Exclusive Guide: Elk Hunting With Crossbows

Make your elk hunting dream a reality with our exclusive guide. In this article, you will learn everything about elk hunting with crossbows.
By Rebecca Rios | Updated On February 27, 2023
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Elk hunting with crossbows

Elk Hunting with crossbows is legal in some states and provinces in North America, but regulations vary by location. Before hunting Elk with a crossbow, you must check and understand your area’s specific laws and regulations. Some states may require a specific hunting license or permit or have specific regulations regarding the type of crossbow that can be used. 

In most states, crossbow hunting is allowed, except in Oregon.  Additionally, some areas may restrict the hunting season or the methods used. Always familiarize yourself with the local rules and regulations before heading out on a hunt.

Hunting Elk is a popular pastime for many people. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and show off a beautiful trophy. You can use various weapons, including bows, rifles, and crossbows.

The crossbow Is a powerful weapon that hunters often use. If you’re interested in using a crossbow for elk hunting, keep reading for more information!

Rules and Regulations for Crossbow Elk Hunting 

Legal Status

Before heading out for Elk hunting, make sure that using a crossbow is legal in the state you plan to hunt in. Currently, the only state where crossbow hunting is banned in Oregon.

Season Restrictions

Some states only allow crossbow hunting during firearm season. Check the regulations in your state before hunting.

Draw Weight 

Some states might set a minimum draw weight for crossbows. Make sure that your crossbow meets the requirements before using it for hunting.

Mechanical Safety

Some states require mechanical safety on crossbows. Make sure that you have the required safety mechanism before heading out for hunting.

Prohibited Equipment

Some states restrict the equipment you can use when hunting with a crossbow. Check the regulations in your state and avoid using any prohibited equipment.


Some states require you to have a license for crossbow hunting. Make sure to obtain the required license before heading out for hunting.

Hunting Times

Some states limit crossbows to certain hunting times. Check your state’s regulations to ensure you’re hunting within the allowed times.

Regular Updates

Hunting regulations can change frequently. Check the regulations in your state at the start of each hunting season to ensure you’re hunting within the current laws.

Following these regulations when hunting with a crossbow is important to ensure a safe and legal hunting experience. 

Elk hunting with crossbows
Elk Crossbow Hunting

Choosing The Right Crossbow For Your Elk Hunting Journey

Choosing the right crossbow for an elk hunting trip is an important decision. A crossbow is a powerful weapon that can make you an efficient hunter. A few important factors to consider when selecting a crossbow for Elk hunting include weight, draw weight, accessories, and sight.


First and foremost, it’s important to select a crossbow that is lightweight and easy to carry. A heavier crossbow will be more cumbersome and will tire you out faster. Additionally, purchasing from a brand with a good reputation for producing quality crossbows is recommended. The warranty will ensure that you can get any issues fixed.

Draw weight 

The draw weight is essential when purchasing a crossbow for Elk hunting. This refers to the amount of force you can put behind each shot. Different states have regulations for the minimum and maximum draw weight for crossbows. It’s important to check these regulations before making your purchase.


Accessories are also important to consider when selecting a crossbow. For example, a magnified sight is a popular accessory that can improve your accuracy when hunting Elk. However, it’s essential to check with your state’s regulations to ensure that you are keeping all the rules by using them.

Online resources 

When choosing the right crossbow, you can also seek advice from other local hunters or online forums. These resources can help you compare your options and find the best crossbow for your needs.


In addition to the crossbow, you will also need to select the right arrows for your hunt. When hunting for Elk, it’s important to choose a heavier broadhead that will penetrate deeply into the animal, doing a lot of damage and giving you the best chance of killing it. If you want to take things to the next level, you can use an expandable broadhead that will do more damage and leave a larger blood trail, but check with the regulations in your state before using it.

Draw strength

It’s also essential to match the draw strength of your crossbow to the arrows you are using. If you have too much power, the arrows may wiggle in flight, and if you don’t have enough power, the arrows may not penetrate the tough skin of the Elk.

Power and Speed

Look for a crossbow with a high draw weight and fast arrow speed to ensure a quick and humane kill. A speed of 350 fps or more is recommended for Elk hunting.


Choose a crossbow with a stable and accurate design and good-quality sights and triggers.


Look for a well-built crossbow that can withstand the rigors of hunting in the field.

Noise Reduction 

Choose a crossbow to minimize noise and vibration and reduce the chances of scaring game animals away.

Good sight 

Finally, a good sight is essential for hitting your target. The crossbow may come with a sight, but you may prefer to add your own. Consider weight, materials, and magnification when selecting a sight. Additionally, think about the conditions where you will be hunting, as those who hunt from a tree stand will usually need a different setup from those stalking their Elk.

Some popular and well-regarded crossbows for Elk hunting include the TenPoint Turbo GT, the Excalibur Matrix Mega 405, and the Mission Sub-1 XR. It’s important to test the crossbow before making a purchase and to ensure it fits your needs and preferences.

Elk hunting with crossbows

Tips For Successful Elk Hunting With Crossbows

1. Practice with the Crossbow

  • Get to know the crossbow and how it works.
  • Take plenty of practice shots to get your aim dialed in.
  • Practice shooting in various conditions, including the woods and at targets across a meadow.
  • Practice your stance to deal with the recoil.

2. Stalking the Elk

  • Avoid making noise and snapping twigs that could give away your position.
  • Move slowly and use trees and foliage for cover.
  • Mimic cow calls to attract Elk to the area.
  • Freeze and only make small movements when the Elk are close. Wait for a good shot before firing.

3. Get Close to the Elk

  • Wait for the Elk to be in the correct position before taking the shot.
  • Shoot for the heart for a fatal shot.
  • Focus on closer targets to avoid missing.
  • Aim for a distance of 80 yards for a skilled hunter and 35 yards for a first-time hunter.

4. Using a Rest

  • Use rest to take some weight and make aiming easier.
  • Choose a light rest that can be assembled quickly if stalking the Elk.
  • Consider the hunting you are doing when choosing a rest.

5. Staying Safe

  • Leave the crossbow unloaded while walking to camp.
  • Never dry-fire the crossbow to avoid the risk of it exploding.
  • Be aware of your hunting partner’s location and ensure they stay upright when firing.
  • Inspect the crossbow before hunting, including checking the strings and lining up the site.

Innovations In Elk Hunting Crossbows

Elk crossbow hunting has seen many advancements and innovations in recent years, making it a popular and effective method for pursuing these magnificent animals. Some of the most notable innovations in elk crossbow hunting include:

Improved Crossbow Design

Crossbows have become lighter, faster, and more accurate, allowing hunters to take longer shots and increase their chances of a successful harvest. Modern crossbows include advanced features like adjustable stocks, built-in cocking mechanisms, and noise-dampening systems.

Enhanced Arrows

Hunting arrows have become more durable and aerodynamic, providing greater accuracy and kinetic energy transfer. New materials, such as carbon fiber, have improved arrow strength and allowed lighter and more accurate arrows.

Advanced Sights and Scopes

Sights and scopes have become more advanced, offering improved clarity, brightness, and accuracy. Many modern sights and scopes also have reticles designed explicitly for crossbow hunting, providing precise aiming points at various ranges.

Improved Broadheads

Broadheads have become more reliable, durable, and practical, offering improved accuracy and cutting performance. Some broadheads now feature mechanical blades that open on impact, providing a more significant wound channel and increased lethality.

Innovative Accessory Systems

Many new systems have been developed specifically for elk crossbow hunting, including quivers, stabilizers, and advanced bow cases. These accessories help hunters organize their equipment and improve their hunting experience.

These innovations have improved the effectiveness of elk crossbow hunting and increased the popularity of this method among hunters. As technology continues to advance, we can expect even more advancements and innovations in Elk crossbow hunting in the 


Benefits of Elk Hunting Crossbow innovation 

Innovations in elk crossbow hunting have improved accuracy, range, lethal potential, durability, comfort, and ethics for hunters. Crossbows have become lighter, faster, and more accurate, while arrows have become more durable and aerodynamic. Sights and scopes have improved clarity and accuracy, and broadheads have become more reliable and effective. 

Innovative accessory systems provide comfort and convenience, and increased accuracy and lethality promote responsible and ethical hunting practices. These innovations make elk crossbow hunting a more efficient and enjoyable experience for hunters.


With the right equipment and preparation, hunters can successfully and ethically pursue these majestic animals in their natural habitats. Whether you’re an Expert hunter or just starting, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations, choose the right crossbow, and practice safe and responsible hunting techniques. With the proper preparation and commitment, elk crossbow hunting can provide a lifetime of memorable experiences and adventures in the great outdoors.


The legality of crossbow hunting for Elk varies by state and province. Crossbow hunting is allowed during specific hunting seasons in some areas, while in others, it may be restricted or banned entirely. Before hunting Elk with a crossbow, you must check and understand your area’s specific laws and regulations.

In addition to a crossbow, you’ll need a quiver with arrows, a scope or sights, and a stabilizer. You’ll also need hunting clothing and gear to protect yourself from the elements, a hunting license, and other necessary permits.

When choosing a crossbow for Elk hunting, consider factors such as power and speed, accuracy, durability, weight, noise reduction, and budget. Look for a crossbow that provides the features and performance you need to do successfully and ethically hunt Elk.

The best distance for shooting an elk with a crossbow will depend on the individual hunter’s skill level and the hunt conditions. A general rule of thumb is to take shots under 40 yards, as this is the optimal range for most hunters to ensure a clean and humane kill.

The best season for elk hunting will depend on the specific hunting area and regulations. In many areas, the hunting season for Elk is during the fall, typically from late August to early November. Check your local hunting regulations for specific dates and seasons.

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