Hunting in Nevada

Published on 11th April 2023

An image of an adult hunter and youth hunter in the middle of grass field while hunting in Nevada

Want to experience the driest state with a vast, thrilling game species to chase? Then hunting in Nevada is for you! 

This article goes through extensive research—consulting official resources and state hunters’ insight. We’ve compiled the essentials to help you become familiar with Nevada hunting in one click. 

As bummer as it is, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) regulates big game tags through a lottery—making it harder for hunters to hunt big game than in states like Idaho. 

But don’t let that deter you.

From the state’s scenic beauty and an endless swath of public lands to the trophy-quality species, your efforts would all be worth it! 

Gear up, Folks! We’re going to explore the wilderness of Nevada.

Hunting Seasons 

Looking for a fun and exciting hunting venture in the silver state? Great choice! 

Hunting season in Nevada offers opportunities for hunters to pursue a range of game species across the state’s diverse terrain. But, of course, only during an open season of a specific game.

Nevada Department of Wildlife manages these seasons to ensure the wildlife population thrives. 

Let’s take a sneak peek at Nevada’s general season dates. It’s important to note that these seasons vary depending on the hunting unit and harvest method.  

Big Game Season

Nevada ElkAugust 1 to January 1
Pronghorn Antelope August 1 to October 30
Mule DeerAugust 10 to January 1
Bighorn SheepSeptember 1 to February 20
Mountain GoatSeptember 1 to October 31
Black BearSeptember 15 to December 1
Mountain LionYear-round (Or when it reaches the limit)

Small Game Season

American Crow September to November 17
March to April 15
Chukar and Hungarian Partridge
October 15 to Feb 5
Ducks and Mergansers
Canada Geese and Brant
Geese and Scaup
Coots, Gallinules, and Snipe 
September 24 to January 29
Dusky, Sooty, And Ruffed GrouseSeptember to December
Himalayan SnowcockSeptember to November
Mourning and White-Winged DoveSeptember to October
PheasantThroughout November
(Cottontail and black-tailed jackrabbits)
November to February
SwanOctober 15 to January 29
Sage GrouseSeptember 24 to October 2

Nevada is not just about Las Vegas strips and desert climate. It’s actually more than that. 

The silver state offers platinum, unique hunting challenges, and experiences for hunters. And that is all thanks to its untamed wilderness. 

When I told you that Nevada is home to thrilling and exciting game and trophy-quality species, I was not kidding. 

Here are the notable game species you might encounter when hunting in Nevada. 

Mule Deer

Considering hunting mule deer in Nevada? Well, you’re in a treat! 

But really, what makes mule deer hunting so famous in Nevada? 

First, the mule deer population thrives thanks to the state’s diverse habitats and effective wildlife management practices. You’ll find these beautiful animals in various locations. But most specifically in: 

  • Cold desert shrubland and sagebrush, 
  • Grasslands, and
  • High mountain forests.

But truth be told, Nevada might not be as famous for trophy mule deer as some neighboring states. But despite that, you still have a chance of finding sizable bucks. 

Rocky Mountain and Desert bighorn sheep

Although expensive, the impressive horns of bighorn sheep make them highly sought-after trophy species. 

Despite the challenge of obtaining a tag, Rocky Mountain and desert bighorn sheep hunting remains a prestigious and memorable experience for those lucky enough to participate in Nevada’s bighorn sheep hunting seasons. 

These hardy animals often reside in steep, rugged terrain. 

  • Desert bighorn sheep are more adapted to the arid conditions of Nevada’s desert landscapes. 
  • Rocky Mountain bighorns wander in higher elevations.

Mountain Goat

As bummer as it is, Mountain goat is not common to Nevada hunters as they are not native to the state. 

However, that doesn’t mean hunting a mountain goat is impossible in Nevada. If you’ve been to the Ruby Mountains and the East Humboldt range of Nevada, then encountering these long-bearded species is not new for you. 

If you want to score a mountain goat in Nevada, we suggest going to these areas: 

  • Alpine and Tundra.
  • Caves.
  • Cliffs.
  • Canyons. 

Rocky Mountain Elk

Due to its long branching antlers, this Rocky Mountain elk is one of Nevada’s most sought-after big game species. Hunters see this game species as an exciting pursuit for trophy-class bulls. 

Moreover, the state’s elk population has steadily increased, providing hunters more opportunities to pursue these majestic animals.

If you’re after Rocky Mountain elks, going to cold desert shrubland, sagebrush, alpine, and the upland forest is best for you! 

Mountain Lions

Unfazed by the exceptional strength of this wildcat and want to hunt it? Then, hunting in Nevada must be on your bucket list!

Unlike other big game species, hunting a mountain lion in Nevada is easier as mountain lion tags are available over-the-counter or through authorized local stores. Through this tag, a hunter can harvest two mountain lions per season. 

What’s cooler is it has a year-round hunting season in Nevada! 

When hunting a mountain lion, it’s important to have careful attention to safety. These elusive predators are known for their strength, agility, and stealth, making them a challenging and potentially dangerous quarry.

Pronghorn Antelope

Want to hone your hunting skill? Then, Nevada’s thriving pronghorn antelope population is there for you! 

Pronghorns are the fastest land animals in North America and have exceptional eyesight, which makes them a challenging and unique game species to pursue. The skills you will learn by hunting pronghorn will be a step forward to becoming a pro hunter. 

If you want to chase (like, literally!) pronghorns in Nevada, we suggest going to the mountain ranges of 

  • Northern Nevada.
  • Central Nevada.  

Black Bears

Despite the controversy in Nevada, NDOW still opens the state for black bear hunting. But, of course, it is regulated strictly by the state. 

In fact, the black bear tag is the most challenging tag to draw in the state. That is because of the recent decline of Nevada’s black bear population. 

Nevada’s black bear population is small and concentrated mainly in the western part of the state along the border with California, in areas such as the:

  • Sierra Nevada range.
  • Pine Nut Mountains.
  • Lake Tahoe.

Wild Turkey

Although less well-known than other states, Nevada still offers opportunities for hunters who want to bring wild turkeys home.  

The state has a small but growing population of wild turkeys, primarily Merriam’s turkeys, which roam in these areas:

  • Alpine forests of the Sierras
  • Marsh
  • Pinyon juniper forests. 


Like wild turkey, ducks in Nevada are less well known than in other states. However, we cannot deny the fact that silver state is home to grade B ducks, specifically these subspecies:

  • Mallard Ducks,
  • Redhead Ducks,
  • Canvasback Ducks,
  • Wood Ducks, and
  • Green-Winged Teal Ducks. 

The state’s unique desert landscapes, wetlands, and reservoirs create a distinctive hunting experience for waterfowl enthusiasts.


Cayotes are literally everywhere in Nevada. From grassland and deserts to urban areas, these predators lure you to take them down. 

That makes coyote hunting in Nevada a popular sport for residents and non-residents. 

It is not just for leisure or sports. Many hunters hunt coyotes for predator control and population management when their population gets out of hand.

Best Hunting Location

Want to experience the best of Nevada? Here are the hunting locations for you to hunt your desired species. 

From vast deserts and sagebrush plains to mountain ranges and wetlands, the state offers unique opportunities for hunters.

Ruby Mountains

The Ruby Mountains are a paradise for Nevada hunters. It is public land, so getting an additional permit to hunt the place is unnecessary.  

With their rugged peaks, lush alpine meadows, and crystal-clear streams, the Ruby Mountains are a hunter’s paradise.

This location is the premier spot to hunt game mammals, especially for deer hunting.

Venture higher into the mountains, and you might find yourself in the realm of the Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, or mountain goat. With each step, the air gets thinner, and the terrain gets steeper—but the rewards grow greater!

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is yet another wide-open public land for hunters to seek deer, bears, and other quality waterfowl and upland game birds.

Sounds great, right? This location is also open for residents and non-residents to hunt. 

But due to its popularity for other recreational activities, hunting may be limited to some of its vicinity. 

Always adhere to local regulations and respect private property boundaries.

Sierra National Forest 

The Sierra Nevada Mountains, spanning across California and parts of Nevada, provide a vast and diverse landscape for hunting enthusiasts. 

If you’re seeking mule deer, black bears, and elk, this location should be one of your options. The region also offers a variety of small game species and habitats, making it an appealing destination for hunters seeking new challenges and experiences.

And since it spans California, hunters here are also in a treat for a possible California bighorn sheep encounter. 

Hunting Regulation

In Nevada, NDOW is responsible for enforcing hunting regulations. That way, the state can offer hunters a safe and enjoyable experience through sustained wildlife resources.

Here is an overview of some key hunting regulations in Nevada:

Nevada Hunting License 

Want to hunt in Nevada? Whether that be a big or small game, you must first acquire a valid hunting license. 

Hunting licenses are available for everyone, and the price varies depending on your residency status and validity term. 

Resident license

Adult Combination$75
Youth Combination$15
Adult hunting$38
Apprentice hunting $15

Non-Resident license

Adult Combination$155
Youth Combination$15
Adult hunting$15
1-Day Adult Combination 
(only for upland and waterfowl)
$23 (additional $8/following days)

You can purchase a Nevada hunting license online through the NDOW licensing system, at NDOW offices, or from authorized license agents.

Note: Apprentice hunting license is only available at NDOW offices.

Hunter Education Certificate 

First-time hunters born after January 1, 1960, must complete a hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. 

The course covers firearm safety, hunting ethics, and wildlife conservation.

Hunting Tags 

Getting a big game tag in Nevada is a bit harder than in other US states. That is due to the state’s lottery-based tag allocation system.

Hunters must go through tag applications and wish that the odds are with them because NDOW distributes the tags randomly among applicants. And, of course, there is an application fee for this. 

The tag application period typically occurs in the spring, and hunters must specify the desired hunt unit and weapon type. Tag quotas and drawing odds vary by species and hunt unit.

If selected, NDOW will mail all the successful applicants a letter of instruction and hunt map before the season begins. Hunters then need to purchase a game-specific tag on top of the application fee.

Here are the different big game tags and their prices:

Game SpeciesResidentNon-Resident
Mountain Lion$29$104
Mule Deer$30$240
Black Bear$100$300
Rocky Mountain Goat$120$1200
Bighorn Sheep$120$1200

If not, worry not because you will get a bonus point which will increase your chances to draw tags in the following years. 


Did you have fun exploring what’s there when hunting in Nevada? 

If you think that you’re patient enough to hunt the abundance of public lands and the potential trophy-quality animals, then the Silver state is waiting for you.

Remember to hunt responsibly! 


Is Nevada good for hunting?

Yes, Nevada offers excellent hunting experiences for resident and non-resident hunters. Hunters can enjoy the vast selection of public hunting areas for their desired species. 

How much does it cost to hunt in Nevada?

To hunt in Nevada, you must pay for a hunting license, ranging from $15-$75 for residents and $15-$155 for non-residents. 

Aside from the license, you will need to purchase a species-specific tag. 

What animals can you hunt in Nevada without a license?

Even without a hunting license, people can legally hunt these unprotected species: 

  • Coyotes.
  • Raccoons.
  • Ground squirrels.
  • Badgers.
  • Skunks.
  • Black-tailed jackrabbits.
  • European starlings.
  • House sparrows