Nevada Draw and Bonus Point Systems

December 22, 2022 by DrawScout

Nevada conducts a primary random draw with bonus points as well as a separate Guided Draw for mule deer. Hunting licenses are required (sort of). This article outlines all of the nuances of the Nevada big game draws for Mule Deer, Elk, Antelope, Rocky Bighorn Sheep, Desert Bighorn Sheep, California Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, and Black Bear.

Nevada Mule Deer

Application Periods

Nevada’s earliest application period is for the Mule Deer Guided Draw (more on this draw later), which opens in early February and closes in early March. The main application period for Mule Deer, Elk, Antelope, Rocky Bighorn Sheep, Desert Bighorn Sheep, California Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, and Black Bear opens in late March. The primary draw remains open until early-to-mid May.

DrawScout Application Planner - Nevada
DrawScout’s Application Planner with Upcoming Dates

DrawScout’s Application Planner is updated with tentative and final dates for Nevada and all other supported states as they become available.

Random Draw with Bonus Points

Nevada is a bonus point state with a random draw. There are some similarities to Arizona’s big game draw in that everyone has a chance, but bonus point holders have better odds. The tag split between residents and nonresidents is approximately 90/10.

Unsuccessful applicants are awarded a species-specific bonus point each year if they purchased a hunting license when entering the draw. So if you’re interested in building points in Nevada, make sure you buy a hunting license. Otherwise, you do still have a chance in the random draw, but your odds won’t be better next year.

It’s important to note that if you fail to apply in Nevada for two consecutive years, your bonus points will be purged.

Guided Draw

As mentioned above, Nevada has an earlier, separate application period for nonresident mule deer hunters who wish to hire a guide. This draw is completed prior to the regular mule deer draw. The number of tags available in the guided draw is limited, but you do typically have better odds than in the primary draw.

The Guided Draw uses the same bonus point system as the primary draw and will use your points if successfully drawn.

To enter the Guided Draw hunters must first contact an eligible outfitter. The outfitter will assist with the process of entering the draw. The Nevada draw differs from New Mexico’s Guided Draw in that the outfitter must actually submit your application on your behalf.

Draw Results

Nevada’s draw results for all species are available in mid-to-late May, not long after the application period closes.

Hunt Choices

Hunters applying in Nevada can make up to five hunt selections. The Nevada draw is not like Wyoming’s hunt draw, which only considers 1 choice before moving on to the next applicant. In Nevada, if your application is chosen, all hunt choices are considered before moving on to the next applicant. Because of this, it makes sense to rank your 1-5 choices in order of difficulty to draw.

Purchasing Bonus Points in Nevada

Bonus points can be purchased in Nevada instead of applying for hunts. Given that the draw is random and a point is awarded if unsuccessful, it’s better to apply for hunts than only buy points, unless you can’t make it to Nevada during a given year.

Costs for Applying in Nevada

Hunters pay an application fee to apply in Nevada. Applicants are not required to front the cost of the tag.

Nevada Estimated Totals in DrawScout
DrawScout’s Estimated Totals show upfront cost and drawn cost.

Hunting License Required (sort of)

Applicants do not have to purchase a hunting license unless they want to build points in Nevada. If you apply without purchasing a hunting license and you are unsuccessful, you will not be awarded a point. So while it’s not technically “required” to purchase a license, it is highly advisable to do so.

Nevada Hunting Licenses in DrawScout
DrawScout’s Hunting Licenses in Nevada

To account for this, DrawScout’s Application Planner doesn’t automatically add the Nevada Hunt & Fish Combination License to your application plan, but it is labeled as required.

Leftover, Secondary Draw, and Over-the-Counter Options

Nevada conducts a secondary draw for any leftover tags in mid-June. Successful applicants in the secondary draw lose their bonus points.

In July, any additional leftover or returned tags become available on a first-come, first-served basis. Purchasing these tags will also use your bonus points.

Plan Your Applications in DrawScout

DrawScout makes keeping multiple states’ application periods, costs, and season dates straight. Check out this article to learn more about our toolset:

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