Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


What are the rules for firearm restriction areas, and can crossbows now be used?

In firearm restriction areas, hunters may hunt only during the season allowed by their deer and/or elk tag.

Modern firearm tag holders may hunt firearm restriction areas during modern firearm deer and/or elk seasons with bows and arrows, crossbows, muzzleloading firearms, revolver-type handguns meeting equipment restrictions, or legal shotguns firing slugs or buckshot. Muzzleloading firearms used during a modern firearm season are not required to meet ignition, sight, or double-barrel restrictions.

It is unlawful to hunt wildlife in a firearm restriction area with centerfire or rimfire rifles.

Archery tag holders hunting firearm restriction areas must use only archery equipment meeting regulation standards.

Muzzleloading firearm tag holders hunting firearm restriction areas must use only muzzleloading firearm equipment meeting regulation standards.

It is unlawful to hunt wildlife with a crossbow except by modern firearm tag holders during a modern firearm hunting season. However, disabled hunter permittees in possession of a crossbow special-use permit may hunt with a crossbow in any season that allows archery equipment.

Other firearm restriction areas are established by local ordinance. Consult your local sheriff or city for other firearm restriction areas. Please see the Firearm Restriction section in the Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet for further details. The Big Game pamphlet is available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

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Last Updated
6th of November, 2015