Crossbows in KY

Crossbows are legal hunting equipment in Kentucky for many types of animals, including deer, elk, bear, turkey, coyote, squirrel, furbearers, and small game. Kentucky is divided into different zones, and bag limits and season dates for various species may vary by zone. Be sure to verify your zone information through the KDFWR.

Per 301 KAR 2:172, A deer hunter may use a crossbow to hunt deer statewide:

  • From October 1 through the end of the third full weekend in October;
  • From the second Saturday in November through December 31; and
  • During any season in which a gun may be used to take deer.
  • A legal resident hunter age 65 years or older may hunt deer with a crossbow from the first Saturday in September through the third Monday in January.

Kentucky requirements for crossbow hunting generally includes:

  • Crossbows of any draw weight (no minimum), with a working safety.
  • Wood, carbon or metal arrows (bolts), but arrows (bolts) may not be chemically treated.
  • Fixed blade or mechanical broadheads at least 7/8” (when blades extended), but broadheads may not be chemically treated.
  • Hunters using or crossbow equipment during deer firearms seasons must wear hunter orange clothing

Elk Hunting: A person drawn for an archery or crossbow permit may hunt with a crossbow during all archery and crossbow seasons if they are 15 years old or younger, 65 years of age or older or has a crossbow hunting method exemption permit at the time of the hunt


Hunting Method Exemptions

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources may grant any reasonable exemption to normal hunting methods that would allow a person with physical disabilities to hunt when they otherwise couldn’t.  Exemptions that may be granted include using a crossbow to hunt deer during the bow-only deer season.
Persons with qualifying physical disabilities must first have an exemption form completed and signed by a licensed physician certifying why the exemption is necessary and how long it will last. Persons who obtain a hunting method exemption are still required to have the appropriate hunting license or permits. Persons granted a hunting method exemption must also carry the signed exemption along with their hunting license and permits while in the field. (301 KAR 3:027)
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