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Archery & Crossbow Laws

Archery Information


The regular archery license allows bow and arrow hunting for all legal game throughout the year (except deer during the muzzleloading season). An archery license is required to hunt during the regular archery deer season, the expanded archery deer season, and the fall wild turkey archery hunting season. In addition to the regular archery license, hunters participating in the expanded archery deer season (designated areas only) and the fall wild turkey season must purchase permits as follows: Multiple antlerless deer permits may be purchased for $12 each and one buck permit for $32 for the expanded archery deer season. Fall Wild Turkey permits may be purchased for a fee of $20 for residents and $54 for nonresidents.

Complimentary archery license holders (Disabled Veteran, Native American) and resident junior hunting license holder may hunt with those licenses during the expanded archery deer season and the Fall wild turkey season. One expanded archery antlerless deer permit and available wild turkey permits are included with these licenses.

Applicants for the regular archery license must show proof of having successfully completed an archery hunter education course or of having held an adult archery license in any year after 1979.

Junior hunters (at least 10 years of age and under 16) who hold a valid Junior Hunting License are allowed to hunt with bow and arrow when accompanied by their parent or an adult 18 years of age or older (see Junior Hunters).

  • Hunter orange clothing is NOT required when hunting with bow and arrow. Anyone who hunts with a firearm or crossbow must wear hunter orange.
  • A handgun may be carried by licensed* hunters while bowhunting but may NOT be used to dispatch deer.
    * License to hunt with firearms.
  • Laws which allow you to hunt without a license on your own land under certain conditions apply to archery hunting (see below).
  • Deer may be taken under the archery provisions only by means of hand-held bow with a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds, and broad-head arrow. Arrow heads (including expandable mechanical broadheads) must be at least inch in width. It is unlawful to use a crossbow (except during the open firearms season on deer and bear as described below), or set bow, or to use arrows with poisonous or explosive tips. Until 1/1/2015 hunters 70 years of age or older may hunt any wild bird or wild animal with a crossbow, including moose during the moose hunt.
  • All deer killed by bow and arrow during the archery seasons must be inspected and registered at the first open deer registration station.
  • It is legal to hunt until ½ hour after sunset during both archery deer seasons.
  • In WMDs where no any-deer permits are issued, archers and junior hunters are restricted to bucks only during the archery season on deer. (Deer taken during the expanded archery deer season are by appropriate permit as described above.)

In addition, all other laws pertaining to deer hunting shall apply to archery hunting.

Crossbow Information

Crossbow Hunting License

To be eligible to purchase a crossbow hunting license, you must hold a valid license to hunt big game (either a big game hunting license or an archery license), and must submit proof of having successfully completed an archery hunting education course and a crossbow hunting course or satisfactory evidence of having previously held adult archery and crossbow hunting licenses in this state or any other state, province, or country, in any year after 1979. When proof or evidence cannot be provided, the applicant may substitute a signed affidavit.

A resident or nonresident 10 years of age or older and under 16 years of age may hunt with a crossbow if that person holds a valid junior hunting license (no crossbow license required). With a valid crossbow hunting license, a person may hunt bear with a crossbow during the open season on bear, and may hunt deer with a crossbow during the open firearm season on deer. A crossbow may not be used to hunt deer during the archery season, muzzleloading season, or expanded archery season. Exception: Persons 70 years of age or older or persons who have a special handicap permit to use a crossbow may use a crossbow for any species in season with appropriate permits.

Conditions on the Use of Crossbows

The following conditions apply to the use of crossbows:

  • Only crossbows with a shoulder-type stock may be used; hand-held pistol-type crossbows are prohibited;
  • the draw weight may not be less than 100 pounds nor more than 200 pounds;
  • arrowheads, including mechanical broadheads when open, must be at least inch in width;
  • arrows having explosive or poisonous tips are prohibited;
  • crossbows must be equipped with a mechanical trigger safety device in working condition;
  • crossbows equipped with scopes or sights may be used.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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