Frequently Asked Questions About Crossbow Hunting
Who can hunt with a crossbow?
Anyone who is 10 years old or older and has obtained a free crossbow stamp can hunt with a crossbow during any season when a firearm is allowed, for big game or small game, except that hunters in the Upper Peninsula may not use a crossbow during the Dec. 1-Jan. 1 late archery season and Dec. 2-11 muzzleloader season, unless the hunter is disabled.
Anyone who is 10 years old or older may use a crossbow throughout the archery deer season in the Lower Peninsula (Oct. 1-Nov. 14 and Dec. 1-Jan. 1) and during the early archery deer season in the Upper Peninsula (Oct. 1-Nov. 14). Crossbow use is not allowed in the Red Oak Unit during the archery-only bear season (Oct. 7-13).
Youth who are 9 years old and younger can hunt with a crossbow as long as they are licensed through the Mentored Youth Hunting (MYH) Program. Please see www.michigan.gov/mentoredhunting for complete MYH Program rules.
The DNR may issue a crossbow permit or a special permit to take game with a modified bow to a person with a valid hunting license to take a deer during an open deer season, if the person is certified as having permanent or temporary disability, as defined in Wildlife Conservation Order 5.95, which renders a person unable to use conventional archery equipment. Hunters may use a modified bow where crossbows are legal. A modified bow is a bow, other than a crossbow, that has been physically altered so that it may be held, aimed and shot with one arm.
Why can't I use a crossbow in the Upper Peninsula during the late archery deer season?
The Natural Resources Commission thought that the large migration of deer gathering in wintering yards might be subject to over-harvest if crossbows are widely adopted by hunters.
Why do I need a crossbow stamp?
The requirement of a crossbow stamp, which is available free of charge from all license vendors and online at
E-license, is designed to help the Department of Natural Resources build a database to conduct surveys. The surveys will help evaluate the effectiveness of crossbows in helping recruit new hunters, retain older hunters, and whether they increase the harvest rates of deer.
Can 10- and 11-year-olds use crossbows?
Yes, as of the 2010 hunting seasons.
Are there any restrictions on the velocity at which crossbows can shoot bolts?
No, a previous restriction on the velocity has been removed as of the 2010 hunting seasons. Although, when hunting deer, bear, elk and turkey, crossbow hunters must use only arrows, bolts, and quarrels with a broadhead hunting type of point not less than 7/8 of an inch wide with a minimum of 14 inches in length.
Do I need to wear hunter orange when using a crossbow?
Crossbow hunters are required to wear hunter orange while hunting deer during the early antlerless, youth firearm and November firearm deer seasons. In addition, crossbow hunters pursuing small game must wear hunter orange. The law does not apply to archery or crossbow deer hunters during the archery deer season, or to those hunting waterfowl, crow and wild turkey. It does not apply to archery or crossbow bear hunters or to those who are stationary and in the act of hunting bobcat, coyote or fox.
Are these regulations valid on a temporary basis?
No. The Natural Resources Commission initially passed expanded crossbow regulations on a trial basis. As opportunities to hunt with a crossbow were further expanded heading into the 2010 hunting seasons, the sunset provision for crossbow regulations was removed.