Before even planning your hunting trip, you should take some time to study the laws and regulations that govern it, as well as your weapon of choice.
Crossbows are very common for hunting in the United States, but laws vary from state to state.
So, are crossbows legal in Georgia? They didn’t use to be legal before 2002, but after regulation changes, they now are.
Still, there are specific hunting seasons in which you can use crossbows (or other weapons, for that matter) in order to hunt game.
As such, it’s best to understand the state regulations in detail to avoid any legal trouble.
Hunting Regulations in Georgia
Thinking about going crossbow hunting in GA?
Here are regulations set by the state government:
Is It Legal to Use a Crossbow in Georgia?
As of 2002, it’s lawful to hunt game species with crossbows in the state of Georgia.
You can use crossbows for hunting during primitive weapons, firearms, and even archery seasons if you’re hunting deer.
If you’re hunting bears, you can use crossbows only during the bear season.
Similarly, crossbows for hunting turkey are only legal during turkey season.
Crossbows can also be used during the small game season to hunt smaller game.
In fact, crossbows are also permitted during general gun seasons.
As you can see, crossbow hunting in GA isn’t very restricted.
The regulations are pretty relaxed as long as you stick to the seasons.
It is also legal to use scopes with crossbows in the state.
However, you can only use broadhead arrows for hunting deer, hogs, and bears.
Do You Need a License to Use Crossbows in Georgia?
Crossbow hunting is largely permitted throughout the state and is considered part of archery deer hunting.
However, the state does require crossbow hunters to get a license for primitive weapons before they can hunt during the hunting seasons.
Another requirement is taking a hunter education course to qualify for a license.
Those born before January 1st, 1961 are not required to take such a course.
These regulations apply to both Georgia residents and non-residents.
If you’ve taken a hunter education course in another state or even in Canada, you can use that certification to obtain a license in Georgia.
There are some other exceptions to the course requirement.
Those applying for a three-day hunting or fishing license, apprentice hunting license, or Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP) license are not required to take a hunting course.
What Are the Restrictions to Crossbow Hunting in Georgia?
There are a few restrictions when it comes to hunting, in general, not necessarily crossbow hunting.
- There are restrictions on carrying loaded weapons (a firearm is considered loaded if a shell is in the chamber, while a crossbow is considered loaded if it’s cocked).
- Shotguns used to hunt migratory birds can only contain three shells or less. You can use one-piece plugs to ensure this capacity limit.
- Convicted felons cannot hunt with firearms or muzzleloading firearms unless they have the right to carry. Felons are not prohibited from using archery equipment.
- Legal suppressors can be used for hunting, but not without permission on private land.
What Weapons Can be Used for Hunting in Georgia?
Georgia has defined which weapons may be used for hunting, in which season, and for which game.
However, the rules are not restricted at all, as most common weapons used for hunting are, in fact, permitted for use during hunting seasons.
All kinds of crossbows, including compound bows, recurve bows, and longbows, are lawful for hunting game species as well as feral hogs.
There are no restrictions on the features and characteristics of the crossbows, including draw weight, speed, or arrow size.
However, there’s one restriction regarding arrows.
You can only use broadhead arrows when using crossbows for hunting deer, bear, and feral hog.
Crossbows also come under primitive weapon season.
Other primitive weapons include air rifles, air bows, and muzzleloading firearms.
The regulations regarding firearms are a little more stringent.
They also differ by the game you are planning to hunt.
For instance, legal firearms for deer hunting in Georgia are different from those legal for small game.
Here’s what you should know:
Firearms for Hunting Deer and Bears
- Rifles and handguns that are centerfire only and are 0.22 caliber or larger, with any number of shells
- Shotguns that are 20-gauge or bigger with buckshot or slugs
- Air rifle of 0.30 caliber or higher and air bows are legal firearms for deer hunting in Georgia in primitive and firearm seasons.
- Muzzleloading firearms that are 0.44 caliber or higher or 20-gauge or higher can also be used.
Firearms for Hunting Turkeys
- Shotguns with no.2 shot or less
- Air rifle, air bow, and muzzleloading firearms requirements are the same for deer and bear hunting.
Firearms for Small Game
- Shotguns with 3.5-inch shot shell or smaller, and no.2 shot or smaller
- For waterfowl, shotguns that are 10-gauge or smaller with F-size shots or smaller (lead shots are not allowed for waterfowl)
- Air rifles and muzzleloading firearms that are 0.22 caliber or smaller
When Can You Use Crossbows for Hunting in Georgia?
The hunting seasons vary by different state regions, so you should check out the official state website for the exact date.
It’s important to note that some areas are simply off-limits even during hunting season.
For instance, Morgan Falls Lake in Fulton County is a prohibited area for hunting.
Deer hunting seasons run from September to January, which includes archery, primitive weapon, youth-only, and firearm seasons.
Bear hunting seasons are not the same in different parts of the state, but they usually come between September and January.
Turkey season is in the spring, from March to May.
Are Crossbows Legal in Georgia?
So, are crossbows legal in Georgia? Now, you know they are!
They are perfectly legal for archery and hunting, but make sure you only use them in the appropriate seasons and with proper licensing, as per the hunting regulations in Georgia.
While this information is recent, it’s your responsibility to look for the most recent data, as regulations may be revised at any point.