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Can a Felon Own a Compound Bow?

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A felon who wants to hunt again might think about using a type of bow and arrow known as a compound bow. The question is whether or not a felon can own a compound bow.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:

  • Loss of Rights
  • All About a Compound Bow
  • Is a Compound Bow a Firearm?
  • Can a Felon Own a Compound Bow?
  • Hunting with a Compound Bow
  • What Does That Mean for Felons?


Loss of Rights

As a felon, you already know the loss of civil rights as established in the U.S. Constitution that result from a felony conviction. Among these is the loss of the right to own or use a firearm.

The 1968 Gun Control Act is federal law that prohibits convicted felons from possessing any type of firearm. Violating this statute will result in charge of a Class 6 felony. 

Having these rights restored is up to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. They will decide if you are still a threat to society. You can apply for your gun rights granted through a pardon.

All About a Compound Bow

A compound bow isn’t the same as a regular bow and arrow. A traditional bow and arrow relies on pulling a string to fling an arrow, which takes considerable strength.

The compound bow was developed in the 1960s in an attempt to produce a bow that was easier to use and also had increased accuracy over the traditional bow and arrow. 

It is a bow that uses a system of levers with cables and pulleys to bend the bow’s limbs before shooting its arrows. The limbs of the compound bow are stiffer than a crossbow or longbow, but it takes less energy to operate.

The rotation of the levers produces leverage making it easier to shoot the arrows and resulting in more force and increased accuracy than a simple bow and arrow. In the U.S., the compound bow is the most common type of bow.

A compound bow is used for target practice as well as for hunting.

Is a Compound Bow a Firearm?

Of course, a compound bow is a weapon. Weapons like guns are used every day. 

However, the compound bow isn’t a firearm because it does not rely on expanding gases to propel a projectile. It fires an arrow by flinging it through the air toward a target.

Therefore, according to the ATF it doesn’t qualify as a firearm. This means that felons are not restricted from owning one under the 1968 Gun Control Act.

Thus, purchasing, owning, and shooting a compound bow is legal for felons as well as those without a felony conviction.

Can a Felon Own a Compound Bow?

A felon is able to purchase and own a compound bow. State laws indicate that since a compound bow is not considered to be a firearm, it is legal for a felon to own one.

However, the regulations are not that easy. It depends on the state in which you live as to whether or not you can hunt with a compound bow. 

As a compound bow owner, you must comply with the laws that prevail in the state in which you reside. 

Hunting with a Compound Bow

Hunting is one of the most common uses for a compound bow. The laws differ from one state to another regarding hunting with this type of bow. Most states specify that a compound bow can only be used for hunting during bow-hunting season, which is different from rifle-hunting season.  

Oregon is the only state in which compound bows are entirely illegal for hunting, even for those without a felony conviction. Other states’ laws indicate that a compound bow can be used for hunting certain game during the appropriate bow-hunting season. 

While a permit is required to own a firearm, there is not a current restriction on a compound bow. However, a hunting license is required for anyone to hunt with a compound bow.

This is the case due to efforts to protect animal resources, protect people, and ensure fair game hunting.

Every hunter is required to follow the hunting laws and comply with state regulations. A hunting license can be revoked after a hunter is convicted of a serious hunting violation or repeated offenses.

What Does That Mean for Felons?

As a felon it is essential to be aware of the law in your state regarding a compound bow.

Check the state laws for obtaining a hunting license and be aware of hunting season for a compound bow.

While you may be able to own and use a compound bow, make certain that you do not use it carelessly. To accidentally shoot someone with an arrow from a compound bow could be seen as a dangerous act that could result in being arrested and taken to jail.

Be cautious. Not doing so could result in being arrested and possibly returning to prison. Don’t be among the 2/3 of felons who return to prison within the first two years after release.

Don’t make the type of mistakes you did in the past. You are not defined by your mistakes but in how you recover from them.

So what do you think about this blog post about whether a felon can own a compound bow? Have you or someone you know been in this situation? What was that like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “Can a Felon Own a Compound Bow?”

  1. Since a felon can’t even protect his home really in any way and or with anything at all but can own a crossbow would that felon be able just for example shoot it at someone if someone was shooting at him on his property???

  2. You can hunt with a compound bow in Oregon

    065-0720 Bows and Arrows Hunters shall use:
    (1) Any long, recurve, or compound bow with 40-pound or heavier pull rating to hunt pronghorn antelope, black bear, cougar (mountain lion), bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goat, deer, or elk.
    (2) Any long, recurve, or compound bow to hunt western gray squirrels.
    (3) Only unbarbed broadheads at least 7/8-inch wide to hunt game mammals. Broadheads with moveable
    blades that fold/collapse when withdrawn are not considered barbed. Western gray squirrel may also be hunted with small game arrow points/heads.
    (4) A long, recurve, or compound bow and shall not possess any crossbow while hunting within an authorized bowhunting area or season.
    (5) Only a long, recurve, or compound bow during any authorized pronghorn antelope, deer or elk bowhunting season to hunt pronghorn antelope, deer, or elk.
    (6) For hunting seasons designated as bowhunting, hunters shall only use the bows legal for the species being hunted. Bows may be used during game mammal seasons in which centerfire firearms are legal.
    (7) Hunters shall not use any electronic device(s) attached to bow or arrow except lighted arrow nocks that have no function other than to increase visibility of the arrow and cameras that have no other function (such as range-finding) are allowed.
    (8) Hunters shall not use any device secured to or supported by the bow for the purpose of maintaining the bow at full draw (Persons unable to comply because of a disability may be eligible for a temporary permit from the Department).
    Stat. Auth.: ORS 496.012, 496.138, 496.146 & 496.162
    Stats. Implemented: ORS 496.012, 496.138, 496.146 & 496.162

  3. You are giving incorrect legal advice that could get someone in serious trouble.
    Some states prohibit felons from possessing any deadly weapon including archery equip.
    Anyone with a felony should consult with a qualified attorney.


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