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.

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.


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.


Big Game

Before taking to the field to hunt big game in Nevada, 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 an application booklet in early March followed by a hunting guide in Late May for the current year’s rules and regulations.

Informational Publications
Junior Youth Hunts

Junior youth tag holders can harvest an antlered or antlerless deer. This tag allows the junior hunter to hunt with legal archery weapons 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, a bonus point will be awarded for the application.

Application Process

Mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion and black bear all require tags to be hunted. The tag application period runs from mid-March to mid-May. Tags are awarded through a random draw process and are available to those 12 years old or older. Remaining or returned tags can be purchased at 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.

Water Development Atlas

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.

The Boone & Crockett Club Hunter Ethics

The 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

*Important notice: While caring for your harvest, please follow the proper steps to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) to Nevada. While it has yet to be detected in Nevada, it has been confirmed in nearby Utah. Please help us keep our state CWD free.

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.

Processing Meat at Home

How to process Elk meat: This short video gives a quick overview of the steps involved in processing a big game animal at home.

Aging Meat – Soon after an animal is harvested it will go into “rigor mortis” which is a natural process where muscles contract and joints stiffen which lasts up to 24 hours. The aging process begins as rigor subsides indicated by the muscles slackening. This is the point that the meat is starting to naturally break down and is actively becoming more tender and flavorful. How long a person chooses to age meat is based on personal preference, size of the animal, and your ability to control both temperature and humidity.

Packaging – when packaging or wrapping wild harvested meats make sure to remove as much air as possible and clearly label your packages. The most common methods are wrapping meat with plastic wrap and butcher paper, freezer paper, or using a vacuum sealer.

Meat Processors Near You

Below is a list of contact information for some of the wild game meat processors here in Nevada. This list is not comprehensive, and is simply a courtesy to hunters as a starting point if you are looking for professional wild game processing services. Make sure to call ahead before taking your harvest to a processor. Wild game processing is seasonal in nature and capacity for many processors is limited. 

NDOW does not and cannot endorse any of the businesses listed on the meat processor list. NDOW is not affiliated with these businesses in any way. This list is simply a courtesy to people who are unaware of wild game meat processing services. 

If you are a professional meat processor and would like to be added to or taken off our current list please email us at


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.

Find and explore nutritional facts for both wild harvested foods as well as domestic foods using this external link –

To learn more about the nutritional, economic, conservation, and social benefits of recreational wild harvested foods follow this external link to the Wild Harvest Initiative.


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.

We do not have a current list of organizations that accept wild game meat donations but are currently compiling one. If you are a part of one of these organizations currently accepting wild game meat donations please reach out to us at to be added to our list. We will share this list here on our website once it has been completed.


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 a transportation permit is required. 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.

Small 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.

Rules & Regulations
Water Development Atlas
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
  • First aid kit
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.

Nevada boasts a wide variety of unique waterfowl hunting experiences, with a dozen state wildlife management areas, three national wildlife refuges with dedicated hunting areas and numerous marshes nationally recognized as migration stopovers for you to explore. Nevada offers seven different waterfowl species groups, 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. 
  • Before heading out on your hunt you need the following items:
    • Nevada hunting or combination license – Buy now.
    • Federal duck stamp or eStamp – Buy now.
      • Under 16? No federal stamp is needed.
    • Nevada HIP number – Register for a Nevada HIP number for free here. Remember, a different HIP number is needed for each state you hunt in. 
    • Under 12? Nevada law allows anyone under 12 years old to hunt waterfowl without a license, federal duck stamp or HIP. While not a requirement, we do recommend children under 12 years of age take hunter education before heading into the field to hunt.
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

Anytime 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 on your next upland hunting trip.

  • Non-toxic shotgun shells and  appropriate shot for species
  • Hunting vest (pouches for extra gear, calls and water bottles)
  • Chest waders, hip waders or muck boots
  • Plenty of food and drink
  • Gloves
  • Extra socks
  • Hat
  • Two-way radios (if hunting with a partner)
  • First aid kit
  • Basic vehicle maintenance kit
Caring for Your Hunt
Dressing Your Animal

Properly dressing your animal in the field is a critical first step in preserving the meat and preparing to transport waterfowl out of the field. Before beginning, make sure your knife is sharp. To make the field dressing simpler, take your time. When removing entrails avoid touching the meat after touching any glands or waste, and be careful not to puncture the stomach.


Once dressed, waterfowl must be cooled as soon as possible. If the outside temperature is warm, elevate the animal above ground to facilitate air circulation around the entire body. This can be accomplished by hanging the animal in a cool, shady place. Plucking or skinning your waterfowl will greatly increase cooling in warm temperatures and is necessary to prevent problems with spoilage. Your birds also can be placed on ice in warm weather conditions.


The head and one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all harvested waterfowl being transported from the field until the hunter is home, at a taxidermist or a meat processing facility. If you are transferring any waterfowl for another person, you must attach a tag to each bird that states the address, total number of birds and species, date of harvest and signature of the original person taking those birds.This also applies to anyone leaving waterfowl in the custody of another person, taxidermist or meat processor


Waterfowl make for delicious and nutritious meals. There are a wide variety of ways to prepare waterfowl, but many hunters brine the meat for flavor prior to cooking. Different cuts of meat lend themselves to different preparations. For example, a breast may be perfect for grilling, while skinned legs may benefit from slower cooking. Less desirable waterfowl cuts can be saved for sausage.


Anyone giving any waterfowl species to another person must attach a tag to those birds stating their address, total number of birds and species, date of harvest and signature of the original person taking those birds. These tags are required for anyone who is accepting waterfowl species as a gift or donation.


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.

Waterfowl Harvest Data

See below for the latest Waterfowl Harvest Data from our WMAs:

Hunter Checklist

 This is just some of the gear that you will need to make your waterfowl hunt a success. Prepare early by gathering and breaking in your gear and make sure to get everything you need, including rain gear, warm clothes, dog care items, waders, decoys and more. Experienced hunters have put together an important checklist that you can use to help make your hunt fruitful.


Health Advisory

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. 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.

Additionally, positive detections of CWD were discovered in California near Bishop and Yosemite by the California Department of Fish and Game. Thus, a Transportation Restriction Zone (TRZ) was created by the Nevada Department of Agriculture through Quarantine Order (Q-JG05232024) to improve surveillance and prevent movement of CWD. It is now mandatory that anyone who harvests a deer in the TRZ consisting of hunt units 192-196, 201-208, 211-213, and 291 submit a CWD sample. Get more information on CWD and all transportation restrictions in the link below.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus has been detected in Nevada for the first time. HPAI is a contagious virus that mostly circulates in wild waterfowl without any signs of illness and low mortality rates. We do encourage hunters to take some precautions while hunting waterfowl.

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.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus-2 (RHDV2), a highly contagious and lethal disease of rabbits, has now been confirmed in various locations across Nevada in both wild and domestic rabbits


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 valleys to the mountaintops there are endless opportunities to explore.


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

Hunt Map

Welcome to Hunt NV an interactive tool built to help you plan your next hunting adventure. This hunt planner features interactive maps, species specific hunt information, public access, hunt unit boundaries and much more.

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.


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.


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