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Big game hunting options still abound in nearby states

Updated May 29, 2019 - 3:00 pm

That audible groan of disappointment you heard Friday morning came from folks like me who woke up to the disappointing news that they had failed to draw a 2019 Nevada big game tag.

If you are one of the lucky hunters, let me extend my congratulations and best wishes for a successful hunt. And if you are one of the unlucky applicants who came away with bonus points instead, let me say there is still hope.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is currently accepting online applications for its deer, bighorn sheep, sandhill crane, fall javelina and fall bison permit tags. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. on June 11. Since the Grand Canyon State doesn’t observe daylight savings time, they currently are on the same time as Nevada.

Still, to be safe, I wouldn’t wait until the last minute.

Keep in mind that you must have a valid Arizona hunting license to apply for a tag through the online process, and it must be valid through the June 11 deadline. You can purchase a license online, at Arizona Game and Fish Department offices or through a license vendor.

Utah has deer and elk tags remaining, and they will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Beginning at 8 a.m. July 18, deer hunters will be vying for 1,330 deer tags in units located in the northern part of the state. They are for archery and muzzleloader hunts. If you like to hunt mulies in pretty country, these tags could be the ticket.

For youth hunters 17 years old or younger on July 31, 2019, there will be numerous options for an archery mule deer hunt. Open units are scattered across much of the state and include places relatively close to Southern Nevada. Those units include the Southwest Desert, Pine Valley, Panguitch Lake and Fishlake. It all depends on tag availability and how far you are willing to drive.

If an elk hunt is on your wish list, Utah will make 30,000 tags available for any legal weapon, muzzleloader and multi-season hunt opportunities. Half of those tags are for spike-only units and the other half for any-bull units. In addition, there will be an unlimited number of archery tags for spike and any bull seasons. Elk tags will go on sale at 8 a.m. July 16.

You can purchase remaining deer and elk permits online, at license agents or at Division of Wildlife Resources offices.

Utah also offers hunters the chance to apply for antlerless big game tags. That process begins May 30.

In Idaho, non-resident hunters can purchase over-the-counter — or general season — deer and elk tags on a first-come, first-served basis. All you need is a tag and a hunting license and you are good to go. Over-the-counter tags are available in most of the state’s elk and deer units, though there are some units where a controlled hunt tag is required.

Non-resident tags are limited in number, so they can sell out quickly. That happened for both elk and deer in 2018. So don’t wait too long to purchase your tags if you are thinking of going north for hunting season.

If you want to take a shot at one of Idaho’s controlled hunts, you have until 11:59 p.m. June 5 to apply.

Most of Wyoming’s tag draws are closed, but if you are feeling lucky and enjoy racing deadlines, you can still apply for a deer or antelope tag. The draw closes Friday, May 31.

Oregon’s application deadline for controlled hunts was May 15. Any leftover big game tags other than spring bear tags will go on sale July 1 at 10 a.m. They are expected to sell out within minutes. Over-the-counter tags also are available in some units.

Here in Nevada, there are 282 leftover junior mule deer tags scattered over units 32, 35, 101-109, 141-145, and 251-254. An additional 291 antlered archery mule deer buck tags also are available. They are distributed across units 32, 35, 101-109, 141-145 and 171-175. The second draw is slated to open June 10.

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

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