Minimum Draw Weight for Elk 2021 Per State


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As elk hunting season approaches, hunters prepare their gear and try to figure out which state they’ll be hunting in. Each state and province typically has different minimum draw weight requirements for certain species of animals, including big game animals.

The minimum draw weight required for elk hunting is anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds, depending on which state you are hunting in. If you are able to draw back bigger draw weight without any problems, then do it. Check your local regulations on minimum draw weights. 

Take a look at the different state regulations.

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Alaska

Alaska requires a minimum draw weight of 50 pounds. In 2020 a total of 12 animals were harvested (source: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=elkhunting.harvest)

  • “50 pounds peak draw weight when hunting mountain goat, moose, elk, brown bear, muskox, and bison;
  • the arrow is at least 20 inches in overall length, tipped with a broadhead, and at least 300 grains in
  •  total weight;
  • the broadhead is a fixed, replaceable or mechanical/retractable blade type and not barbed.” 

Source: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/regulations/wildliferegulations/pdfs/general.pdf

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Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Arizona

Arizona requires a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds.

“Bows with a standard pull of 30 or more pounds, using arrows with broadheads no less than 7/8 inch in width with metal, ceramic-coated metal, or ceramic cutting edges”

Source: https://azgfd-portal-wordpress-pantheon.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/archive/2021-22-Arizona-Hunting-Regulations_210604.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Arkansas

Arkansas requires a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds.

  • “Long, recurve and compound bows: Must have at least 35-pound pull…” 
  • “Big-game hunters must use arrowheads at least 7/8-iches wide (including mechanicals)…” 

Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y3NsyKqHSUY3kPfJ8j5agSjVAx1gHiWx/view

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in California

California requires a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds.

 “It shall be unlawful to use any bow or crossbow without a draw weight of at least 30 pounds for a bow or 125 pounds for a cross bow.”

Source: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=180619&inline

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Colorado

Colorado requires a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds.

“Hand-held bows, including compound bows, must use arrows with a broadhead having a minimum of 7/8-inch outside diameter (width) and a minimum of two steel cutting edges. Each cutting edge must be in same plane for entire length of cutting surface.

b. Only legal, hand-held bows are allowed during archery seasons.
c. A minimum draw weight of 35 pounds/let-off maximum of 80 percent required”

Source: https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Brochure/BigGame/biggame.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Idaho

Idaho requires a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds.

“With arrows or bolts having broadheads measuring less than 7/8 inch in width and having a primary cutting edge less than 0.015 inch thick.

• With any bow having a peak draw weight of less than 40 pounds up to or at a draw of 28 inches or any crossbow having a peak draw weight of less than 150 pounds.”

Source: https://idfg.idaho.gov/sites/default/files/seasons-rules-big-game-2021.pdf?july-1-2021-update

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Kansas

Kansas does not require a minimum draw weight!

“Legal archery equipment includes longbows, recurve bows, compound bows and crossbows … arrows used for hunting big game must be equipped with broadhead points that when fully expanded cannot pass through a ring 3/4-inch in diameter.” 

“Ethical hunters select equipment most effective for their capabilities, the game they hunt and the style of hunting they prefere” 

Source: https://ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Hunting-Regulations/Antelope-Elk/Legal-Equipment

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Kentucky

Kentucky does not require a minimum draw weight!

“Crossbows or archery equipment (long bows, recurves or compound bow) loaded with a fixed blade or
mechanical broadheads at least 7/8” wide (when blades extended), but broadheads may not be chemically treated. Crossbows must have a working safety. Note: Hunters may use archery or
crossbows during the bull or cow firearms hunts.”

Source: https://fw.ky.gov/Hunt/Documents/HuntingGuideEntire.pdf#page=21

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Michigan

Michigan does not require a minimum draw weight!

Source: https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79119_79147_81578—,00.html

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Minnesota

Minnesota requires a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds.

“• Bows must have a pull no less than 30 pounds at or before full draw. (Bows with low draw weights may not effectively kill big game.) 
• Arrowheads used for taking big game must have a minimum of two metal cutting edges, be of barbless broadhead design, with a diameter of at least ⅞ inch.
• “Expandable” broadheads may be used to take big game if they meet the requirements above and: 1) are at least ⅞ inch in width and no more than 2 inches in width at or after impact; and 2) are of a barbless design and function in a barbless manner.”

Source: https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/regulations/hunting/full_regs.pdf?updated=20210726

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Missouri

Missouri does not require a minimum draw weight! But recommends 40 pounds or greater.

“Missouri regulations do not require minimum draw weights, but 40 pounds or greater is recommended”

Source: https://mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer/deer-hunting-getting-started/basic-archery-equipment

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Montana

Montana does not require a minimum draw weight!

“A bow is considered lawful if it is at least 28 inches in total length. The nominal percent of let-off for
hunting bows shall be a maximum of 80 percent as advertised by the manufacturer.

Arrow: An arrow is a projectile at least 20 inches in overall length. The length of the arrow is measured from the rearward point of the nock to the tip of the broadhead.

A broadhead is mounted on the fore end.  The arrow shall weigh no less than 300 grains with the broadhead attached. Arrows must have broadheads with at least two cutting edges and be at
least 7/8 inches at the widest point. Expandable broadheads are lawful as long as when expanded they are at least 7/8 inches at the widest point, and weigh no less than 70 grains.”

Source: https://fwp.mt.gov/binaries/content/assets/fwp/hunt/regulations/2021/2021-dea-regulations-final-for-web.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Nebraska

Nebraska does not require a minimum draw weight!

“Crossbow 125-pound minimum draw weight. Longbow, recurve bow, compound bow.” – no further specification!

Arrows and spears must have sharpened hunting head with a blade of at least 7/16.inch radius from the center of the arrow shaft. Arrows and spears containing poison or stupefying chemical or having an explosive tip are prohibited. 

Source: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/1376266-big-game-guide-2021/41?

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Nevada

Nevada requires a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds.

Bow includes any longbow, recurve bow or compound bow. A crossbow is not a bow. Bow characteristics: A bow used in hunting a big game mammal must have a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds and a maximum let-off of 80 percent.

Arrows: Legal hunting arrows must have a broadhead attached, be 24 inches in length from the end of the nock to the tip of the broadhead and have a 300 grain minimum weight with all components installed.

Broadheads: Fixed broadheads must be at least 7/8 inch wide at the widest point; mechanical heads must be at least 7/8 inch wide at the widest point when in the open position. 

Source: https://www.eregulations.com/assets/docs/guides/21NVBG.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in New Mexico

New Mexico does not require a minimum draw weight!

Legal sporting arms for deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep and bear (big-game sporting arms): “…any bow or any crossbow… Arrows and bolts must have broadheads (fixed or mechanical) with cutting edges. Sights on bows and crossbows may not project light (lighted pins are acceptable). No drugs may be used on arrows or bolts, and they cannot be driven by explosives, gunpowder or compressed air.

Source: https://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/download/publications/rib/2021/hunting/2021_2022-New-Mexico-Hunting-Rules-and-Info.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in North Dakota

North Dakota requires a minimum draw weight of 50 pounds.

For elk at least 50 pounds draw weight at 28 inches, arrows must be at least 24 inches long tipped with a metal broadhead, with at least two sharp cutting edges, and have a cutting diameter of at least 3/4 inch – unbarbed and have fixed blades.

For deer its a minimum of at least 35 pounds

Source: https://gf.nd.gov/wildlife/id/ungulates/elk

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Oklahoma

Oklahoma requires a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds for compound bows and 40 pounds for recurve, longbow, or self-bow!

  • Bow: Any compound bow of 30 pounds or more draw weight; any recurve, longbow or self-bow of 40 pounds or more draw weight. Hand-held releases are legal. Devices that permit a bow to be held mechanically at full or partial draw are allowed.
  • Broadheads: Arrows and/or bolts must be fitted with hunting type points not less than 7/8 inches wide, including mechanical broad- heads meeting this width requirement when fully open.
  • Crossbows: Minimum of 100 pounds draw weight and equipped with safety devices. Bolts must be a minimum of 14 inches in length. Leverage gaining devices are legal.

 Source: https://www.eregulations.com/oklahoma/hunting/big-game-regulations

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Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Oregon

Oregon requires a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds.

  • Only recurve, long, or compound bows are legal for hunting game mammals.
  • Broadheads must be unbarbed and at least 7/8″ wide. Broadheads with moveable blades that fold/collapse when withdrawn are not considered barbed. Western gray squirrel may be hunted with small game arrow points/heads.
  • Bows having a draw weight of less than 40 pounds (except no minimum draw weight for western gray squirrel).

Source: https://www.eregulations.com/oregon/hunting/legal-hunting-weapons-for-game-mammals

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in South Dakota

South Dakota requires a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds.

A person hunting with bow and arrow may not use or possess any of the following:

– Arrow rests that have more than three inches of continuous contact with the arrow;
– An arrow without a broadhead (fixed or mechanical) that has at least two metal cutting edges when hunting a big game animal, except blunt points may be possessed and used when hunting a turkey. Both field points and blunt points may be possessed and used when hunting small game or at any time when possessed and used as practice arrows;

– A bow that measures less than 40 pounds pull when hunting elk or less than 30 pounds when hunting big game other than elk.

Source: https://gfp.sd.gov/userdocs/docs/2020biggameregs.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Tennessee

Tennessee does not require a minimum draw weight!

  • Archery equipment (longbows, recurves, compounds, and crossbows)
  • Hunting arrows and bolts must be equipped with sharpened broadheads

Source: https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/equipment-methods.html

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Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Texas

Texas does not require a minimum draw weight!

Longbows, compound bows, or recurved bows:

• There is no minimum draw requirement.
• Lighted pins, sight magnification, overdraw rests, and devices that allow a bow to be locked at full or partial draw are lawful during any season when lawful archery equipment may be used.

Source: https://www.eregulations.com/assets/docs/guides/21txhd_regulations.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Utha

Utah requires a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds.

Archery equipment may be used during any big game hunt except the muzzleloader hunt. To hunt big game with archery equipment, your equipment must meet all of the following requirements:

Your bow must have a minimum pull of 30 pounds at the draw or the peak, whichever comes first.
•Your arrowheads must have two or more sharp-cutting edges that cannot pass through a 7/8 inch ring. If you’re using expanding arrowheads, the arrowheads must have two or more sharp-cutting edges that cannot pass through a 7/8 inch ring when expanded. •Your arrows must be at least 20 inches long, from the tip of the arrowhead to the tip of the noc

Source: https://wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks/2021_field_regs.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Virginia

Virginia does not require a minimum draw weight!

Virginia’s first elk hunting season within the Elk Management Zone will occur in 2022. Interested individuals can apply for a special elk hunting license for the Elk Management Zone beginning February 2022. Further information will be posted on the Department’s website by December 2021.

Archery tackle with broadhead widths/expandables that open to 7/8-inch

Source: https://dwr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/media/2021-2022-Virginia-Hunting-and-Trapping-Regulations-Digest.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Washington

Washington requires a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds.

  • It is unlawful for any person to hunt big game animals with a bow that does not produce a minimum of 40 pounds of pull measured at twenty-eight inches or at full draw.
  • It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with any arrow measuring less than 20 inches in length.
  • It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with any arrow or bolt that does not have a sharp broadhead, and the broadhead blade or blades are less than seven-eighths inch wide.

Source: https://www.eregulations.com/washington/hunting/equipment-hunting-methods

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Wisconsin

Wisconsin requires a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds.

You may not: 

– hunt with a bow having a pull of less than 30 pounds, or use arrows, which have metal broadhead blades less than seven-eights of an inch wide. Heavier equipment is recommended

Source: https://widnr.widen.net/content/kmwdwmcgxb/pdf/WM0658.pdf

Minimum Draw Weight for Elk in Wyoming

Wyoming requires a minimum draw weight of 50 pounds.

Archery Equipment. Archery equipment is legal to take game animals. When hunting antelope, bighorn
sheep, black bear, deer, mountain goat, mountain lion, or gray wolf where designated as a trophy game animal, an archery hunter shall use a longbow, recurve bow or compound bow of not less than forty (40) pounds draw weight.

When hunting elk or moose, an archery hunter shall use a longbow, recurve bow or compound bow of not less than fifty (50) pounds draw weight. A crossbow hunter shall use a crossbow having a peak draw weight of at least ninety (90) pounds and a bolt of at least sixteen (16) inches in length. The broadhead used on arrows or bolts shall not pass through a seven-eighths (7/8) inch solid ring when fully expanded.

Source: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/Final%20Regs/REGULATIONS_CH7_BROCHURE_2.pdf

Last update 07.31.2021

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

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