With so many hunters looking outside their home state for hunting opportunities, it is vital to know the rules and regulations of that state inside and out! Having done your research will help you avoid costly fines, or even confiscation of your game, gear, or vehicle. Game violations could cost you your hunting license for that season, a year, or even for life. That being said, it is also very important to mention that you should not use this blog as your primary source of information. Some game laws for this season are not even on the books at the time I am writing this article, and I promise that a game warden will show little sympathy as he writing you a ticket if you tell him the internet said it was ok to do whatever you are in trouble for.
Lets get started!
FIXED BLADES ONLY
Currently in all 50 states there is only one hold out mandating the use of fixed blades only. Any guesses? That state is Idaho. Your fixed blade broadhead must also have a minimum cutting diameter of 7/8 inches. Another important law to note for Idaho is that anything electronic or battery operated is also illegal when it comes to archery. This includes lighted nocks!
NO RANGEFINDING OPTICS
With the introduction of new range finding optics, you need to be aware of a few states that have clearly made it against the law to use these types of optics on your archery gear. These states are Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Florida. Some caution here as some states outlaw the use of any devise capable of projecting a beam (seen or unseen) and this could also include the range finding optics while not clearly mentioning them specifically.
THE MINS AND THE MAXES
Almost every state has a minimum cut requirement specified for broadheads. While most states require the larger 7/8 inch minimum cut there are a few that allow ¾ inch minimum like Hawaii, Kansas, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, and West Virginia. On that same note, there are also a couple states that have regulations mandating a MAXIMUM cut. Who would have thought? A law like that could easily wind an archer who is not well read in some hot water. Minnesota has 2 inch cut maximum for all types of broadheads, and New Hampshire is 1 ½ inch max for a fixed blade broadheads only.
WHAT DOES IT WEIGH
Although most all states have minimum draw weights for archery equipment, a couple actually have minimum weights for broadheads and arrows. For example, in Montana, your broadhead cannot weight under 70 grains, while Washington and Nevada require your total hunting arrow weight to be a minimum of 300 grains.
STRANGE BUT TRUE
There are always a few laws on the books that make you scratch your head. Sometimes, I think that we just get so use to the laws in our home states that the change and unfamiliarity makes other state laws seem so unusual. That being said, they are still laws and you must be sure to adhere to them. One such state is New Hampshire where you are required to put your name and address on every arrow and bolt. Colorado requires that your broadhead cutting edge must be in the same plane, and in Louisiana you cannot have a broadhead tipped arrow in your possession while bowfishing unless there is a big game animal in season at the same time.
With all the amazing opportunities across the great 50 states, the USFWS says that about 16 percent of hunters (about 1.8 million people) travel outside of their home state to hunt. With that many hunters exploring new territory, there are bound to be a few mistakes made. While some tickets are issued for total disregard of the law, most are just simple errors that could have easily been avoided by thoroughly reading the game laws specific to that state. Some of the most common infractions are due to improper tagging, trespassing, insufficient hunter orange, and improper game check procedures. But, as you have read above there are a few laws directly related to archery that could cause a problem if not properly followed.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog today, we hope that it was helpful to you. For more information on some other state laws and a little bit of fun, check out our video on Archery Laws You Need to Know below…