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Bowhunting in the world



This list is compiled of current information 2018-01-01

Please check with local authorities before you enter any adventures abroad.
When hunting abroad, the “reciprocity rule” indicates that each hunter must fulfill his/her national requirements before venturing on a hunt abroad. The International Bowhunter Education Program (IBEP) is an additional, advanced course for those who choose bow and arrow as his/her hunting tool. It is not unusual that the national agency need proof of your educational level or skill to be offered a hunting license.
The list below does not in any way claim to be 100% correct since new regulations and changes always come up. The possibilities to hunt with bow in some way is often there, in some instances it may be on estates, were the game is surrounded by fence or it may be restricted to small game or non-game species.
EC regulations
The EC regulations, specifically the 6th Annex in the “Habitat Directive 9243” do not forbid any member state to adopt the use of bow and arrow as a means to harvest game.
Hunting with bow and arrow is mentioned as one of several approved of hunting methods in the document European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity.
This independent region is located in the Baltic Sea. A change of the current hunting regulations has been approved by the government, which has led to the implementation of hunting with bow in 2006.
Regulations as of 2006: The hunter must have a International Bowhunter Education or an equivalent education. An Alandic proficiency test is required on a yearly basis. This test consists of a short round with six animal targets at varying distances up to 25 meters, were five of the six have to be hit in the vital area/lungs-heart.
The arrow must possess a minimum energy of 40 joule (29,5 Ft/lbs.), the arrow must weigh at least 25 grams, the hunting point must have at least two cutting edges with a minimum diameter of 25 mm.
All game except moose can be harvested by bow and arrow.
+ 50 bowhunters
Not allowed
+200 bowhunters
The new law released in 2014 now includes hunting with bow and arrow for all hunted game species. First bowhunts have been conducted meanwhile. Currently the import of hunting bows into Belarus is still cumbersome and efforts are taken to make this process smoother.
+50 Bowhunters
In the Walloon part of Belgium is it as of 2016 possible to use bow and arrow as a hunting tool.
+ 100 bowhunter
Become Legal as of January 2009 for all game. This was after a three year period of information to
the hunting authorities about the effectiveness of the modern bow and arrow as a hunting method.
+100 bowhunters
Czech Republic
Presently not possible. A Czech Bowhunting Association is founded and very active to promote the
use of bow and arrow as a hunting tool.
There are currently efforts underway to regulate the use of bow and arrow in general hunting.
+50 bowhunters
Bowhunting is legal for game up to and including roe deer. Hunting with bow and arrow was banned
in 1967 but was immediately put on a dispensation system until legalized in 1999 for roe deer and
smaller game. The Danish bowhunters must have a national hunting education as well as an
additional bowhunter education complete with a proficiency test. The proficiency test needs to be
taken every five years.
Roe deer, fox, hare and geese:
Minimum Kinetic Energy 40 Joules (29,5 Ft/lbs.) Broadhead: min 25mm (1") diameter and three or
more razor-sharp edges. Minimum arrow weight: 25 grams.
Minimum energy requirement when using mechanical broadheads is 70 Joules.
Small game: Minimum Kinetic Energy 40 Joules (29.5 Ft/lbs.) Broadhead: min 22mm (7/8")
diameter and two or more razor-sharp edges. Minimum arrow weight: 20 grams.
There are no restrictions to bow type. Presently all hunters must take Danish Bowhunter exam in
Denmark as well as pass a proficiency test. Five out of six hunting arrows have to hit within the vital
area of a roe deer target. Distance varying from 5 to 25 meters. The bow must fulfill the
requirements for hunting. When using mechanical points the energy of the arrow has to be 70
Joules or more.
A study has been conducted on hunting for roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) with bow and arrow.
The resulting wounding rate of bowhunters is comparable to rifle hunting and favorable to hunting
roe deer with shotguns.
+3500 licensed bowhunters.
Bowhunting is legal as of April 2013 for small game up to and including beaver. Requst a hunter
education as well as a Bowhunter education to hunt with bow and arrow.
+50 bowhunters
Legalized in 1995, following a long period during when bowhunting was not regulated.
All game animals can be hunted with bow and arrow. A current estimate gives in excess of 15.000
bowhunters in France.
As of 2003-01-01 the use of a release aid is now allowed as well as shorter compound bows.
As of 13th September 2003 the French bowhunter education program is mandatory in France
As of 2008, all foreign bowhunters will be allowed to purchase a 10 day hunting license.
As of 2011 regulations, concerning the minimum length of the bow and weight of the arrow is taken
from the regulations. Expandable or mechanical hunting points are also allowed.
+15.000 licensed bowhunters.
In 2017 the new law regulates the use of bow and arrow for the larger hoofed game such as white
tailed, fallow, red and reindeer as well as mouflon and wild boar.
Bowhunting has always been allowed for small game, this was formalized in 1993. §20 in the
Finnish hunting law govern the bow and arrow as a hunting tool. As of 2001 04 01 the addition of
game up to and including roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and beaver (Castor fibris) was made.
Regulations state that the force of the bow must be min 180 Newton pull force (40# draw weight),
"point must be direct killing when a good hit is made" For roe deer and beaver a broadhead with at
least 22 mm diameter must be used.
Need for a national hunting education to bowhunt.
Beaver and roe deer Min Ø 22-mm cutting edged hunting point
When hunting beaver the arrow must be attached to a retrieving string.
Lesser game: “Direct killing point” is required.
Approximately 20.000 bowhunters.
Not allowed
+500 Bowhunters
Following a successful dispensing hunt in the summer of 2010 for muskoxen, contacts have been
made with the authorities and EBF have offered their knowledge and support for the process of
reintroduction of bow and arrow hunting. During 2011, serious efforts to change regulations on
using bow and arrow for muskoxen have been made.
A change in regulations for muskoxen was passed 11th of July 2012.
Only compound bows can be used.
Min draw force 60 Pound (28 kg)
Min arrow weight 525 grain (34 gram)
Broadhead must not have mechanical of folding blades,
Since 2013, reindeer can be hunted with bow and arrow.
Only compound bows can be used.
Min draw force 45 Pound (21 kg) with fixed blade Broadheads
Min draw force 55 Pound (25 kg) with mechanical blade Broadheads
Min arrow weight 385 grain (25 gram) with fixed blade Broadheads
Min arrow weight 425 grain (28 gram) with mechanical blade Broadheads
Broadhead can be for the type with fixed blades or mechanical of folding blades
Legalized, 1993 all game. In the case of big game (Red deer, Roe deer, Fallow deer, Mouflon, Wild
boar) the minimum draw weight is 222,7 N (50#) and an arrow with hunting point, i.e. broadhead is
The use of crossbow for hunting purposes is not allowed.
For Hungarian Bowhunters additional to the general hunting state exam (which is required for each
Hungarian sport hunter) specific bowhunting exam is required. This exam covers theoretical
knowledge and practical skills (target shooting with a required minimum score). In general the
bowhunters are under the same hunting regulations as the gun-hunters with some small privileges
(as an example, the bowhunter is allowed to shoot at a sitting/standing hare also, however generally
only the running hare is a legal target).
+2000 licensed bowhunters.
A new Bowhunting association has been started and is a member in EBF as of 2011.
Initial contact has been made with the authorities to look for possibilities to reintroduce bowhunting
+20 Bowhunters
All regions except three allow bowhunting. Although in one of the three, Emilia Romagna, a public
subscription has been accepted by the local government to cancel this law.
Hunting big game is in most regions ruled by special "selection criteria’s" and bow is in most of the
cases not contemplated as hunting weapon. Exceptions to this are Tuscany and Lombardi, where
hunting with bow and arrow is allowed for Wild Boar. Small game is possible to hunt all over Italy. It
is also legal to hunt in fenced preserve (wild boar and Fallow deer mainly). NBEF Italy, are keeping
up with courses and information, and we can honestly say acceptance is increasing.
+1500 bowhunters.
The hunting law will be open in 2015. A letter of intent is submitted to the government and ministry
of agriculture, which organizes the working group related to changes in hunting law.
The Latvian Bowhunting Associations (LBA) proposal is based on Aland practice, with some little
changes. IBEP education program will be mandatory for local hunters. Foreign hunters can hunt
with the hunting license by origin. From the political side LBA has all the support and have letters of
co agreement for cooperation with different state and hunters organizations.
+100 Bowhunters
Originally, as per 1992-08-20 all game could be hunted with bow & arrow as well as crossbow.
Bowhunting has been made removed from the hunting law again in May 2005 due to the joining in
EU and a misinterpretation of the 6th Annex of the Habitat Directive. Contacts have been
established between the Lithuanian bowhunting Association, the Ministry the Department and the
Lithuanian hunting association. An initial seminar was held in October of 2011 and a working group
has been established.
+50 bowhunters
Bowhunting as well as crossbow is possible for all game and Portugal was the first nation in Europe
to legalize hunting with bow and arrow. This was done already in 1986. To bowhunt in Portugal you
must have passed the International Bowhunter Education (IBEP)
+100 bowhunters.
The recently revised hunting legislation permits the use of bow and arrow as a hunting tool. The
regulations stipulating the specifications of the hunting system is not in place yet.
+100 bowhunters
There are contacts between the Russian Bowhunting Club and hunting/ministry officials. In 2010 the
permission to have a test hunt for redder and wild boar with bow and arrow was granted.
A bowhunting association has been formed in June 2010 ( Hunting with
bow and arrow for all game species is allowed in fenced hunting areas (Enclosures).
+100 bowhunters
Is legal to hunt with bow and arrow as of 2016.
+100 bowhunters
Hunting with bow and arrow is not allowed on free ranging hunting grounds and in hunting game
enclosures, (these are enclosure’s that are over 200 ha large).
+50 bowhunters
Bowhunting was banned in 1938. In 1998 the Swedish Bowhunting Association was granted a
period to try bow hunting and the public attitudes towards the hunting method have improved. The
hunts were only conducted in fenced areas. The hunters had to pass very stringent qualifications to
participate. The periods up until June 2002 have shown good hunting ethics and excellent results
for the hunters who mostly have taken Fallow deer and Wild boar. The report is as of 2004-01-10
submitted to the Swedish Environmental Agency for evaluation.
The main hunting organization have together with the Bowhunters Association in 2017 initiated a
change in the regulations to ensure the use of bow and arrow as a hunting method.
+500 bowhunters
Not allowed, An active bowhunting association is in place and promoting the use of bow and arrow
as a hunting tool.
50 bowhunters
Bowhunting is allowed since 1985, and all game can be hunted. barbed hunting broadheads are
Under very strict regulations of the Madrid Hunting Federation, a special urban bowhunt is
administered by Madrid´s Environmental Agency. Such a bowhunt is also conducted in a Spanish
National Park to regulate excessive numbers of large game. Both bowhunting programs are unique
wildlife management programs in Europe.
Estimated 5000 - 6000 bowhunters.
Possible in some regions.
+100 Bowhunters
As of 2013 bowhunting has been taken up as a legal hunting method in the hunting law. Currently
bowhunting structures and regulations are set up accordingly.
Estimated 300 Bowhunters.
Several initiatives in to make bowhunting possible is launched by the British Bowhunters
Association. An initial meeting has been held with the Scottish Natural Heritage which was attended
by representatives from BBA, Ian Kirkwood and EBF President Anders Gejer. Further cooperation is
also initiated with BASC. Bowfishing is now permitted in the ocean.
+100 Bowhunters
South Africa,
Hunting law regulations updated in 2007. Bowhunting is legal for all game except elephant, rhino,
crocodile and large predators. This was the first country to regulate the kinetic energy of the arrow
in relation to the hunted game species.
Category 1: 25 ft/lbs-34 Joule
Small game up to and including Blesbok (i.e. weights -60kg) including Nyala female but not the
male, warthog or predators larger than black backed jackal.
Category 2: 40 ft/Lbs-54 Joule
Medium game including Kudu, warthog, bushpig, and all predators (i.e. weights -250kg) except lion,
leopard, crocodile gemsbok and sable antelope.
Category 3: 65ft/Lbs-88 Joule
Larger game including eland antelope, lion**, leopard**, crocodile**, gemsbok and sable antelope.
(I.e. weights -800 kg). Not including Buffalo!
Category 4: 87 ft/Lbs-109 Joule
Buffalo and Giraffe (i.e. weights 600-2000 kg)
Category 5**: 105 ft/Lbs-142 Joule -- Cannot be hunters in RSA as of 2015
Elephant**, black and white rhinoceros** and hippo (I.e. weights +1500 kg)
Category 1-3 must have a point with at least Ø 25-mm cutting width.
Category 4-5 must have a point with at least Ø 28-mm cutting width and be two bladed.
**Not legal as of regulations of 2007
Namibia has a recent legislation with regard to bowhunting. All antelopes can be hunted with bow
and arrow. The guide must have a special permit to accompany bowhunters. Just as RSA, Namibia
has chosen the arrows kinetic energy as a rule for the various sizes of game.
Small antelopes minimum: 25 ft/Lbs 33.9 Joules ex. Blesbok
Midsize antelope’s minimum: 40 ft/Lbs 54.24 Joules ex. Kudu, Warthog
Large antelope’s minimum: 60 ft/lbs 81.36 Joules ex. Eland, gemsbok
In 1995 the first modern bowhunts have been conducted. Hunting with bow and arrow is only
allowed on plains game.
Minimum 50 ft/Lbs and 400grain (68 Joule/26 gram) for following game:
Bushbuck, Duiker, Reedbuck, Red Lechwe, Impala, Oribi, Wildebeest, Zebra, Tsessebe, Kudu,
Sable, Hartebeest, Gemsbok
Bowhunting plains game in Zimbabwe started in 1989 when the government began allowing
bowhunting under special exception of the law. In 1999 the government of Zimbabwe officially
opened bowhunting under new legislation.
Bowhunting in Zimbabwe may only take place on Alienated (private) Land or Communal (tribal)
Land. Bowhunting is illegal in Zimbabwe on National Parks Safari Areas.
Bowhunting Class A Game (Elephant, Buffalo and Hippo) as well as lion (2016) is not permitted in
Zimbabwe unless a special bowhunting permit for those species has been granted by the general
director of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) for which the safari
operator must apply for well prior to the start of the bow hunt.
General plains game bowhunting in the country at present leaves somewhat to be desired. There
are a few isolated locations that are still acceptable but not the quality that there used to be.
Zimbabwe offers a few isolated plains game areas that are still relatively good for bowhunting but
not the quality that there used to be. The country however has great dangerous game hunting
safaris for bowhunter. However few operators have the experience to conduct bowhunting safaris,
so careful selection of the hunting outfitter is very important.
Zimbabwe does not have an additional bow qualification for professional hunters, however a
professional guide or professional hunter licensed and registered with the Zimbabwe Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) is required to be present during the hunt to guide and
protect the hunting client.
Minimum Equipment Requirements for Bowhunting in Zimbabwe
Class A Game
Bow Kinetic Energy 80 ft/lb Arrow Weight 700 grain
(Elephant, Hippo, Buffalo, Rhino of which Elephant and Rhino only with special permit)
Class B Game
Bow Kinetic Energy 77 ft/lbs Arrow Weight 695 grain
Broadheads with only two cutting edges
(Lion, Giraffe, Eland)
Class C Game
Bow Kinetic Energy 70 ft/lbs Arrow Weight 618 grain
(Leopard, Crocodile, Kudu, Oryx / Gemsbok, Hartebeest, Wildebeest, Zebra, Nyala, Sable Antelope,
Waterbuck, Tsessebe, etc.)
Class D Game
Bow Kinetic Energy 56 ft/lbs Arrow Weight 463 grain
(Warthog, Impala, Reedbuck, Sitatunga, Duiker, Steenbok, Jackal, Game Birds, etc.)
Bowhunting in Zimbabwe may only be done with compound bows. Bowhunting with Recurve bows,
longbows or crossbows is not permitted in Zimbabwe unless a special permit has been issued for
which the safari operator must apply for six months prior to the start of the bow hunt. This special
bowhunting permit comes at a substantial cost.
Burkina Faso
Central African Republic
Legalized for all game as of 2003
Legalized for all game as of 2005
Legal as of 2010
Legal as of 2012
North America
Bowhunting is legal for all legal game in all states of the United States.
Most states have stipulated a minimum draw weight or minimum peak weight during the draw of the
bow. This varies from 30 to 45 pounds for white-tailed deer, some states require minimum 50# bow
pull for Wapiti and Moose. Most states also have a minimum width of the two bladed broadhead to
be 7/8” approximately 22 mm. A few states have put the limit at the cast of the arrow has to exceed
a minimum distance i.e. 140 yards or more.
Bowhunting is legal for all legal game in all provinces.
Draw weight requirements vary from 30 to 45 pounds for white-tailed deer, some provinces require
minimum 50# bow pull for Wapiti, bear and Moose. Most provinces also have a minimum width of
the minimum two bladed broad head to be 7/8” approximately 22 mm and a regulation against
barbed heads.
Hunting with bow & arrow is legal for all legal game.
South America
Most countries allow hunting with bow and arrow.
Hunting with bow & arrow is legal for all legal game.
New Zealand
Hunting with bow & arrow is legal for all legal game.
New Guinea
Bowhunting allowed.
A modern compound pulling 70# at 30” will produce in the vicinity of 90 Joules energy in the arrow (260ft/s-30 gram arrow)
A modern recurve pulling 70# at 30” will produce 65 Joules of arrow energy (200ft/s-35 gram arrow)
A modern longbow pulling 70# at 30” will produce 59 Joules of arrow energy (190ft/s-35 gram arrow)


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