Plan your hunt

Plan your hunt

Plan your next hunting adventure now. Explore the resources and tools here to learn more about the hunting opportunities Nevada has to offer.

Hunt Preparation

Before heading out into the field this season, stop here to learn more about applying for tags and stamps, hunting ethics, wild game care, informational seminars and more.

Know Before You Go

Before taking to the field in Nevada to hunt big game, consider some of this valuable information.
Rules & Regulations
If you are 12 or older, you are required to have a hunting license to hunt big game in Nevada. Proof of hunter education is required for anyone born after January 1, 1960. Nevada produces a seasons and application booklet in early March followed by a hunting guide in Late May for the current year's rules and regulations.
Youth Hunts
Junior youth tag holders can harvest an antlered or antlerless deer. This tag allows the junior hunter to hunt during the archery season when the unit is open for archery only; to hunt with a muzzleloader when the unit is open for muzzleloader only; and to hunt with any legal weapon when the unit is open for any legal weapon. If a junior hunt applicant is unsuccessful in drawing a tag, bonus points will be awarded for the junior hunt.
Application Process
Mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and black bear all require tags to be hunted. The tag application period runs from mid-March to mid-May. Most tags are awarded through a random draw process and are available to those 12 years old or older. A second drawing is conducted for remaining tags in early July, and any remaining tags after that draw can be applied for on a first-come, first-served basis. Mountain lion tags are available year-round over the counter at any authorized license agent or can be purchased online during the draw application period.
Does Nevada’s big game tag application process look like a mountain you can’t climb? In this class NDOW staff members will chop that mountain down to a size you can handle. We will decode the hunting regulations, discuss the licenses you will need and dive deep into the process of selecting your hunt choices. We’ll show you in-depth information about big game animals in Nevada, the specific hunt units and the great resources NDOW has compiled to make you successful.
Firearms and Bows
Rifles: Must use a centerfire cartridge of .22 caliber or larger, but not larger than .50 caliber with a case length no longer than 3 inches. Handguns: Must use a centerfire cartridge of .22 caliber or larger and a barrel length of 4 inches or more.
Muzzleloading Firearms: Must have a single barrel of .45 caliber or larger. Ignition: Wheel-lock, matchlock, flintlock or percussion ignition systems that use a primer or percussion cap are allowed (in-lines are permitted).
Bows: A bow used in hunting a big game animal must have a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds and a maximum let-off of 80 percent. Legal hunting arrows must have a broadhead attached, be 24 inches in length from the end of the nock to the tip of the broadhead and have a 300 grain minimum weight with all components installed. Fixed broadheads must be at least 7/8 inch wide at the widest point; mechanical heads must be at least 7/8 inch wide at the widest point when in the open position
Responsible Hunters Stick to the Road

Many hunters use all terrain vehicles (ATVs), commonly known as four wheelers, while hunting. If you use an ATV, we remind you to use it ethically and stick to existing roads. Besides frightening game, improper ATV use poses a real threat to wildlife habitats. Leaving established roads creates new trails, fragments habitat, reduces security cover and harms rangelands that are critical for wildlife and livestock.

Hunting Near Waterholes

Nevada is the driest state in the country, so water is in great demand by both humans and wildlife. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the law surrounding waterholes (NRS 503.660) and to respect everyone’s rights and privileges. Keep in mind that waterholes on public lands belong to everyone. All hunters are entitled to free and equal access, and no reservations exist. Before hunting near a waterhole, check with the appropriate land management agency regarding the use and/or restrictions of tree stands and blinds. Common courtesy goes a long way and should always be used when more than one person wants to hunt the same area. Responsible, ethical hunters work together to resolve differences and, in turn, enhance the image of hunting.

Leave No Trace

By recreating responsibly, we can preserve our favorite places for ourselves and for others. When heading out on your next adventure, plan ahead and prepare. Travel and camp on durable surfaces. Pack it in and pack it out, or properly dispose of what you can't pack out. Leave what you find, and minimize the use and impact of fire. Learn more about “Leave No Trace” principles here.

Boone & Crockett Club Hunter Ethics

Boone & Crockett Club has long been recognized as a leader in hunting and conservation ethics. Learn how the club advocates an ethic of respect in all hunters for wildlife, land, and other users of wildlife here.

Tread Lightly

Since its inception as a simple philosophy, one of Tread Lightly!’s core principles – the T in Tread – has been to encourage traveling only on existing roads or trails to minimize environmental impacts and social conflicts. Learn more about this national outdoor stewardship initiative, and its Ride On campaign.

Respect Access

Respected access is open access! By practicing responsible outdoor recreation, we can keep our favorite areas open to the public. Find more resources here.

Caring for Your Big Game Harvest

Knowing how to properly care for wild game harvested in the field is important. Use the resources listed below to learn more about proper meat care, different field dressing techniques, processing, cooking and more.

Meat Care

To the best of your ability, you will want to keep meat cool and clean. Keeping meat cool prevents it from spoiling and keeping meat clean leads to higher quality table fare. Use these resources below to learn more about proper meat care.

Keeping Meat Cool

Field dressing your animal promptly and hanging it in the shade can be critical for cooling the meat and preserving it. Quartering big game is another way to cool the meat and prepare the animal for transportation out of the field. In warm weather, hunters should pay particular attention to keeping their animal out of direct sunlight and allow air to circulate as much as possible to cool the field-dressed animal.

Keeping Meat Clean

During field dressing, take special care to avoid touching glands and then handling meat, or puncturing the animals stomach. Keeping the meat clean and uncontaminated in the field preserves the quality of all cuts of meat for future consumption.

Meat Salvage

When harvesting a big game animal (except in the case of mountain lion or black bear) you are required to take the meat from both front quarters as far as the distal joint of the radius-ulna (knee), hindquarters as far as the distal joint of the tibia-fibula (hock), and the meat along the backbone between the front and hind quarters. While this is the minimum requirement, you should salvage as much of the edible meat as possible. Neck meat and shanks, for example, are not required to be taken but make for wonderful cuts of meat in the kitchen. Use the resources below to learn more about different cuts and see the diagram that outlines what meat is required to be taken after harvesting an animal.

Field Dressing

After harvesting a big game animal and filling out your harvest information on your tag, you will need to field dress your animal. Use the resources linked here to learn about the different field dressing techniques you can use to do this.

Meat Processing

Whether you are butchering and packaging meat at home or taking your harvest to a meat processor, we want to share resources with you here to make meat processing easier.


Cooking wild harvested game may seem intimidating, but with these resources you can learn how to prepare great food that you and your entire family will enjoy.


Wild harvested meat is some of the highest quality and most nutrient-dense food that can be found anywhere.These meats are generally lean protein sources that are lower in cholesterol and lower in fat in comparison to domestic products. Wild harvested meats are also free of any additives such as antibiotics or growth hormones. To learn more about the nutritional benefits of wild harvested foods use the resources listed below.


For those looking for meat donation opportunities, there are many local food banks, food assistance programs, and similar non-profit entities that happily accept meat donations.


Taxidermy services are provided by licensed taxidermists found throughout our state. A list of Nevada licensed taxidermists as well as information on how to properly cape an animal can be found in the links below.


Before you transport game mammals, tagged species, game birds, game fish, mammals taken by trapping, or raw furs, check to see if you need a transportation permit. Information on transportation permits and a list of vendors who sell them can be found in the links below.

Harvest and Reporting
After your big game hunt is over, whether you were successful in harvesting an animal or not, please complete your Big Game Harvest Questionnaire. This information helps us monitor and manage big game populations. Completing this survey is also a requirement for applying for big game tags the following season.

Hunter Checklist

This is just some of the priceless gear that you will need to make your hunt a success. Optics, boots, GPS mapping, backpacks, and camo are all items on this checklist. Experienced hunters have given their opinions on the gear they’ve chosen to hunt with and explained their reasoning.

Upland game hunting opportunities can be found throughout the state. Whether you are chukar hunting with your favorite four-legged friend in Northern Nevada or taking the whole family out in pursuit of quail in Southern Nevada, use these upland game resources to plan your next trip today.
Age Requirements
Any person 12 years of age or older, who hunts game birds or game mammals in Nevada is required to have a hunting license or combination hunting and fishing license (Refer to NRS 502.010).
Things to Bring

Any time you head out into the field make sure you have all the gear you need before you leave the house. Below is a short list of items to consider bringing along with you for your next upland hunting trip.

  • Shotgun shells
  • Appropriate shot for species
  • Hunting vest (pouches for extra gear and water bottles)
  • Plenty of food and water
  • Extra water for dog (+dog dish)
  • Appropriate boots for hiking
  • Durable pants
  • Extra socks
  • Hat
  • Two-way radios (if hunting with a partner)
  • Sunscreen
Caring for Your Harvest
Field Dressing Upland Game

Field dressing upland game is the first step in the process of converting your harvest into your next meal. Learn more about basic field dressing techniques for upland game species here.

Use edible meat diagrams and links to different field dressing techniques for different species.


Clean edible portions of upland game with clean water and double bag in an appropriate-sized Ziploc bag for storage on ice in a cooler.

After field dressing keep the edible portions of your harvest clean and cool. Do this by using clean water to wash off feathers, fur or other debris. Once clean, use Ziploc bags and ice to keep the meat cool for your trip home. If you do not plan on eating your harvest in the near-term, you should freeze the meat. The best ways to freeze meat for long-term storage would be to use a vacuum sealer, plastic wrap and butcher paper, or freezer paper to wrap and then freeze. Whatever method you choose, remove as much air as possible to reduce the risk of freezer burn.


When hunting blue grouse or ruffed grouse, make sure to keep the head or one fully feathered wing attached to the grouse from the time it is removed from the field all the way to your home. To learn more about this special regulation please see our special regulations or follow this link.


Cooking wild harvested game may seem intimidating, but with these resources you can learn how to prepare great food that you and your entire family will enjoy.


If you are planning on preserving your birds for taxidermy a hunter should plan ahead and bring some pantyhose or a stocking to keep the bird feathers as protected as possible. A cooler with ice for transportation is also suggested to keep the bird cool. Take special care to ensure your bird safely makes it to your taxidermist.

Hunter Checklist:

This is just some of the priceless gear that you will need to make your hunt a success. Optics, boots, GPS mapping, backpacks, and camo are all items on this checklist. Experienced hunters have given their opinions on the gear they’ve chosen to hunt with and explained their reasoning.

Home to a dozen state wildlife management areas, three national wildlife refuges dedicated to hunting areas and numerous marshes nationally recognized as migration stopovers, Nevada boasts a wide variety of unique waterfowl hunting experiences. Nevada offers seven different waterfowl species, three different hunt zones and hunt dates stretching from September to March, as well as youth and falconry seasons.
A HIP (harvest information program) number is required for all migratory bird hunting, and a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp is required for waterfowl hunters 16 years and older.

Hunter Checklist:

This is just some of the priceless gear that you will need to make your hunt a success. Optics, boots, GPS mapping, backpacks, and camo are all items on this checklist. Experienced hunters have given their opinions on the gear they’ve chosen to hunt with and explained their reasoning.


Hunting Advisories & Notices

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus-2 (RHDV2), a highly contagious and lethal disease in rabbits, has now been confirmed in desert cottontails in Clark and Nye counties in Nevada and in domestic rabbits in Douglas County.

Learn More

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a transmissible neurological disease that is always fatal to animals in the deer family. In Nevada this includes mule deer, elk, and moose. In several states CWD has been linked to declines in mule deer populations. Currently CWD is found in 31 states and provinces but thankfully not in Nevada. However, your help is needed to keep Nevada free of the disease. Currently if you hunt any member of the deer family out of state there are restrictions on what you can bring back into the state. This includes any species of deer, moose, elk, and caribou/reindeer and the full bill can be found here.

Learn More

Bighorn Sheep Diseases

There are several diseases of concern for Bighorn Sheep that may significantly impact herd performance and survival, including Bighorn Pneumonia, Sinus Tumors, Sinusitis and Contagious Ecthyma.

Learn More
New to Nevada?

New to Nevada?

Nevada has a higher percentage of public land than any other state in the union, making hunting in Nevada an experience unlike any other. Public land is your land, and we encourage you to enjoy it through hunting. From the playa to the mountaintops there are endless opportunities to explore.
Important Dates

Important Dates

Be sure you don’t miss a thing! From application deadlines to season dates, this calendar helps hunters stay on top of the action.
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Hunt Map

Hunt Map

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Explore the Map
Big Game Hunting Applications, Regulations, and Information

Big Game Hunting Applications, Regulations, and Information

NDOW’s hunting publications provide all the information you need to plan a safe and successful hunt. Have questions about season dates, eligibility or the application process? We have answers.

Sunrise/<br>Sunset Tables

Sunset Tables

For many huntable species legal hunting hours are based on the time of sunrise and sunset. Using your location and these tables you can be certain of the sunrise and sunset times on any given day.
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Nevada Shooting Ranges

Nevada Shooting Ranges

Nevada hosts a variety of shooting ranges found throughout the state. Use these resources to find a shooting range near you.

Top 10 Big Game Resources

If you are going to apply to hunt big game in Nevada make sure to use these resources to help plan your next hunting adventure. You will find information on each unit, maps, bonus point data and much more.
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