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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Where is spear hunting illegal

Customer Question

Where is spear hunting illegal?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 years ago.

Alabama: The use of an spear to throw a spear is permitted. The regulation only requires the spear to be hand thrown.

Alaska: I have been asked to respond to your question concerning the use of an spear to take game in Alaska. After reviewing hunting regulations, I do not believe there is a prohibition on using an spear. While an spear can be used statewide in hunts without weapons restrictions, all other hunting statutes and regulations do apply and I recommend you review our regulations to determine the species, season and location you would like to hunt.

Arizona: please refer the Hunting Regulations Manual at the following link (go to pages 61-62 for legal methods of take R12-4-304): You may also refer the Fishing Regulations booklet at the following link: (refer to page 47, R12-4-313, lawful methods of take)

Arkansas: The state of Arkansas does not have any regulation or season where using an spear is legal, so therefore it cannot be used as hunting/fishing equipment in the state.

California: There is no direct reference in the Code to use of an spear. But essentially, the spear would be considered a spear. Hunting opportunities in this state with a spear (spear) are limited. No big or small game species could legally be taken with one. However, animals that are classified as "non-game" species could be (coyotes, rodents, opossum, etc). You would first need to obtain a non-resident hunting license. Spear fishing is allowed in ocean waters. Spear fishing is restricted in inland (fresh) waters. I've included the appropriate code section regarding spearfishing in inland waters for your reference. Again, you would need the appropriate license before doing any fishing in CA.

Colorado: Thank you for taking the time to research the legal use of spears in Colorado prior to venturing into the field on a hunting trip here. The spear is not a legal method of take for nearly every species of game or fish in Colorado. Our hunting and fishing regulations state that only those methods of take specifically authorized by regulation or statute are allowed in Colorado. The spear is not specifically listed and is, therefore, not legal as a hunting weapon in Colorado. The specific regulations in question are #103(A)(fishing); #203(A)(big game); and #302(small game). These regulations are available on the internet for your review at the following link:

Connecticut: In Connecticut the method of taking wild birds and wild quadrupeds by hunting is defined in our hunting regulations. The regulations restrict hunting to firearms, high velocity air guns using a single ball or pellet type projectile, and compound, long, or recurved bow. As a result, the use of an "spear" would not be permitted under our regulations.

Delaware: According to our regulations you would be o.k. to use your spear to fish but would be illegal for hunting in Delaware.

Florida: The only legal methods of taking game in Florida are rifles, shotguns, pistols, longbows, compound bows, recurve bows, crossbows and birds of prey. The spear cannot be used legally in the state.

Georgia: The spearing of fish, other than game species and all catfish species, is legal in Georgia waters; "....provided the person engaged in the act of spearing is completely submerged." Therefore, the use of an spear is legal for some fish species provided that you are submerged.

Idaho: You would be limited in what you could use the spear for in Idaho. It could be used to spear tag carp, which is allowable during a regular fishing season. You will need a fishing license to do that. It would not be legal to use it for big game hunting, but you could use it for hunting forest grouse. You would need to have a small game-hunting license to do that. Please check the regulations for seasons in the area you will be in.

Illinois: It would be an illegal hunting weapon in Illinois. It could be used to spear rough fish, which include carp, carpsuckers, buffalo, sucker, gar (except alligator gar) and bowfin. Spear fishing is not allowed in waters listed as "two pole and line fishing only" in our fishing digest.

Indiana: In hunting, it is permissible to use spear for those species for which legal hunting equipment is not set by rule. For example, a person cannot use spear to hunt deer, turkey or waterfowl. For a list of our hunting regulations, please see the following link:

Iowa: It would be legal in Iowa to use a spear for small game and fish only. Small game and fishing licenses would still be required of course. Waterfowl; deer and turkey have specific weapon requirements and as a result the "spear" would not be legal for hunting these species.

Kansas: A spear would be legal for non-sport fish - carp, gar, buffalo, etc. - but not sport-fish or hunting.

Kentucky: It is illegal to hunt with and you could only use it for fishing during the gigging season.

Louisiana: It is not legal in LA to hunt with any type of spear.

Maine: This would not be legal in the State of Maine.

Massachusetts: O Suckers, carp, and snapping turtles are the only species, which may be taken with "spears" in Massachusetts

Michigan: Spear or dart is not legal for the taking of game in Michigan.

Minnesota: Only allows for firearm and archery. Not spear

Mississippi: No. The Spear is not currently listed as a weapon legal for hunting or fishing in Mississippi.

Missouri: The Wildlife Code does not mention a spear as a legal method for hunting or fishing.

Montana: Game animals, by law and rule in Montana, can only be hunted by licensed hunters with certain, specified weapons - and a spear is not one of them. However, non-regulated wildlife may be taken with any type of weapon, any time of year, and no license is required. These include squirrels, porcupine, raccoon, coyote, weasel, skunk, badger and red fox. Fish that you could take with an spear would be carp and sucker. Almost all birds are either game animals or protected under federal regulation with the exception of rock dove (pigeons), European sparrows and eastern starlings.

Nebraska: Depending on what you are hunting---it would be legal for rabbits or squirrels. I don't believe it would be legal device for fishing.

Nevada: You can only use the spear to hunt unprotected species in Nevada (such as coyotes or blacktailed jackrabbits) You can find legal weapons listed on page four on this PDF of this section of the Hunt Book

New Hampshire: Pursuant to the law wildlife may only be taken by "gun fired at arm's length or bow and arrow, unless otherwise specifically permitted" (trapping is the other method). The spear would not be a legal weapon for taking either wildlife or fish in NH.

New Jersey: Since a license is required for hunting, and only firearm and archery licenses are issued, it is illegal to hunt with an spear. I would consider it spear hunting.

New Mexico: The spear is not allowed in NM.

New York: A spear is currently an illegal implement for use to take fish or wildlife within New York State.

North Carolina: It is not legal to use a spear to hunt or fish with in North Carolina.

Ohio: Not legal to fish or hunt with a spear in Ohio.

Oklahoma; It is legal to use a spear for specific species. Ex.: with rabbits and squirrels, you can use a hand propelled missile (spear) . With deer, you cannot use a spear, etc.

Oregon: The spear can not be used to harvest game fish in the State of Oregon. However, it could be used to hunt "predatory" animals in the State of Oregon such as coyote, rabbit, feral pig and exotic sheep.

Pennsylvania: It is not legal to use in Pennsylvania.

South Carolina: It can be used only in Zones 3, 6, and 11 (the lower coastal plain) there is no mention of specific weapons, only the season dates.

South Dakota: A spear could be used to spear fish where and when the spearing season is open as spears are legal. But as far as for small or big game, they would not be allowed.

Texas: The spear is legal for non-game animals and exotics (feral hogs), but it is not a legal means of take for deer. A hunting license is still required.

Utah: A spear is not a legal weapon in Utah.

Vermont: Illegal to use a spear for hunting in VT.

Virginia: The spear would be unlawful for hunting in VA since it is not specifically mentioned as being allowed.

Washington: The spear is not a legal hunting method in Washington State. It is also not a legal fishing method, except, possibly, for carp.

West Virginia: There is not currently a spear season in WV.

Wisconsin: Spears are illegal.

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