Crossbow Hunting Regulations in Pennsylvania

The data which follows is a succinct version of the crossbow hunting regulations for the state of Pennsylvania. We cannot offer any guarantees that this data remains current and accurate. We update the information we provide as we become aware of any and all changes. You should contact your local state government or the Pennsylvania Game Commission to confirm the legitimacy of these statements. Feel free to ask us for assistance should you run into snags doing this.

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 Regulations in Pennsylvania

Crossbow hunting in Pennsylvania no longer falls under the disabled hunters permit law. All hunters may legally harvest game with crossbows during archery season bear season and the archery deer season. This requires an archery stamp and a general hunting permit along with the proper licenses for the season such as a bear and/or antlerless deer license. This includes late, early, and two day archery bear seasons. The exception is that hunters are not required to purchase an archery stamp to hunt in the archery bear season.

  • Archery hunters can legally use a crossbow during the overlap only of muzzleloader and flintlock seasons. They are still required to possess an archery permit as well as follow all archery season provisions.
  • Hunters have been permitted for years to use crossbows during spring gobbler; fall turkey; firearms bear; elk; and two week firearms deer season. There has been no changes made to these regulations.
  • Crossbows may not have a draw weight less than 125 pounds. No maximum draw weight currently exists in Pennsylvania.
  • Bolts are to be equipped with broadheads with at least two cutting edges upon the same plane throughout the entire length of the cutting surface. The width must not be less than 7/8 of an inch.
  • This must not be more than 3 inches long when measured from tip of broadhead to the point which fits against the bolt.
  • Draw lock devices for bows legal are now legal in Pennsylvania.

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  1. I’m 18 and I was wondering if it is legal for me to own a crossbow just to shoot at targets for fun?

    1. In answer to your “last fall” question: It “may not be wise” to have a cocked or loaded crossbow in a vehicle. In the event of an “in vehicle release” {or to use a firearm term “discharge”}…. intentional or not… Releasing a crossbow or discharging a crossbow inside a closed cab vehicle could result in equipment damage to vehicle, to crossbow, and could result in personal injury to yourself or others. The limbs could smack into part of the vehicle or part of your person and cause human injury or damage to both vehicle and bow. Transporting a cocked or loaded crossbow… “May or may not be legal in your area …. and, is definitely unwise. IF by “driving” you mean “driving the deer while on your human feet” or driving/riding on a horse or “atv/utv/gator/swamp buggy/ etc”… consider what would happen in the event of an “at any moment release or discharge” and make your own decision. ** As a personal aside… I do sometimes transport a *cocked crossbow* in the cargo bed of my truck for very short distances at slow speed *without an arrow on the rail and without any live human or animal cargo in the cargo bed. I know that I am risking damage to vehicle and bow by doing this… but, injuries are unlikely. I hope this helps you to make a wise or more informed decision.

  2. I am not aware of any Federal USA law forbidding felons to hunt with a crossbow. I have heard that some Parole and Probation Officers do forbid persons on parole or probation “while on parole or probation” from possessing any projectile weapon or even a pocket or sheath knife. These probation and parole officers do this under or by ‘some unknown’ rule or law “forbidding possession of weapons of any type”. I have no idea exactly where they get this.

    1. When a person is released on Parole in PA their release orders specify they may not possess a firearm or any other weapon. You can argue that a crossbow isn’t a weapon, but I think you’d lose that argument

  3. Yup 100% in all states including CA. As far as I know there are very few city regulations but it’s always a good idea to check if you are within a city limit.

    1. May I use a crossbow for small game, such as cotton tail? If so, would I be able to use smaller tips on my boots?

  4. Perhaps they changed it since the last information you received. Or I just misread it. Could you check it out and let me know for sure concerning convicted felons using muzzleloader.

  5. Bro, you’d better not.
    Pa. law clearly states any projectile propelled via explosion = firearm.
    I do believe there was a time a felon could own black powder rifle of some kind … But not anymore. And depending on certain crimes – I’m pretty sure even a gov. Pardon ain’t happening to get those rights back.

    I’m an advocate for ex prisoners.
    I believe in giving a person a second chance. But … It’s important to do it right, it always was … You lost the right, bro. I feel for ya. But don’t get yourself hemmed up more trying to find a way to shoot a gun. That’s federal.
    If ya wanna hunt … Get some archery equip, proper licenses, tags, stamps, etc. And learn about the bow. I suggest recurve or longbow.

    They’re traditional and it takes strength to shoot them.

    Just like it takes strength to move on … for victims and for felons.

    Do right.

    Hell calls hell.
    One misstep leads to another.

  6. Yes you can own a crossbow at 18 in pa and convicted felons can use a bow crossbow or muzzleloader in pennsylvania as an advocate for prisoners you should know this by what you say as a lawyer advocate i would never come to you for help if you dont even know what weapons an convicted felon can have in pennsylvania.

  7. You can also as a felon hunt with air rifles my recommedation is to get a good 22 caliber pellet air rifle will kill a turkey , rabbit ,squirrel , etc. Most small game can be dropped with a 22 caliber pellet gun

  8. I was told for crossbow I just have to buy the license and not the extra archery stamp for a crossbow even if I am hunting during rifle season. Is that right? Also do I need a certain amount of orange during archery or is that only rifle season

  9. My question may sound stupid but I didn’t actually see anything in the book. Is it legal for me to carry a compound bow with my crossbow? I have developed shoulder problems over the years and decided to shoot crossbow. However I can shoot my compound with confidence at 20 yards. In the event I’d need to shoot beyond 20 yards I’d shoot the crossbow.

  10. I’m from New York hunting for the first time in Pa. I just bought hunting and bowhunting tag. I have taken a hunter safety course in NY..Do I need to carry proof of my having taken a hunter safety course on me while hunting in Pa? I am 66 years old, if that matters and have hunted in NY for years and currently have a NY hunting license for the coming season

    1. I’m sure you’ve already figured this out, but all you need is a valid current or past hunting license from any other state or proof of a hunter education/safety course in order to hunt in Pennsylvania.

  11. Firearm is not a bow or black powder weapon any felon can carry i am a felon i know, it is stated in federal law on what a fire arm is

  12. I am a senior lifetime combo deer hunting license holder. May I hunt with a crossbow during the regular deer season?

  13. Hi I would like to hunt in PA with a crossbow. I am a out of state resident. What is some information I need before I hunt in PA?

  14. I live in Ligonier borough. My neighbor behind me has been practicing his bow and his wife has a crossbow. Thier yard is very narrow and is under 100 feet wide. I have kids that play outside. How can I find information about the rules about practicing bow or crossbow in a residential neighborhood. I herd its not allowed but I need something to show them. My neighbor behind me doesn’t like me. He only practices when I’m outside.

  15. Someone sold my 11 year old a crossbow at a yard sale and I’m really unhappy about it. Can someone tell me if this is legal?

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