Crossbow Hunting Regulations in Massachusetts

The information presented here has been thoroughly researched before publication, and we believe it to be very accurate as of the time of this writing (July 15 2013). Consider, however, that crossbow hunting regulations in Massachusetts do change on a fairly regular basis – new exceptions are introduced, as well as new restrictions. As a result, we do not provide a guarantee that whatever you read in the summary below is accurate or void of any errors. Do make sure to double-check whatever you learn here before you go on your own hunting trip, just to be safe. Best Crossbow Source will not be held responsible for whatever information you find here – use it as a reference only.

Make sure to check out our list of top 5 recommended crossbows for hunting in the USA if you’re looking to get started.

Crossbow Hunting Regulations in Massachusetts

As of July 2013, a crossbow can only be used for hunting in Massachusetts by a permanently disabled person, who’s disability makes it impossible for him to use a regular vertical bow. A certification from a qualified physician will be required; once that is submitted to Mass. Wildlife, a crossbow hunting permit will be issued. To find out more, you can contact 508-389-6300.

The following should be kept in mind:

  • When hunting with a crossbow in Massachusetts, you should take care never to fire an arrow if located closer than 150 feet from a surfaced highway, nor if located closer than 500 feet from a house or dwelling (unless authorization from the dwelling owner was acquired beforehand).
  • There is no minimum or maximum draw weight required for your crossbow, nor are there any size limitations for either the crossbow itself or the arrow shafts.
  • The use of expandable arrow broad-heads is legal.
  • Any broad-head used, including expandables, shall have a cutting diameter of no less than 7/8 inches.

Please keep in mind that crossbow hunting laws in the entire United States are slowly becoming more lenient; where they were illegal before, they are often now legal in the entire archery season. So keep your head up and watch out for some updates – you might be just going out for a hunting trip with your crossbow soon enough.

Help Us Get Better

We did our best to make sure the information above was a reliable reflection of the current crossbow hunting laws in Massachusetts. If you do notice any inaccuracies or downright errors, we would be extremely grateful if you would let us know (click the “Contact Us” link in the top menu on this page) and let us know what we did wrong. Please make sure to mention in the title of your message that this is concerning the legal status in Massachusetts. We will seriously investigate your claim and make any required changes in our references. Thanks.


Add a Comment
  1. This is March 13, 2015. Have there been any changes to the crossbow laws in Massachusetts since your post on July 15, 2013 ?

  2. what am not understanding here is, whats difference between crossbow and a bow when hunting? to me, it is exactly the same weapon. so why MA is banning Crossbow then?

  3. with all the challenges that we are facing hunting with guns,
    mass should allow any licensed hunter to hunt with a crossbow during the shotgun and muzzle loader deer seasons.

  4. Yes, regardless of age, you need to apply for disability approval by having your doctor fill out the MA DFW official form. However, as you age it’s easier to obtain – strength loss is considered as a disability!
    I’m 62 and just got my MA crossbow permit by having my doc simply state the truth – subject has difficulty pulling back a compound / recurve because of strength loss associated with increased age.

    1. Hi Douglas.

      Thanks for your comment.

      The word “Bolt” is used to describe a short projectile that doesn’t have stabilizing vanes. They look like this:

      Historical crossbows used this type of projectile, which is why its accurate to call historical projectiles “bolts.”

      Modern crossbows use longer projectiles with stabilizing vanes. They look like this:×1280/products/10711/11206/bloodsport-b811005372__17125.1548497205.jpg?c=2&imbypass=on

      These longer projectiles are called “arrows,” not bolts.

      Bolt: short projectile, no stabilizing vanes
      Arrow: long projectile, with stabilizing vanes


  5. what if you have shoulder and strength problems and your doctor doesn’t like hunting and will not sign off on the papers”?

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