Crossbow Hunting Regulations In Vermont

Crossbow hunting is a cherished tradition in Vermont, offering outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to connect with nature and engage in a thrilling sport. However, understanding the regulations surrounding crossbow use is of paramount importance to ensure both your safety and the preservation of the state’s wildlife. In this detailed guide, we’ll explore the crossbow hunting regulations in Vermont, offering insights into the legalities, restrictions, and essential considerations for hunters. Additionally, we’ll emphasize crucial safety measures to make your hunting experience both enjoyable and secure.

Vermont’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife make it a prime destination for crossbow hunting enthusiasts. To fully enjoy this sport, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the state’s crossbow regulations.

Crossbow Hunting Regulatiions In Vermont

Why Stay Informed About Crossbow Regulations?

Crossbow regulations can change frequently and unexpectedly. To ensure that you’re adhering to the most up-to-date laws, it’s crucial to stay informed and verify regulations with local authorities or the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Vermont’s Crossbow Regulations: What You Need to Know

General Crossbow Rules and Regulations

  1. Crossbow Authorization: Starting from January 1, 2020, there’s exciting news! You can now use a crossbow during hunting seasons that allow bow and arrow use. The only exception to this is during migratory waterfowl seasons. This change is quite a game-changer from the old days when crossbows were reserved only for disabled hunters with special permits.
  2. Arrow Requirements: Whether you’re a fan of traditional bows or fancy crossbows, you’ve got to make sure your arrows meet certain standards. All arrows, even those for crossbows, should have arrowheads that are wide, at least 7/8 of an inch, and feature a pair of sharp cutting sides.
  3. Transporting Your Crossbow: Remember to never transport your crossbow in a cocked position inside a motor vehicle when you’re on the move. This safety measure is all about preventing accidents while you’re on the road.
  4. Archery License: If you’re planning to hunt bear, deer, or turkey with your trusty crossbow, you’ll need to have a valid archery license or pass the bowhunting education course from vermont. It’s all about ensuring that hunters are well-prepared and responsible.
  5. License Requirement Reminder: Let’s stress the importance of having that archery license or completing the bowhunter education program once more. This rule is in place to make sure all hunters have the necessary knowledge and skills for safe and responsible hunting.
  6. Moose Hunting: Now, if you’re thinking about going moose hunting, you’ll need more than just an archery license or bowhunter education completion. You’ll also need a big game hunting license to make it happen.

Tree Stands & Ground Blinds:

Now, let’s talk tree stands and ground blinds. If you’re planning to use one on private land in Vermont, you’ll need the landowner’s permission. Plus, you’ll have to mark your hunting tree stand or blind with your name and address. But remember, if you’re hunting in State Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), they’ve got their own rules, so give their guidelines a look.

Transporting Firearms & Crossbows in Motor Vehicles:

Now, when it comes to transporting firearms and crossbows in your vehicle, there are some important rules to follow:

  1. It’s a big no-no to have a loaded rifle or shotgun in your vehicle while driving on a public highway. This means no loaded cartridge or shell in the chamber, mechanism, or magazine. Safety first, always.
  2. And when it comes to crossbows, unless it’s uncocked, you can’t have it in or on a motor vehicle, motorboat, airplane, snowmobile, ATV, or any other motor-propelled craft. Keep it safe and secure.

Deer Seasons in Vermont

Deer hunting in Vermont is regulated by specific seasons, each with its own rules and regulations. For those interested in using a crossbow, it’s important to know the following key dates and guidelines:

Archery Season in Vermont:

Feel the thrill during the archery season – it’s crossbow-friendly!

  • Dates: October 1 to November 10 & November 27 to December 15, 2023 (except during the regular November season).
  • Buck Limit: Bag one legal buck anywhere in the state, but don’t go over the annual limit.
  • Antlerless Deer: If you’ve got the aim, antlerless deer are fair game throughout the state, just stay within the annual limit.

Youth Deer Weekend:

  • Mark your calendar for October 21-22, 2023.
  • Rule of the Weekend: Bag one deer of either sex during these days, no antler restrictions. Perfect for the young guns looking to get into the action.

Novice Weekend:

  • Same dates as youth deer weekend, October 21-22, 2023.
  • Definition: If you bought your first hunting license less than a year ago and are 16 or older, this one’s for you.

Muzzleloader Antlerless Season:

  • October 26 to October 29, 2023.
  • Gear up with a muzzleloader license and antlerless permit for this one. You can use that permit here or save it for the regular muzzleloader deer season.

Regular Deer Season:

  • Get ready for the main event from November 11 to November 26, 2023.
  • Buck Limit: One legal buck, anywhere in the state, but don’t exceed the annual limit.

Muzzleloader Season:

  • December 2 to December 10, 2023.
  • Rules: Bag one legal buck without going over the annual limit. If you’ve got an antlerless permit, you can go for the antlerless deer too.

Crossbow Hunting Hours in Vermomnt

For crossbow hunting, the game is on from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. Just bear in mind that specific hours may apply to turkey, raccoon, and other game, so you’ll want to check out the guidelines for the exact times.

Deer Hunting Limits

It’s important to note that there are limits to the number of deer one can harvest in Vermont:

  • No more than four deer per year, with only one being a legal buck.
  • Youth and novice hunters can take two legal bucks, provided one is taken during the youth or novice season, not to exceed the annual limit of four deer.
  • No antler restrictions apply for Youth Deer Weekend or Novice Weekend.

Golden Rules of Crossbow Safety

When it comes to crossbow safety, there are some golden rules:

  1. Take care of your crossbow like it’s your trusty hunting companion. Keep that string waxed and give the rail a good lubrication every now and then.
  2. When you’re ready to fire, make sure your fingers stay clear of the string and cables. Safety below the rail, my friend.
  3. Always check those limbs for anything that might get in the way before you let that arrow fly. No surprises, please.
  4. And here’s a biggie: never, ever dry-fire. That’s just asking for trouble.
  5. Lastly, practice makes perfect. Don’t take shots at game that are way out of your range. Be patient.

Safety Guideline for using crossbows in Tree Stands

Now, if you’re planning to use a tree stand while crossbow hunting always use tree stand harness and follow these safety guidelines:

  1. Using a tree stand adds a new layer of safety. Cock your bow without a bolt while you’re still on the ground. Safety first, always.
  2. Once you’re up and secured in your stand, use a haul line to pull up your unloaded bow. It’s the smart way to do it.
  3. And remember, don’t even think about placing a bolt on that crossbow until you’re safely up in your stand. We want you to stay safe up there!

Staying Updated on Regulations

Stay updated on regulations, my fellow hunter. They can change, and it’s on us to stay informed. Always double-check with local authorities or the Vermont Fish and Wildlife department before you head out on your hunting trip.

And one last thing, we all play a part in improving the information out there. If you spot any errors or outdated details in our guide, shoot us an email so we can make things right.


In conclusion, Vermont’s crossbow hunting regulations are all about keeping us hunters safe and preserving our beautiful wildlife. So, stay informed, follow the rules, and let’s make sure we enjoy this great sport responsibly.

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