p>Note: While state laws widely differ and can change without notice, the information herein is intended to be a brief overview of the laws and regulations at the time of printing, and is incomplete. Dunham’s and/or its representatives cannot and will not be responsible for its content, and therefore is not liable or responsible for any damages, monetary or otherwise, which may result in its use. For more details and up-to-date information, please consult your state’s fishing and gaming regulations.
Illinois — Hunters 62 years of age and older are now permitted to use a crossbow without a special permit. Hunters using a crossbow will need an archery deer permit and proof of age in the form of an official ID. Crossbows used in hunting as authorized by a permit issued under this section shall meet all of the following specifications:
1) Shall have a minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds and a maximum peak draw weight of 200 pounds.
2) Shall have a minimum overall length (from butt of stock to front of limbs) of 24 inches.
3) Shall have a working safety.
4) Shall be used with bolts or arrows of not less than 14 inches in length (not including point) with a broadhead. Broadheads may have fixed or expandable blades, but they must be barbless and have a minimum 7/8 inch diameter when fully opened. Broadheads with fixed blade must be metal or flint-, chert-, or obsidian-napped. Broadheads with expandable blades must be metal.
Crossbows also legal for handicapped hunters by permit.
Governor Pat Quinn recently signed legislation allowing expanded use of crossbows during the Illinois archery deer and fall archery wild turkey hunting seasons. A legally permitted archery hunter may use a crossbow from the second Monday following Thanksgiving through the end of the archery hunting seasons. For the upcoming season, those dates are Dec. 3, 2012 through Jan. 20, 2013. Illinois law continues to allow use of a crossbow throughout the entire archery season by persons age 62 or older and handicapped persons who are issued crossbow permits by the IDNR.
Indiana — Crossbows legal in entire archery season beginning December 31, 2011. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a mechanical safety.
Iowa- Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters with permit. Resident hunters 70 years old and older may purchase one statewide antlerless-deer only license to hunt deer with a crossbow.
Kentucky- Crossbows legal for all hunters during rifle and muzzleloader seasons, and portions of archery season (dates change annually). Legal in archery season for handicapped hunters.
Maryland- The MarylandDepartment of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service now allows crossbows to be used to hunt any game species during any open season where a vertical bow may be used (excluding waterfowl and certain furbearers). This would permit the use of a crossbow during the entire deer bow season in all counties. Minimum draw weight is 75-pounds, telescopic sights are permitted and the crossbow must have a working safety.
Michigan- August 17, 2010, Effective immediately, crossbow regulations have expanded for hunters statewide.
The crossbow regulation changes include the following:
1) Lowered the minimum age for crossbow use from 12 to 10 years of age statewide.
2) Expanded the use of crossbows to all legal hunters during all archery and firearms seasons statewide, except in the Upper Peninsula, where crossbow use will remain prohibited during the late archery and muzzleloader seasons, unless the hunter is disabled (Crossbows may only be used in the Upper Peninsula by anyone 50 years of age or older during the Oct. 1-Nov. 14 bow hunting deer season statewide).
Hunters using crossbows will still be required to obtain a free crossbow stamp. The stamp, which is free, will help the DNR monitor and survey crossbow hunters.
Minnesota- Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters by permit. Also legal for anyone during firearms season and Turkey and Bear seasons.
Missouri-Crossbows for handicapped archers by permit and during firearms season.
Nebraska- Crossbows are legal archery equipment for big game (deer, antelope, elk, turkey & bighorn sheep).
North Carolina- Effective August 1, 2010, allows the use of crossbows anytime bow and arrows are legal weapons. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 150-pounds.
Ohio-Crossbow – draw weight not less than 75 lbs. The arrow tip shall have a minimum of two cutting edges which may be exposed or unexposed and minimum 3/4-inch width. Expandable and mechanical broadheads are legal. Poisoned or explosive arrows are illegal.
Pennsylvania-The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has approved the expanded lawful use of crossbows to include both the archery deer and bear seasons. The Board included a sunset date for the expanded crossbow use requiring a future vote on the measure again before June 30, 2012. The use of magnified scopes was approved on April 21, 2009.
South Dakota- Crossbows legal for handicapped hunters during archery season. Must have a minimum draw weight of 125-pounds and a functional mechanical safety device. Telescopic sights and lighted sight pins are prohibited.
Tennessee-The use of crossbows is now permitted during all seasons including the regular archery season.
West Virginia-It is illegal to:
1) be afield with both gun and bow or with a gun and any arrows, except that persons who have a concealed weapon permit may carry a concealed handgun for self-defense only.
2) hunt with a crossbow and/or have a crossbow afield except for the holders of Class Y or YY permits during designated archery seasons. Crossbows must have:
i) a draw weight of at least 125 pounds.
ii) a working safety.
iii) bolts at least 18 inches long.
iv) broadheads with at least two cutting edges at least¾ inch in width.
3) hunt deer with arrows having less than two sharp cutting edges, measuring less than ¾ inch in width.
4) use a bow-locking device, except with a modified bowpermit issued by the Director.
5) use an arrow with an explosive, drug-laced or poisoned head or shaft.
6) use an electronic call to hunt deer
Wisconsin- Crossbows are not legal to use except by disabled hunters issued a Class A, B, or Crossbow permit; and hunters 65 years of age or older issued a valid archery hunting license.
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Note: While state laws widely differ and can change without notice, the information herein is intended to be a brief overview of the laws and regulations at the time of printing, and is incomplete. Dunham’s and/or its representatives cannot and will not be responsible for its content, and therefore is not liable or responsible for any damages, monetary or otherwise, which may result in its use. For more details and up-to-date information, please consult your state’s fishing and gaming regulations.