Q: Is it legal to use a crossbow during deer gun season? Is a crossbow a firearm?
Joe Mayo, Stayner
A: Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, a firearm includes bows, therefore a crossbow is a firearm for hunting purposes. A crossbow is not a firearm under the Criminal Code, so a person does not need a firearms licence to purchase, possess, or use a crossbow.
Crossbows may be used during any deer season that allows the use of bows. Many gun seasons for deer are seasons that also allow the use of bows, e.g. the rifle season. However, there are some gun seasons that do not allow the use of bows; these are generally controlled deer hunts that allow shotguns and/or muzzleloaders only. It is best to check the hunting regulations summary to determine whether bows are allowed during any particular deer season.
David Critchlow, Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNDMNRF
Originally published in the Hunting Annual 2019-2020 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS Magazine. Ask a CO is also a regular feature in the print edition.