Demerits & Penalties
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 can range from 3 years to as much as 10 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
Killing a big game mammal in the state of Nevada by hunting outside of the prescribed season and time. Using the aide of an aircraft or helicopter. Using a tag assigned to another person or hunting without a tag. Utilizing a different method of take or outside the prescribed unit(s) of a tag. Or if a tag was obtained by a false or fraudulent representation are all actions that a person can be prosecuted with a FELONY for doing. Either by participating in actions themselves or by aiding and abetting another person who kills a big game mammal.
Killing an animal out of necessity to protect the life or property of another person in imminent danger of being attacked by the animal or if the animal killed was not the intended target are exceptions. All accidental takes must be reported to the Department as soon as possible.
If you know or should have known an animal was killed unlawfully and you possess said animal, it is considered a GROSS MISDEMEANOR OFFENSE.
(Refer to NRS 501.376)
Unlawful Acts; Criminal Penalties
Every person who is guilty of a misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine between $50–500, and/or by imprisonment in county jail for not more than 6 months. Criminal acts considered under this title include but are not limited to: performing unlawful acts, obstructing or hindering an officer, employee, or agent of the Department, violation of Commission Regulation, or unlawful use and abuse of a license or permit privilege.
(Refer to NRS 501.385)
Any gun, ammunition, trap, snare, vessel, vehicle, aircraft or other device or equipment is subject to forfeiture pursuant to NRS 179.1156 to 179.119 inclusive if they are used in the facilitation of unlawful and intentional killing or possession of a big game mammal in Nevada. This includes knowingly transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring or purchasing an unlawfully killed big game mammal.
(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 – $5,000-$30,000
- big game mammal, bobcat, swan or eagle – $250-$5,000
- fish or wildlife not included above – $25-$1,000
- 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
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 and 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 or use the NDOW Tip App. 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 and will require retaking a hunter safety class before a hunting, fishing or trapping license can be reissued.
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! This is a misdemeanor offense (Refer to sunrise/sunset tables at the back of this book).
6. Failure to Properly Notch 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 intentionally 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 on all Wildlife Management Areas regardless of species. This is a misdemeanor offense.