State-by-State Bow Hunting Laws For Draw Weights

bow hunting

Important Laws Around Bow Hunting In Your State – Draw Weights

Bowhunters must abide by federal and state regulations when they hunt in the United States. Different states have different laws regarding:

  • Where you can go hunting for deer (place)
  • When you can go hunting for (animals)
  • What you can hunt for (the prey).
  • How you can hunt (draw weight, equipment, techniques, etc.)
  • Once you’ve shot something, tag and register it.
  • If you violate a law, you may be fined for trespassing or infringing on a regulation.

These laws regulate hunting, land ownership, and animal protection by setting limits on what you can do and where you can go. You may face fines, revoking your driver’s license, or even arrest if you violate these laws.

A good example of regulation is the minimum draw weight per state.

StateAnimalMinimum Draw Weight (lbs.)
AlabamaAll30 
AlaskaCaribou, black bear, deer, wolf,  and wolverine40 
Elk, bison, brown bear, moose, musk ox, and mountain goat5050
ArizonaAll other30 
Bison40 
ArkansasAll35 
CaliforniaAll40 
ColoradoAll35
ConnecticutAll40 
DelawareAll35 
FloridaAll35
GeorgiaAllNone 
HawaiiAll30 compound
35 recurve
40 longbows 
IdahoAll40 
IllinoisAll30 
IndianaAll deer35 
IowaAllNone
KansasAllNone
Big gameRecommended 45
KentuckyAll None
LouisianaAll30 
MaineAll other35
Moose45
MarylandAll30
MassachusettsAll40
MichiganAllNone
MinnesotaAll30
MississippiAllNone
MissouriAllNoneRecommended 40 
MontanaAllNone
NebraskaAll40
NevadaAll40
New HampshireAll40
New JerseyAll35
New MexicoAll None
New YorkAll big gameMore than 35
North CarolinaAllCompound 35
Recurve and long 40
North DakotaAll35
OhioAll40
OklahomaAllCompound 30
Long or recurve 40
OregonAll other40 
Bighorn sheep, elk, and mountain goat50 
PennsylvaniaAll35
Rhode IslandAll40 fixed blade broadhead arrows
50 for mechanical broadheads
South CarolinaAllNone 
South DakotaAll other30
Elk40
TennesseeAllNone
TexasAllNone but 30 is recommended
UtahAll40 (some sources say 30)
VermontAllNone
VirginiaAllNone
WashingtonAll40 
West VirginiaAllNone
WisconsinAll30
WyomingAntelope, bighorn sheep, black bear, deer, mountain goat, mountain lion and gray wolf trophies40
Elk, grizzly bear, and moose50

Many state archery seasons end by December 31st.

There are some exceptions to the rule on National Forests.

You should always check with your local forestry department before shooting in a state with an open season.

If you want to know when and where the U.S. Forest Service will hold its annual fall/winter hunting season, call them at 1-877- 444-6777.

 

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