Nevada Board of Wildlife Commission Approves 2024 – 2025 Big Game Hunting Tag Quotas

Reno, NV: After review of the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s recommendations and consideration by County Advisory Board’s to Manage Wildlife, the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners has approved big game tag quotas for the upcoming 2024-2025 hunting season. The Commission’s approved quotas for species such as antelope, elk, mountain goat, bear, and bighorn sheep remained largely unchanged from the Department’s recommendations; however, the Commission made considerable changes to mule deer quotas after hearing concerns from the public over more recent population declines, especially in the northeast portion of the state.

Key highlights of the approved quotas include:

  • Antelope: Antelope populations in Nevada continue to remain strong and a 33% increase for horns-longer-than-ear (adult male) antelope tags reflect the healthy population increases for the species this year. Recent survey data indicates an average of 40 bucks per 100 does and 37 fawn per 100 does, which are both increases over the previous year’s survey data. 
  • Mule Deer: Mule deer fawn ratios observed during fall 2023 and spring 2024 are the highest they have been in a decade and indicate that populations are expanding. Commissioners approved mule deer quotas that were similar to last year except for more noticeable decreases in Management Areas 6, 7 and 10, where quotas were decreased by 35 percent. Despite these decreases, buck ratios in many units across the state are above the management objective of 30 bucks per 100 does. The lower quotas should lead to increased maturity of bucks in the deer herd in the coming years. 
  • Elk: Commissioners approved 1,779 bull and spike tags combined and 2,581 cow elk tags. This represented a 7.5% increase in elk tags, with bull elk quotas remaining similar to the prior season. Conditions throughout elk habitat in Nevada improved during the summer and fall of 2023 and winter conditions were mild compared to the previous year. Biologists expect to see the health of the population substantially improve this year.
  • Bear: The Commission approved only a slight adjustment in bear tags, with an increase of five tags over last year. This decision comes as a result of the steady growth in Nevada’s bear population.
  • Moose: The 2024 hunting season represents the first time in Nevada’s history a moose hunt will be available, marking an exciting milestone for wildlife enthusiasts. The Commission approved NDOW’s recommendation of two antlered moose tags, which represents less than 2% of the estimated 105 moose in Nevada, a percentage biologists decided on to maintain a growing population. (Click to watch a presentation on the status of moose in Nevada)
  • Bighorn Sheep: The approved recommendation for an approximate 16% decrease in desert bighorn ram tags, coupled with an increase of four more tags for California bighorn rams, demonstrates the Department’s commitment to species-specific management strategies. Due to multi-year drought and disease impacts Nevada’s desert bighorn sheep herds have been drastically declining, so the quota aims to be conservative as the populations have experienced declines.
  • Mountain goats: In support of recent improvements in populations numbers, especially in hunt unit 102, the Commission approved a recommended increase of two mountain goat tags. This number follows harvest guidelines, which allow for the take of 2% to 5% of the population.

         “We’ve had a positive year for many of our big game herds and we expect their health to only improve thanks to two consecutive wet winters, which resulted in improved habitat conditions. This has helped big game species in their recovery from long term drought followed by severe winter weather experienced during late 2022 and throughout the early months of 2023,” said Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) Director Alan Jenne. “Additionally, we saw significant numbers in big game tag applications. The ongoing support we receive from sportsmen and women helps increase our conservation efforts and ensures continued improvements for all of Nevada’s 897 wildlife species.”

         Commissioners made their decision after reviewing recommendations from NDOW biologist and hearing input from the County Advisory Boards and the public. NDOW’s recommendations are made after hundreds of hours of surveys both from the ground and the air to classify age, sex, and recruitment of young, population modeling to develop accurate estimates of population size and consideration of management guidance from the Commission. This approach ensures that the quota recommendations for the 2024-2025 hunting season are both sustainable and reflective of the current health of Nevada’s wildlife.

         A detailed list of all approved quotas is available in the Commission Regulation 24-12, 2024 Big Game Quota.

         Nevada’s big game tag application period closed on Wednesday, May 8. Big Game draw results will be released on or before Friday, May 17.

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