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Legal Specifications for Bow and Arrow
M. Barnett Lawley
220-2-.03 Legal Specifications for Bow and Arrow
(1) A legal bow for hunting is defined as either a long bow, a recurve bow, or a compound bow designed to be held, drawn, and fired in the upright (vertical) position, or a crossbow. Except for crossbows or as provided in paragraph (3) for disabled persons, there shall be no attachment or extensions on the bow upon which the shooter may rest the string, drawing hand, fingers, release aid or arm to assist in holding or to hold the bow at full draw. Except for crossbows or as provided in paragraph (3) for disabled persons, the bow must be supported only by the shooter's hand, and the string and arrow must be drawn and held using only the shooter's strength while the bow is being shot. This does not prohibit the use of cable guards on compound bows or the use of string releases or mechanical releases which are hand-held and hand-drawn with no other attachments, connection or contact with the bow other than to the bow string. It shall be unlawful to hunt with any bow which does not conform to the requirements of this regulation.
(2) Sighting and aiming devices on all bows shall be void of any electronics with computational capabilities. The use of electrically assisted aiming devices shall be limited to illuminated sight pins/beads/markings which are attached to the bow. Sights with magnification or light projection (laser type) features are prohibited.
(3) (a) Except for crossbows, it shall be unlawful for any person to hunt wildlife with any mechanical device that holds a bow at full or partial draw, except a person holding a valid disabled permit issued by the Department is allowed to use a device that holds a bow at full draw provided the device has a full working safety to prevent accidental firings.
(b) Permits for permanently disabled persons shall be issued to persons meeting at least one of the following qualifications:
(1) Any person previously licensed under Section 9-11-45.1, Code of Alabama, to use a crossbow.
(2) Any person unable to ambulate without the aid of a wheelchair, two crutches, two leg braces or two leg prostheses at all times.
(3) Any person who, by reason of permanent physical impairment, is incapable of holding, drawing, or releasing a compound bow, recurve bow, or long bow, with a minimum peak tension (within the user's normal draw length) of 35 pounds.
Persons applying for a permit pursuant to (b)(2) or (b)(3) above shall present to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources a letter from a licensed physician stating the applicant's name, address, description of the permanent physical impairment, the medical reason for such impairment, and a specific statement certifying how the applicant meets the criteria of (b)(2) or (b)(3). Upon review and approval of such letter by an authorized employee of the Department, the letter shall be returned to the applicant and said letter shall be in the applicant's possession and serve as a permit at any time he/she is utilizing the permit for hunting.
(4) It shall be unlawful, except as otherwise provided by law or regulation, for any person to hunt deer and turkey with bow and arrows that are not in conformance with the following specifications:
(a) Bows must have a minimum peak tension (within the user's normal draw length) of 35 pounds. Compound bows shall not have draw reduction (let-off) greater than 90 percent at full draw. Crossbows must have a minimum peak tension of 100 pounds at normal draw length.
(b) Arrows shall be a minimum of 20 inches in length (nock slot to end of shaft) and equipped with a broadhead which has a minimum of 2 sharpened edges. Crossbow bolts or arrows shall be a minimum of 14 inches in length from nock slot to end of shaft.
(c) Broadheads shall have a minimum weight of 100 grains. The minimum cutting diameter for any broadhead shall be 7/8 inch. The minimum thickness for fixed blade broadheads shall be .015 inch, and the minimum thickness for expanded broadheads shall be .025 inch.
(5) Crossbows must be equipped with a working safety.