Hunting Regulations: Key Definitions

Antlerless and Antlered Game Specifications

  • Antlerless Deer: Defined as a deer devoid of antlers (NAC 502.008).
  • Antlerless Elk: An elk similarly lacking antlers (NAC 502.009).
  • Antlered Deer: Deer possessing at least one visible antler above its hairline (NAC 502.007).
  • Antlered Elk: Elk with a minimum of one antler visible above its hairline (NAC 502.0074).
  • Spike Elk: This category refers to antlered elk with no more than two points on either antler (NAC 502.1045).

Horn Description in Antelopes

  • Antelope with Longer Horns: Any pronghorn antelope with at least one horn exceeding the length of its ears (NAC 502.002).
  • Antelope with Shorter Horns: Pronghorn antelopes that either lack horns or have both horns shorter than their ears (NAC 502.003).

Additional Definitions

  • Ewe: A term for female bighorn sheep with horns measuring at least 5 inches along the outer curve (NAC 502.345).
  • Junior Hunt: A regulated hunting opportunity for youth between ages 12 and 17, inclusive, holding a valid hunting or combined hunting and fishing license (NAC 502.063). Eligibility extends to a maximum of 5 years (NAC 502.333).
  • Unit: Refers to specific geographical sections in Nevada, numbered for identification, crucial for wildlife management and defining legal hunting areas.

Season and Weapon Class

  • Season: The allocated period for hunting, varying from 2 days to a full year.
  • Weapon Class: Categorizes permissible hunting weapons into three groups: any legal weapon, archery, and muzzleloader. Specifics are detailed in the Legal Weapon Types table.

Legal Weapons for Big Game Hunting: Detailed Overview

Centerfire Firearms for Big Game

  • Rifles:
    • Caliber: Must be .22 or larger, up to .50 caliber.
    • Case Length: Cannot exceed 3 inches.
  • Handguns:
    • Caliber: Must be .22 or larger.
    • Barrel Length: Minimum of 4 inches.
  • Prohibited Firearms:
    • Any firearm firing more than one round per trigger pull.
    • Firearms with electronically or computer-controlled sighting systems.
  • Prohibited Ammunition:
    • Full metal jacket, full steel, steel core, tracer, or incendiary bullets.

Shotguns (Specifically for Deer and Mountain Lion)

  • Gauge: Permitted gauges are 10, 12, 16, or 20.
  • Barrel Type: Both smooth and rifled barrels are allowed.
  • Deer Hunting: Use rifled slugs or saboted rounds with a single expanding projectile.

Muzzleloading Rifle and Musket

  • During Muzzleloader-Only Hunts:
    • Caliber: Minimum of .45.
    • Ignition Types: Wheel-lock, matchlock, flintlock, or percussion (including in-lines).
    • Projectiles: Lead ball, lead bullet, semi-jacketed bullet, metal alloy bullet that expands, and saboted rounds.
    • Sights: Only open or peep sights. Scopes are banned unless during an “any legal weapon” hunt.
    • Powder: Black powder or its substitute only.
  • Additional Note: Flintlock or percussion handguns may be carried but not used for hunting during muzzleloading-only hunts.
  • Scope Permit: Issued by the Department for visually impaired hunters, allowing a 1x magnification scope in restricted hunts.

Bow and Arrow

  • Bow Types: Includes longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows (crossbows excluded).
  • Bow Specifications:
    • Minimum Draw Weight: 40 pounds.
    • Maximum Let-Off: 80 percent.
  • Arrows:
    • Length: Minimum 24 inches (nock to broadhead tip).
    • Weight: 300 grains or more (with all components).
  • Broadheads:
    • Fixed: At least 7/8 inch wide.
    • Mechanical: At least 7/8 inch wide when open.
  • Restrictions: No rifles, muskets, or handguns with long barrels or telescopic sights during archery hunts; no nocked arrows in motorized vehicles; no arrows with harmful devices attached.


  • Usage Restrictions: Not allowed in 'bow-only' or 'muzzleloader-only' hunts unless holding an Archery Disability Permit.
  • Transportation: It's illegal to carry a cocked crossbow with an arrow or bolt in or on a motorized vehicle on public roads.
  • Archery Disability Permit: Available for those with a permanent physical disability impeding manual bow use. No scopes allowed.

Sights Attached to Firearms or Bows

  • Permitted Illumination Sources: Battery, light-gathering fiber optics, radioactive isotopes (e.g., tritium), iridescent or fluorescent paint.
  • Restriction: No use of sights capable of projecting visible beams of light from the sight to the animal.

These regulations, including specifications for firearms, muzzleloaders, bows, and crossbows, are critical for ethical and legal hunting practices in big game hunting. Compliance ensures safety and conservation standards are upheld.

Hunter Education Requirements for Nevada Hunting License

Mandatory Hunter Education

  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Birth Date: Anyone born on or after January 1, 1960.
    • Requirement: Must provide proof of Hunter Education.
  • Acceptable Proof of Hunter Education:
    • Official Card/Certificate: Must be from any state or Canadian province, featuring the Hunter Education number and the issuing authority's logo or seal.
    • Previous Hunting License: A hunting license from a previous year with the Hunter Education number or mark is valid.
  • Interstate and International Recognition:
    • Other State/Province Classes: If Hunter Education was completed in another state or Canadian province, verification is required.
    • Documentation: Acceptable documents include official Hunter Education cards or certificates from the respective state or province.

Importance of Hunter Education

Hunter Education is crucial for safe and responsible hunting practices. It ensures hunters are knowledgeable about wildlife conservation, hunting laws, and firearm safety. This requirement aligns with Nevada's commitment to preserving wildlife and promoting ethical hunting.

For those born after January 1, 1960, completing Hunter Education is a prerequisite for obtaining a Nevada hunting license. It's important to retain your Hunter Education card or certificate as proof of completion, ensuring smooth license procurement for future hunting seasons.

Party Hunts in Nevada: Rules and Procedures

Definition and Eligibility

  • Party Hunt Concept: A group application for the same hunting tag, involving two or more individuals.
  • Eligible Species: Mule Deer, Antlerless Elk, and Antelope with Horns Shorter Than Ears.

Application Process

  • Party Leader: One applicant acts as the leader, generating a unique party hunt group number.
  • Group Number: Found on the leader's receipt, used by all members to join the party.
  • Application Entry: Members enter the group number during their application, aligning their choices with the leader.
  • Post-Application Joining: Members can join a party after submitting an individual application by entering the group number in their customer account.

Member Composition

  • Junior and Adult Hunters:
    • Adults cannot join junior hunt parties.
    • Juniors can join adult parties or form junior-only parties.
  • Resident and Nonresident Hunters:
    • Can apply together for Mule Deer.
    • Restrictions apply based on differing resident and nonresident options.

Bonus Points and Tag Allocation

  • Bonus Points Calculation: Averaged across party members, rounded to the nearest whole number.
  • Similar Bonus Points: Ideally, members should have similar bonus point totals.
  • Tag Return Policy:
    • Individual tag returns don’t refund bonus points unless all members return their tags.
    • Exceptions include medical, death, or military reasons.
  • Tag Allocation:
    • Specialty and male species tags are prioritized.
    • Party hunts succeed or fail collectively, influenced by draw numbers and quota availability.
    • If quota limits are reached before all party members can be accommodated, the party is unsuccessful.

Quotas and Draw

  • Quota Pools: Separate for residents and nonresidents.
  • Draw Process: Based on the lowest draw number and remaining quota.

Special Considerations

  • Applying for both individual and party tags can result in receiving only one type of tag, without impacting the party’s overall chances.

Refund Policy for Nevada Hunting Licenses and Bonus Points Implications

Eligibility for Hunting License Refund

  • Conditions for Refund:
    • License Type: Must be a hunting-only license (not a combined hunting and fishing license).
    • Purpose of Purchase: The license was acquired solely for tag application.
    • Non-Usage: The applicant must not have engaged in hunting under the license.
    • Submission Deadline: The license must be returned to the Department on or before the last weekday of August in the year of its validity.
    • Receiving Deadline: The Department must receive the license by the specified date.

Impact on Bonus Points

  • Forfeit of Bonus Points:
    • Applicants who receive a refund for their hunting license will not be awarded any bonus points.
    • This policy is crucial to consider for those who rely on accumulating bonus points for future tag draws.

Important Considerations

  • The refund policy and its implications on bonus points are vital for applicants to understand. It is a trade-off between recovering the license fee and maintaining the advantage of bonus points for future hunting opportunities.

These regulations underscore the importance of careful decision-making when applying for tags and considering refunds. Hunters should weigh the immediate benefit of a refund against the long-term advantage of accumulating bonus points.

Nevada Hunting License Requirements and Legal Weapon Types for Big Game

License Validity and Age Requirements

  • License Duration: Valid for one year from the date of purchase.
  • Age Criteria for Hunting:
    • Minimum Age: 12 years old for hunting in Nevada.
    • Under 12 Years: Not eligible for big game hunting but can accompany licensed hunters.
    • Solo Hunting Age: Individuals 14 years and older can hunt alone with a valid license, provided they do not use fully automatic shotguns or rifles (NRS 202.300).

Permitted Weapons for Big Game Hunting

The following table outlines the legal weapons allowed for hunting various big game animals in Nevada:

Game Animal Bow Muzzleloading Rifles Centerfire Firearms Shotguns* Rimfires Crossbow
Bighorn Sheep
Mountain Goat
Mountain Lion
Mule Deer

*Includes muzzleloading shotguns.

Key Points

  • Rimfires: Allowed for Mountain Lion and Mule Deer hunting.
  • Shotguns: Can be used for certain game species, including muzzleloading shotguns.
  • Centerfire Firearms: Widely accepted across all listed big game animals.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.