Crossbows have been around for over 2,000 years and served as a primary instrument of medieval warfare. Modern crossbows have evolved to use advanced materials technology. They present a fun alternative to guns and a more user-friendly alternative to compound bows for hunters and recreational shooters. Crossbows can be used to take down small and big game alike, which makes them great for Florida's diverse game, including deer, turkey and wild boar.
Crossbow Hunting Season
Crossbow hunting is only allowed during certain times of the year. These seasons vary by region. In 2009, the crossbow season for the Northwest Hunting Zone was from Nov. 30 through Dec. 6, from Oct. 26 through Oct. 30 for the Central Hunting Zone, and from Oct. 12 through Oct. 30 for the South Hunting Zone.
Crossbow Bag Limits
The following bag limits apply to game hunted with crossbow:
Turkeys: 1 per day, up to 2 per season
Deer: 2 per day
Quail, Gray Squirrel, Rabbit: 12 per day
No limits are imposed on the hunting of wild hog, raccoon, bobcat, otter, opossum, coyote, nutria, skunk and beaver.
Licenses and Permits
A special crossbow permit is required in addition to a Florida hunting license in order to use a crossbow during crossbow season. This crossbow permit can be purchased individually or as part of a bundle through one of Florida's lifetime sportsman's licenses. These licenses and permits can be purchased from a local tax collector office, through www.wildlifelicense.com or by calling 1-888-HUNT-FLORIDA. An annual crossbow permit costs $5. Florida residents are eligible for a 5-year permit, which costs $25.
License and Permit Exemptions
You do not need a crossbow permit or hunting license if you meet any of the following criteria:
1) You are hunting in your county of residence on your homestead or the homestead of a family relative
2) You are a Florida resident age 65 or older
3) You are a Florida resident possessing a Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate
4) You are a Florida resident in the U.S. Armed Services visiting home on leave of 30 days or less
5) You are a child under age 16
Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 lbs. Hunting game using crossbows with less than 35 lbs. of draw weight is prohibited. For hunting deer, turkeys or hogs, broadheads must have at least two sharpened edges with a minimum width of ? inch.
An antlerless deer permit is required to take antlerless deer on private lands during crossbow season. The use of dogs to aid in hunting is prohibited during crossbow season.
- Photo Credit Men crossbow shooting image by Igor Zhorov from Fotolia.com