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Hunting in the State of Nevada

Are you worried about the plethora of information and documents that you have to go through before making that hunting trip to Nevada? Worry no more. The following extract contains crucial and concise information that every hunter must have at the fingertips before riding to Nevada. Keep in mind that, further details concerning issues such as changes that may occur in hunting seasons and license fee can be obtained from Nevada Department of Wildlife’s (NDOW) website.

How to acquire a Hunting License in Nevada

All hunters 12 years old and above are required, by law, to have a valid Nevada Hunting License or combination hunting and fishing license before hunting in the state. NDOW has simplified the license system to allow for flexibility in terms of purchase, possession, and presentation of licenses on any smartphone and other electronic mobile devices. The hunters must possess the licenses at all times during hunting either in paper copy or electronic image. Images displayed on mobile devices must be visible and legible enough to the eyes.

Primarily, there are two categories of the hunting license in Nevada. They are residential hunting license and non-residential hunting license.

Resident Hunting License in Nevada

  • An individual is considered a Nevada resident when the person has resided legally in the state for at least 6 or more uninterrupted months prior to applying for the Nevada hunting license.
  • Therefore, individuals who have residency claims in another state by virtue of residential hunting license in those states cannot be considered as Nevada residents (except members of the U.S. Armed Forces).
  • To prove a residency, the following documents must be provided: a Nevada driver’s license or Social Security number.

People other than the above are regarded as nonresidents.

Nonresident Hunting License in Nevada

  • Nevada regards persons who have not legally domiciled in the state for more than 6 months prior to applying for the license or permit as nonresidents. These hunters qualify for a Nevada nonresident hunting license.

Regardless of the category of the license above, additional tags and stamps may apply to a specific set of game animals. For example, both residents and non-residents require (often through a random draw) Big Game tags and permits to hunt big game animals such as mule deer, black bear, rocky mountain elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and mountain goat. Federal migratory bird stamps are needed for hunting migratory birds.

Warning: A hunter who fails to produce a copy of the hunting license or permit or tag while hunting will face punitive sanctions.

Eligibility Requirements for a Nevada Hunting License

In order to qualify for a Hunting License, applicants 12 years and over must either have a before-held Nevada Hunting license or Hunter Education Card (IHEA-USA approved).

In the absence of any of the above, hunters must enroll in a hunter education certification course.

Nevada’s Hunter Education Card

The Nevada State laws state that all persons born after January 1, 1960, must have a hunter education in order to become eligible for a Nevada hunting license.

Note: Nevada accepts education certifications from all states or provinces in the U.S. that meet IHEA-USA (the International Hunter Education Association) requirements. Likewise, all U.S. states and provinces that have compulsory hunter education requirements will accept Nevada’s Hunter Education Certificate.

Nevada State has an online registration system in place that lets you choose the class you prefer. There are independent course works that the students must first complete before entering the classroom component. and are the two main platforms that assist a student to fully prepare for the classroom component. Upon completion of the independent course work, the students have issued a Nevada Online course Completion Confirmation. This print out is a requirement to begin the classroom component.

The third option, an alternative to the two online platforms, is through Nevada Today’s Hunter workbook. The workbook can be obtained from any NDOW office.

After successfully completing the classroom course, the student goes through the Field Day Exercise. Finally, a hunter education certificate is issued after that exercise.

For more details about the course fees, outline and topics, duration, and class schedule of the Education certification courses in Nevada, please click on this link.

Note: There is no explicit minimum age to take the education class. Persons 11 years and under, however, must come accompanied with an adult.

Getting Nevada Hunting License (with Stamps)

There are three main modes of acquiring a Nevada Hunting license. The first mode involves making the purchase online. The system allows you to conduct several transactions such as: purchasing additional permits, stamps or renewing licenses in successive years.

The second option is to apply for the license or stamp at one of the many authorized state vendors. Click on this link to view a list of the various license merchants in the State of Nevada.

The final option requires the applicant to physically buy the license from any NDOW office statewide.

With regards to every option above, a valid driver’s license or an official state ID number are the usual pieces of information that has to be furnished by the applicant when buying a Hunting License.

How much are the Hunting Licenses?

Resident and nonresident hunting licenses have different fees and application requirements. For more details related to the fees of hunting licenses and permits, please visit this link. The hunting prices displayed will have an additional nominal processing fee.

Nevada Hunting Licenses are valid from the date of purchase through to the last day of the year.  Thus, all hunting license is valid for 365 days from the day it was bought.

Other forms of Hunting License, tags and stamps in Nevada

Nevada’s new and modified license system means that inclusive in the licenses hunters buy is a stamp privilege. Unlike other states in the U.S., hunters do not need to buy stamps separately.  However, this provision excludes Federal Waterfowl stamp.

Here are some common hunting licenses, permits, and stamps in the State:

  • Youth Hunting Licenses are given to people age 12 to 17.  These licenses cannot be obtained without a hunter education certification. To be eligible, the minor (below 18 years old) must have a consent letter from a parent or a guardian. Minors 14 years and older who possess a valid hunting license (with parental permission) can hunt without the company of a licensed adult.
  • Apprentice Hunting License: are issued to both residents and nonresidents, age 12 or older, without a hunter education certification. The apprentice licenses are available only at NDOW offices.
  • Special Hunting license: Nevada offers special licenses for servicemen and women, resident severely disabled and disabled veterans, and Nevada Native Americans.

Disabled persons must come with a physician’s statement or Social Security benefits letter. The extent of the hunter’s disability must be shown in those statements. Similarly, veterans with at least 50% of service-related disability get a special hunting license.

A Native American who has been verified by the Nevada tribe becomes eligible for a special hunting license.

  • Big game tags: To hunt mule deer, rocky mountain elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mountain goat, and black bear, the hunter needs to obtain a tag. With the exclusion of mountain lions, tags for all species are obtained through a random computerized tag draw system that often takes place in late spring. Mountain lion tags are available online or at any NDOW office.
  • Federal Migratory Game Bird Stamp enables hunters 12 years or older to hunt birds such as tundra, ducks, geese, swan, and merganser. These stamps can be bought from any local U.S. Postal Office and/or online. The validity period for this stamp is from July 1 to June 30. The stamps in the state come with a compulsory Harvest Information Program number.  This number is free of charge. Hunters can visit this link to make a hunt application for waterfowl and upland game bird application.

In addition to the above, Nevada issues an array of special permits such as archery, special assistance, master guide, visual disability, and trapping permits. To view the entire list of permits as well as the instructions pertaining to their application, please click on this link.

The application procedure and fees of the above licenses, tags and stamps can be found at the NDOW website and this link.

Places to Hunt in Nevada

The state’s game animals are scattered across the length and breadth of the state. The state has a host of Wildlife Management Areas and Wildlife Conservations. There are also federal and private lands opened to hunting.

Wildlife Management Areas (WMA)

Notable WMAs in the state include Overton, Steptoe, Key Pittman, Mason Valley, Humboldt, and Wayne E. Kirch WMAs. For example, Key Pittman WMA is composed of about 632 acres of wetlands and about 700 acres of upland. This area is most famous for waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, and songbirds.

Similarly, the Mason Valley WMA is popularly known for waterfowl, big games and upland game hunting. The great horned owl, short-eared owl, American kestrel, and Swainson’s hawk are some the birds on this WMA.

From the NDOW website, readers can download the various publications related to every WMA in Nevada. Alternatively, hunters can visit this link to view the current regulations related to Nevada WMAs.

State Parks and Forest

Hunters can revel in so many state parks and forest. Some of them are Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, South Fork State Recreation Area, and Wild Horse State Recreation Area. Many of these forests are known for large populations of big game animals. The South Fork Area spans about 1,650 acres. Mule deer and pheasants are the usual game animals hunters will see at South Fork State Recreational Area.

Access Areas and Private Lands

Nevada is a state with a limited amount of public land for hunting. Actually, only about 2 percent of the land in Nevada belongs to the state. As a result of this, private owners have over the years opened their doors to public hunting. Private owners’ services are very crucial when it comes to meeting the needs of hunters and trappers in the state. It is of absolute necessity that hunters get official permission from these private landowners before going to hunt on their properties.

Once the permission has been secured, hunters must pay very close attention to Nevada’s hunting rules and regulations as well as the owner’s property rules. Hunters must show the utmost of care and respect to the properties.

General Hunting Regulations in Nevada

The above places, as well as others, are open to hunting in accordance with very vivid and precise State hunting laws and regulations. Here are a few of those important regulations that have been sampled from Nevada’s hunting guides and regulatory documents.

  • The state prohibits hunters from using arrows that have explosive heads or drugs or poison.
  • All hunters wear a florescent orange piece of clothing while hunting.
  • Hunters cannot hunt by baiting big game animals.
  • It is illegal to hunt within one and half-mile of a wildlife highway crossing
  • Hunters cannot discharge a firearm on, over, from or across a wildlife highway crossing
  • When hunting deer, hunters cannot use a shotgun larger than 10 gauge and no smaller than 20 gauge.
  • Waste of game is completely unlawful. Therefore, killing or wounding any animal without making any considerable effort to retrieve it is illegal.
  • Coyote, black-tailed jackrabbit, badger, weasel, spotted skunk, striped skunk, raccoon, and ring-tailed cat can be hunted without hunting licenses. However, to trap them, the state demands a trapping license. Similarly, persons who want to sell furs of fur-bearing mammals and nongame mammal require trapping license.
  • Excluding open seasons and in open management area, dogs cannot be used to take a black bear, mountain lion, and fur-bearing mammal.
  • Big game hunting shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Hunters are prohibited from using electronic calls for hunting.
  • It is forbidden to destroy the nest, lair, or den of a game animal.
  • Hunters cannot use radio signal or another electronic transmission to hunt wildlife.
  • Every killed game must come with a filled game tag. The kills should not be left untagged by the person who killed it.
  • The state prohibits hunters from using any sort of motor-driven vehicles such as aircraft, snowmobile or sailboat for hunting migratory game birds.

Hunting Seasons

The hunting seasons in Nevada are very extensive and divided into several small units. They often depend on the type of game and species. Below are the various hunting seasons for the big game, migratory game bird and small game:

Big Game Seasons

The big game animals in Nevada are mule deer, rocky mountain elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mountain goat, and black bear. The bag limit is often one animal per tag.

The Antelope seasons are Any legal Weapon, Archery and Muzzleloader seasons. The Black Bear Season often takes place from fall to early winter.

The Bighorn Sheep Season usually occurs from fall to winter. The main season is Any Legal Weapon Season for both resident and non-residents.  They are usually Any Ram and Any Ewe categorized into several unit groups.

Elk Seasons are often categorized into either antlered or antlerless. There are Any legal weapon depredation, Muzzleloader, and Archery that often occur from fall to winter.

Mountain Goat Season is divided into 3 unit groups: 101, 102 and 103. Any legal weapon can be used for any goat. The season generally occurs in fall.

The Mule Deer Seasons are Any legal Weapon, Archery and Muzzleloader seasons that are for either antlered or antlerless. Hunters can hunt mule deer from fall to winter.

The Black Bear Season often takes place from fall to early winter. There are several hunting unit groups. Hunters are advised to make contact with the department about the Black Bear Harvest Information Hotline (1-800-800-1667) before hunting.

Small Game Hunting Seasons

Nevada has small games ranging from gray squirrel, snowshoe hare, cottontail rabbit, raccoon and bobcat. The hunting dates for cottontail rabbit, opossum, raccoon, fox (red or gray) and snowshoe hare occur in winter. However, the gray squirrel season often spans from fall to mid-winter.  Finally, Bobcat and Coyote seasons dates are from mid-winter to early spring. The hunting dates for these game animals occur from early fall to the later part of winter.

Furbearer Hunting Seasons

To hunt furbearers such as bobcat, otter, fox, mink, beaver, and muskrat, a trapping license is needed. The furbearer season often spans from fall all through to spring.

Wild Turkey Seasons

This game animal has two main seasons. They are Fall and Spring Seasons. Wild Turkey applications must only be submitted online. For more details related to the hunting regulations and safety tips for turkey hunting, please consult the Nevada hunting guides.

Other Upland Gamebird and Small game Seasons

The following are some of the main upland game birds available in Nevada: blue and ruffed grouse, chukar and Hungarian partridge, snowcock, sage grouse, ring-necked pheasant, California, Gambel’s and mountain quail. Cottontail, pygmy and white-tailed jackrabbits are examples of small games that hunters can take in Nevada. To view the various season dates for each small game and upland bird animal, please visit this link.

Migratory Birds Hunting Seasons

Examples of migratory bird game in Nevada are ducks and merganser, common snipe, coots and moorhens, Canada and white-fronted geese, snow geese and Ross’ geese. As stated above, persons above 16 years old must purchase the Federal migratory stamp. Also, this state has a Youth Waterfowl that often runs in fall and winter.

Youth Hunting Seasons

The Youth Hunting Seasons in Nevada are meant for persons 12 to 17 years old. They are Youth Deer, Waterfowl, Wild turkey and Migratory bird seasons. There are varying season dates for Youth hunting. Readers are advised to consult NDOW website and the various Nevada hunting guides

Hunting Guides and Outfitters

Nevada has a considerable number of hunting guides and outfitters that work tirelessly to help hunters have a very rich and satisfying hunting experience. The following are some of those professional organizations:

Accommodation for Hunters in Nevada

Below are some accommodations that help hunters recuperate after a stressing and long day of hunting:

Windmill Ridge
2111 Windmill Circle, Alamo, NV 89001, USA
Telephone: 775-725-3685

Boulder Dam Hotel
1305 Arizona St, Boulder City, NV 89005, USA
Telephone: 702-293-3510

Topaz Lodge
1979 US-395, Gardnerville, NV 89410, USA
Telephone: 800-962-0732

The Lodge at Kingsbury Crossing
133 Deer Run Ct, Stateline, NV 89449, USA
Telephone: 775-588-6247

Northlake Lodges & Villas
280 Glen Way, Incline Village, NV 89451, USA
Telephone: 775-831-5300

Special accommodation facilities for disabled hunters

The NDOW has put in place accommodation facilities for the physically impaired hunters at some Wildlife Management Areas in the Western, Eastern and Southern Regions of Nevada. Areas such as Mason Valley are equipped with superb access for disabled hunters. Also, the disabled hunters can visit Nevada Outdoorsmen in Wheelchairs. They are known for offering hunting and outdoor experiences to individuals with disabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. I own several properties in the State of Nevada. Will I be eligible for a resident hunting license?

A. No. Without maintaining a permanent domicile in Nevada, you cannot claim eligibility in the state. The minimum duration in order to claim residency status is 6 months. You can only enjoy one residency privilege in one U.S. state at a time.

Q. How do I enter into the draw in order to hunt for big game in Nevada?

A. Tags are obviously needed for all big games (excluding mountain lions which are easily available online or any NDOW website all throughout the year) are distributed through a computerized random draw. Therefore, hunters must apply for these big game tags. This link contains all the opening and closing dates for the application period.

Q. Are the additional stamps that come with the hunting license free?

A. These stamps come at no additional cost to the hunter.

Q. I am an active member of the U.S. Army. I will be stationed in Nevada in the coming months. What kind of hunting license am I eligible for?

A. You will be eligible for a resident hunting license in Nevada. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces that are stationed in Nevada get the same privileges as those of a Nevada resident. There is a waiver of residency status for such persons and their immediate family members.

Q. Do I get a refund on tags that I could not get?

A. If you purposely bought the license for a tag, a refund will be given to you (the fee of your hunting license).  Also, hunters who did no hunting under the authority of the license will get refunds. NDOW gives refunds to hunters who submit the license on or before the last weekday of August.

Q. What is the minimum age to hunt in Nevada?

A. At the moment, the minimum age to hunt in the state is 12.


The State of Nevada is one of those few states in the U.S. that you could reasonably bet your last Dollar to give you a unique hunting experience. With only about 2% of the state land in public, Nevada may appear a bit limited in terms of hunting places. However, so many private landowners and ranchers have stepped up to mitigate this shortfall. Nevada’s outdoor and wildlife sits there for the taking, go forth and claim it!

Final verdict: Avid hunters, or even amateur hunters, will always find something more than a silver lining in this Silver State of the United States of America.

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