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Michigan Expands Crossbow Hunting Opportunities

From Michigan Natural Resources Commission

-- New crossbow regulations recently approved by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission are designed to expand hunting opportunities, retain existing hunters and recruit new hunters, and offer a way for some hunters to continue hunting when facing physical limitations.

Under the new regulations, crossbows may be used:

● by anyone 50 years of age or older during the Oct. 1-Nov. 14 bowhunting deer season statewide

● by any hunter age 12 and older during any hunting season in Zone 3 of southern Michigan, including the bowhunting season.

● during any season in which a firearm may be used, for both big and small game statewide.

Under the new regulations, 10- and 11-year-old hunters may not use a crossbow. Youth hunters must be at least 12 to use a crossbow.

A crossbow stamp will be required in addition to hunting licenses for those using crossbows. Stamps will be available at all license retailers starting March 15. The stamp, which is free, will help the DNR monitor and survey crossbow hunters over the next three years.

Crossbow hunters are required by state law to wear hunter orange while hunting. The DNR will pursue legislative changes to modify the hunter orange law for crossbow hunters.

Crossbows used for hunting are restricted to no more than 350 feet per second.

The regulations have a three-year sunset. Crossbow hunters will be surveyed over the next three years, and regulations will then be re-evaluated by the Department of Natural Resources and the NRC. Data will be collected that analyzes impact on the resource and the crossbow’s potential to recruit or retain hunters. The data also will be analyzed to determine if crossbow use should be expanded further in the future.

The crossbow changes do not affect hunters with disabilities who are currently hunting under the authority of a DNR-issued crossbow permit.

The new regulations are designed to increase hunting opportunities in Michigan, especially in Zone 3, where the white-tailed deer population remains well above the DNR’s desired population goal. The new regulations also will provide hunters with more choices to continue hunting if they have been injured, have a disability or other physical limitation that affects their ability to hunt.

For more information on hunting opportunities in Michigan, visit the DNR’s Web site at

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