Is it really time to start applying for 2022 big game tags already? If you’re like me, you’re still kicking the dust off your boots from hunting with friends and family last season!
Well, as the old idiom goes: “time flies when you’re having fun,” and while we as a department are known to have fun from time to time, we want to assure you, the hunter, that despite the Nevada’s various natural threats as of late—including drought and wildfires—that we continue to strive to bring you the best hunting opportunities even during these trying times.
As sportsmen and women, we have many successes from the past year and many reasons that despite our challenges, we should continue to hold our heads high. One reason to hold our heads high is the success of the Department’s First Come, First Served program. For those who haven’t heard of the program, it allows for increased hunting opportunities by reissuing tags that would have gone unused in years past. The program helped us meet management objectives, while increasing your chances at securing a tag. Just how many hunters were able to use the program? For reference, in 2019 and 2020—before the program was adopted—more than 2,000 tags (between 3–4 percent of the total tags) were returned with either no alternate or insufficient time for reissuance and went completely unused. In 2021, there were 11 tags unused, which translates to about 0.04 percent. That amounts to 560 antlered mule deer, 173 antelope horns longer than ears, 102 bull elk, and 7 desert bighorn sheep ram tags were up for grabs that would have gone unused in past years. The end result is more hunting opportunities for you, with nearly 85 percent of First Come, First Served tags going directly to Nevada residents.
In recent years, the Department has implemented our “get online, get outside” mentality, which translates to improved technology resulting in more time spent in the field. We hope that you too see the value in improvements like the First Come, First Served program. We’re all about making it easier for you to access the outdoors, both in-person and online.
Speaking of online, I’m happy to announce the launch of our modern, interactive, and user-friendly ndow.org website. The responsive and mobile-friendly design makes it easier for the public to access information about hunting, fishing, boating, and Nevada’s wildlife. Head on over to the new site and check it out. We are constantly updating and improving it to enhance your experience.
I wish you the best of luck this year in drawing your desired tag, whether it’s your first or 50th time hunting in this great state! If you or friends of family are unsuccessful in the draw this year, visit ndowlicensing.com beginning around August and keep an eye on the First Come, First Served queue. You never know if your favorite hunt might make its way into your crosshairs when you least expect it.
Tony Wasley – Director, Nevada Department of Wildlife