Big game hunters get second chance in Nevada


If you came up empty in Nevada’s 2014 big game tag draw, don’t give up just yet. There are a handful of unsubscribed tags still available in the second draw. They might not be in your favorite area, but the tags do represent an opportunity to hunt something somewhere.

Another chance to get a Nevada tag can be had by participating in the Dream Tag raffle. In either case, the deadline for throwing your name in the hat is nearing.

Overall there are nearly 3,000 tags up for grabs in the second draw. The list includes 2,812 mule deer tags, 185 antlerless elk tags and — for those who are feeling mighty lucky — a single tag for pronghorn antelope. Of course you can’t draw if you don’t apply. So why not give it a whirl?

The deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday if applying via paper and 11 p.m. if applying online at huntnevada.com.

Results should be posted by July 18.

By far the largest number of remaining mule deer tags are for antlerless deer with 1,640 tags scattered across portions of three hunt areas: Areas 6, 10 and 15. If you would rather hunt something with antlers, there are a total of 654 leftover archery tags. Most of those (620) are for Area 10, and the rest are for Areas 14 and 17, and units 114 and 115. In addition, there are 52 tags remaining for the antlered muzzleloader season, also in Area 10.

Applicants for junior mule deer tags will be vying for 466 either-sex tags that permit the junior hunter to pursue their quarry during all three seasons — archery, muzzleloader and any legal weapon — until they fill their tag. Those tags are sprinkled throughout 10 hunt areas.

The remaining antlerless elk tags offer applicants the choice between archery and a mix of standard and depredation any-legal-weapon seasons.

Also available in the second draw is the chance to apply for bonus points only. This is an opportunity for someone like me who didn’t apply for an antelope tag in the main draw and neglected to buy a bonus point during that process. Now I can correct that little oversight by purchasing an antelope bonus point to go with the others I have collected over the past four years. That deadline is July 1.

Another avenue for obtaining a Nevada big game tag for 2014 is through the Dream Tag program, a raffle that offers what most hunters would consider to be a hunt of a lifetime. Tags for five big game species are available through the Dream Tag raffle: one tag each for mule deer, pronghorn antelope, Rocky Mountain elk, and both desert (Nelson) and California bighorn sheep.

Making those tags especially desirable is the regulatory language describing the hunt units where they are valid. For each species the language begins with “Any management unit where there is an open season for ... .” And as for season dates, the language begins with “In compliance with the season dates set for each management unit or unit-group for hunts ... .”

In other words, with a Dream Tag you can hunt in any hunt unit in the state where there is an open season for the species indicated on the tag.

The only kicker is that you have to hunt within those season dates established for that particular unit, and with the firearm associated with those established season dates.

In other words, longbows (including compound bows) are legal when the season for that species and hunt unit is restricted to longbow, muzzleloader when the season for that species and hunt unit is restricted to muzzleloader, and any legal weapon when the season so permits.

To participate in the Dream Tag raffle you must first purchase a Resource Enhancement Stamp for $10 and then you can buy as many raffle tickets per species as your budget allows. You also can purchase raffle tickets for family and friends. They sell for just $5 per ticket. Both are available at www.NVDreamTag.org.

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.