Carrie Wilson is a 20-year CDFW veteran and an avid outdoor
enthusiast, angler and hunter. She is a marine biologist with a strong background of professional experience working in both fisheries and wildlife management. An established award-winning outdoor writer, Carrie enjoys tackling the tough questions from the public and will be regularly tapping into the expertise of CDFW’s wildlife officers and many fisheries, wildlife and marine biologists to best cover all the topics.
If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to [email protected].
Question: With turkey season coming up soon and deer season right around the corner, can you please clarify when crossbows may be used for hunting big game and turkeys in California? As I understand it, you can use a crossbow instead of a rifle during rifle season. Is this correct? Can we use crossbows for taking wild turkeys? (Jesse J.)
Answer: It is important to understand that a crossbow is not considered archery equipment. Crossbows cannot be used during the archery seasons for game mammals or game birds unless the hunter possesses a valid disabled archer permit.
Crossbows may be used during the general seasons for deer, pig and game birds. For big game, hunters must use a broad head which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths of an inch in diameter (California Code of Regulation Title 14, section 354)). For wild turkeys, any arrow or crossbow bolt may be used except as prohibited by CCR Title 14, section 354(d) – which addresses explosive or tranquilizing arrowheads.
For additional information regarding archery equipment and crossbow regulations, please check the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 354. Good luck! r