Crossbow Hunting Regulations In Ohio

What follows in this article is a quick overview of crossbow hunting regulations in Ohio. This guide is not meant to be an all-encompassing review of what Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Revised Code has to say about hunting with crossbows, but just to let you know the overall current legal situation for crossbow hunters in Ohio. We’ve researched these regulations thoroughly, but we cannot expect the information here to remain 100% accurate because A) we aren’t lawyers and B) Ohio refines and adjusts hunting regulations every year. With those disclaimers out of the way, this information is based on information from the 2013-2014 hunting regulations booklet issued by the Ohio

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

Crossbow Hunting Regulations in Ohio

Crossbows are legal to use by any hunter, regardless of disability or lack thereof. Ohio does regulate what type of crossbow can be used for certain types of game. Crossbows may not be used to hunt any migratory game birds.

Regardless of the type of game, a crossbow may be cocked with a device but must have a working safety and a stock more than 25 inches long. In addition, it is illegal while hunting to have attached to a crossbow any mechanical, electrical, or electronic device capable of projecting a beam of light.

Allowable for Hunting Deer

During the entire deer-hunting season (including archery season, antlerless deer muzzleloader season, gun season, youth gun season, and muzzleloader season), a crossbow is considered acceptable archery equipment for the taking of deer as long as the crossbow:

  • Has a draw weight of at least 75 lbs.
  • Fires an arrow with a tip that has at least two exposed or unexposed cutting edges and a minimum width of 3/4-inch.

Expandable and mechanical broadheads are legal, but poisoned or explosive arrows are not.

Allowable for Hunting Turkey

In the fall and spring turkey seasons, crossbows are considered legal archery equipment for the taking of deer as long as the crossbow:

  • Has a draw weight of at least 75 lbs.
  • Fires an arrow with a tip that has at least two exposed or unexposed cutting edges and a minimum width of 3/4-inch.

As with deer season, expandable and mechanical broadheads are legal, but poisoned or explosive arrows are illegal.

Allowable for Hunting Small Game

When hunting small game such as squirrel, ruffed grouse, cottontail rabbit, ring-necked pheasant, chukar, bobwhite quail, fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, weasel, crow, coyote, feral swine (wild boar), and groundhog, crossbows are considered legal archery equipment for the taking of game. Any draw weight crossbow is acceptable, as is any type of arrow tip except poisoned arrows and explosive arrows. Poisoned arrows and explosive arrows are illegal to use within the state of Ohio.

The sole exception to the crossbow’s acceptability as archery equipment for small game hunting is the Mourning Dove: longbows, compound bows, and recurve bows are allowed for hunting Mourning Dove, but crossbows are not.

Did We Get Anything Wrong?

I hope you found the information above useful and accurate. If, however, you believe anything above is inaccurate or outdated, we would like for you to get in touch with us via email. We will then contact ODNR to confirm the information and make changes as required.

6 Comments

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  1. What are the laws with the new air bow they have those air bows that shoot an arrow 450 ft/s stronger than a bow or crossbow are those legal to hunt deer with

  2. Is there any regulations with the grain of the broadhead being used say if I was using a 85 grain broadhead is that legal as long as it meets the requirements in the rules

  3. Is there a requirement for the grain of broadhead your allowed to use say I’m using a 75 grain broadhead but meets the requirements in the laws am I legal to kill a deer

  4. Are pistol crossbows legal and do you need a license/permit of any kind to use for hunting small game in Ohio? Mine has an 80lb draw and the regular bolt size of about 6-1/2″ with standard point.

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