Ask a CO: do crossbows need to be encased, uncocked, and unloaded in the field before and after legal shooting times?

by Editorial Staff | December 15, 2022
Encased Crossbow

Q: I’m a long-time rifle hunter looking to buy my first crossbow. Do crossbows need to be encased, uncocked, and unloaded in the field before and after legal shooting times? Or can I have it out of a case, but uncocked and unloaded? Also, do I need a trigger lock on my crossbow when stored?

Rick Steele, Stayner

A: Yes, crossbows must be unloaded and encased when in an area inhabited by wildlife (including traveling to and from the field), the same as guns. This means that from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, your crossbow must be unloaded and in a case that encloses it on all six sides. A crossbow is considered to be loaded if it is cocked and has a bolt in it. Crossbows do not have to be trigger locked.

ANSWER BY: David Critchlow, Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNRF

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Originally published in the Nov.-Dec. 2021 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine. Ask a CO is also a regular feature in the print edition.

Please check the most recent Ontario hunting and fishing regulations summaries, as rules and regulations can change.

For more instalments of Ask a CO, click here

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