Demerits & Penalties
The vast majority of hunters, trappers and anglers do their best to abide by the wildlife laws and regulations. For those people who fail to follow the law, convictions of wildlife law may carry serious penalties, including criminal fines up to $5,000, jail, civil penalties up to $30,000, loss of equipment and lost license privileges.
The following are a list of the eight most common violations in the field. Check twice, take due care, and you can avoid unnecessary citations, costly fines and loss of equipment and hunting privileges.
If you make a mistake — for example shooting a spike, or small forked-horn deer instead of an antlerless deer — report it immediately to the local game warden or Operation Game Thief (OGT) at 1-800-992-3030. Follow any instructions that are provided to you and wait for the warden to arrive. Taking the opposite approach, such as hiding or wasting game, will carry much more serious consequences.
1. Hunting Outside Unit Area Designated on Tag
Double-check the hunt area/unit designated on your tag, and review the boundary unit descriptions on the reverse of the Department’s Big Game Boundary Unit Reference Map. Purchase detailed reference maps. Know where you are. This is a misdemeanor offense, but if an animal is killed, it can escalate to a felony.
2. Loaded Rifle or Shotgun In/On Vehicle
Nevada law prohibits carrying loaded rifles and shotguns in or on vehicles, including ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc. After hunting on foot, unload the gun before placing it in or on the vehicle. This is a misdemeanor offense.
3. Using Tag of Another
This is a surprisingly common violation. Only the person named on the tag may use or possess the tag. This violation is considered a felony offense if an animal is harvested.
4. License and Tag Fraud
Providing false information (for example, claiming to be a Nevada resident, using a false date of birth, or fictitious name, etc.) to obtain a license is a misdemeanor. Providing false information to obtain a big game tag is a gross misdemeanor, and killing a big game mammal with such a tag is a felony. This activity steals tags from lawful sportsmen.
5. Early/Late Shooting
Do not shoot at game before or after the designated legal hunting hours. Check the sunset/sunrise and hunts by species table. Sunset does not mean dark! (Refer to legal hunting hours by species. Also see sunrise/sunset tables. This is a misdemeanor offense.
6. Failure to Properly Punch Tag or Permit Immediately After Taking Game
Upon reaching game, immediately validate (punch) the tag or permit with a knife or other sharp object. Marking it with a pencil or pen is not acceptable. This is a misdemeanor offense.
If a tag is used to kill more than one animal, the crime is punishable as a category E felony and all equipment used in the crime is subject to forfeiture, including guns and vehicles.
7. Possessing an Over Limit of a Species
Possession Limit is the maximum number of a species that one person can legally take and control at any one time—this includes animals held in the freezer and ice chest. Daily Limit is the maximum number of a species that is allowed to be harvested in any given day.
8. Unplugged Shotgun
Waterfowl and dove hunters may not use shotguns capable of holding more than three shells. Shotguns must be plugged and rendered incapable of holding more than three shells. Shotguns must also be plugged in all Wildlife Management Areas regardless of species. This is a misdemeanor offense.
Demerits and License Revocations
Hunting, fishing and trapping license privileges are revoked when a person accumulates 12 demerit points within a 60-month period. When a person is convicted of a wildlife violation, a certain number of demerits are assessed for that crime. The more serious the crime, the greater the number of demerits that are assessed.
Demerit-based revocations may last up to three years. Under some circumstances a person’s tag privileges may be revoked for up to 10 years.
(Refer to NRS 501.105, 501.181, 501.1818, NAC 501.200 and NAC 501.210)
Criminal Penalty Provisions
Can be prosecuted as a FELONY for a person who intentionally kill or aid and abet another person to kill a bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, mountain lion or black bear if you:
- Hunt outside the prescribed season;
- Use an aircraft or helicopter;
- Use a method other than what is listed on the tag;
- Outside the prescribed time;
- Without a valid tag;
- Use a tag of another;
- Outside the prescribed unit(s); or
- The tag was obtained by a false or fraudulent representation.
- The killing of the animal is necessary to protect the life or property of any person in imminent danger of being attacked by the animal; or
- The animal killed was not the intended target of the person who killed the animal if you notify the Department as soon as possible about the accidental kill.
If you know or should have known an above animal was killed unlawfully and you possess said animal it is a GROSS MISDEMEANOR OFFENSE.
(Refer to NRS 501.376)
Unlawful acts; criminal penalties
Except as otherwise provided by specific statute:
- Any person who:
- Performs an act or attempts to perform an act made unlawful or prohibited by a provision of this title;
- Willfully fails to perform an act required of him by a provision of this title;
- Obstructs, hinders, delays or otherwise interferes with any officer, employee or agent of the Department in the performance of any duty while enforcing or attempting to enforce any provision of this title;
- Violates any order issued or regulation adopted by the Commission under the provisions of this title; or
- Having been granted a privilege or been licensed or permitted to do any act under the provisions of this title, exercises the grant, license or permit in a manner other than as specified, is guilty of a misdemeanor. An officer, employee or agent of the Department may not obtain or attempt to obtain biological samples of wildlife, hunting, fishing or trapping data, or any other biological data or information relating to wildlife on private property without the consent of the owner of the property.
- Every person who is guilty of a misdemeanor under this title shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500, or by imprisonment in county jail for not more than 6 months, or by both fine and imprisonment.
(Refer to NRS 501.385)
Any gun, ammunition, trap, snare, vessel, vehicle, aircraft or other device or equipment used, or intended for use:
- To facilitate the unlawful and intentional killing or possession of any big game mammal; or
- To hunt or kill a big game mammal by using information obtained as a result of the commission of an act prohibited by NRS 503.010 or a regulation of the Commission which prohibits the location of big game mammals for the purpose of hunting or killing by the use of:
- An aircraft, including, without limitation, any device that is used for navigation of, or flight in, the air;
- A hot air balloon or any other device that is lighter than air; or
- A satellite or any other device that orbits the earth and is equipped to produce images, or other similar devices; or
- Knowingly transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase any big game mammal which is unlawfully killed or possessed, is subject to forfeiture pursuant to NRS179.1156 to 179.119 inclusive.
(Refer to NRS 501.3857)
In addition to the criminal penalties, every person who unlawfully kills or possesses wildlife is liable for civil penalties:
- a TROPHY big game mammal – $5000-$30,000
- big game mammal, bobcat, swan or eagle – $250-$5000
- fish or wildlife not included above – $25-$1000
- hunting , fishing or trapping without a valid license, tag or permit – not less than $50
Failure to pay a penalty within 90 days may result in license suspension or revocation and denial of privileges.
(Refer to NRS 501.3855)