Alaska Crossbow Education Course

Beginning July 1, 2018, you may not hunt with a crossbow in any hunt or area for big game unless you have successfully completed an ADF&G-approved Crossbow Education course.

The Alaska crossbow education course is currently being developed and will be available in 2018. The crossbow education course will provide instruction on crossbow techniques and safety, wildlife conservation, and outdoor preparedness. The course will be composed of two parts, the online course and a field day.

The online crossbow education course will be available on our website on January 1, 2018. The crossbow education field days will be scheduled at various locations throughout Alaska beginning in late March/early April. The 2018 certification course schedule will be available in mid-December.

For the online course, you will study the course material and take practice tests on the internet. You can take multiple chapter review tests online until the material is adequately covered. After successfully passing the online test, you must attend a field day where you will complete a proficiency shoot. Only after successfully completing both parts of the course will you receive your crossbow education certification.

Proficiency Shoot

All crossbow education students must successfully complete a standardized proficiency shoot. All students must provide their own crossbow equipment. It is recommended that the student use the crossbow they intend to hunt with during the proficiency shoot. The crossbow must be shoulder-mounted, but there is no minimum draw weight required to take the proficiency shoot, however, students must be knowledgeable about the current regulations to hunt big game in Alaska.

During the required proficiency shoot, a course will be set up with eight different shooting stations (two stations at each of four 3-D targets). Students will use field tips only, NO BROADHEADS. The shooting proficiency will also require a student to estimate range and identify the vital zones of various big game animals. Students will be allowed to use a rangefinder during the proficiency shoot as it's a legal piece of equipment and can be a valuable aid to any hunter, however they cannot share this information with any other student. Shooting proficiency shall be demonstrated by the student taking eight shots at four 3-D targets. The student must make five out of the eight shots in the vitals (heart, lung, liver). The student must make at least one vital shot on each of the four target animals and a double kill shot on one. The proficiency shoot yardages are based on realistic distances that all hunters would encounter in the field. The course also serves as a learning experience for all hunters and hopefully will have an impact on their choice of equipment, amount of practice required, and shots taken while in the field.

If you fail the proficiency shoot, you may, at the discretion of the instructor, retake the entire proficiency shoot that day, but only after everyone else has shot. Past experience has shown that students who show up unprepared will likely fail the proficiency shoot — it is imperative that you practice, practice, practice before taking the course. If the student does not successfully complete all portions of the crossbow education course, they must re-register online for a field day and attend the entire course on another date.

Important Crossbow Regulations

A crossbow MAY NOT be used in any hunt or area specifically restricted to bow and arrow only, as a crossbow is not recognized as legal archery equipment.

To hunt big game in Alaska with a crossbow, the crossbow MUST:

  • have at least a 100-pound peak draw weight.
  • use a bolt that is at least 16-inches in overall length, be tipped with a broadhead, and at least 300 grains in total weight.
  • use a broadhead that is a fixed, replaceable, or mechanical/retractable blade type that is not barbed.
  • not use electronic devices that are attached to the crossbow, except scopes or electronic sights that do not project light externally.
  • be shoulder-mounted.

Disabled hunters may be eligible to use a crossbow in an archery-only area. For more information, visit the Hunting Methods and Means Disability Exemption webpage.

For questions relating to the Alaska crossbow education course, contact (907) 267-2196 or Ginamaria.smith@alaska.gov.