Weapons Legal for Bison Hunting

Bison may be shot with any centerfire rifle, handgun, muzzleloading rifle, bow-and-arrow or crossbow that meet the criteria listed below:

Successful bison hunter with harvested bison
  1. Rifle/handgun: must fire a 200 grain or larger bullet, which retains at least 2000 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards. A .30-06 with a 220 grain bullet is about the minimal weapon that meets this specification.
  2. Muzzleloader: muzzle-loading rifles must be .54 caliber or larger, or at least .45 caliber with a 300 grain or larger elongated slug. Further, for safety reasons, those hunting with muzzleloaders must also have within easy reach a smokeless powder rifle meeting the centerfire rifle requirements listed above.
  3. Black Powder cartridge rifles: must fire a 400 grain bullet or larger loaded with a minimum of 70 grains of black powder or equivalent (.45-70 with a 400 grain bullet or a .44-90 with a 550 grain bullet).
    Not Legal — .45-70 loaded with 55 grains of black powder, or a .45-70 with a 330 grain bullet.
  4. Bow: longbows, recurve bows, or compound bows are permitted, but they must have a peak draw weight of 50 pounds or more. Arrows must be at least 20 inches in overall length, and tipped with unbarbed, fixed or replaceable-blade type broadheads. Arrow and broadhead together must weigh at least 300 grains total weight. ADF&G strongly recommends that bowhunters have a rifle close at hand.
  5. Crossbow: must have at least 100 lbs. peak draw weight and at least 14 in draw length. The bolt must be 16 or more inches in length, tipped with unbarbed fixed, replaceable or mechanical/retractable blade. The bolt and blade together must weigh a total of 300 grains or more.
    — No electronic devices may be attached to the crossbow.