted to use a crossbow for hunting during any open season on deer or turkey. Crossbows can also be used during the primitive weapon and archery seasons.

A hunting license is required or a license to hunt deer with a primitive weapon or bow.

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Missouri crossbow laws and Regulations

One of the frequently asked questions among crossbow hunting is, are crossbows legal in Missouri? This is because the laws changed in 2016. As of 2016, anyone, regardless of age or disability, can use a crossbow for hunting during all firearms and archery seasons.

Also, electronic calls are allowed for hunting crows and furbearers if they are not used together with artificial light or night vision equipment. Mechanical broadheads are legal, and hunting is permissible during hours 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.

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Montana crossbow laws and Regulations

In Montana, crossbows are not classified as archery equipment. As such, the use of crossbows is only permitted during firearm season and not archery seasons. Permanently disabled persons can apply for a permit to use crossbows during archery seasons, though.

The crossbow used must use broadheads at least ⅞ inches wide and arrows at least 20 inches long. There are no regulations regarding draw length and weight.

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Nebraska crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows are allowed during the archery seasons. The crossbow used must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and use broadheads with a width of at least 7/16 inches. Also, bowhunter education is a must for hunters aged 12 and 29 years. 

Electronic devices that amplify light, scopes, and laser range finders are not allowed in crossbow hunting.

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Nevada crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows can be used during any legal weapon hunting season except archery only and muzzleloader only seasons. A person with a permanent disability can apply for a permit to use crossbows during the archery season.

Crossbows allowed should have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and use broadheads that are at least ⅞ inches wide. The arrows must be at least 16 inches long and weigh 300 grains. 

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New Hampshire crossbow laws and Regulations

It is permitted to use crossbows for hunting during the deer firearm season and not the archery seasons. However, disabled hunters can apply for a special permit to use crossbows during archery season. Also, before being granted a hunting license, one must first undertake a hunter education course.

The permitted crossbows are those with a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and working mechanical safety. Broadheads used must be at least ⅞ inches wide. The same applies to retractable broadheads.

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New Jersey crossbow laws and Regulations

In New Jersey, the use of crossbows during all seasons except for the permit muzzleloader and permit shotgun seasons is allowed. The crossbows used must have a draw weight of at least 75 pounds, and the broadheads should be at least ¾ inch wide. Crossbows are not allowed for bow fishing. Also, hunting is permitted during the hours 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.

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New Mexico crossbow laws and Regulations

In New Mexico, crossbows are legal for hunting bears, cougar, elk, deer, javelin, pronghorn, Barbary sheep, oryx, Persian ibex, bighorn sheep, and turkey. Crossbows can be used in any muzzleloader or sporting arm season.

Disabled persons can apply to use crossbows in all hunting seasons. The broadheads used should feature broadheads with steel cutting edges. The broadheads can either be fixed or mechanical.

The use of sights that project light or magnify light is illegal, even for disabled persons. And so are explosive broadheads and broadheads with chemicals.

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New York crossbow laws and Regulations

You may be wondering, are crossbows legal in NYC? The answer is yes. Anyone aged 12 years and over and with a valid license can hunt deer with crossbows. To hunt bears and other unprotected wildlife and small game, you must be over the age of 14 years with a license.

The law requires that arrows used be at least 14 inches long without the broadheads. Also, the crossbows must have a draw weight of at least 100 pounds but not more than 200 pounds. The overall length of the crossbow should be at least 24 inches from the but stock to the limbs.

Crossbows are, however illegal in the following counties Nassau, Suffolk, or Westchester. Also, crossbows are prohibited in Albany county’s wildlife management unit.

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North Carolina crossbow laws and Regulations

It is legal to use crossbows during bow and arrow hunting season and open, gun, archery, and muzzleloader season. However, it is illegal to take down migratory birds with a crossbow on Sundays.

The legal specifications of crossbows are that they must have a draw weight of at least 100 pounds and use fixed broadheads with a width of at least ⅞ inches. Mechanically opening broadheads should not be more than ⅞ inches wide when open.

Broadheads that are barbed, poisoned, or have explosives are illegal. A pistol permit is no longer necessary to purchase a crossbow.

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North Dakota crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows are allowed during the rifle season only. Also, anyone born after Dec 31 of 1961is required to take a state or provincial hunter education course before applying for a hunting license.

Crossbows must have a draw weight of at least 75 pounds but not exceed 200 pounds. The arrows used must be at least 14 inches. Furthermore, the broadheads should be at least ⅞ inches wide. Broadheads can either be fixed or mechanical broadheads.

Chemically treated or explosives tipped arrows are not legal in North Dakota. The same goes for using sights during muzzleloader season.

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Ohio crossbow laws and Regulations

Ohio allows the use of crossbows for hunting wild game except for migratory birds. Any hunter can use a crossbow regardless of their disability or lack of. Nonetheless, the use of mechanical or electrical attachments capable of projecting beams of light is illegal.

Crossbows are only allowed if they have a draw weight of at least 75 pounds and use broadheads with at least two cutting blades and a width of at least ¾ inches.

Oklahoma crossbow laws and Regulations

Can you hunt with a crossbow in Oklahoma? Yes, crossbows are legal in Oklahoma and can be used during archery season. Also, crossbows can be used with leverage gaining devices. In terms of specifications, crossbows must have a draw weight of at least 100 pounds.

Furthermore, the broadheads used should be at least ⅞ inches wide, and the arrows are at least 14 inches long. Hunters aged between 16 and 17 years are eligible for any youth hunting permit in the state.

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Oregon crossbow laws and Regulations

In Oregon, only recurve, compound, and low bows are legal. As such, compound bows are illegal in Oregon.

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Pennsylvania crossbow laws and Regulations

Pennsylvania allows the use of crossbows during deer archery season as well as bear archery season. However, an archery stamp and general hunting license are required to use crossbows. 

For a crossbow to be permitted, it must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds. The bolts equipped must have at least two cutting edges and have a width of at least ⅞ inches. Draw lock devices can be used.

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Rhode Island crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows are now considered archery equipment. As such, you can use a crossbow during deer archery season. It is important to note that hunting turkeys with the crossbow are illegal. But you can hunt coyotes with a crossbow, though.

As for the legal specifications, your crossbow must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and use broadheads at least ⅞ inches wide. All crossbow hunters must have completed bowhunter education classes to get an archery permit.

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South Carolina crossbow laws and Regulations

It is legal to use crossbows in all hunting seasons in South Carolina. Also, crossbows can be used on different types of animals given you have the necessary permits. For most big games try to buy the most powerful crossbow which can be found for under $1000, Also you will need a hunting permit as well as a big game license.

To receive a hunter’s permit you will need to complete mandatory hunter education classes. There are no regulations regarding the specifications of crossbows that can be used. 

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South Dakota crossbow laws and Regulations

Any hunter with a big game license in South Dakota can legally use a crossbow for hunting big games during firearm hunting seasons. The use of mechanical devices to draw crossbows is permitted. 

Legal crossbows should have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and have a working mechanical safety. Also, the broadheads should be at least ⅞ inches wide.

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Tennessee crossbow laws and Regulations

In Tennessee, the use of crossbows is legal during all hunting seasons, including archery-only seasons. Though the use of night vision devices when crossbow hunting is prohibited. However, red dot and reticle sights are allowed as long as they do not project light onto the target.

The legal hunting time is during the hours 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes after sunrise. There are no restrictions on crossbow specifications.

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Texas crossbow laws and Regulations

Texas allows the use of crossbows in all hunting seasons, including archery-only seasons and Eastern spring turkey season. The only exception to this is in the counties of Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall.

In these counties, the use of crossbows during archery-only seasons is illegal. To use a crossbow in archery-only season in these counties, one must obtain a disability permit. Crossbows used must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds.

As for the broadheads must be at least ⅞ inches wide with at least two cutting edges. Telescopic sights are legal, but artificial light cast or illuminated on the prey is not permitted.

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Utah crossbow laws and Regulations

The state of Utah allows the use of crossbows during firearm big game hunting season. However, crossbows are not permitted during archery-only seasons. For hunters to apply for a hunting permit, they must be at least 12 years and be accompanied by a guardian if they are below 16 years.

Crossbows used to hunt big game must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds and have a favorable mechanical safety. The broadheads used should be at least ⅞ inches wide, and the arrows be at least 16 inches long.

The legal hunting hours are the hours 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. Fixed and magnifying scopes are allowed during any weapon hunt.

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Vermont crossbow laws and Regulations

As of Jan 1, 2020, the use of crossbows during archery-only hunting seasons, including turkey archery season, is legal. First-time archery deer license buyers must first complete a bowhunter education course.

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Virginia crossbow laws and Regulations

Crossbows are legal to use during both archery and firearm hunting seasons. It is important to note that an archery permit is required to use a crossbow during the archery-only season. A hunting license is also required, which can only be issued to persons aged 18 years and over.

Also to get the license, a person must complete a hunter education course first. Broadheads used must be at least ⅞ inches wide. There are no restrictions on draw weight. Also, explosive and chemically treated broadheads are permitted.

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Washington crossbow laws and Regulations

Hunting wildlife with a crossbow during the archery-only season is illegal in Washington. Crossbows can only be used during firearm season. Crossbows need to have at least 125 pounds of draw weight to be legal.

As for the broadheads need to be at least ⅞ inch wide and have at least two cutting blades. Arrows used must weigh at least 350 grains for hunting big game animals. Barbed broadheads are prohibited.

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West Virginia crossbow laws and Regulations

It is legal to use a crossbow to hunt during the big game firearm season in West Virginia. Crossbows used for hunting must have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds. Also, the crossbow must have a working safety.

Arrows must be at least 16 inches in length, and the broadheads must be at least ¾ inches wide and have two cutting edges.

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Wisconsin crossbow laws and Regulations

In Wisconsin, it is legal to use a crossbow to hunt for any hunter regardless of age, physical disability, or lack of disability. Crossbows can be used during archery season as well as firearm season.

But can a felon hunt with a crossbow in Wisconsin? Under the law, convicted felons cannot possess or use firearms. However, crossbows are not considered firearms, and thus a felon can use a crossbow for hunting.

Wyoming crossbow laws and Regulations

In Wyoming, crossbows are legal for hunting during the archery season as well as firearm seasons. Crossbows used for hunting must have a minimum draw weight of 90 pounds. The arrows used must be at least 16 inches.

Both fixed and expandable broadheads are legal as long as they are at least ⅞ inches wide. Scopes and cocking devices are permitted regardless of physical ability. Previously only disabled hunters were allowed to use cocking devices; this rule has since been reversed.

FAQ

Are Crossbows Illegal In The UK

In the UK, crossbows are not considered firearms and thus the same restrictions extended to guns do not extend to them. As such, no license or permit is required to own a crossbow in the UK, meaning they are not illegal in the country.

Are Crossbows Illegal In Australia?

In Australia, crossbows are classified as prohibited weapons and are illegal in most parts of the country. However, you can possess a crossbow in other parts as long as you have a permit or a license. Generally, owning a crossbow without a permit or license is illegal in Australia.

Is it legal to shoot a crossbow in your backyard?

It depends on your state and even county laws. In some states, it is legal to shoot your crossbow in your backyard for practice. In others, you will be required to have an ordinance officer inspect your backyard range to certify it as safe, and only after you are issued with a safety permit can you shoot your crossbow. Ideally, it is essential to check your state and county laws on backyard crossbow practice. 

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