Big game application regulations available early at NDOW website


If you have been waiting to peruse the pages of Nevada’s 2014 Big Game Seasons and Application Regulations, your wait is over. Though the printed version isn’t expected to hit shelves until early next week, the online version is already available. And whatever you do, don’t pass up the Important Information page.

You will find the publication under the Education tab at www.ndow.org. Just hold your cursor over the tab until the submenus comes up, then click on “Big Game Seasons” in the publications list.

One of the many challenges facing Nevada’s big game managers is that of maintaining elk numbers within established population objectives in some herd management areas, so the 2014 regulations include changes designed to increase the number of hunter-harvested elk in those areas of concern. Remember what I said about not passing up the Important Information page? That is where you will find the information about these new elk hunt strategies.

A significant regulation change will permit hunters to apply for and draw both a cow (antlerless) elk tag and a bull (antlered) elk in the same draw. This is good news for those who have been alternating their applications between bull and cow hunts every other year in order to protect their accumulated bonus points. You will need to be careful with hunt choices, however, because you could possibly draw your cow and bull elk tags in different areas.

Another possibility under the new regulations is the chance to draw both a buck mule deer tag and an antlerless elk management tag in the same unit during the same season. A similar option is available for bull elk applicants in certain units. A hunter could opt to apply for a combination hunt that would give him both a bull elk and a cow elk tag in the same unit during the same season. Keep in mind that when applying for these combination hunt opportunities, a hunter will be charged the application and other fees for each tag.

The Wildlife Commission also approved new spike-only bull hunts for the archery and any legal weapon seasons in units within the Area 6 unit group. Additionally, a person may apply for multiple cow elk hunts in the same draw, but will be permitted to draw only a single cow tag. This leads me to a significant point of clarification. With all of the changes in elk eligibility and hunt possibilities a hunter can draw one cow tag and one bull tag — only one of each.

In anticipation of hunters’ questions, Nevada Department of Wildlife staff included a detailed section in the application regulations that outlines eligibility and other considerations for the new combination elk hunts. It includes a question-and-answer section.

Nevada’s hunt application process is scheduled to begin Monday and should be live at www.huntnevada.com. The application deadline is April 21.

DOWNRIGGER ADVICE

After reading my March 6 column about using downriggers to reach deep-holding stripers in Lake Mead, reader Tom Frey sent me an email with additional advice for dealing with Lake Mead’s unpredictable structure.

Frey said he keeps his fish finder’s transducer angled forward because “it gives me more time to react to that big hump coming up that will get your ball or bait hung up.”

Frey also has taken the time to sync his downrigger depth counters with the depth gauge on his fish finder. And so he doesn’t have to constantly turn around to keep an eye on his loaded rods, Frey mounted a mirror to the top of his boat’s windshield. Though he prefers to troll with “pancake” weights, Frey said that once you reach 50-foot depths a 10-pound ball is a must.

If you are thinking about purchasing downriggers, Frey suggests you look for something with an “auto stop” feature. That way you can hit the button and have the downrigger retrieve your trolling ball while you focus on reeling in your fish.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.