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Bowhunting in the world

European Bowhunting Federation Copyright 2007-10-22

This list is compiled of current information 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.


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.


Legalised in 1995, following a long period during bowhunting was not regulated. All game animals can be hunted with bow and arrow. A current estimate gives in excess of 6.000 bowhunters in France.As of 2003 01 01 the use of a release aid is now allowed as well as shorter bows. Since 1995, a french education program is mandatory for all bowhunters . In addition of the hunting permit, each bowhunter need a legal attestation of training.


Bowhunting have always been allowed for small game, this was formalised 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 must a broadhead with at least 22 mm diameter be used. When you hunt beaver must your arrow be attached to the to the bow with a tracking string.Beaver and Roedeer 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” In 2007 the Finnish Hunter Association filed for a change in the hunting law so the all smaller deer will be legal to harvest with bow and arrow.


Legal for game up to and including roedeer. Hunting with bow and arrow was made illegal in 1967 but was immediately put on a dispensation system until legalised in 1999 for Roedeer & lesser game. Roedeer, 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.

Smallgame: 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 respectively Roedeer,fox, hare, goose, pheasant and duck. Distance varying from 5 to 25 meters. The bow must fulfil the requirements for hunting.

Suggested changes for 2004: when using mechanical points the energy of the arrow has to be 70 Joules or more. A study is underway on the effects on hunting Roedeer (capreolus capreolus) with bow and arrow. The first three years have shown a wounding rate of less than 5,6%


Currently not legal.


Currently is a study being done on the possibility to allow Bowhunting for small game.


Legalised, 1993 all game. In the case of big game (Reddeer, Roedeer, Fallowdeer, Moufflon, Wildboar) the minimum draw weight is 222,7 N (50#) and an arrow with hunting point, i.e. broad-head is required.

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 sporthunter) 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). In Hungary more than 400 bowhunters have passed the specific bowhunting state exam already.


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 case non contemplated as hunting weapon. Exception to this are Tuscany and Lombardia, 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.


Possible for all game, Legalised in 1986. Must have International Bowhunter Education (IBEP)


Not legal


Not legal


Not possible, Belgian Bowhunters Ass: n was stopped in 2005 in an effort to make it possible to hunt.


Not legal


Allowed at some private and fenced grounds.

It is forbidden to hunt with any cold weapons and air weapons, It is forbidden to hunt with crossbows and similar devices, unless the special law states differently (as of 22.nd. Nov. 2005)

Croatian law for use of hunting dogs from May, 1996: It is forbidden to hunt with birds of prey or with bow and arrow unless at least one appropriate hunting dog is available per use per 3 falconers/ bowhunters.


Not legal.


Allowed at some private and fenced grounds (these are mainly larger 300 -600 ha enclosures)


Allowed at smaller fenced in grounds.-in reality: Hunting with bow and arrow is prohibited in free nature and in hunting game enclosures. (these are enclosures that are over 200 ha large). Hunting in enclosures between 30 and 200 ha large is not defined and thus bowhunting in such enclosures is possible.


Bowhunting was banned in 1938. In 1998 the Swedish Bowhunting Association was granted a period to try bowhunting and the publics attitudes towards the hunting method. The hunts were only conducted in fenced off areas. The hunters have to pass very stringent qualifications to participate. The periods up until June 2002 have showed a good attitude and excellent results for the hunters who mostly have taken Fallowdeer and Wildboar. The report is as of 2004 01 10 submitted to the Swedish Environmental Agency for evaluation. In June 2007 The Swedish Bowhunter Association filed for a permit to hunt with bow and arrow with the Swedish Enviromental Agency who has the possibility to establish permits for hunting tools. The permit was circulated to the two main hunting organisations who approved of such a permit. A final saying will be presented in january 2008.


Not legal


Legal since 1987, possible to hunt all game. Need International bowhunter education. Minimum 50 pound of pull, no barbed points.

Chech republic




Possible to bowhunt.

Åland (Alandic islands)

This independent community is located in the Baltic Sea. A change of the current hunting regulations have been approved by with government, this have lead to the implementation of hunting with bow in 2006.

Regulations as of 2006 08 01: The hunter must have a International Bowhunter Education or an equivalent education. An Aaland ic 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.


South Africa

Legal for all game, Big six need a special permit. 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

Smallgame up to and including Blesbocks (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 -200kg) 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

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 with.

Category 4-5 must have a point with at least Ø 28-mm cutting with and be two bladed.

* This is very marginal on a giraffe, go one category up to ensure penetration on very tough ribs.


Namibia have a recent legislation on bowhunting, all antelopes can be hunted with bow and arrow. The guide must have a special permit to accompany bowhunters. Just as RSA, Namibia have chosen the arrows kinetic energy as a rule for the various sizes of game.

Small antelopes minimum: 25 ft/Lbs 33.9 Joules ex Blesbock

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 was the first modern bowhunts allowed. Hunting with bow and arrow is only allowed on plainsgame.

Minimum 50FtLbs/400grain 68 Joule/26 gram

for the following game: Bushbuck, Duiker, Reedbuck, Red Lechwe, Impala, Oribi, Wildebeest, Zebra, Tsessebe, Kudu, Sable, Hartebeest, Gemsbok


In Zimbabwe has bowhunting been legal with special regulation since 1989. The legislation has recently been changed and from 1999 according to Park and Wildlife General Amendment Regulation no 3 i.e. bowhunting is allowed on “Alienated land” i.e. private and federal land excluding the concessions bordering the Zambezi or other areas were a concession is in effect.

Category B-D including lion and leopard Least pull is 25 kg or 55 pound

Larger antelope Minimum pull 35 Kg or 77 pound min arrow weight 40 grams

Giraff and Eland Minimum pull 35 Kg or 77 pound min arrow weight 45 grams

Crocodile, buffalo, hippo and rhino cannot be hunted with bow and arrow.

Burkina Faso











Legalized on all game as of 2003 01 01


Legalized as of 2005



North America

Legal for all game in all states and provinces. 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.


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.



Possible with special permit, bow is considered a weapon and therefore may not be brought into Russia with out a license.


Bowhunting allowed.




Any 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


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Name: European bowhunting federation

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