Crossbow Hunting Qualification and Safety Information
This information on this page (from NYS DEC) serves as the New York State online training course for crossbow hunting qualification and certification. This is not required if you have completed the Hunter Education Course and received a hunter education certificate on or after April 1, 2014. This information and certification can be found in the 2015-16 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide.
How to complete the online crossbow training course:
- Read and understand all information on this page.
- Print the certificate at the bottom of the page.
- Sign and date the certificate.
- Carry the signed certificate and appropriate licenses with you while hunting.
Crossbow Safety Information
- Before shooting your crossbow, read and thoroughly understand your crossbow owner's manual.
- Inspect your equipment before every shooting session. Look for: arrow splintering or bending, separation of the bowstring serving, cracks or twists in the crossbow limbs, any loose bolts.
- Apply bow wax to the length of the string/cables, except for the part right above the arrow rail, as it will gum up the trigger box. Lubricate the rail periodically.
- Make sure your fingers are well away (below rail) from the path of the bow string and cables.
- Never dry-fire a crossbow (cock and fire without an arrow securely placed on the rail).
- Make sure the crossbow limbs are free of obstructions before shooting.
- Never carry a cocked crossbow with an arrow in it while walking.
- If hunting from a tree stand, always cock the crossbow on the ground before climbing into the stand.
- Once seated and secured in the tree stand, pull up your unloaded crossbow with a haul line.
- Do not place an arrow on the crossbow until you are safely secured in your stand.
- Never use a cocking device to uncock a crossbow.
- To uncock a crossbow, shoot an arrow tipped with a field point into the soft ground or a target.
- Always identify your target and the area beyond it before shooting.
- To prevent wounding game, practice often and do not take shots at game that are beyond your effective range, generally less than 30-40 yards, similar to a modern compound bow.
- To better understand how an arrow functions and the skill required for hunting with an arrow, DEC recommends all crossbow hunters take a bowhunter education course
Helpful Videos and Information to Review
View this short 4-minute video on the safe use of crossbows (produced by bowhunter-ed.com). If the video does not play properly, please try this alternate version of the video.
Also, visit the North American Crossbow Federation website to view the "Crossbow 101" video (20 minutes) and other helpful information.
Printable Certificate of Qualification
Click the image to download and print the certificate (PDF, 1.6MB)
Complete and sign the certificate, and carry with you along with your appropriate licenses while hunting.