Crossbow Hunting Regulations in New York

On this page you will learn about crossbow hunting regulations in the State of New York. Please keep in mind that information presented here should not be considered legal advice. We do our best to keep the information here current and accurate, however crossbow laws change often and so it’s always best that you check directly with your State agency to find out what the current regulations are.

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 New York

August 27th Update: The Department of Environmental Conservation has made it legal to hunt using a crossbow during the fall hunting season (an exception being the Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk counties). You must be 14 years or older, have a Standard Hunter Education course that has been completed after April 1st (and which is offered by DEC), or an equivalent DEC-approved online course. A few other things to keep in mind:

– Taking any kind of fish (including carp) is NOT legal with a crossbow in New York.
– Your crossbow must come with a trigger safety mechanism.
– The draw weight must be a minimum of 100 and a maximum of 200 lbs.
– There is an imposed minimum on the length and width of the crossbow (24″ and 17″, respectively).

Please see here for details, and Happy Hunting!

As of December 31st 2012, crossbow hunting has become entirely illegan in the State of New York, unless one is almost completely physically disabled. However, thanks to Bill S1699-2013, this might change soon enough, although no guarantees can be given.

It’s possible to obtain a Modified Crossbow Permit (Statury: ECL Section 11-0901(16)), but only if your disability is severe enough that a regular vertical bow cannot be used for hunting even with the help of a mechanical device. If that is the case, a crossbow permit will allow you to use a device that allows for the discharge of an arrow through breathing into a special tube.

In order to obtain this permit, you will need to obtain certification from a New York licensed physician, stating that you are physically unable to release a pre-drawn vertical bow string even with the help of a mechanical device for string release. The permit may be obtained at no cost and it is valid for 5 years, after which it needs to be renewed. Please note that you must carry the permit with you at all times while hunting with your crossbow; not having it with you will result in a hefty fine.

You can begin the licensing procedure by getting in touch with NYSDEC’s Special Licenses Unit – call 518-402-8985.

Please also note that there might be different regulations in the State of New York with regards to the use of certain types of scopes, as well as the minimum draw weight on a hunting crossbow. These regulations tend to change quite often, so please inquire about them by calling the number above.

Did We Miss Something? Let Us Know

If you have any new information, or if you believe that the regulations above are no longer valid, we would really appreciate it if you could drop us an e-mail. We will check the facts and make any required updates if necessary.


Add a Comment
  1. This should be updated because NY now does have a crossbow season from 11/1/14 through 11/14/14 and you must obtain a muzzleloader tag to hunt with a crossbow. If you do not get a deer with the regular bow you can take 2 because you get 2 tags. You can also use the crossbow during the regular gun season and the muzzloader season effective this year

  2. New York State is the only state that has a 17 inch minimum width of a crossbow. Is there any logical reason for this? Many newer crossbows are 10 inches wide and are a lot safer. Is this law going to ever change? PA has no such limit.

  3. NYS DEC needs to update this. “A MINIMUM limb width of 17 inches uncocked”????? Seriously? That makes all RAVIN manufactured xbows illegal that I know of, Most of the new Ten Points xbows being manufactured, and I’m sure many more modern xbows. Today most are being produced with limb widths well below 17″ and have MORE FPS and kinetic energy than wider xbows of late.

  4. The breath tube rule does very little. I had a mastectomy three years ago which limits my draw to 15 pounds. I have a disabled archer form signed by my Dr., but I can not use the modifications allowed. A permit to use a crossbow during archery season with an automatic or crank cocking device would allow me to hunt again during bow season. Also its pretty limiting when I am teaching NYS Hunter safety education and I can show you a bow and crossbow, but can’t actually use one. This legislation would enable disabled bowhunters access to bowhunting seadon under certain conditions. Thank you. Feel free to contact me to get this legislation started.

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