Crossbow Hunting Regulations in Montana

Greetings, and we hope that you find this Montana crossbow hunting regulations guide useful. As always, our disclaimer follows: we strive to make this resource as accurate and current as possible, but we cannot give any form of guarantee that we have not missed something, or misinterpreted certain regulations or laws. Again, we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate, however it should only be treated as a reference and not official legal advice. With that said, let us move on.

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 Montana

A crossbow is not considered an archery weapon in Montana, and as such can only be used for hunting during any gun seasons. There are unfortunately no separate disability permits that would allow people with severe disabilities to use a crossbow for hunting during archery season.

To legally hunt in Montana, you will need to obtain a hunting license – you can find out more about the available licenses here. You can even apply for the hunting license online without needing to visit FWP. For more information, you can always call 406-444-2535.

When hunting for deer and elk, here are some of the most important regulations to keep in mind:

  • No explosive materials or chemicals may be attached to the tip of the crossbow arrow while hunting in Montana.
  • The arrow should be a minimum of 20″ in length, measured from the nock to the tip of the attached broad-head.
  • 300 grain is the minimum legal weight of the arrow shaft plus broad-head.
  • Expandable broad-heads are legal, however keep in mind that their cutting diameter (after expansion) must be a minimum of 7/8″.
  • There are no minimum requirements regarding draw weight.

Please remember that you will need both a permit as well as a hunting license for specific game in order to legally hunt in Montana with your crossbow. Simply having one of the two is not enough.

Did We Miss Something?

We recognize that hunting regulations change from time to time, that certain information becomes obsolete, etc. We therefore really appreciate the help of anyone out there who might have some new information, references, or links to new pending or already passed bills in Montana; we will review all information sent and if we believe it to be useful, we will immediately update, alter or remove the references above so that they accurately reflect the current legal situation in Montana. We of course do our best to keep this resource up to date, but there is so much of it that we are bound to miss something here or there, which is why we ask for help.


Add a Comment
  1. Need to know if the law will change for handicapped hunters to us a crossbow during the Mt archery season. I am 74 years old and have had a MN handicapped lic in MN for 14 years. Please inform me as to its status!


    Dr Russell Maki

  2. Do you anticipate any changes in the upcoming laws that might allow a handicapped hunter to use a crossbow in archery season this Fall(2015)? Please let me know. Thank you!!

  3. I have had both hips replaced and I have a shoulder with a torn rotator cup. I am not able to pull back a regular compound bow. I’m 70 years old and would like to go elk hunting with my son this fall(2015). I have a cross bow and would like to be able to use it during bow season. It seems unreasonable to use a cross bow during gun season!!

    Myron Thompson

  4. It is sad that Montana does NOT allow crossbow hunting for the handicap hunters, except during the gun season. Just how many animals would be harvested by a crossbow by a small group of handicapped hunters during the archery season? If a person is handicapped and has a letter stating that he/she is handicapped by a Medical Doctor I feel those people have suffered enough! This is discrimination in my opinion. Come on Montana, lets be FAIR to the handicap and show them the respect they deserve.

  5. montana needs to get in the real world for handicap hunters, allowing a cross bow just makes sense, what is their problem.

  6. I am a 59 year old handicaped hunter. I had a surgeon decide that I was too active and decided to drill a lag bolt through my siatic nerve and then leave it there for 4 years. By the time it was found what had happened I was told I was lucky to be able to walk at all. 10 years and 7 surgeries later I’m still barly able to walk and cannot pull a bow of any draw weight without severe discomfort and many days of recovery. I would love to be able to hunt Montana’s early season for elk and deer. I can’t take the cold any more, it seizes my whole body up. I don’t understand why a state like Mt can’t make an exception for hunters in my condition to use a crossbow to hunt in August while I can still move. Heck in Wyoming a healthy person can hunt with a crossbow during bow season. I would be more than willing to be subjected to intence inspection in order to prove my need. Believe me I would much rather not have to write letters like this one. Unfortunately from my experience it is the F,W &P system that seems to me to be the biggest hold back to any special handicap laws. At least that has been my finding. They better hope they never get into this position. As others like me know it is no fun and I’d rather be climbing to the top of a mountain

  7. Montana has a PTMAE (Permit To Modify Archery Equipment)

    It allows a bowhunter with a disability to Modify modern archery equipment to fit their personal needs.

  8. My shoulders are wore out for doing overhead work most of my life cannot hold a bow back long enough for a deer or elk or other to clear brush for clean shot I’m sure there’s others like me here in Montana I’d like to get out there earlier in the season deer in archery to take a nice bull elk before the woods gets overrun with people crossbow is the only way I can do any type of archery hunting now if you could bring this problem up in front of the board will be more appreciated thank you

  9. I also am handi -cap , i did get a modify archery equipment permit from Montana and tried using the lock-draw bow system fall of 2021. the lock-draw system is very hard to use for a handi-cap person to use and carry. the lock-draw system is just horrible to use. I see no reason why Montana does not allow the true handi-cap hunters a permit to use a x-bow ,46 other states in America do and do follow the Federal guidelines for the handi-cap. i also do know the Montana bowhunter association is against Handi-cap bowhunters to be allowed to use a x-bow. this is truely a disgrace and shameful against handi-cap people in America ! SHAME ON Montana !

  10. I am 72 years old, can I use a crossbow during rifle season to hunt both mule and whitetail deer in Montana?
    Are there regulations pending to allow a person over 70
    To use a crossbow during archery season?

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