Crossbow Use Rules Update

FWC approves draft rules for hunting

For immediate release: June 23, 2010
Contact: Tony Young, 850-488-7867
Florida Wildlife Commission

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) directed FWC staff on Wednesday to proceed with developing a final rule proposal that would make crossbows a legal method of take for all hunters during the archery season on private lands.

The FWC, meeting in Lake Mary, had received much interest from Florida hunters in allowing crossbows to be used during archery season, as it is legal to do so in many other states, including Georgia and Alabama. In an online survey, hunters expressed support for this proposal.

Currently, only compound bows, longbows and recurve bows may be used during the archery season, unless a hunter qualifies for and has obtained a disabled crossbow permit. But, if the proposal gets final approval, which could come as early as the September Commission meeting, any hunter with a hunting license and archery season permit could use a crossbow (or a bow) during archery season, beginning with the 2011-2012 hunting season on private lands.

This rule proposal is intended to give hunters more opportunity and enable youth and others who have difficulty using a vertical bow more hunting days, thereby helping to recruit and retain more people into the tradition of hunting.

Commissioners also directed FWC staff to proceed with developing a rule proposal that would limit firearms and ammunition allowed during spring turkey hunts on FWC-established public hunting areas.

If passed at a future Commission meeting, the proposal would restrict firearms to shotguns only, using shot no larger than No. 2, during spring turkey hunts on FWC-established public hunting areas, beginning with the 2011 spring turkey season.

However, all legal bows and crossbows would still be allowed during spring turkey season, provided they have draw weights of at least 35 pounds and shoot broadheads having at least two sharpened edges with minimum widths of 7/8 inch.

This rule proposal came about after public-land turkey hunters expressed concerns about safety, prompting the FWC to poll Florida’s hunters through another online public survey.

Public lands, in many cases, have more hunters per acre than private property. Also, hunters on public lands are less likely to know the locations of other hunters compared with those who are hunting private lands. Therefore, there is an interest in eliminating long-range firearms from FWC-established public hunting areas during spring turkey hunts.

For more information regarding hunting rules and regulations in Florida visit the FWC website:

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