Leftover big-game tags widely available


If you miss your first shot at a monster buck or a large bull elk, having a second chance to make that shot is a good thing. Likewise, if you were unsuccessful in Nevada’s big-game tag draw, a second chance can be good thing, especially for those willing to try something or someplace new.

This year nearly 2,000 second-chance opportunities are available to mule deer hunters who came up empty when the draw results were posted. Those chances come in the form of leftover or unsubscribed tags. Not all of those leftover tags are for mule deer bucks, but they still represent an opportunity to go hunting.

Among the leftover deer tags are 361 either-sex junior tags, 691 archery buck tags, 48 muzzleloader buck tags and 880 doe tags. In addition, those looking to fill the freezer in a single hunting trip will find nearly 350 cow elk tags available — 80 archery tags, 18 muzzleloader tags and 249 tags with an “any legal weapon” designation. Also available are two archery tags for antelope with horns longer than their ears. The odds might seem long for drawing one of the antelope tags, but you can’t draw if you don’t put in.

The leftover tags can be found in a fairly wide distribution pattern, so if you have wanted to try out a new area, this could be a good opportunity to do so. The archery deer tags, for instance, are for areas like 17, 14, 7 and 10. Available junior tags are in areas that include 16, 15, 5, 25 and 10, among others.

The second draw opens June 10 at huntnevada.com. For a complete list of leftover tags, visit www.ndow.org and click on the “hunting” icon.

HAVE ROD, WILL TRAVEL

In the years since the World Trade Center attack in 2001, rules for flying as a passenger on commercial aircraft seem to be in a constant state of flux, so it always is a good idea to double-check the rules before you fly, especially if you will be traveling with what the Transportation Security Administration calls “special items.” And guess what, if you travel with fishing gear, your stuff is on the special item list.

Some of what we carry in our tackle boxes can be considered sharp and dangerous, so prepare to check that. Expensive reels and fragile equipment, such as your fly collection, can go in carry-on bags, according to TSA guidelines, and your fishing rods can go as checked baggage or as a carry-on. But the TSA is quick to point out that the individual airlines have the ultimate say on whether your fishing rod goes in the hold or in the cabin.

Delta Air Lines allows fishing rods up to 115 linear inches to be checked as baggage, but anything longer than 62 inches gets hit with an oversized baggage fee. Otherwise, standard fees apply. At Southwest, your fishing rod goes as checked baggage but only if it is in a case no longer that 91 inches and is built to withstand the rigors of baggage handling.

United Airlines does things differently. It will accept what its guidelines refer to as “one item of fishing equipment per customer.” My first thought on reading that was, “OK, what do I leave home, my tackle box or my fishing rod?” United clarifies that by describing a fishing item as two rods, one reel, one landing net, one pair of fishing boots and a single tackle box. The length restriction is 80 inches.

To stay within the length restrictions, and for easier handling, go with a fishing rod that breaks down into at least two pieces. Commercially produced rod tubes are widely available, but you can make a pretty tough rod tube and save a little money with a trip to the irrigation department at the local hardware store. PVC pipe with a 2- to 2½-inch diameter will protect your rods through just about anything a baggage handler can dish out. Glue a solid cap on one end and a male adapter on the other. Then top things off with a threaded cap.

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.