Deer Regulations: Crossbow Information
In addition to a valid hunting license, persons who do not have a DNR-issued Disability Crossbow permit will need to obtain a crossbow stamp if they plan to hunt with a crossbow anytime during the year. The stamp will help the DNR monitor the number of hunters using a crossbow and its impact on the resource to determine whether future crossbow use should be expanded, limited or remain the same. A crossbow stamp may be obtained free of charge at any authorized hunting and fishing license vendor or on-line through the E-License site and should be carried with you when hunting with a crossbow.
To get your stamp online, go to the E-License site by clicking here.
1. Certify that you are obtaining a license for yourself or a minor
2. Log in using a valid form of customer identification
3. At the available E-License items use the scroll bar to the immediate right of the license list to pull up the crossbow stamp, Item #800.
4. Complete any other purchases
5. Check out
6. Print the stamp
To get the crossbow stamp from a license vendor, go to any store authorized to sell Michigan hunting and fishing licenses and request the free stamp. It is item #800.
Who Needs to Apply for a Crossbow Permit?
Some people will still need to apply for a crossbow permit. These are the criteria, steps and forms you will need to apply.
Any hunter ages 10 to 49 with a qualifying disability or condition that prevents them from using conventional archery equipment that wishes to hunt in Zone 1 during the late archery and muzzleloader seasons.
1. Obtain crossbow application form
2. Complete sections 1 and 2 on the application
3. Take application form to a physician, a licensed physical therapist or registered occupational therapist to complete an evaluation and sections 3-5
On completion of the form with all the applicable signatures send the application to:
Crossbow Program, Customer Systems
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
PO Box 30181
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7681
- Approvals are based on the physician or therapist certification
- Once approved the permit is sent in the mail
- Allow two to four weeks for normal processing
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 December 1 - January 1 late archery season and December 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 (October 1-November 14 & December 1 - January 1) and during the early archery deer season in the Upper Peninsula (October 1 - November 14).
In addition, a hunter may use a modified bow where crossbows are legal. A modified bow, other than a crossbow, that has been physically altered so that it may be held, aimed and shot with one arm. The DNR may issue a crossbow permit to a person with a valid hunting license to take a deer with a crossbow or modified bow during an open deer season, if the person is certified as having temporary disabilities as defined in Wildlife Conservation Order 5.95 which renders a person unable to use conventional archery equipment.
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 and Environment 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, 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.