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Big Game Hunting

Big Game Hunting

Special Regulations

Return or Defer a Tag

A successfully draw applicant has 7-days to electronically return their tag to the Department after the draw is conducted. Tags can be returned to the Department for any reason up to the day before the start of the hunt to receive a refund in bonus points. Tags returned to the Department will be issued to an available alternate, available in the second draw, or available for purchase in the First Come, First Served program. Bighorn sheep or mountain goat tags received by the Department before July 15 are eligible for a refund in tag fees. Purchased First Come, First Served tag made after the season has opened will not be eligible for a return or deferral. (NAC 502.4215 and 502.422 Section 4)

If a serious illness or medical circumstance prevents a tag holder from hunting on their tag, that person can chose to defer that tag to the next year’s season. NRS 232.4854 – “Serious illness” means a medical illness, physical injury or condition that substantially affects the quality of life of a person for more than a short period of time. Deferral requests must be received by the Department no later than 14 business days after the opening day of the season for which the tag was issued. Supporting documentation, the physical tag and completed tag return form must be received by the Department before the deferral request can be reviewed. Requests will be reviewed for compliance on an individual basis by the Department’s Director’s Office. (NAC 502.103, 502.422)

Transfer a Tag

Tag holders may choose to transfer their tag to a qualified, non-profit organization who would facilitate the tag being awarded to another individual represented by the organization and who meets specific criteria for participation in the tag transfer program.

Qualifying individuals include youth 12–16 years of age who live in a low-income household or an individual 12 years or older who have a permanent physical disability. All individuals receiving a tag through this program must otherwise be eligible to hunt the tag being offered. Both the original tag holder and the new recipient of the transferred tag will be treated as if both were awarded the tag in respect to bonus point cost and applied waiting periods. More information on this program can be found at or by calling 855-542-6369.

Tag holders who have been diagnosed as terminally by a physician with 12 months or less to live may choose to transfer their tag to another eligible individual to hunt the tag. Both parties will be treated as if they were awarded their tag in respect to bonus point costs and applied waiting periods. (AB 89/CGR 501)

Bonus Points

A bonus point is an extra draw number assigned to an application. Bonus points increase draw odds by giving the applicant an extra chance to pull a low enough number to be assigned a tag. Bonus points can be accumulated for all species and class available in the big game draw, except management hunts. Each hunt category has its own set of bonus points. For example, Elk has three different hunt categories, and each are their own set of bonus points: Antlered Elk, Antlerless Elk, and Spike Elk. An active hunting license is required in order to obtain a bonus point and only one bonus point may be obtained per category per valid license year. Applicants should be aware of what day their license expires when considering their bonus point eligibility.

If an applicant is unsuccessful in the draw, the application automatically converts into a bonus point to be used in the following year’s draw. Bonus points can also be purchased in place of submitting an application if an applicant does not wish to obtain a tag during the upcoming season. However, a bonus point cannot be purchased by an applicant in a waiting period. Bonus points are spent and revert back to 0 when an applicant is successfully awarded or purchases a tag. Bonus points are lost if an applicant misses two consecutive years of applying for the species. (NAC 502.4187-4189 and 502.4225)

General Application Information

Customers can link accounts to one another. To link or unlink a customer to or from your account, visit the “Link Customer Accounts” section in an account. Linked accounts can only be controlled through the primary customer’s account. If you wish to be unlinked from another individual, you must contact them and request that they unlink you. Each applicant will need to apply and purchase licenses under their own account and with a separate charge, regardless of linked accounts.

Customers can add additional credit cards to their account by selecting the Payment Methods section. Expired cards cannot be edited but must be deleted and added anew. Some items in a customer’s account can be set to auto-renew, the default credit card will be the one that is charged at the time of auto-renewal.

A license is valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. One bonus point per hunt category, per year can be earned under a single valid hunting/combo license. Applicants should be aware of what day their license expires when considering bonus points.

Applicants can choose to purchase a hunting license only if they are successful in the draw. This option will not earn the customer a bonus point.

Once an application is submitted, editing an application can be done in a customer’s account page under “Application and Points” up until the close of the application period. Withdrawal and re-submission of an application would be needed if the change to the application causes additional fees. Ex) If an application for a bonus point was submitted and wished to be changed to a tag application, the bonus point application would need to be withdrawn and re-submitted as an application for hunt. Application fees are non-refundable and must be paid for every application submitted.

Unit choices will show the number of tags awarded through the draw process in that unit during the last season. Newly created units will show 0 tags.

If awarded a tag, harvest return cards are mandatory regardless of a successful take during the season and regardless of whether or not the tag was hunted on.

Applicants will be prevented from applying if they did not submit a harvest return card for last season. Customers can complete the return card found in their account, pay $50 to lift the suspension and proceed with the current year’s application.

Applicants are prompted to allow or not allow their draw results made public. This option asks for their name and awarded tag information to be shown in a list of the year’s big game draw results.

Applicants are prompted to allow or not allow their information to be shared with 3rd parties. This option asks for their name and personal information to be shared with 3rd party entities who request it from the Department for personal or business use.

Quotas for resident and non-resident are set in Commission Policy 24 at approximately 90% resident – 10% non-resident.

Applicants can choose up to 5 different units and seasons per hunt category so long as there are 5 different choices available. It is highly recommended to utilize all 5 hunt choices for an increased chance of draw success.

$3 Fee: Customers can now select where they would like the Department to utilize their $3 application fee. Customers will be prompted on their application review page to select directing the Department to spend their $3 fee on lethal removal of predatory wildlife or wildlife habitat and research of non-predatory wildlife. (AB70, 2023)

If I Draw a Tag in the Main Draw, When Will I Receive My Tag?

Tags for successful applicants will be printed beginning one week after the conclusion of the draw and the one-week electronic return period. Printing all main draw big game tags usually takes 1-2 weeks. Applicants can expect their tags to be placed in the mail within 3 weeks of the conclusion of the draw and receive their main draw tags around July 1. Applicants are advised to ensure the address provided for tag shipping at the time of application submission is accurate and current.

Mandatory Big Game Harvest Inspections

Some species require the inspection of the skull, horns, or hide by a representative of the Department within a given time after the harvest. Time frames of inspection by a Department representative are as follows:

  • Black Bear – within 72 hours of harvest – NAC 502.373
  • Bighorn Sheep, for rams of all subspecies – within 5 days of harvest – NAC 502.345
  • Mountain Goat – within 5 days of harvest – NAC 502.364
  • Mountain Lion – within 72 hours of harvest – NAC 502.370
  • Moose – within 5 days of harvest - CGR 514

Call 775-688-1500 to schedule a harvest inspection in your area.

How Does the Main Draw Work in Nevada?

Bonus points are squared to equal the number of assigned numbers you have in the draw, plus one extra number for your original application. (BP²) + 1 = # of chances to draw.

Draw numbers are assigned to each application and chance received from a bonus point. Numbers are assigned randomly from 1-100 million. The lowest number assigned per hunt species is analyzed and used for potential draw success.

Quotas are totaled by adding up every opportunity for a species to be assigned as a tag. This is the maximum number of times a species can be awarded as a tag to an applicant. All antlered, antlerless, depredation, spike hunts + all tags available in every unit + all season options + all weapon type options = total quota for elk.

Tags are awarded to applications beginning with the lowest draw number. Certain applications are evaluated and awarded before others. The order of awarded applications are as follows:

  • Silver State
  • Partners in Wildlife
  • Junior Mule Deer Antlered/Antlerless
  • Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Ram, California Bighorn Sheep Ram, Nelson (Desert) Bighorn Sheep Ram, Elk Antlered, Antelope Horns Longer than Ears, Mule Deer Antlered, Mountain Goat, Bear, Moose Antlered
  • Elk Depredation Antlered, Management Bighorn Sheep Ram
  • California Bighorn Sheep Ewe, Nelson (Desert) Bighorn Sheep Ewe, Elk Antlerless, Antelope Horns Shorter than Ears, Mule Deer Antlerless
  • Spike Elk
  • Elk Depredation Antlerless

Once an applicant is awarded a tag for a species, all other chances to be awarded a tag for the same species are made ineligible. An applicant can only receive one tag per species. Ex) if an applicant draws an antlered elk tag, all applications for antlerless or spike elk become ineligible.

Deer Special Regulations
(NAC 503.170)

In the fenced or cultivated lands of the Smith and Mason Valleys, in the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area and in the zones within the Fort Churchill State Historic Park and the Lahontan State Recreation Area that are designated for hunting by the Administrator of the Division of State Parks of the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources:

Deer may be hunted only with a shotgun no larger than 10 gauge and no smaller than 20 gauge, using rifled slugs or shotgun rounds with sabots that contain rifled slugs or a single expanding projectile; or a longbow and arrow.

The use or possession of shotgun rounds with sabots that contain other than rifled slugs or a single expanding projectile is prohibited.

A shotgun that is used to hunt deer may be equipped with a smoothbore barrel or a barrel that is partially or fully rifled.

In the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area deer may be hunted only on the following days during the season set for the hunting of deer:

  • Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays;
  • Nevada Day, as observed;
  • November 11, Veteran’s Day;
  • Thanksgiving Day; and
  • Family Day

* Please contact local state parks for up-to-date hunting information.

Imposition of Liability (NRS 41.472)

  1. If a parent, guardian or other person legally responsible for a minor under the age of 18 years:
    1. Knows that the minor has previously been adjudicated delinquent or has been convicted of a criminal offense;
    2. Knows that the minor has a propensity to commit violent acts; or
    3. Knows or has reason to know that the minor intends to use the firearm for unlawful purposes, and permits the minor to use or possess a firearm, any negligence or willful misconduct of the minor in connection with such use or possession is imputed to the person who permits such use or possession for all purposes of civil damages, and, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 2 of NRS 41.470**, that person is jointly and severally liable with the minor for any and all damages caused by such negligence or willful misconduct.

NRS 41.470** Subsection 2 states the joint and several liability of one or both parents or guardian having custody or control of a minor under this section shall not exceed $10,000 for any such act of willful misconduct.