Written by Muley Freak contributor Colton Heward


Believe it or not, opening day for archery hunters across the West is almost here. With everything that goes into prepping for an out of state archery hunt, it is easy to overlook checking on different rules and regulations in varying states. It’s even harder to locate and then decipher these rules. To make your life a little easier, we break down and highlight the most common archery regulations in many popular western big game hunting states.


Utah

Archery hunting regulations in the Beehive State are fairly cut and dry and easily accessible in the current big game hunting proclamation.

Highlights of their regulations include:

  • Minimum draw weight of 30 pounds
  • Mechanical broadheads are legal
  • Arrow must be a minimum of 20 inches long
  • Any sort of magnified aiming device is illegal
  • Lighted nocks are legal

Idaho

Although fairly strict on their archery regulations, Idaho does a very good job being clear and concise on their website and in their proclamation.

Highlights of their regulations include:

  • Minimum draw weight of 40 pounds
  • Maximum of 85% let-off
  • Mechanical broadheads are illegal
  • Arrow must be a minimum of 24 inches long
  • No electronic or powered device may be attached to your bow or arrow. This includes lighted nocks

Montana

Locating specifics of Montana’s archery regulations were a little more difficult than other states. Although, it was doable with some mining on their website.

Highlights of their regulations include:

  • Arrow must be a minimum of 20 inches long and weigh at least 300 grains with broadhead attached
  • Maximum of 80% let-off
  • Expandable broadheads are legal
  • Electronic sights are illegal
  • Lighted nocks are legal

Wyoming

Archery hunting regulations in the Cowboy State are some of the most liberal in the West. Besides very few restrictions on your equipment, a crossbow is considered a legal weapon to use on an archery hunt.

Highlights of Wyoming’s archery regulations include:

  • Minimum draw weight of 40 pounds is required to hunt antelope, bighorn sheep, black bear, deer, mountain goat, mountain lion, and gray wolf
  • Minimum draw weight of 50 pounds is required to hunt elk and moose
  • Mechanical broadheads are legal
  • Lighted nocks are legal
  • Magnified sights, as well and range finding sights are both legal

**  A cross bow is considered a legal archery weapon in Wyoming **


Washington

Washington’s archery regulations were simple to locate and easy to understand on their fish and game website.

Highlights of Washington’s archery regulations include:

  • Minimum draw weight of 40 pounds
  • Arrow must be a minimum of 20 inches long
  • Mechanical broadheads are legal
  • Illuminated nocks are legal
  • Any electronic device attached to the bow or arrow is illegal. (Exception of lighted nocks)

Oregon

A total of five simple bullet points outlined the archery regulations in Oregon.

Highlights of their archery regulations include:

  • Minimum draw weight of 40 pounds
  • Mechanical broadheads are legal
  • Illuminated nocks are legal
  • Any electronic device attached to the bow or arrow is illegal. (Exception of lighted nocks)

Nevada

Nevada does a very good job of breaking down the archery hunting regulations in their big game proclamation. Not only are the regulations written so all can understand , but they break it down into four specific categories for easy to reference information. The four categories include bow, arrow, broadheads, and sights.

Highlights of Nevada’s regulations include:

  • Minimum draw weight of 40 pounds
  • Maximum of 80% let-off
  • Arrow must be a minimum of 24 inches long and weight at least 300 grains with broadhead attached
  • Mechanical broadheads are legal
  • Illuminated nocks are legal

Colorado

The great state of Colorado is notorious for strict and often confusing hunting regulations. Although a bit long, I was surprised to find their archery regulations section was to the point and easy to understand—for the most part.

Highlights of Colorado’s archery regulations include:

  • Minimum draw weight of 35 pounds
  • Maximum of 80% let-off
  • Mechanical broadheads are legal
  • Illuminated nocks are legal
  • Scopes or any other sort of electronic device may not be attached to the bow

Arizona

Tracking down Arizona’s archery hunting regulations was difficult to say the least. After much frustration of searching online, I still was unable to locate all of the specifics of their archery hunting regulations. I resorted to calling the AZ fish and game office. After some discussion, I was directed to pg. 103 of their current hunting regulations pamphlet to try and de-code their regulations. It was not easy and I still feel there may be more than what I could find.

Here are the highlighted regulations that I was able to pin down:

  • Minimum draw weight of 30 pounds for all big game animals except bison. A minimum draw weight of 40 pounds is required to hunt bison.
  • Mechanical broadheads are legal
  • Illuminated nocks are legal

New Mexico

The entire archery hunting regulations for the state of New Mexico is tied up in one paragraph in the current hunting proclamation. No specific draw weight, or arrow length or weight was mentioned.

Highlights of the short paragraph include:

  • Mechanical broadheads are legal
  • Lighted nocks are legal

IN CLOSING

It is our responsibility as ethical hunters to know and adhere to laws and regulations put in place by each particular state we are fortunate enough to hunt in. This article is intended to be used as a general reference, not doctrine. It is your responsibility to verify and familiarize yourself with the current guidebook and become well versed with all of the laws pertaining to your specific hunt.

The time is finally here. Make the most of your opportunities, and never take a day in the field for granted. Happy Hunting.

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