Can a Convicted Felon Own a Crossbow? (2023)

For felons that wish to hunt, finding out that it is illegal for them to own and/or possess a firearm can come as a big disappointment. Many felons think that since they are not allowed to have a firearm, that their hunting days are over. Is it possible for a felon to hunt? Can a felon hunt with a crossbow? Are felons allowed to own a crossbow? In this blog post, these questions, along with general hunting questions will be answered in great depth.

Table of Contents

Crossbow vs. Firearm, Which Can A Felon Have?

It is a common mistake for felons to confuse the term firearm and crossbow. Many felons see that they are not allowed to have a firearm and automatically dismiss the idea of them being able to own a crossbow. Just because a felon cannot possess a firearm does not mean they are unable to have a crossbow; felons are legally allowed to own a crossbow due to the many differences between a firearm and a crossbow.

The differences between a crossbow and a firearm are common knowledge. The reason the differences are mentioned in this article is to provide insight into why lawmakers choose to allow felons the right to possess a crossbow. The primary purpose of this section is to help justify the law.

One of the first noticeable differences is the fire rate and the type of ammo each weapon takes. It is not possible to “rapidly fire” a crossbow, as the crossbow must be reloaded after every shot. The ammo is also a considerable factor when drawing the line between a firearm and a crossbow. One takes bullets and another takes arrows.

(Video) Can a convicted felon own a crossbow in Nevada?

The concealment of a crossbow is also much more difficult. A handgun is able to be placed in a jacket pocket or in a holster on a belt, but a crossbow is commonly slung across someone’s back- making it much harder to conceal.

There are countless other differences between the classifications of a firearm and a crossbow, but these were worth mentioning because lawmakers took these differences into consideration when deciding if a felon should be able to possess a crossbow.

This explanation may seem like overkill, but it is very important for lawmakers to look at every detail when drafting laws, especially if the laws being made involve weapons.

How A Felon Can Obtain a Crossbow.

The process of getting a crossbow for a felon is very straightforward. Felon’s follow the same procedures for buying a crossbow as anyone else. All that is required is the money to purchase the crossbow and a place to buy it.

Background checks are not required when purchasing a crossbow, or any form of bow for that matter, hence why being a felon has no relevance when making the purchase.

Can a Felon Buy A Crossbow Even If They Are Not Hunting?

In some cases, felons want to buy a crossbow without the intent to hunt with it. This is completely legal. As long as the intended use for the crossbow is legal, then felons are able to purchase one.

Are Felons Allowed to Hunt?

It has now been established that felons are allowed to have a crossbow, the only question that remains now is, “can felons hunt?” Any felon that wishes to hunt must abide by the same rules as all of the other hunters; this means hunting within the allotted time period and using the proper equipment when hunting.

Felons that wish to hunt are permitted to hunt with a crossbow, compound bow, or recurve bow. These three bow types are among some of the most popular bows for not just felons to use, but for bow hunters in general. Felons typically do not have any additional restrictions placed upon them, but restrictions may be imposed on a case to case basis.

(Video) Gun Rights For Felons: 2021 CORRECTED

Hunting in the United States (deer hunting that is), can be broken into two seasons, bow hunting and gun hunting.

Even though there are two hunting seasons, felons, or any other hunters that are using a crossbow are able to hunt longer than gun hunters. This is because bow hunters are able to, in most states, keep hunting through gun seasons.

If a bow hunter wishes to continue to hunt through gun season, they are legally required to wear the same amount of orange hunting gear that gun hunters are mandated to wear- this is simply for safety.

So yes, felons are lawfully permitted to hunt, so long as they are following all of the rules and regulations as the hunters are also bound by. The next section will talk in detail about some of the key rules that all hunters are required to follow.

Hunting Laws All Bow Hunters Must Abide By.

All bow hunters, felon or not, are required to follow the same set of rules. There are a variety of different laws that hunters must abide by- this section will cover the most common laws bow hunters must follow.

First off, bow hunters are not required to wear as much blaze orange as gun hunters are. Bow hunters are able to use camouflage to blend in with the hunting environment but must still wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange at all times while hunting.

A common place for bow hunters to wear their 400 square inches of blaze orange is on their hats or gloves since these areas of the body protrude (unlike the chest for example). Where the 400 square inches of blaze orange is located does not matter, it just must be visible.

Some hunters prefer not to wear orange because they are under the false impression that wearing orange hurts their chances of getting a deer. Deer are unable to see color, so it makes no difference if a hunter wears orange, it is just a safety measure for other hunters.

(Video) Felons can own certain firearms!

Acquiring the proper licenses to hunt is another necessity; a hunter must have deer tags to place on the deer they kill. These tags are put into place to limit the amount of deer a single hunter can kill in a season.

To get a firmer grasp on the laws that hunters must follow, go into your local sporting goods store and talk to a representative. The employee will be able to help you meet all of the required safety standards. From the weapon to the clothing, all of your hunting needs can be met at a sporting goods store like Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops.

Ways a Hunter Can Have A Safe Hunt.

Hunter safety is the most important part of hunting. If a hunter is unable to act in a safe manner, they may face legal action brought on by other hunters who have been endangered. It is important for all hunters to understand key safety tips to keep everyone alive and well.

Here are a few tips to have a safe hunt.

  • Understand how the crossbow works. This may seem obvious, but it is quite common for hunters to abstain injury from the weapon they are using. The most common injury from a crossbow is loss of fingers from reloading, or injuries to the eye or face from reloading. Practice using your crossbow at a range or secluded area before going hunting. Consider taking safety classes if you want to ensure your safety.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. It is important to keep in mind that there may be other hunters in your area. When hunters are in the woods waiting for deer, they may mistake any noise they hear for a deer and forget about other people and act in an impulsive manner. Before firing or making any impulsive actions, take a deep breath and understand your surroundings.
  • Use safe weapons. Make sure the weapons that you are using to hunt are well maintained and up to date. Issues in this section typically occur with guns and ammo but have the potential to expand to crossbows and other forms of bow arrows. Look over your bow to make sure there are no abnormalities such as a broken gear, a loose string, or obstructions of any kind.
  • Be respectful. Respect while hunting expands to more than just good manners, it reaches over to respecting other hunter’s space and equipment- as well as the laws of the land you are hunting on. Respect has never hurt anyone.


Can crossbows be used for self-defense?

Yes. Crossbows are able to be used for self-defense. Many felons own a crossbow for this very reason since they are unable to own a gun.

How far can a crossbow shoot?

Every crossbow is different, some crossbows are able to achieve a maximum distance of 500 yards, while others barely reach 80 yards. It all has to do with power and the drawback weight. For specific crossbow brands, talk with a sporting goods salesperson, they will be able to answer any questions you have about a specific crossbow.

Are crossbows more accurate than compound bows?

This question depends on which you prefer. Some people find that they are able to hit their targets more constantly with a crossbow due to the sights and the trigger, while others find success with a vertical bow due to the possible attachments and the manual drawback.

Overall, the majority of shooters have found vertical compound bows to be slightly more accurate, but it really boils down to personal preference.

(Video) Defense for felons/preppers with felony’s/hatsan flashpup .25cal/GCS knifes/Weapons for felons

Thank You for reading! Do you like to hunt? Do you prefer a crossbow or a vertical bow? Let us know by writing a comment down below!



Can felons be around crossbows? ›

The answer is no, it is not illegal. Even though crossbows could impose almost the same level of threat as a handgun—or even a more powerful firearm—, it does not fall into the same bracket as firearms and ammunition. Thus, felons could safely acquire crossbows without breaking the general federal laws.

What are the laws on owning a crossbow? ›

Crossbows are legal in the UK and no licence or registration is required to own them, because they are not legally classed as firearms. People can be prosecuted for using crossbows for illegal hunting, or for attacking people, under separate laws.

Is a crossbow a firearm? ›

The crossbow is, for legal purposes, often categorized as a firearm by various legal jurisdictions (even though it is not considered as a firearm from a technical perspective), despite the fact that no combustion is required to propel the projectile.

Can a felon own a crossbow in the state of Oregon? ›

It is lawful under Oregon law to archery hunt even with a felony convictions. It is not lawful under Oregon law to hunt with a cross bow.

Do I need a background check to buy a crossbow? ›

You do not need a background check to purchase archery equipment. Unlike ammunition, you can fire an arrow countless times before you need to replace it.

Can felons own compound bows? ›

Therefore, according to the ATF it doesn't qualify as a firearm. This means that felons are not restricted from owning one under the 1968 Gun Control Act. Thus, purchasing, owning, and shooting a compound bow is legal for felons as well as those without a felony conviction.

Can a felon hunt with a crossbow in Texas? ›

Since a crossbow is not considered a firearm, felons are not restricted by the Gun Control Act from owning one. Therefore, purchasing and owning a crossbow is legal for felons as well as those without a felony conviction.

Can you use a crossbow in your backyard? ›

Generally, yes you can practice archery in your backyard. Some counties will require your backyard range be inspected by an ordinance officer who will issue a permit if your range is deemed safe. Other counties do not allow archery practice within city limits.

Can a crossbow be used for self defense? ›

Crossbows have always been a fantastic hunting tool, but historically they have had some drawbacks. They take a long time to load and can only shoot once. These limitations have prevented them from becoming useful as a home defense tool.

Are crossbows legal in all 50 states? ›

California. Crossbows legal for all hunters during gun seasons.

How far do crossbows shoot? ›

Summary. If you don't care about hitting a target, a powerful modern crossbow can shoot as far as 500 yards. If you want to hunt, up to 80 yards is possible for a very skilled shooter, however you should stick to a maximum of 60 yards, and preferably much less than that (30-35) if you are a beginner.

What shoots further bow or crossbow? ›

As the bow is shot, the string on a conventional compound bow pushes the arrow more than twice the distance as when a crossbow is shot.

Can felons go hunting? ›

Properly licensed convicted felons may hunt with bows, crossbows and airguns during hunting seasons when such devices are legal. A general restoration of civil rights does not include the restoration of the right to own, possess or use a firearm.

What weapons can a felon own in Oregon? ›

Per the laws of the state, no person who has been convicted of a felony may purchase, own, or possess a firearm. Felonies from Oregon, other states, or the federal government are all treated the same in this regard.

Can a felon get a passport? ›

Specifically, under 22 U.S. Code § 2714, a person convicted of a federal drug offense, or a state felony drug offense can be denied issuance of a U.S. passport when they are imprisoned or on parole or supervised release as a result of their conviction.

Are bows considered firearms? ›

While a bow and arrow, crossbow, or compound bow is undoubtedly a deadly weapon, it's not considered a firearm – and that's the crucial point when considering your options for hunting season. Under the 1968 Gun Control Act, felons are prohibited from owning firearms, even if they committed non-violent crimes.

How fast does a crossbow shoot in mph? ›

Re: FPS to MPH

Just input, 350 fps = mph , the search will get you the answer of 238.64 MPH.

Are crossbows more powerful than bows? ›

The average power stroke on a crossbow is 14-inches compared to 25-inches on a compound. With the string pushing the arrow for an extra 10-11 inches, the vertical bow is delivering maximum kinetic energy far superior to that of a crossbow.

Can a convicted felon own a crossbow in California? ›

A cross bow is not considered a "fire arm" which is prohibited to own or possess by a felon. However, if a felon is still on probation or parole, the terms will prohibit the felon from owning or possessing any weapons. After completing probation or parole one can possess a cross bow.

Can a felon hunt with a crossbow in Tennessee? ›

The extent of the disability under state law depends on the nature of the offense. Persons convicted of any “felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon,” or felony drug offenses, are prohibited from possessing any firearm. Tenn. Code Ann.

Can a felon hunt with a crossbow in Kentucky? ›


A person convicted of a felony is prohibited from possessing or hunting with a firearm in Kentucky.

How can a felon get his gun rights back in Texas? ›

Restoring Your Gun Rights in Texas

In Texas, a person convicted of a felony may not purchase or possess a firearm. Firearm rights are automatically restored 5 years after release from confinement or probation. However, the individual may only possess a firearm on the premises where the individual lives.

Can felons own pellet guns in Texas? ›

Federal law makes it illegal for anyone with a felony conviction to own a firearm or possess one inside or outside the home. For more information, contact a Houston federal crimes lawyer. Breaking the federal gun law can result in up to 10 years in prison.

Can felons have bows in Texas? ›

Federal law does not touch on bow ownership much. As long as the felon's sentence has been served, they're allowed to go out and buy a bow, so long as they only use it for it's intended legal purpose, i.e. either hunting or target shooting practice as long as you are not at a shooting range.

Is it illegal to walk around with a bow and arrow? ›

Can You Carry a Bow and Arrow in Public? You can carry your bow and arrow in public as long as it's in a case and unstrung. That's especially important when you're walking in the street. If your arrows are easily accessible, anyone can take and use them as a weapon to hurt other people.

Is a crossbow considered a bow? ›

A crossbow is essentially a bow mounted on an elongated frame (called a tiller or stock) with a built-in mechanism that holds the drawn bow string, as well as a trigger mechanism that allows the string to be released.

Can you shoot a bow in a park? ›

You'll have to check with your local city or town and see if it's OK to shoot your bow there at all, before you go about finding a park to shoot in. If it's alright to shoot in your general area, you can then start looking to see if there's an appropriate park to shoot in.

How long can I leave a crossbow cocked? ›

Do not leave your crossbow cocked for longer than a 24-hour period, as premature stretching of the string and cables may occur, leading to a loss in crossbow performance.

How far is a crossbow accurate to? ›

As with most vertical bow hunters, effective range for a crossbow is about 40 yards. At this distance most hunters are able to fire a crossbow accurately enough to be lethal.

Is a crossbow a good survival weapon? ›

There are various ways crossbows can be utilized to survive in the wilderness. It not only protects you but gives you a way to hunt down small and big games for food. If you're looking for a different challenge from guns and bows and arrows, then a crossbow is your ideal weapon of choice in a survival situation.

What Animals Can you hunt with a crossbow? ›

Crossbows legal for all hunters for all species EXCEPT deer. Crossbow deer hunting legal for handicapped hunters with permit. Crossbows are legal for all hunters during modern firearm seasons.

Do you need a pal to buy a crossbow? ›

Re: Do you need a p.a.l. To hunt with a crossbow? NO! A crossbow is NOT a Firearm under our Laws.

Are crossbows better than compound bows? ›

When it comes to overall power, the crossbow wins. When it comes to portability, the compound bow wins. So, think about where you will be hunting, what kind of game you are targeting, and what kind of physical shape you are in, and whatever you decide, we are sure your hunt will be a success.

What distance should I zero my crossbow? ›

Your goal is to “zero” the top-most reticle or dot for a specific distance (20 yards in almost all cases unless instructed otherwise by the crossbow manufacturer).

Can a deer jump the string on a crossbow? ›

Jumping the String | Research to Improve CROSSBOW Hunting ...

How far do deer run after being shot with a crossbow? ›

In many instances, it will jump or flinch as the arrow hits before bounding away. It seldom runs hard and will usually appear to lope. The distance it travels before stopping could vary from only a few yards to 100 yards.

Can crossbows penetrate plate armor? ›

Crossbows were very effective against opponents in armour and during castle attacks and defence. The drawback was that they were longer to reload than the British long bow for example.

What is a good draw weight for a crossbow? ›

Use Enough Draw Weight

While those regulations vary considerably from state to state, the overall range runs from 75 to 125 pounds of draw weight. With little exception, any crossbow in that range should be adequate to kill a whitetail deer at moderate ranges.

Are crossbows more accurate than guns? ›

Those who like using their hands often enjoy shooting crossbows more than guns. Accuracy: Both guns and crossbows are accurate. It is easier to shoot a crossbow than a traditional or compound bow. Guns aim about the same way and are also easy to learn.

What can felons not do? ›

A person may not vote, serve on a jury, obtain commercial driver's licenses, possess a gun or join the U.S. armed forces.

Can felons own black powder guns? ›

In California, it is illegal to purchase, possess or use a black powder gun for a felon. The black powder guns qualify as antique firearms under California law. Instead of them, a convicted felon can possess daggers, dirks, or stilettos in his property. He, however, cannot carry them in cars or public.

Can the spouse of a felon own a gun in Florida? ›

Can a felon's spouse own a gun in Florida? No, a felon's spouse cannot own a gun in Florida. The spouse can own a gun, but it's considered constructive possession if it's in the house with the convicted felon. Even things like keeping it in a car or the garage are illegal.

Can a felon own a crossbow in Oregon? ›

It is lawful under Oregon law to archery hunt even with a felony convictions. It is not lawful under Oregon law to hunt with a cross bow.

How long do felonies stay on your record in Oregon? ›

Eligible Class C Felonies can be expunged after five years, and non-person Class B Felonies after seven years.

Can a felon carry a knife in Oregon? ›

When it comes to knife laws in Oregon, they are considered one of the most lenient states in the country. It's legal to own any knife and also legal to open carry any knife unless you are a felon.

Can a felon go on a cruise? ›

Short Answer: Yes, a felon can go on a cruise but not all types of cruises. It depends on the type of cruise and what the destinations, or ports you will be visiting while on the cruise ship. Not all ports and countries will allow US felons on their soil or waterways.

What countries can felons not travel to? ›

Here is a list of countries that don't allow convicted felons to enter:
  • Argentina.
  • Australia.
  • Canada.
  • China.
  • Cuba.
  • India.
  • Iran.
  • Israel.

What countries are felon friendly? ›

There are plenty of countries that do not ask a U.S. citizen for a visa when visiting them. So, any persons with a valid U.S. passport can enter without issues, even a convicted felon.
No Visa Country and Convicted Felon
  • Caribbean countries.
  • Mexico.
  • Columbia.
  • Ecuador.
  • Peru.
  • Venezuela.
  • European countries.
  • South Africa.

Can a felon hunt with a crossbow in Kentucky? ›


A person convicted of a felony is prohibited from possessing or hunting with a firearm in Kentucky.

Can a felon hunt with a crossbow in Oklahoma? ›

“This rumor is, in fact, untrue,” Runyan said. “According to state (law) and the Gun Control Act of 1968, it is unlawful for any person convicted of a felony to ship, transport, possess, receive or purchase any firearm or ammunition.”

Can a felon hunt with a crossbow in PA? ›

Convicted felons can't hunt with a firearm, but they can legally hunt or trap with air guns, archery equipment and more. Raup said denying hunting licenses to these people would also deny them access to legal hunting activities.

Can a felon hunt with a crossbow in Tennessee? ›

The extent of the disability under state law depends on the nature of the offense. Persons convicted of any “felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon,” or felony drug offenses, are prohibited from possessing any firearm. Tenn. Code Ann.

Can a felon own a pellet gun in Kentucky? ›

The quick, short answer is no—in most cases. A convicted felon can not legally own a gun in the state of Kentucky, with only three specific exceptions. In fact, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is itself a felony offense. The law also applies to people convicted of felonies as youthful offenders.

Can a felon own a black powder gun in Kentucky? ›

1 In the United States

In the United States, it is legal for a convicted felon to own a black powder gun during his custody or control. Under Federal and State laws, a black powder gun is also termed an 'antique firearm'. Antique firearms are discharged under the United States Gun Control Act of 1968.

Is crossbow considered archery? ›

In some places, crossbows are considered “the machine rifle of archery” because they have complex features than other bows. What is this? However, they have similar technology or work in the same way as other bows. Therefore, crossbows are part and parcel of archery and should be wholly accepted in the sport.

What weapons can a felon own in Oklahoma? ›

Oklahoma gun laws state anyone who has a felony conviction in the United States is unable to lawfully own a gun unless they've been given a full and complete pardon. Additionally, anyone who is serving a term of probation for any felony is also unable to own a gun.

Can a felon carry a knife in Oklahoma? ›

The Short Answer: If you have a felony, or a violent misdemeanor, you cannot Open Carry without a Governor's Pardon. HB2597 requires people with felony convictions, or certain misdemeanor convictions, to receive a Governor's Pardon before they are allowed to Open Carry.

What can felons not do? ›

A person may not vote, serve on a jury, obtain commercial driver's licenses, possess a gun or join the U.S. armed forces.

Can a convicted felon own a gun after 10 years in PA? ›

If you have been convicted of a violent crime that resulted in a felony or a misdemeanor, you are not allowed to purchase a firearm in Pennsylvania.

Can felons go hunting? ›

Properly licensed convicted felons may hunt with bows, crossbows and airguns during hunting seasons when such devices are legal. A general restoration of civil rights does not include the restoration of the right to own, possess or use a firearm.

Can a felon live with someone who owns a gun in PA? ›

Felony Gun Possession Laws

In Pennsylvania, inclusive of Bucks County and all counties, a convicted felon cannot own, be in the same place with, or use a firearm, even if the firearm is legal or legally owned by another individual in the household. There is no exception to the rule.

What weapons can a felon own in Tennessee? ›

A change in Tennessee's definition of a firearm allows for felons to own a gun provided it was manufactured before 1899. Convicted felons can now possess guns in the Volunteer State.

Can a felon carry a knife in Tennessee? ›

The felon in possession of a weapon charge means that anyone convicted of a felony cannot own or possess a switch-blade, a butterfly knife, a clubbing instrument, a Taser or a stun gun.

What Can felons hunt with in Tennessee? ›

Under a 2018 change in Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(c), those convicted of the “other felonies” and have had their rights fully restored, may possess firearms. Under former Tennessee law, those convicted of the “other felonies” could possess rifles and shotguns, but not handguns.


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