window.dataLayer=window.dataLayer||[];function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments)} gtag("set","linker",{"domains":[""]});gtag("js",new Date());gtag("set","developer_id.dZTNiMT",!0);gtag("config","G-S95L6BL12Z")

Navigating New York Crossbow Laws: What to Know

Crossbows are legal for hunting various game species in New York state given adherence to certain qualifications, training requirements, and season regulations. This comprehensive guide outlines key rules and information for residents interested in hunting with crossbows.

Important Regulation Resources

Crossbow Equipment Standards

Crossbows eligible for use must adhere to precise standards, encompassing:

  • A limb breadth of at least 17 inches.
  • A draw weight between one hundred and two hundred pounds.
  • A minimum of 24 inches in total length when uncocked.
  • Able to shoot 14-inch bolts or arrows, not counting tip or head.
  • Includes a working safety feature in the trigger mechanism.

Qualifications and Safety Essentials

Age Criteria:

  • For deer hunting, 12+ year olds may use crossbows.
  • For bear, unprotected wildlife, and most small game species, the minimum age is 14.

Educational Certificates:

  • Hunters must carry a completed Hunter Education Certificate of Qualification (dated on or after April 1, 2014) or the Crossbow Certificate of Qualification.

Prohibited Uses:

  • Crossbows are off-limits for fishing, specifically carp or any other fish.

Crossbow Safety Training Options

Attaining the qualification to wield a crossbow in the hunting grounds of New York demands hunters to fulfill one of the subsequent criteria:

  1. Engage in the DEC’s comprehensive online crossbow training, culminating in the acquisition of the Certificate of Qualification.
  2. Immerse yourself in the DEC’s crossbow training featured in the regulations guide, ensuring successful completion of the Certificate.
  3. Hold a valid hunter education card dated April 1, 2014, or beyond, demonstrating proficiency in the requisite skills.

This certification must be carried at all times while engaging in hunting pursuits. Further specifications tailored to specific game types are elucidated in the corresponding sections below.

Crossbow Safety

Hunters should thoroughly review crossbow manuals and observe key safety practices:

  • Fingers should stay below rail area when shooting
  • Never dry fire
  • Ensure limbs are free of obstructions before shots
  • Do not walk with loaded/cocked crossbow
  • Use haul lines to raise crossbow to treestands
  • Only load arrows once secured in stand
  • Uncock by firing into ground or target only
  • Positively identify targets and areas beyond
  • Practice often to ethically limit shots to 30-40 yards

Regulations by Season

Crossbow rules and permissions depend on the type of game hunted and season dates.

Big Game Hunting

Hunters must possess valid muzzleloader privileges for the following seasons:

  • Northern/Southern muzzleloader seasons
  • Last 14 days (Southern Zone)/10 days (Northern Zone) of early bow season

For other big game seasons, muzzleloader privileges are not necessary:

  • Regular firearms seasons
  • Early bear season

Crossbows cannot be used:

  • In Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester counties
  • Certain WMU deer/bear closure zones
  • By junior hunters during youth weekends

Small Game Hunting

Small game and turkey hunters must possess appropriate hunting licenses. Northern Zone small game dog hunting is prohibited.


Fishing with crossbows is prohibited.

Carefully reviewing and following crossbow qualifications, training standards, and season-by-season regulations ensures fair chase hunting and ethical practices when using crossbows to hunt game in New York State.

In Conclusion

Mastering New York’s crossbow laws is essential for a fulfilling and responsible hunting experience. By adhering to specifications, educational prerequisites, safety protocols, and seasonal limitations, hu

Bookmark & Share it for Future Reference!

Leave a Comment