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Crossbow Regulations Updated for 2017

A series of regulation changes have been made for Illinois crossbow deer hunting over the past few years, and now the previous age/disability restrictions have been removed entirely.

Source: Inside Illinois DNR Newsletter

Released: October 4 2017

Hunters in Illinois may use crossbows during archery hunting seasons, including the Illinois Archery Deer Season and the Illinois Fall Turkey Archery Season beginning on Oct. 1. 
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Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law House Bill 2893, which amended the Illinois Wildlife Code to repeal restrictions on the use of crossbows during archery hunting seasons in Illinois.  

Illinois law previously allowed the use of crossbows for archery hunting only by persons age 62 or older, and those persons with disabilities who qualified for a crossbow permit issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).  In addition, the previous law allowed certain youth hunters to use crossbows, and allowed all archery hunters to use crossbows beginning the Monday after the second firearm deer season. 

The 2017-18 season dates for archery deer and fall turkey archery hunting in Illinois are Oct. 1, 2017 through Jan. 14, 2018.  Archery seasons will be closed Nov. 17-19 and Nov. 30-Dec. 3 during the Firearm Deer Season in those counties open to firearm deer hunting.

Crossbows used in hunting in Illinois shall:

  1. have minimum and a maximum peak draw weight of 125 and 200 pounds, respectively.
  2. have a minimum overall length (from butt of stock to front of limb) of 24 inches.
  3. have a working safety.
  4. be used with fletched bolts or arrows of not less than 14 inches in length (not including point)
  5. use broadheads that may have fixed (must be metal or flint-, chert- or obsidian- napped) or expandable blades (must be metal), but they must be a minimum 7/8 inch diameter when fully opened.
  6. NOT use electronic tracking systems utilizing radio telemetry
  7. Note: On state-owned and -managed hunting areas flu-flu arrows must be used for taking upland game.

The equipment restrictions apply to all eligible hunters. (note: the 24" minimum crossbow limb width restriction has been removed - check the IDNR Legal Hunting Devices page for more details.