By Aaron Meier
While some people might not realize it, when it comes to using a hunting or fishing guide in the state of Nevada, the facts are clear. If you use an unlicensed guide in the state of Nevada you are breaking the law.
“It comes down to a safety issue,” said Tyler Turnipseed, chief game warden with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). “An unlicensed guide creates a risk to the safety of sportsmen as well as a challenge to ethical hunting.”
Turnipseed points to the extensive requirements a guide must meet in order to be licensed in Nevada. “It is a rigorous process that includes insurance coverage and certification in first aid,” he said. “The safety of the recreating public is always our biggest concern.”
He also points out that it is the sportsman’s responsibility to make sure he or she hires a licensed guide. Nevada law states that a person shall not knowingly compensate a person who holds himself or herself out as providing guide service or engaging in business as a master guide or subguide unless the person provides proof that he or she has a master guide or subguide license.
If you’re paying anyone for a guide service, you should request to see a copy of the Nevada Master Guide license, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service or other federal special use permits from other agencies (if applicable). A master guide is required to provide a written contract agreement for services to be provided so the sportsmen are protected. Master guides and subguides may be licensed only for particular services and areas of operation.
“We require our guides and subguides to be licensed for the protection of the public,” said Turnipseed. “We want to ensure that anyone who uses an outfitter or guide service has a safe and enjoyable experience in the field.”
For the illegal guide, the penalties can be steep. Providing services without a license is a serious crime. Anyone caught and found guilty of guiding without a license is subject to a fine, up to two years in jail and forfeiture of all equipment used during the hunting or fishing trip.
“To be honest, I just don’t see any reason to even consider using an unlicensed guide,” he said.
For more information and a current list of licensed guides, visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife website at ndow.org or call (775) 688-1549. Sportsmen can also report illegal guiding to Operation Game Thief at 1-800-992-3030.